Manual processes don’t scale. Not just because they’re repetitive and time-consuming, but also they just don’t scale because repetitive, mind-numbing tasks become boring and tend to promote more human error than automated tasks. Let’s face it. No one likes to do the same boring tasks over and over again, even us.
Automated tasks also have the advantage of being much much faster. You just can’t compete against a computer in terms of speed. The computer wins every time.
We’ve come to the conclusion a long time ago that if we’re doing the same things over and over again, then we’re just not using our time wisely.
We listened to our customers, who suggested we put together some form of chat demo for potential clients to evaluate. Up until a week ago, we were putting together manual demos of what live chat would look like on your website, using a scrape of your site, hosted on our servers. With each demo, we got faster at putting them together, but we hit a point where we weren’t gaining any speed. I also felt like it was cutting into our productivity and ability to innovate.
So I stood at my stand-up workstation in my home office, armed with plenty of caffeine, and in a weekend I created an instant automated demo system for showing what live chat would look like on any website.
The advantages extend beyond just our selfish need to innovate and our need to keep driving our products forward. Not only does this make it easy for us to create an instant demo of live chat on any website, but it also makes it easier for anyone reading this blog, such as yourself, to help us promote our products.
Just enter any website URL in the text box on our home page, and you’ll see an instant chat demo on any website.
Instant Live Chat Demo
Word of mouth is what great businesses are built upon, so please share this information with your colleagues, customers, vendors, and anyone who could benefit by increasing sales conversions from their website using live chat software. Let them know we’re offering free trials and occasionally have very compelling specials.
Check out the new instant conversion chat demos on our Home Page.
If you’re a desktop operating system vendor, and you’ve created a development platform that helped your customers build their businesses on top of your platform, wand your developer customers are now leaving your development platform
What do you do? If you’re smart, you’ll look at where your customers are going, and you’ll follow them
Microsoft and Skype leaders were discussing a potential $7 billion dollar acquisition deal
We were talking about how important it is for Conversion Support to integrate with tools that potential customers are already using because it’s a strategy that involves us following our customers and bringing the product to where they are
Zendesk, for instance, integrates with tools like Salesforce, Basecamp, Freshbooks, Google Analytics, and many more, because these are where they’ll find many of their customers
Some of our competitors already integrate with Skype for this same reason
theory is that many people will already be using some form of IM client, so why not just deliver leads through these existing hooks
Integrating with other applications sounds like a great strategy for Conversion Support’s Live Chat product, and it’s a great strategy for Microsoft to acquire applications that these businesses are integrating with
Microsoft is fighting the moving tide of developers leaving their platform in exchange for the Web, not by fighting change head on, but by embracing it
If this Microsoft-Skype deal goes through, not only will it be one of the biggest deals for Microsoft ever, but it will also position them as a leader in the Internet development space
If this deal goes through, we may see Microsoft become one of our integration partners, branded in the form of Skype
It’s very likely that many other businesses with Web based products may discover that Microsoft has crawled back into their lives
This is a great example of good, strategic management, and it’s another example of
While our company has been in business for more than ten years, chat software is something that we’ve just recently released for public consumption
Early in the game, it’s wise to control costs and operate as efficiently as possible
One of the ways that we’ve operated as efficiently as possible is by keeping personnel costs down
We don’t have a large sales department
Instead, I personally take calls from new prospective leads
When someone who wants to explore our offerings clicks on one of the chat icons on the website, there is a very good chance that person will chat directly with me
We also don’t yet have a support department or an account management department
However, there isn’t much workload there yet either
Thus, I have also chosen to take on this role, and I personally handle all support requests and account management duties
In addition to the sales and support duties, I also work with the design agency and our development team to quickly respond to the feedback we get from our customers
Most recently, we signed up a new client who was very excited to get started with us but who quickly became dissatisfied due to the many usability flaws that were rampant in our application
It was easy for us to think that the un-sexy features, like “Forgot password” and the ability to customize your chat greeting, were just not important
Well, we were wrong
Our new client tripped over every single unimportant usability bug you could think of
Now, you might be asking yourself, who cares? So what? They tripped over it and now it’s there and life goes on
Well, it’s not so simple when you put yourself in their shoes
Imagine yourself juggling a sales team and giving status reports to your boss on a new Internet Sales campaign and you’re working with not one but two contractors to get updates made to your website, and this software that is supposed to solve all your sales problems suddenly eats up 30 minutes of your time, simply because you can’t login! Then, when you call the support line and the guy who answers can’t hear you and you can’t hear
him, and your boss is walking into your office asking you for status updates and why you haven’t launched your sales campaign yet, well, let’s just say that this isn’t going to give you any faith in the
vendor you’re doing business with
Instead, you’re going to be pretty upset with the vendor for making you look like a fool in front of your boss and stakeholders
The main thing I hear others say is that it’s important to listen to your customers and get their feedback, and I tell them that is exactly what we’re doing
This client told me that all of those basic, take-them-for-granted things do matter
We’ve listened, and we’ve spent some development time going through the application to make sure that the next busy customer that walks through our door won’t have to trip over those same loose ends
While there will still be loose ends to tie up, our goal is to not see the next customer struggle with bugs that a previous customer had to deal with
In the field of product management, there is a theory called the Kano Model which relates to customer satisfaction
This model divides features of a product into three distinct categories: Basic, Performance, and Excitement
For items in the basic category, no one will ever praise you
Don’t expect a pat on the back from your boss, your customers, or anyone that you come across in your daily life
However, when these things fail, you better believe there will be some form of dissatisfaction
It can create an environment where your clients get a bad feeling about you, or distrust you, or have buyers remorse, wondering if they made the right decision to go with you as their vendor and partner
As a result, the feedback we received and are subsequently acting on is this: Make sure the basics are taken care of!
Now, this doesn’t mean that the main features of the application aren’t important
We’ve also been working on the features, from the Kano model, that we know drive excitement
These are the features that, if ommitted, won’t cause any grave disappointment, but if those features are included, we’ve discovered that they excite new clients and lead to new business opportunities
Anyone who has been in the world of online sales has most likely read the MIT Lead Response Study. This fascinating study defines a small window of time when a sales representative is most likely to find success in qualifying a lead and converting that lead into a sale.
When a lead registers on a contact form on your website, the best time to contact that person is right now. Wait just one hour, and according to InsideSales.com, “the odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the first hour.”
Of course, these are just the numbers for making contact. Even if you were to successfully make contact, according to InsideSales.com, “the odds of calling to qualify a lead decreases by over 6 times in the first hour.”
The bottom line is that in a sales environment, timing is everything. There is a very small window of opportunity in which a sales representative has in order to successfully respond to a sales inquiry. That window of opportunity starts closing very quickly, and after an hour, the walls have closed around you, limiting your ability to make a successful impact in your follow-up calls.
Sales is definitely not for the claustrophobic, the people who are afraid of tight spaces. In this field, we must be prepared to act quickly, before the imaginary, yet very real walls of lost opportunity close around us.
The question is how does one use this knowledge of lead response rates in order to successfully take advantage of the opportunities presented. One tool that can help you manage your lead response callback times is our Active Response engine, which we use to power tools such as click to call and our lead response callback system.
This tool has been used successfully in our contact center’s sales department for years. We’ve seen significant increases in our sales numbers since implementing this solution, and now we’re working on bringing it to our clients. I’ll be beta testing this new client-facing solution on our website, and once the bugs are worked out, we will announce the release of this solution as an add-on feature in the Conversion Support Control Panel.
My hope is that it will help reduce your sales claustrophobia just as it’s helped reduce ours. I’ll post more updates as we make more progress on this new solution.