Posts tagged customer engagement
Posts tagged customer engagement
This morning we released v 1.4.0, which introduces the ability to bring individual Vsnap user accounts into a common corporate or organizational account. Up until now, each individual Vsnap account has been its own silo.
Today’s release represents a key step toward providing shared billing and premium features, such as greater customization of branding and richer reporting on user activity and recipient behavior. Thanks to all of you who helped us understand your companies’ needs here!
How This Works
In the near future this will be self-serve, but for now companies that want the benefits of an organization account can just email Trish Fontanilla or me. You let us know who on your team you want to serve as the Admin Member, and we’ll give that person the ability to invite individual user accounts into your team’s Organization.
Once you do this, your Admin Member will notice the following specific features:
Organization Data Dashboard
The Admin Member now sees a simple snapshot of aggregate Vsnap activity from all members of the organization. This includes total vsnaps recorded, view rate, type of share, and an overview of recipient feeling indicators (Helpful, Thoughtful, Amazing).
The designated Admin Member now has access to all vsnaps created by individual Organization members and has the power to delete vsnaps from any member. This provides an important safeguard for the Organization.
If you are an individual Vsnapper and you accept an invitation to have your account become part of an Organization, then the vsnaps you create from this point forward will belong to the Organization. This means that individual members cannot delete any vsnaps they record once they become part of an Organization.
A few more things worth noting…
This Will Become a Paid Feature
The ability to link accounts in an Organization is intended to be a paid feature. We are absolutely going to continue to offer a killer free account, but it will be for individuals and not for organizations. Having said that, we’re happy to let you use it for free for the next month or so while we complete some other important premium features for businesses.
Discount Pricing this Month
If you’d like to take advantage of special pre-launch pricing, let me know or sign up for our premium mailing list to be updated. This month we’re offering 40% off pricing on annual subscriptions for early Organization subscribers. This will give the upcoming premium features to all members of your Organization, and it will allow us to “turn on” new features for your whole team as soon as those features become available.
Although these Organization features are currently visible only in Vsnap’s web interface, they do affect vsnaps created on the mobile apps. For example, a vsnap created on the mobile app of an Organization Member now can be deleted by the Admin Member and not by the individual who created it.
Nothing Changes for Non-Organization Accounts
If you have a free individual Vsnap account and don’t create or become part of an Organization, then nothing will change for you. You will still have free use of business features for the time-being, like the logo feature and the SMTP feature. And you’ll still own your own vsnaps.
Actually there is one change that affects everybody – we improved how we handle the video file to ensure that your vsnaps play perfectly behind enterprise firewalls. This is good news for anyone using our application inside a large corporation, or to engage clients at large corporations. We’re now seeing a perfect performance on playing vsnaps in those environments.
That’s it for now. There will be much more in the coming weeks for the companies that are using Vsnap to make customers feel appreciated. Stay tuned!
For the past 4 years, I’ve gone to Myers+Chang on my birthday. Usually they send over a dessert and the chef/managers (who I love) come over and wish me well, but this year they really wowed me. When I got to the restaurant, they surprised me with a menu (pictured above) that said “Happy birthday Trish! We love you!”. And at the end of the meal, they sent over their 6 desserts with candles in them. While I’ve got a crazy sweet tooth and appreciated that, the personalized menu was what blew me away. I talk about M+C on Twitter, but I posted the above picture everywhere - Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare.
So what are the customer love takeaways from this experience?
1) Don’t know their birthday? Figure it out! M+C doesn’t have a database with their customers’ birthdays, so how did they know it was mine? I was broadcasting that information with my reservation and tweeted about my excitement during the week. It’s all about using what your customers give you and actually taking time to listen. At Vsnap, we don’t collect that information at the moment, so what I do is casually bring it up in conversation, especially with people that interact with us a lot. I also do a simple Twitter search during the week, type in “birthday” (and variations, bday, b-day, etc), then click “People I know” to see if anyone’s talking about their birthday.
2) Get creative! Almost every restaurant you go to on your birthday will give you a free appetizer or dessert. It’s pretty easy for them to do on the spot without thinking much of it. What M+C did took some planning but probably wasn’t an earth shattering expense for me as a loyal customer. Are you doing something kinda vanilla like sending automated greetings? That’s fine, but maybe have people within the company do a quick followup (handwritten / email) to make sure that customer feels special. Birthday = worst day to feel like you’re being spammed. I’m sure you know what I do: I generally send a vsnap singing the Beatles’ Happy Birthday song. Sometimes there are drums, egg shakers, finger puppets, and tambourines too. (If you don’t believe me, send me an email and let me know when your birthday is: firstname.lastname@example.org)
3) Make it something they can share. The free desserts were great because, well one they were free. But two, it wasn’t just a piece of pie for me, I could share all the desserts with my group of 6. So what if you’re not in a position to send over some cale? Give your customers a discount code (or equivalent) that’s good for their friends, family and colleagues to use. And if you’re worried about the usage getting out of control, limit it to 5. Most of us like to celebrate birthdays with other people, help us do that! (This also ups the potential word of mouth.)
4) Make it easy. There was obviously no redemption issue around this piece of customer love, but I did want to bring it up. As I clicked through my birthday emails this past year, it was asterisk city. Good only on Thursday - Sundays. At participating restaurants only. With the purchase of 2 four - course meals. During a full moon when Jupiter aligns with Mars. Okay, that last one isn’t true, but the rest are. Remember, it’s all about making your customer feel valued, and a 10% off coupon with a ton of restrictions doesn’t do that.
Celebrating important moments, like birthdays, are incredible ways to build relationships with your customers. What do you do for your customers and clients on their birthdays? Or what have some of your favorite brands and companies done for you?
I am very pleased to share with the Vsnap community that Trish Fontanilla is stepping into a new role as Vice President of Community & Customer Experience.
I can practically hear the cheers already!
As Vsnap’s first ever Vice President, Trish now has an expanded level of input and authority in every single customer-facing activity at our company, from customer engagement and support to product development and strategy. Creating this new role is a recognition of Trish’s incredible work and her great contributions to Vsnap’s success so far, and it is also an expression of the company’s commitment to keeping the customer at the center of everything we do, especially as we prepare to introduce premium features and paid accounts a little later this quarter. Because, whether you know it or not, Trish is first and foremost a fierce advocate for you.
I hired Trish as our Community Manager in the summer of 2011 when Jim Joyce and I founded the company. She is an incredible force for good. She lives the five simple beliefs that Vsnap is built on, and she personifies the character and commitment that defines our whole team, and indeed our whole community. Internally, Trish keeps us all honest. She is like true north when it comes to making sure that every decision is contemplated and debated with the average Vsnapper in mind. Externally, she is a powerful champion of the Vsnap vision for how businesses can bring warmth to the web.
The fact that we created a Community Manager role before we even had a product should tell you something about the value we place on understanding our users’ needs, capturing your feedback, and supporting your success as you experiment with vsnapping. I hope you will welcome the fact that we are doubling down on all of that.
Because Vsnap is about you. Our mission is simply to meet your need for an easy tool that you can use to make your customers feel special. Feel valued.
We are fortunate to have Trish on our team, and so is everybody who uses Vsnap. In that spirit, I want to give you a little nudge to vsnap her today and give her a pat on the back. You can do that via Twitter to @Vsnap or @Trishofthetrade. Or, if your message feels a little more private, you can reach her at email@example.com. Thanks!
(Picture originally from http://www.the-red-kitchen.com)
Rod Favaron says it’s happening.
Trish Fontanilla and I spent a couple of hours on Thursday at VCJ Venture Alpha East, a conference targeted toward limited partners in VC funds. (Thanks, MassChallenge, for the free pass!) One of the sessions featured Alastair Goldfisher, Editor-in-Chief of the Venture Capital Journal, chatting with Favaron, who is the CEO of Austin-based Spredfast, a social media management software tool. With him was Adam Marcus, of OpenView Venture Partners, one of Spredfast’s investors.
So what is it that Favaron says is happening?
He says that large companies, like Spredfast clients AT&T, Whole Foods Market and T. Rowe Price, are shifting their use of social media tools. Whereas they were touting their Facebook Likes and authorizing two or three people to tweet, now they are enabling true engagement enterprise-wide, on a daily, ongoing basis. To use Favaron’s metaphor, they are shifting from thinking of social as a more powerful billboard to understanding it as a more powerful phone system.
“How many phones do you have in your company?” Favaron asks.
Now you might say this trend has been in process for a while and what’s your point, Dave?
My point is that I don’t have a good balcony view of how authentic this shift is at the large enterprise level. So when I see that Spredfast quadrupled its revenues and doubled its headcount in 2012, I take note. And when I see that they raised $18MM in February of this year to go meet this social media management need of the Fortune 1000, I take note. (source)
And I guess it has me wondering if we’re now moving from the Early Adopters to the Early Majority in terms of how corporations use social to really engage in the context of what Forrester calls The Age of the Customer, rather than as just another toolbox to tell the world what they do.
The Early Majority, as Geoffrey Moore readers know, is comprised of people who are pragmatists, not risk-takers. When the pragmatists get on board, that’s a transition worth noting. Because the vast majority of companies in the world are run by pragmatist decision-makers.
At Vsnap, we obviously believe in establishing Engagement as an equal to Marketing, and in pursuing tactics that are personal alongside those that are broadcast. Just look at our Twitter feed for examples. So for us, Spredfast’s success is exciting, since it looks like an affirmation of a tipping point in the adherence to this worldview that is the foundation for our product.
“Business leaders must find ways to enable frontline teams to delight customers.”
Enable enterprise-wide engagement on a daily basis via social. Get to work figuring out the policies and protocols of putting all that into action. And then find ways to act on the mountains of information you gather that make your customers feel special, as Om Malik says in this awesome post.
What do people think – is this really happening at the large company level? Has all of this now moved into the Early Majority? What data do you have to affirm or challenge that?
We pay close attention to who signs up for a free Vsnap account. Not just the numbers but actually who you are. Especially if you sign up with a business email address, in which case we take a minute to look up your business.
Then we send an individual vsnap to each of those business users. That usually happens within a day of you signing up, but sometimes it can be a couple of days. Usually I’m the one who sends that, and usually I attach something that I think the recipient will find helpful – a short case study or a link to a relevant blog post.
I say usually because this isn’t a form behavior. It’s a real person engaging a real person in a way that is specific to the two real people involved.
I can almost hear all the marketing automation people shuddering. But I want to encourage you to keep an open mind. Our view is that the email that plugs your user’s name into the salutation is a perfectly fine thing to do at the top of your funnel. But at some point you’ll need to do more than that to move the people who really matter to you. You’ll need to introduce some personal layer and some emotional aspect into your customer conversations. And that’s where these individual video messages come into play.
We use the tool this way because I want vsnappers to know that there are people behind the product, and that we’re here to help. Actually, I want you to feel that. That’s the difference between, on one hand, using an email to say “Hi Bob, there are people behind the product and we’re here to help” and, on the other hand, delivering the same statement in a warm little video message. With the video message, you feel it.
I just looked at the engagement outcomes for the month of March on those vsnaps to business users. About 40% of recipients watched the video message. 55% of those people then also looked at the attachment we put with it. And 28% of them sent a feeling indicator response, explicitly letting us know they found our vsnap either helpful, thoughtful or amazing.
When we introduce our premium features, which we’re working on right now, I expect we will see a that a high percentage of premium account holders are the same people who viewed one of these individual messages when they signed up for a free account.
But even before that point, we get so many benefits from the time that we put into doing this. Obviously it’s an expression of customer love, which creates a little emotional connection with the people using our product. We believe that is the most important ingredient of growth that is both fast and durable.
Also, this practice creates daily discussions within our company that are about specific users. In other words, the idea of putting the customer at the center of everything is not an abstract concept for us. It’s as real as the person I’m about to vsnap.
Sending these individual vsnaps allows us to put our beliefs and values into action, so that people know they’re not just bullet points on a page somewhere.
And it elicits fast feedback, which is to a startup what a good breakfast is to a twelve year-old.
But one of the best benefits of sending these vsnaps myself is that then I’m the one who receives the responses. Here’s a quote from one response I got last week:
Hi Dave. That was one of the most professional things I have ever seen. Well done. I have already shown your ‘snap (I don’t know if that is the proper terminology, but it sounds catchy to me) to one of my co-workers and he was impressed, too. Thank you for the inspiration to higher levels of customer service. I will definitely be using your product.
By the way, four more people from his company signed up for Vsnap accounts the next day.
So what do you think? Have you received one of these vsnaps from us? How did it feel?