Chuck Vigeant, M.Ed. is founder and Managing Partner of CLEARIFY®, a small business analytics and business intelligence software company based in Houston, Texas with a worldwide customer base.
In this guest post he explains how his company cut their support costs by shifting to Communifire.
Growing a business is not about taking a singular leap. It's about making incremental changes. Every month, you take small steps to enhance customer value and the bottom line. You develop strategies to acquire and support customers, assess product and service margins, and determine cash flow outcomes. Our company exists to make these kinds of decisions easier.
Our core business analytics technology is available as a downloadable desktop application to use with self-service business intelligence tools, and our Solution Provider network provides custom dashboard and reporting services.
We multi-task as a business. For our small team, this means delivering product improvements and innovative ideas, while simultaneously doing what it takes to acquire and serve long-term customers.
Many of our customers aren't the forum, chat, Twitter types. They're traditional finance and operations folks who prefer personal emails and phone calls. Our team did their best to accommodate customer requests, but I knew we could use technology to streamline the process.
I discovered the following pain points:
I wanted to nurture our customer community while also delivering useful technology that pushed the envelope. Here were the pros and cons of traditional solutions based on my research.
Help desk software.Pro: Comes with cases and other features out of the box. Con: Very narrow in scope. Didn't give us any more interaction than email would. High-end products were very expensive, for little gain.
Standalone wikis and forums.Pro: The web was perfect for the kind of support our customers really needed. Many support products had standalone tools like Wikis and Forums. Some offered videos, some offered downloads, some offered cases, some offered Wikis. Con: I didn't want 10 tools and logins. I wanted one.
Community software.Pro: Great for rock stars and the NFL. Con: Not so great for business users.
Proprietary platforms like SharePoint and Jive.Pro: Lots of features. Con: Difficult to navigate and way too expensive to customize. Each implementation would have required months of work from a consultant who specialized in a proprietary platform.
I wanted to:
Communifire gave us the tools to meet our needs.
Communifire was easy to customize. Our goal was for customers to want to use it because they found it useful.
Here's how we engineered customer delight:
Communifire has been a big leap forward for our business.
Here's my advice to others:
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Tim is president and co-founder of Axero Solutions, a leading intranet software vendor. He's also a bestselling author of Who the Hell Wants to Work for You? Mastering Employee Engagement. Tim’s been featured in Fortune, Forbes, TIME, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Today, and other leading publications.
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