Breaking Down the Barriers of Asocial Networking

We all know the advances technology has brought to our professional lives. There’s no arguing that from sales and marketing to operations, conducting business can be far easier and more enjoyable with the right tools. Yet, sometimes it seems like technology can put up walls between customers and companies. Automation, while hailed by businesses for its set-it-and-forget-it efficiency, often removes that nuanced human touch from sales and marketing. Social networks, while connecting people, can also challenge customers who want to reach us without a prerequisite of a pre-formed social connection.

This dynamic creates an interesting paradox. Fewer people want to pick up the phone and talk to someone at a company, preferring online communication. At the same time, those people are demanding human interaction and immediate responses through these channels. (Edison Research found that 42% of study participants expect a social media response within 60 minutes). The dichotomy of customer needs presents a unique challenge for businesses that want to satisfy this new expectation.

many communication channels

I think this is why we’re seeing a rise in the use of live chat services, like Workface’s own sales enablement chat technology. There’s been a swing from customers acting with a high degree of self-sufficiency to the desire for a more hybrid approach, where they can do their research but still have the ability to get their questions answered by a live company representative —but that rep must be easily and immediately reachable. One report I read said that 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.

many connection channels

Good live chat systems help companies bridge that gap, turning an asocial, disconnected process into one that’s more personable and satisfying for customer demands. Workface helps companies go a step further than the average chat option—a big step further—and truly creates an interactive, immersive communication experience.

Real people, real contact – Each of your company’s chat representatives will have their own online profile. Customers wishing to chat can select a rep, and easily contact that same rep later if they have additional questions. No more getting random staffers and having to rehash their whole experience.

More than just chat – Sometimes words just aren’t enough. With Workface, you can communicate through video, audio and even send documents to a customer. It’s a holistic sales experience, all through the click of a mouse or tap of a key.

Networking beyond the walled garden – Workface helps you to be available from anywhere you choose, including your website, social media, your email signature, and beyond.  With a click of a mouse or touch of their finger, your prospects and customers can immediately connect with you live without the need to be connected to you through a social network.

Seamless engagement from any device – The biggest innovation in chat software is here with Workface 2.0. Now you can really break down those networking barriers and interact with customers wherever they are. Thanks to Workface 2.0, your customers can chat with you from any device with an Internet connection, including smartphones and tablets, without downloading any special software or plugins. Because it’s fast, convenient and seamless, the focus is on customer solutions – not technical struggles.

At the end of the day, customers are clamoring for authentic interaction and realizing the benefits of having real humans around during their research for products and services. As a society, we tried the disconnection thing in business and realized it just wasn’t for us. So Workface is more than happy to lead that charge and bring the human element back into business touch points. By blending human interaction with sophisticated technology, we offer the multi-channel service and attention customers want and businesses need. This is the modern buying experience in action: technology where the personal is powerful.

To learn more about Workface, please visit our website at workface.com.

New HTML5 Chat Application from Workface Enhances User Experience

Fully-Responsive Interface Supports All Web Platforms and Mobile Browsers

(Minneapolis, Minn. – July 8, 2014) – Workface, the leading solution for real-time and uniquely humanized Web-based sales enablement and customer support today announces the launch of Workface v2.0 its HTML5-based technology. Built on the company’s popular chat functionality, the new application makes Workface available to users on all modern Web platforms and mobile browsers, while offering a fully-responsive interface to facilitate real-time customer interaction.

“The ability to chat on all modern desktop and mobile browsers in real-time is a benefit that will allow our agents, customers and potential customers greater access to each other, in a way that resembles face-to-face interaction,” said Dawn Mortimer, American Family Insurance innovation director.

Workface founder Lief Larson said the user interface shift enhances both the customer and client experiences. The IP geolocation can identify a customer’s whereabouts to a level of granularity never seen before in live chat. In addition, real-time browser preview allows businesses to track the movements of website visitors in real-time.

Workface 2.0 is responsively designed to work seamlessly with mobile devices.

Workface 2.0 is responsively designed to work seamlessly with mobile devices.

“This is a game changer for Workface users on many levels,” Larson said. “Using HTML5, prospects can chat with agents from virtually any Web-connected device, including tablets, smart phones, and even some Web-enabled televisions. Customers can choose when and where they’d like to chat, even when they’re on the go. The customers get flexibility and convenience, while the business gets more insight and visibility into the needs of their customers.”

“Workface has always been about providing a communications platform that can restore the human element to real-time online sales and customer service,” said Kevin Erdman, Workface CEO. “Our mission is to empower businesses by giving them tools for personalized, high-quality interactions. Whether their customers prefer text, audio or video chat, or want to connect with a specific agent, we provide the interactive relationship-building and support tools that today’s online prospective and current customers now demand.”

Workface’s overriding goal has been to make doing business on the Web more human. Its sales enablement Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution provides real-time, one-on-one communications with prospective and current clients. Clients range from Travel Leaders, to American Family Insurance to the Cleveland Browns NFL football team.

About Workface
Workface is a Web-based sales enablement platform based in Minneapolis, Minn. that humanizes the Internet by providing real-time communication between sales professionals and today’s online prospects and customers. The SaaS model solution provides a platform to connect via authentic, multi-channel, real-time text, audio and video chat. The Workface solution includes website and social media integration to create a better online experience for customers and businesses. Workface tools bring human contact to the Internet-based buying process, delivering “Real People, Real Answers, Real Time.” For more information, please visit www.workface.com.

About American Family Insurance
Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family insurance is the nation’s third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company and ranks 393rd on the Fortune 500 list. Web: www.amfam.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter: www.twitter.com/amfam; YouTube: www.youtube.com/amfam.

Helpful Links:
Twitter: @workface

https://www.facebook.com/workface

Media Contact:
Jennifer Jewett
Ubiquity Public Relations
[email protected]
+1 (617) 913-2404

Putting the “Personal” Back in Personalized Marketing: Why Marketing Automation Isn’t Enough

Marketing automation has certainly revolutionized the way businesses interact with customers. And sure, it definitely has its positives—its semi-personalized, automated nature helps save time and deliver relevant information to contacts. It’s cost effective. But there’s one important thing marketing automation can’t do: listen.

What’s missing from automation is the true “personal” element of personalization. With marketing automation, you can fill in a person’s name, slide in pre-written content based on what you know about someone, even “sign” your name to an email. But it’s not a personalized point of contact; it’s software, and it’s only as good as you set it up to be.

Give your customers the "personal touch" with technology that treats them in the online world in the same fashion as you would treat them in the offline world.

Give your customers the “personal touch” with technology that treats them in the online world in the same fashion as you would treat them in the offline world.

Today’s technology-enabled customers enter, exit and re-enter the proverbial sales funnel at many points these days, rather than progressing neatly through a series of steps. Many times the customer already has background information about your product – and your competitor’s product – thanks to online research. Marketing automation makes assumptions about the customer. Sometimes correctly, but not always. Whereas, humans can listen and react. They can also form an authentic relationship with the customer. And, I think that’s really why Workface’s chat software is growing so fast in popularity with businesses – it puts the person back into personalized communication.

That’s not to say chat should replace marketing automation. I think chat is really more of a complement to marketing automation. Most companies use their MA systems to nurture leads up to a certain point before passing them over to a live sales person for the close. But a parallel and symbiotic approach can work even better by introducing the human element earlier in the process.

While the MA system nurtures leads and customers, the Workface channel offers customers and prospects the option to interact face-to-face with a sales person along the way. It’s a win-win— for the customer. They get the education and information from the nurture campaigns and they get the option to get a quick question answered or clarify info about a product or service. Plus, because they’ve engaged with a skilled, sincere company representative, the prospect gets that tacit reassurance that yes, the company really does know who they are and cares about their needs. It’s a subtle element, but a powerful one when it comes to brand loyalty and purchasing decisions.

On July 8th, we’ll be taking this to a whole new level with Workface 2.0, our brand new HTML5 Sales Enablement System. Now representatives can connect with prospects and customers using chat, video and co-browsing. The new application offers a new degree of customer-centricity in that it is accessible on any browser-enabled device – desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile.

To learn more about the new Workface 2.0, please join us at 1:00 CDT on July 8, 2014 for the official product release webinar. Register for our webinar here.

Capturing the Pre-CRM Opportunity, Then Converting It into CRM Success

The term “Pre-CRM” is used to designate the stage in the customer lifecycle prior to recognizing the customer in a personally identifiable way. Rather than CRM, think of Pre-CRM more as PRM – Prospect Relationship Management – which acknowledges that the prospect exists (as well as the potential to convert the target to a customer) but they simply have not been identified in a way that is CRM record-worthy yet.

Pre-CRM is a magnitude-building viewpoint adjacent to your existing CRM pipeline. That is, the way to grow your CRM is by being successful in capturing and converting your Pre-CRM audience into CRM records (leads). Companies of all types should recognize and place extraordinary focus on Pre-CRM since it is the zone from which CRM expansion will occur. In many cases it is also the ether in which prospects attracted to your marketing exist prior to identification.

Recognizing Pre-CRM targets has always been challenging. But with the advent of new technology, such as do-not-track tools available in all major browsers, prospects have an invisibility cloak which has made it downright problematic attempting to identify them. For example, marketing automation leader Marketo recently pointed out that as many as 98% of the visitors to your website are anonymous. So, unless the Pre-CRM target chooses to self-identify, they likely will have come and gone without ever being captured in your CRM system.

Capturing the Pre-CRM target is more challenging, but not impossible. Here are a few of the methods marketing and sales practitioners employ today:

  • Visitor tracking tools such as www.leadlander.com
  • Hyperlocal IP geolocation detection such as www.nanjee.net
  • Requesting the customer to self-identify through form fields
  • Asking the customer to authenticate themselves via a signup/login or social verification such as OAuth and Facebook Connect
  • Encouraging the customer to join a collaborative space such as Citrix GoToMeeting, ClearSlide, Join.me, etc.
  • Inviting the customer to initiate a live chat

Of these options, the one that mostly closely mirrors the way prospects are familiar with interacting in the offline world is live chat. The other methods, despite their obvious appeal to marketers and sales leaders, can be overly intrusive or even threatening to prospects. Prospects are less likely to fill out contact form fields than ever before due to concerns about how their contact information will be stored and used. Whereas chat, especially very personal chat that does not require the customer to self-identify prior to engagement, helps the customer get something first (like help) before they are asked to give something up (like their identity).

The Pre-CRM arena is where a tool like Workface® is extremely useful. With Workface, the prospect initiates the conversation with the agent of their choice. And, they initiate the conversation disclosing only the amount of information they are comfortable releasing. Workface creates an environment where a prospect can take a step closer to your company without the fear of the marketing full-court press. It is then up to the representatives to use their relationship-building skills to convert the Pre-CRM prospect to a CRM lead and eventually to a Customer.

Technology-enabled conversation just became more convenient with the advent of Workface 2.0. Our new software allows prospects and agents to connect via and browser-enabled device – desktop, tablet or smartphone. To learn more about Workface, please visit our website. To see the debut of the new Workface 2.0, please attend our launch webinar on July 8. Register here.

pre-crm

 

HTML5: The Passport to Seamless Browser Accessibility

A couple of months ago, we announced our new HTML5 chat application , a true breakthrough app that makes chatting through any device an easy and seamless experience. So why did we make such an effort to integrate HTML5? The short answer: we wanted to make your experience and your customer’s experience with our app available from any device. The long answer? Well…lots of reasons.

First, some background.

The biggest problem with previous versions of chat is that they all require you to download software or plug-ins in order to play media or make browsers work well with desktop applications. To play video for example, you have to have Silverlight, Quicktime or Adobe Flash Player. Additionally, a lot of connectivity apps like chat or video chat were designed more for desktop users and rarely worked well with mobile or tablet devices.

HTML5 solves a lot of these issues—it is truly the next generation in browser accessibility, designed for humans rather than technology. It eliminates the need for software and plug-ins to run applications, which saves time and reduces compatibility errors.

So what does that mean, really?

Developers were thrilled when HTML5 was first released in 2011 by the World Wide Web consortium (W3C), with more widespread adoption this year. It promises to overcome some of the biggest developing challenges—and irksome web user issues. These are two of the biggest:

  • Cross-compatibility for major browsers. HTML5 is cross-compatible with Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari and Opera, saving time on the development side and creating fewer hiccups and a more consistent experience for programs launched in any of these browsers. The average web user will simply see this in a more seamless experience, which really is the way it should be.
  • Mobile compatibility. Many apps developed in Flash, including our own original chat app, can’t be operated on a mobile device because they require Flash—Apple never supported Flash for iPhone or iPad and Android devices lost access in 2012. This is one of the biggest reasons behind the development of our new HTML5 chat/video chat app. After all, according to Morgan Stanley 91% of all Americans keep their mobile devices within arm’s reach at all times. Why make them go to a computer to communicate?

For us here at Workface, HTML5—along with our new app— opens up a whole new road for our business customers to engage with their clients. Before, both parties needed a desktop computer to participate in a chat or video chat session. Now, potential customers can chat right from their phones or tablets and so can company agents, offering a faster and more convenient path to sales and customer satisfaction.

At the end of the day, HTML5 does something very simple—it offers a passport to seamless and flexible experiences all over the web. Call it the liberation of chat. Call it the next big thing in customer communication. However you think of it, it’s the sales and support solution our new digital era has been waiting for – and that’s something both customers and businesses can appreciate.