Customer Care Spotlight: Keith

We talk a lot about the importance of customer service here at ReadyTalk. We wanted to spotlight the team that delivers that amazing customer service. For the next few weeks, we'll be highlighting members of the customer care team and giving you a chance to get to know them better.

Name: Keith
Title: Customer Care Representative

Favorite sports team: Chicago Cubs
Hobbies: If Keith isn't at the office, you will likely find him fishing, hiking, enjoying poetry, dancing or reading.
Interesting fact about Keith: He once performed in Carnegie Hall.

Longest customer care call:To date, Keith's longest customer care call was over an hour long, but he was able to solve the issue.
Favorite customer request: Keith loves requests for basic product training and walk-thrus.
Favorite thing about working at ReadyTalk: Great relationship with the people he works with.

Have a question for Keith? Think you can stump him with a technical issue? Tell us in the comments section.

Creating a New Website: A perfect balance of usability, information and culture

In my second post about ReadyTalk’s new website, I’m going to look at how the redesign will affect our customers, and what we’re doing to improve the ReadyTalk experience, and what you can expect from our website blog posts. If you haven’t heard, we’ll be working hard in the coming months to move to a new website that should offer some great features to our visitors and make life easier for our marketing team.

Why are we making the move? In my previous post, I explored our reasoning for moving the site to a content management system called Drupal, and how that will make content creation and management a fast and simple process for ReadyTalk. That’s just one of the reasons for our redesign. We’ve also been conducting a lot of user testing to make sure that our site direction meets the needs of customers. For instance, our navigation will be changing to make finding important information easier for our customers and prospects. Our new design has also been tailored to ensure that any changes are comfortable for our current users. As always, logging in to ReadyTalk will be a one-step process, and it will still be the first thing you see on the front page.

In addition to the practical side of a redesign, we also recognize the opportunity to have a little fun, too. Expect to see our culture represented in new and different ways on the website. We love what we do, and we want to make sure the world knows it! If you need any proof, just see JC’s post about our engineering department.

In the coming weeks, you can expect to hear a lot about the website. We’ll be exploring our processes and discoveries along the way. Here are some topics you can expect from ReadyTalk:

  • Usability testing
  • Design and mockup processes
  • Improving SEO with Drupal
  • Integrating a jQuery carousel in to Drupal
  • The power of Drupal and views

 

Are there other topics of our redesign that you would like to see us cover? Do you have questions about how we are implementing Drupal? If you have best practices or some favorite resources, please share in the comments.

Creating a Service Level Agreement between Marketing Sales

Does your marketing department have a service-level agreement (SLA) with the sales department? Does marketing know the type of leads the sales team wants delivered?

We are currently revamping our lead hand-off process and nurture programs. As part of the process, I am having the sales team re-define what a qualified lead looks and feels like.

First, I made a distinction between a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). I believe this is important because marketing very rarely has a live conversation with a prospect. Rather, we collect information through forms, registration pages and other avenues. As a result, it is hard for us to collect Budget, Authority to buy, Need, Timeline for purchase (BANT), and related information on a form. Things like BANT are much better left to a phone discovery call. We may be able to collect one of those but the accuracy will be low.

For our purposes, we have defined a MQL as a lead that is ready for sales to call upon. We broke MQLs up into two different categories. The first category we loosely call “trigger events.” These are events and actions that a prospect could take that would immediately qualify them; a great deal of these trigger events revolve around BANT criteria. For example, if a prospect indicates they are ready to buy in the next one to six months, the sales team wants to engage the prospect with a phone call (we do some more sorting based upon number of employees as well on the back-end). Another example of a trigger event is if a prospect indicates they recently experienced pain with their current provider (conference failed, bad service, poor quality, lack of support).

The second category is a catchall for prospects that failed to meet a trigger event but based upon their profile and behavior warrant a call from a sales person. This is where the real conversations happen. What is the demographic profile of an MQL? What are their behavior patterns?

Our sales team is 15 people so we chose a subset of the 15 to participate in the MQL discussion to define this catchall category. After defining the MQL, the next step was to get affirmation from the entire sales team. Once completed, we need to define the level of effort that the sales team will put towards an MQL. I will discuss this in my next blog post. I would love to hear how you have defined qualified leads for your sales team and what your SLA process has been like. What roadblocks should I expect?

Who Are We?

Hey there! Let me introduce myself. I am Jason Collins (aka. "JC" around the office), and I am a member of the Engineering Team here at ReadyTalk. We've recently been recruited by the Marketing folks to contribute material to the ReadyTalk blog, so you'll be seeing us here from time to time. We've got a lot to contribute to the blog that we hope will help give people an understanding of the culture here at ReadyTalk, and more specifically in the engineering cave. Topics will range from how we've implemented and succeeded at SCRUM to how we've built our own Java Virtual Machine. But before we get on to blogging, let me tell you a little bit about who we are…

 

Engineering - Collage #1

 

We are the practical jokers. We are funny and hilarious. We are incredibly intelligent. We are brewmasters. We are triathletes and marathoners. We are recent college graduates. We are fathers and we are mothers. We are aunts and uncles. We are married and we are single. We are Broncos fans and Rockies fans. We are musicians. We are artists. We are builders, and we create things. We are the guys who grew mutton chops and wore kilts to the company holiday party. We're active in DJUG. We have a nerd book club, where we have dialog about nerdy things like programming theory and the tenets of agile development practices. We have tattoos and wear horn-rimmed glasses. We have hip style. We do push-ups every hour. We race our own cars at Bandimere Speedway, and brag about our quarter mile times.

We are video game players. We are video game programmers. We've built MAME cabinets and Rube Goldberg machines. We are agile evangelists. We love fine wines, Martinis and a dram of expensive Scotch. We are world travelers. We are zero carbon footprint. We are authors and we've been published. We are continuous integration and we are constantly improving. We still read comic books. We ride bicycles. We run. A lot. We are bilingual. We are great cooks. We love dogs. We wear idea helmets around the office. We laugh and we cry. We debate, we argue, and we learn from one another. We are the team that cooked bacon into waffles and built the most creative mini-golf hole. We have a mannequin and we occasionally dress it up for laughs. We are Ironman. We listen to classical and speed metal and everything in between. We are fascinated by anything having to do with pirates or ninjas.

 

Engineering - Collage #2

 

We are Open-Source Software and we are GitHub. We are honest and we are loyal. We love Salt & Vinegar chips. We own ShameDonuts.com and we look for excuses to update it. We watch out for one another, and we're always ready to lend a hand. We build houses for humanity and wrap gifts for underprivileged kids. We are iPad developers. We are Linux lovers and Apple fanboys. We are a PC and Windows 7 was NOT our idea. We strive to always do the right thing. We are contributors and we are problem solvers.

We are ReadyTalk Engineering. The difficult we do right away…the impossible will take a little longer.

 

Jason Collins (aka JC) is the VP of Engineering at ReadyTalk and the self-appointed Chief Happiness Officer. He's been either writing code or managing engineers for nearly 15 years and has a passion for technology and agile development practices. The happiness of the engineering team is his top priority and he can usually be found wearing a ReadyTalk cape and the infamous "idea helmet" around the office to help keep people entertained. When he's not hanging out with his work family, he's at home with his wife and four boys doing all sorts of geeky things, like playing video games and watching campy Sci-Fi and Action flicks.

Dennis Yu and Justin Kistner Share Facebook Marketing Secrets

How are Facebook ads different than other forms of advertising and what should you do to capitalize upon that?

What are the 5 most effective techniques in managing your Facebook page so that it gets traffic and conversions?

How do you measure the ROI of your Facebook marketing efforts and justify this to others within your marketing organization?

What are the first critical steps you must take in setting up your Facebook page if you don't already have one?

Dennis Yu of BlitzLocal and Justin Kistner of Webtrends will cover these questions, as well as questions from the audience in a free 60 minute seminar on Wednesday, October 27th.  Register here for Facebook Marketing Secrets: