It’s Not You, It’s Me: If you can’t use our product it’s our fault, not yours

 

At ReadyTalk, we take customer experience very seriously. We are extremely fortunate to have very loyal users who participate in user testing, send us feedback and try out pre-release versions of our software. In fact, much of the customer accolades we receive are about the simplicity of entering, conducting and/or participating in a meeting. So, when I recently read a competitor’s blog post about how more often than not users who tweet “bad WebEx” are probably referring to the quality of the presenter rather than the service, I had to cringe.

 

Our marketing group monitors tweets relating to conferencing and providers every day. We see a lot of users of competitive platforms tweeting about their inability to get into a meeting, getting kicked out during a meeting or challenges in simply figuring out what buttons to press. We take every tweet about our service very seriously. We send gifts to customers who tweet positively about their experience and quickly contact customers who don’t so we can improve.

 By doing this we know, for a fact, that one of the top reasons our customers love our platform is that it is easy to use.

 Our product team is extremely disciplined in their approach to ensuring a great customer experience:

  • Customer interviews and observations – Our product marketing team spends hours interviewing customers and listening to what problems they are trying to solve. They also make it a point to observe users in their environment while they are trying to conduct an online meeting or a large web event. The team shares these observations in product planning meetings to ensure good usability of our products during development.
  • Tracking specific feature requests – Every customer-facing employee at ReadyTalk logs feature requests into Salesforce.com after talking to customers. We monitor these feature requests regularly to determine feature prioritization and perform more in-depth interviews with customers requesting the features.
  • User testing – During the development process, we recruit customers to review the user interface we’ve designed and take them through usability testing. After we receive their feedback, we’ll often go back and iterate on the interface and design.
  • Beta testing – Prior to launch we recruit customers for alpha, beta and preview testing. These are pre-roll out phases, which allow us to work out any bugs, collect real-time user feedback, continue to iterate on development and test specific use cases.
  • Three types of free training – ReadyTalk also offers live training sessions, pre-recorded sessions and a self-service resource center so users can learn at their own pace. They are able to learn the basics; dive into enhanced meetings and events to customize and set up our advanced features; or learn best practices on planning a meeting or event, creating a podcast and using polling and chat to engage their audience during a meeting. So even if don’t have the greatest presentation skills out there, we can help you with that too.


Our service allows you to focus on the content and delivery of your message, and not the technology behind it. Remember if you can’t use our product it’s our fault, not yours – no matter the level of your expertise.

 

So how are we doing?

What we’re reading this week…


There's a lot going on in the audio and web conferencing space and even more going on in social media, marketing and sales. Here's what the ReadyTalk marketing team is reading this week:

 

 


What should be on our list? What are you reading?

Uh, What Happened to My Recording?

In a former life, I ran a sponsored webinar program for an analyst firm and we relied on extensive promotion of on-demand recordings to meet our lead generation targets. So, I could feel the pain and frustration of Webinar Success’ Ken Molay when I read his recent blog post that described his first-hand experience with a recording vulnerability in GoToWebinar that resulted in the unrecoverable loss of an important webinar recording.

Since Ken’s post, we’ve fielded a lot of questions about our own recording functionality. ReadyTalk users can rest assured that (as always) their recorded content is safe and accessible. I also wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a few things that make ReadyTalk’s recording and playback functionality unique:

  1. Immediate Access – With a few clicks of the mouse or commands on the telephone keypad, your ReadyTalk recording is initiated and stored to our servers. As soon as your conference ends, you can immediately access your recording file through the Manage Recordings interface in Conference Center. No waiting around for your conferencing vendor to make the recording available for use.

     

    Easy (and Undo-able) Editing– With our easy-to-use recording editor, you can quickly cut out unwanted content from the beginning, middle, or end of your recording to create a polished and professional playback. Uh oh … made a mistake? Don’t worry – it happens! We always keep the original version of your recording so you can undo one or more edits with the push of a button.

    Industry-Standard File Formats – What good is a conference recording if it’s locked away in a proprietary file format? At any time, you can download your ReadyTalk recordings in up to four industry-standard formats (Flash, high-resolution .MP4, .MP3, and .WAV). Once you download, you can edit your recordings using your favorite third-party editing tool, store them on your own servers, and distribute them as you wish.

    No Downloads for Viewers – Unlike some conferencing services, ReadyTalk doesn’t make your audience download a special player to view your recordings. Whether you embed your ReadyTalk recording in a blog, social media site, or other website or simply share the playback link, viewers can watch a high-quality replay of your recording with a single click. No downloads required (as long as they have Flash 9.0.28 or higher).


ReadyTalk knows how important your recordings are and we’ll make sure they are always there where, when, and how you need them. We’re also committed to making our recording and playback features even better. Tell us what else would you like to do with your ReadyTalk recordings …

 

 

As Director of Product Marketing, Anita is focused on talking to customers about their needs and translating these into priorities for the ReadyTalk product roadmap. Before joining ReadyTalk, she gained first-hand experience with the challenges of running a webinar program while serving as director of marketing at an IT analyst firm. When she’s not thinking about conferencing, she likes to do yoga and spend time with her dogs.

Yesterday and Today – Is Your Provider Keeping Up? (A Beatles’ Inspired Blog)

 

“Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday”


I have to agree with the middle stanza of this Beatles’ hit. It does seem that troubles overstay their welcome; however, I’d go out on a limb and say that if Paul and Ringo had a glimpse of what today’s technology can accomplish, they’d be singing an entirely different tune. Technology is definitely making it easier to deal with challenges and move on to the next more quickly.

 

Imagine all the people…collaborating in real-time, creating content, removing roadblocks even from remote locations.

We certainly don’t have to imagine. We’ve moved from fax machines and switch boards to multi-bridge conference lines and web conferencing platforms with application and desktop sharing. And, these technologies have now become the norm. Today, our ‘troubles’ may simply stem from trying to keep pace with emerging technologies.

You say you want a revolution? We’d tell you that it’s evolution, and we’ve got a real solution. When  it comes to conferencing capabilities, there has been a continual stream of advances from web controls for audio conferences, one-click recording and editing tools to content syndication and real-time social media sharing capabilities.

But not all conferencing providers are evolving like ReadyTalk. Here is a list of items we think you ought to consider when comparing different platforms:

  • Is it flexible enough to be utilized across departments?
  • Can it be used for various types of online meetings (marketing webinars, sales demos, remote office collaboration, training…)?
  • Is it able to integrate with other technology platforms you use? (CRM, social media networks, email…)?
  • Does it provide campaign tracking capabilities and metrics – planning, engagement, and follow-up tools to share your meetings?


So consider how your provider’s product has evolved (or not) to meet your business collaboration needs. And if it appears as though its time for a change, I’d offer you one last suggestion:

 

Come together, right now over…ReadyTalk.” You get the idea.

Evolution of Conferencing (Part I)

 

Evolution of Conferencing (Part II): The 21st Century Marketer

 

 

 

Evolution of Conferencing (Part III): Lessons Learned from a Pro

 

 

ReadyTalk Drupal

ReadyTalk first started looking at our ongoing web redesign about a year ago as a way to increase the organization of, and access to, an increasing number of resources provided to our customers. At first we were looking at minor updates and a visual refresh, but as more requests for features and content changes came from across the company, it became apparent that we would need a major overhaul. We decided that a Content Management System (CMS) would be ideal and allow for quick content creation and publishing by the entire marketing team.

What is Drupal?
Drupal is a free and open-source CMS with a huge community of developers making sure it is always up to date and secure. Upon learning about how many high-profile sites run Drupal (www.whitehouse.gov, www.ubuntu.com, and research.yahoo.com to name a few), it was easy to get excited about the possibilities. With the thousands of modules available for everything from automated search engine optimization to automated image resizing, Drupal fits nearly every use case. Using modules, we can quickly add à la carte site functionality and create a site specifically tailored to our users’ needs. Anything that is not already available can be created as a custom module.

Why Drupal?
ReadyTalk uses WordPress for our blog and newsroom, our own CMS for the Webinar Series, and hand coding for most other pages. To unify our site maintenance practices and to reduce the overhead involved in making changes and updates, we began looking to unify the site under a single CMS. We evaluated a number of CMS options, and Drupal came out on top because of its great extensibility and ability to accept custom code, as well as modules that will help us automate search engine optimization (SEO) and improve organic search rankings.

Our dependence upon PHP was a major factor for choosing Drupal. Drupal is written in PHP and handles user-submitted PHP code wonderfully, making it easy to port scripts from our current site. If, down the road, we decide to rewrite these scripts as Drupal modules, this will greatly increase the possibilities for adding additional functionality to our site.

Drupal’s theming possibilities are also extensive. In most cases, all that is needed to make a theme is a few images and some CSS. There is little difference between theming Drupal and theming a hand-coded site. In our case, we’ll also be making a few changes to how Drupal structures pages. One of the more exciting features will be a front page carousel that uses jQuery to asynchronously load nodes into a slideshow. This will keep load times down on the front page and will make updating the carousel’s content amazingly easy.

Major Features

  1. Relevant information and documents can be dynamically displayed on any page
  2. WYSIWYG editor enables ReadyTalk’s marketing team to quickly change and publish new data without the need for a web developer
  3. Automated editorial process for new content ensures it is reviewed by stakeholders before it goes live
  4. Front page will have more dynamic content, including a carousel that loads slides asynchronously via jQuery and caches them.
  5. Resource Center and Webinar Series will be sort-able, searchable and easily updated
  6. New, updated look and UI


Future improvements

 

  • We will continue enhancing the website by introducing new features.
  • Simplified forms
  • Asynchronous loading and submission of forms
  • Conversion of several scripts to modules to improve functionality and integration
  • HTML 5 and CSS3 support
  • Eventual upgrade to Drupal 7


As a part of our web development process, we will be featuring articles written by our website team on topics such as usability, user testing, design and web development. Stay tuned!