Creating the Best Webinar Experience through the Value Innovation Process

Since the beginning of ReadyTalk time, listening to customer feedback has always been at the top of our list for how to best improve our product offerings. But how do we take that one step further, to ensure we are developing the right things, at the right time, while helping to accomplish our customer’s goals?

The answer is: contextual interviewing, a concept refined by consulting firm Value Innovations, Inc, from the book Blue Ocean Strategy, written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. Contextual interviewing enables us to uncover our most important customers’ (all of them, of course!) unmet needs through a series of questions that reveal the opportunities and challenges they face through their jobs each day. By identifying various goals and key metrics that their teams are measured by, we will be able to better define the next level of enhancements to the ReadyTalk products.

So how do we get started? Over the past few weeks, several ReadyTalk employees, across various departments, went through an extensive training process, provided by Richard Lee of Value Innovations Inc. After breaking out our customer base into two types of use cases (Marketing User and Collaboration User), we developed a list of general questions for the 1st round of interviewing that will help us get to the core needs of our customers, and how we can help them through the world of webinars.

Who participates? The contextual interview process is a team effort and includes individuals from marketing, development, strategic account management, customer care, and events management, as well as our executive leadership. Each department brings a unique perspective to the table on uncovering the unmet needs of our customers.

What’s next? Now that we have identified the different thought leaders using the ReadyTalk product, ranging from small meetings to large events, it’s time to start the 1st round of interviews. In the coming weeks, we will be gathering feedback from both our marketing and collaboration users. Stay tuned to learn how the contextual interviews progress!


Beth is a Product Marketing Manager and works with our customers to understand their needs as they relate to event services and conference center, which is the dashboard for scheduling, hosting and managing audio and web conferences. Outside of the office, Beth loves to spend time with family and friends, cook, and hit the slopes.

ReadyTalk’s New Website to use Drupal 7

ReadyTalk will be implementing Drupal 7 for our new website, one of the most feature-rich and secure online content management systems available. Since ReadyTalk has been developing its new site on Drupal 6, we had to decide whether or not it would be worthwhile to move to the newest version. For anyone looking to move up, specifically if you are just beginning or are in mid-development, I’ll explore some of the considerations we made while making the jump.

Most of the modules that ReadyTalk needed were in development (and many are still in alpha or beta as I write this article). Before moving up, we looked at the modules we required and found any critical issues that had not been fixed. Some modules were no longer available but were integrated as standard in Drupal 7. Most notably is CCK. The Drupal team saw the ubiquitous implementation of this module in Drupal 6 and decided it was important enough to include in Drupal 7 core. Others also changed dependencies and as such did not require supporting modules. In most cases, we did not lose any functionality that we had originally planned for version 6, and in many cases we gained features.

We were fortunate enough that all of our required modules were well on their way to being ported. The one speed bump thus far has been migrations. Currently no graphical interface exists for moving data from WordPress or other databases into Drupal 7 (unlike in Drupal 6 with Migrate and Table Wizard), so migrations had to be written using the Migrate API. The Migrate module includes excellent examples for getting started, although at the writing of this article, formal documentation is lacking. Once the migrations were written we were able to pull data from our current website into nodes and taxonomies in Drupal.

While our new site is still under development, we look forward to many of the new features Drupal 7 has to offer. Most notably it offers greater simplicity over its predecessor, which will make it easy for our marketing department to offer quick updates and news to our users and prospects.

If you are looking to make the move to Drupal 7, or if you already have, let us know what you went through to get there. We look forward to showing you what we’re making, but want to hear about your projects as well!

In Celebration of Telework Week

In the spirit of Telework week, each person in our department was able to work from home for a day. My day was Wednesday – a good day by any stretch. It is nice working for a company that values work-life balance. Plus, it does not hurt that the web and audio conferencing software we develop is designed to assist remote employees work collaboratively with other employees.

There are certainly some great advantages to working from home but as I discovered some disadvantages as well. I came up with a short list (mostly tongue and cheek):

Advantages:

  • Not having to run out the door in the freezing cold weather and scrape your car
  • Having time to eat breakfast
  • Quiet space to work in without man interruptions
  • You get to work in your pj's with crazy hair
  • Have a great web conferencing product to assist me with my work


Disadvantages:

 

  • No one to talk too if your kids don't bother you
  • Have to make your own coffee
  • No free bagels
  • My home office is cold and dark
  • No office doggies to play with

 

 

Customer Training Drives Satisfaction, Loyalty and Success

By Melanie Turek, Industry Director, Frost & Sullivan

 

 


“An educated consumer is our best customer.”

 

That’s the tag line from a series of TV ads that ran on the local station when I was a kid in New York, for a mom-and-pop clothing store. It was a counter-intuitive message for the time, but it’s always stuck with me, because it’s always made sense. And it’s as true today as it was back then.Webinars can save money

As all sales managers know, it’s easier to get more business out of an existing customer than it is to land a new one. That means your sales efforts should focus on your customer base to drive revenues—and the best way to do that is to demonstrate the value of your products and services, day in and day out. If your customers know what makes your offering better than the competition’s—and are able to use them efficiently and effectively, whenever they need to—they will be much more likely to continue doing business with you in the future, and to look to you for new products and services as their needs arise.

Indeed, having a well trained customer base that understands your product delivers several clear benefits:

  • Higher customer engagement. If your customers know how to use your products and services effectively, they’ll become much more engaged with your business and your brand. That makes it much more likely they will look to you to supply their future needs in your market area.
  • Decreased customer attrition. When customers understand your business and your products, they are much more likely to stay loyal to your brand. This is especially true if they feel they are getting added value from interacting with your business. Educational sessions that highlight broad areas and issues of interest—which may be related to your products and services, but not directly about them—can go a long way toward cementing customer loyalty.
  • Higher revenues per customer. When people know how to use your products effectively, they will get more value from them—and they will look to your business to supply new products and services as they need them. It’s much easier and more cost-effective to grow business with an existing customer than jump-start business with a new one.
  • Lower overall support costs. By providing ongoing training to your customers, you are essentially nipping support and service issues in the bud. This will help you keep costs down, since you can address these needs for more people at one time, and on your schedule. Anytime you can lower the number of support calls into your business, you are lowering costs—and improving customer satisfaction in the process.

 

 


By keeping your customers educated on the market you operate in—offering them best practices advices, news they can use, and specific product information—you are ensuring they stay connected, invested and loyal to your business. For more on how web conferencing can help you stay in touch with your customers, regardless of where they’re located and without incurring enormous expenses—join me for a webinar on Wednesday, February 23, 2:00 p.m. EST entitled “Effective Online Training: Tips from the Experts” and learn the insider secrets to a successful online training program.


Frost and Sullivan Analyst Melanie TurekMelanie is a renowned expert in unified communications, collaboration, social networking and content-management technologies in the enterprise. For 15 years, Ms. Turek has worked closely with hundreds of vendors and senior IT executives across a range of industries to track and capture the changes and growth in the fast-moving unified communications market. Melanie writes often on the business value and cultural challenges surrounding real-time communications, collaboration and Voice over IP, and she speaks frequently at leading customer and industry events.

ReadyTalk Targets Government Agencies with Conferencing that’s Easy to Use and Now Easier to Buy

Post by John Andrews, director of government business development for ReadyTalk

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has used ReadyTalk’s easy to use conferencing solutions to help small businesses for years. And now, ReadyTalk’s Government Services Administration (GSA) contract is making it easier for other Federal, state and local organization to acquire and use ReadyTalk’s services.

At a time when governments are supporting new Telework mandates and trying to achieve sustainability goals, while cutting budgets, conferencing and collaboration solutions are cost-effective alternatives for managing and connecting people. Webcasts and webinars are indispensible tools for training and educating people who are geographically dispersed.

With more and more people being exposed to audio and web conferencing every day, it is key that the technology is it is easy to learn and easy to use. How many conference calls have you attended that started late, waiting while everyone was trying to get connected? And it has to be reliable. Ever been on a webcast where you couldn’t hear or understand the audio?

Nearly nine of 10 ReadyTalk customers surveyed stated they would recommend ReadyTalk services and the top reasons given were ease of use and reliability. Now ReadyTalk is trying to make it easier for Federal, state and local governments to acquire ReadyTalk’s services through our GSA schedule (GSA contract number GS-35F-0084X). A GSA contract streamlines the purchasing process and reduces government acquisition costs. A GSA contract also ensures the vendor’s business has met stringent requirements and that the pre-negotiated pricing is very competitive. It’s a good deal for the government.

While our service is easy to use so that new government employees can quickly utilize our service, our products are robust enough and comprehensive enough to meet the needs of rocket scientists. We just don’t think you should have to be a rocket scientist to buy our services.