Category Archives: Challenges and solutions

UCaaS Trial by Fire

Gabrielle Weaver wears a lot of hats, and a no-nonsense headset. Starting as a member of the customer care team, she now manages ReadyTalk Hosted Voice with excitement only her dog ‘Avery’ can match. Her four-year history at ReadyTalk has been shaped by an objectively first-hand view of our services. Partly from her time working in a customer facing role, but mostly because of a last-minute relocation to Washington D.C. We like to use the expression “we eat our own dog food” at ReadyTalk. Meaning, we actively use the software that we sell on a daily basis. Here’s how Gabi puts her money where her mouth is — remotely working over 1,500 miles away.  

Q: What do you miss about working in the Denver office?

A: I do miss the physical presence of my colleagues and camaraderie you develop with people over time. That mostly applies to the moments at work where you’re catching up or doing anything but working. However, given the face-to-face interactions I experience in meetings (from a television screen) there’s still enough of a personal touch I get with my team.   

Q: What limitations have you found with working remotely?

A: Seriously, there is nothing that I haven’t been able to successfully accomplish. I can do everything I used to be able to do as if I were in the office. I’m in a different time zone, so that means I need mobile access to communications. If it’s 6 p.m. in D.C but only 4 p.m. in Denver I’m still readily available even if I’ve left my home office. And that’s another advantage to using Hosted Voice — there was no extensive setup with our IT department. It was lightweight enough for me to install, but sophisticated enough for 24/7 usage. There were no barriers to entry and the learning curve was very short, thankfully.   

Q: How do you think working in customer care has helped your decisions as a product manager?

A: Coming from that side of the business I think I have a unique understanding about customer pain points. That means balancing the needs and asks of thousands of ReadyTalk users. Their preferences and requirements are all different and specific to each individual. Working in customer care taught me to distill their hopes and dreams into one product that solves as many problems as possible. How we build products, structure them, change them, price them — all of these decisions were made looking through the lens of the customer. But I also think that my current experience working remotely has put me at an advantage as a product manager. I’m literally our target customer. So as a product team we don’t operate under the assumption that we know what’s best all the time. Instead, I’ve depended on our Hosted Voice application as a means to work everyday. That has definitely kept us honest in customer conversations.

Q: What are your passions outside of work?

A: I love to travel. I’m a certified scuba diver and did some great cave dives in Mexico a couple years ago. Also, I’m very good at brunch on Denver patios.

ReadyTalk Webinar Named Market ‘Leader’ in New Report

In the fourth quarter of 2017 ReadyTalk Webinar was named a ‘market leader’ by InFlow Analysis, a technological consulting group. This insightful report entitled, The InFlow Analysis Market Compass for Webinar Providers, 2017: Shifting to Conversational Experiences, highlights industry trends that reflect the demands of various buyer types and use cases. Given the competitive business of technology, SMB and enterprise customers are challenged with purchasing decisions between disruptors, niche providers, and legacy webinar vendors.

After scoring all webinar services providers, the InFlow report created this list of takeaways meant to help buyers choose the webinar service most suited for their needs:

 

  • When making webinar procurement decisions, business planners have to map critical capabilities to the right use cases to avoid the pitfalls of focusing too much on features.
  • Knowing your target audience will help guide technology decisions, especially around scale and bandwidth needs. Also, focus on conversational experiences with your audience.
  • While webinar decisions tend to be departmental and team based mostly, take care to ensure broader integration with business applications such as marketing automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.
  • Reporting and analytics is a critical component and will provide useful data that can guide engagement activities after the webinar event. AI and machine learning are becoming integral parts of this phase for accurate insights.
  • Plan carefully for webinars and understand beforehand requirements for professional services and live support during larger and more critical events.

 

Within the leadership category, ReadyTalk was also mentioned for its excellence in branding and marketing functionality:

“There are customized branding capabilities, recording, integrated audio and integration into business applications and platforms, such as Salesforce, Marketo and a majority of CRM and marketing automation platforms respectively. Integration into critical business applications and processes speaks to support for pre, during and post webinar management, which covers the entire webinar workflow. For marketing professionals, the ReadyTalk webinar service provides event promotion tools for social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The service includes broadcast video webcasts and simulive events, which allows producers to replay recorded webinars with live Q&A and interactivity. Webinar planners and producers also get post-webinar reporting capabilities.”

Click below for the full report by InFlow Analysis! Cheers and happy hosting on your next event.

How to set fourth quarter goals the right way

 

The fourth quarter has started, and it’s time to set goals for what your company wants to achieve by the end of the year.

But not every goal is effective. The way you designate and describe your targets has a big impact on the likelihood you’ll reach them. Read on to learn how to set goals the right way in the fourth quarter:

Be realistic

Fourth quarter business is up against a set of obstacles not seen during the rest of the year, such as budgets running out and the holidays causing a slowdown in activity. Set goals that reflect the realities of the season, and let your company’s performance in fourth quarters past guide the goals you set this time around.

As author and business coach Marla Tabaka noted in an interview with Inc. magazine, if you usually have a slow season in the fourth quarter but have established more aggressive targets than ever before, you’re just setting yourself up to fail. Instead, set goals that are more realistic; the satisfaction you and your team feels once you achieve them will be a positive motivating force that helps you start the next year strong.

Connect the goals to employees

People are more motivated to achieve goals when the targets in question align with their personal ambitions.

The Executive Guide to Goal Setting from software firm AchieveIt cited an example of this principle at Coca-Cola. The company wanted employees to achieve goals that helped them fulfill the company’s mission statement, which was to increase shareholder value. However, some employees felt too disconnected from shareholders to feel motivated to achieve these goals. In response, Amy Bergin, a former training consultant for Coca-Cola, designed a program that involved having employees set their own goals and then link these goals to the corporate mission to establish a more personal sense of motivation. Look for ways at your organization to more closely entwine employees’ individual goals and companywide ambitions.

Consider phrasing

The goals that are more likely to be achieved are those that use specific language. Instead of simply vowing to generate more leads, quantify how many you hope to have by the end of the year, and in which industries or verticals, for example.

“The moment you focus on a goal, your goal becomes a magnet, pulling you and your resources toward it,” said goal-setting expert Ryan Blair in an interview with The Balance. “The more focused your energies, the more power you generate.”

Empower your employees the best you can by establishing goals that use clear and specific language.

Follow these tips to help set your team up for success in the home stretch of the year. Now go hit your goals out of the park!

CloudTalk: Bend the Ear of an Engineer

Nick Bitzer cut his teeth as a ReadyTalk engineer three years ago when he began on the Q/A and release team. Now, he’s responsible for maintaining backend reliability that makes our ReadyTalk products possible. He’s armed with an acute sense of our tech DNA, and a sleeve tattoo of a steamship anchor repping his Florida roots.

Q: What was your most memorable day at ReadyTalk?

A: The first day I got here. Haha seriously. It was a great introduction to the company culture and my whole team. Definitely a whirlwind of events that day. My first impression was how inviting and welcoming everyone was. Also, sometimes the formalities of meeting managers can seem awkward and forced on your first day. It was NOT that way at ReadyTalk. My questions were heard and answered, I was able to meet even the highest level directors and C-level executives. The access to people and resources was really an eye opener. I definitely felt the culture was dropped in my lap on day one. Plus, we crushed it at happy hour that evening, so that didn’t hurt either. It did hurt the next day.   

Q: What’s your most unpredictable type of work day?

A: The catch 22 is that the bad or difficult days are the most rewarding. Once in awhile, unforeseen production issues may cause a hiccup and I have to get up early to put out a fire. It just happens, as with any other service on the market. Even though these events are high pressure, I do enjoy solving the problem and identifying why something went wrong. I think that’s when I’m at my best because my teammates and I need a resolution ASAP.

Q: Even though you work on the backend in engineering, how does your work affect customers?

A: Since I’ve worked on a lot of our bug fixes and product enhancements, I enjoy acting on the concerns of our customers and delivering additions to our services. In this case, the engineering team works with the customer care department to remedy different components, or to stay competitive in the market by adding product features. This was especially true when I worked on the release team because we were building automation that verified our products. We pushed out the changes every six weeks so that definitely kept us busy. This relates to ongoing projects that reflect the voice of the customer, so it might not always impact my day-to-day flow. Rather, the bigger picture across the company as we get feedback about maximizing the user experience.

Q: I noticed that you have an exposed tattoo. Does that make it hard getting a table at a nice restaurant?

A: No. Absolutely not. It helps.

CloudTalk: Navigating Customer Success

No two accounts are exactly alike — that’s why our customer success team thrives on supporting a variety of cases. Margaret Thomas is ReadyTalk’s Senior Customer Success Manager, and she has a knack for accommodating every buyer type on the cloud. Check out her thoughts on quality service and delivering creative solutions across all of our product lines.  

 

Q: How many years have you worked at ReadyTalk?

A: I’ve been here for seven years but originally started as a strategic account manager. But this isn’t my first rodeo in the web conferencing industry — I also worked for a larger corporation for 10 years prior to ReadyTalk.

 

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: Every day is different. Every budget is different. Every person is different. I enjoy hearing about a customer’s needs, and then brainstorming with my team to develop the best ways to accomplish their goals. In other words, I offer consultation, training, and onboarding for our accounts so that they’re ready to host a meeting or event. There’s a bit of flexibility in my role because each company has a unique use for our platform. It happens a lot that a customer will say, “Hey Margaret, I want to do x,y,z,” and it’s up to me to figure out the best plan for them.

 

Q: What types of customer interactions motivate you?

A: Whenever I legitimately help a customer and make an impact on their experience. Sometimes a ‘thank you’ email from an account is one of the best feelings. An honest, genuine, appreciation of our work together really goes a long way. Obviously, that’s what I’m here for — but the acknowledgement means that we made a positive difference in their day. It means I didn’t let them down or leave them hanging, and that’s what they want. More importantly, for their sake, they were able to execute effectively based on our guidance.

 

Q: OK, where do you really love to spend your time?

A: The summer is consumed by baseball. Otherwise, I’m with my fam up in the mountains! My husband and our two sons love to get out of dodge on the weekends. We all love the outdoors and it’s why we’re here in Colorado! In the winter, they’re skiing while I read or hit the spa. No complaints! Haha.

Want to take your cloud services to the next level? Give our customer success team a call today!