Case study: Finding a right-fit chat technology to engage with your customers

This case study is from an actual business user from a Fortune 500 company in retail heading the partnership business based out of Atlanta.

Background :

The business user manages a portal where partners can place order and is struggling with drop offs and low engagement. She wants to use “chat” to stay in touch with partners on the portal.

Business Need

The user starts on Cuspera typing “engage using chat” and we prompt the user to choose her goals and process from a drop down as shown in Figure 1 and 2 below based on business manager’s goal. Figure 1 depicts the results when the primary goal of the business manager is to enhance relationship with her customer using chat whereas Figure 2 shows the results when the primary goal is to acquire new customers.

Figure1: Potential tech solutions to “Enhance customer relationships by engagement management using chat” in retail industry

Given her business context, we feel Zendesk, SnapEngage, Live Chat, etc are better suited for her business need of engaging with her customers as these are designed to know the customer well and engage with them regarding their previous orders, tickets etc.

In contrast, when the business user is interested in acquiring new customers, we feel Zoho SalesIQ, Pure Chat, Hubspot, etc are better suited as they are designed to capture customer details and feed them to you existing CRM.

Figure 2: Potential tech solutions to “Acquire customers by engagement management using chat in retail industry

Business Context

Similarly the business user specifies her size of the company, her department and her location to get personalised set of recommended solutions.

Adjacent Business Needs

Typical business user solves more than one process or has more than one goal while choosing a technology solution. As show in Figure 3, we prompt the user to choose other related processes, which her peers have also chosen along with her original business need. In this case, user chose communication management as another “must” process to be implemented and the recommended solutions are updated to those which are good at engaging with customer and also managing the communication with them as show in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Related processes selection

Integrations and other Corp Requirements

The user is then shown a screen where she has to choose whether she needs integration and with what system. She can choose whether she wants custom report or analytics, the kind of data security and compliance expected from the system and the final short list of recommendations are shown to the user as in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Short list after business need, business context and other IT/Corp requirements are specified

What-if scenarios and final report

The final screen as shown in Figure 5, allows user to re-prioritise her requirements to choose a solution that best suits her based on her budget, vendor qualification, ease of migration, ease of integration, etc. The report can also be downloaded and shared with her team.

Figure 5. What-if optimization and final report

What is a right-fit technology solution for your business need?

A technology solution is right-fit for you if it solves your business need as per your expected time horizon. The factors that determine the right-fit solution are how well the solution’s workflow is designed to solve your business need, how well it works and integrates with you existing technology stacks and how compliant is it for your companies policies such as privacy, security and business continuity.

Business needs

Business needs are hard to specify. A business manager looking for a technology solution has a business process or two that he wants to improve. He also has a goal in mind. For example, a sales manager who is looking for a technology solution to improve his “lead management”, either wants to capture leads more efficiently so that he can “acquire more customers” (a goal) or ensure that he converts leads better to “improve his revenue” targets (another goal). As every solutions is specifically designed to achieve certain goals based on its business process workflows, knowing the goal and process is important to choose the right solution. In Cuspera, we prompt you to choose the right goal for your process based on your chosen industry vertical and the keywords you type, in order to recommend the right-fit solution.

Business Context

It’s important to understand your business context — your vertical, whether you are B2B or B2C, you location, etc to find the right-fit solution. Every industry has subtle nuances that change the way process workflows are implemented, the way the data is captured, the scale expected, etc. and we need to know the context to find the right-fit solution. For example a lead capture software for B2B business and B2C business behaves very differently . Similarly the channels you use to reach your customers also varies based on your industry.

Enterprise ready software solutions are different than the ones meant for SMBs — enterprise ready software are typically more expensive and meant to be used in a complex environment and technical stack compared to simpler solution focussed on ease-of-use for SMBs. A right-fit solution is the one that is built with your business context in mind for your business need.

Company IT and Corp Policies

Last but not the least is to understand the existing technology stack in your company and how well the new tech solution needs to interact with existing stack. This includes the OS policies, network policies, DB policies etc of your CIO — are you a MicroSoft or an open source setup; Oracle, IBM or MySQL setup etc. We also need to know what other systems you are using — what kind of integration to you existing customer database etc. to recommend your right-fit solution.

Another important factor is also the vendor qualifications that the vendor of the tech solution needs to meet such as vendor’s size, location, compliance, stability etc. based on your companies procurement process.

The right-fit software solution is the one that meets your business need with proven track record in your business context and meets all your IT and Corp policies, which greatly increases your chances of successful outcome in your preferred time horizon.

Why is finding technology solutions hard for businesses

In this fast paced digital era with shrinking business cycles, every business needs to choose technologies that can help them compete and deliver results.

Good news is that technologies are moving to cloud and solutions are available as SAAS( Software As A Service) and can be easily found and deployed.

Then, why are business managers struggling to find the right solutions? Why do lot of SAAS purchase by business managers result in churn?

Reason 1 : There are a lot of solutions to choose from

Exploding space in Marketing Technology

As the chart above shows, Marketing technology space has grown from few hundred to 10’s of thousands in just 7 years. Overall, there are now more than 50K SAAS solutions growing at an annual rate of 20% plus.

Reason 2: One Size fits all?

Traditionally, businesses bought software technology via the CIO’s offices, which involved CIO dealing with consultants or via Gartner Magic quadrants. This does not scale to individual business managers as their needs can be very different from each others and CIO led solutions are no longer possible for Marketing and Customer facing solutions as shown in Figure 2 based on report by Bain & Company.

Reason 3: Misfit, Churn and Time To Value (TTV)

Software technology vendors have traditionally sold their product using technical specification/features and not based on business processes they improve — business managers struggle to decipher the technical jargons to understand whether a solution meets their business need. Further, push sales from vendors result in misfit as the main incentive of the sales team is to sell.

The problem only gets more confounded once a business manager has shortlisted a solution that solves his business need, as this solution has to not only match the CIO’s and CFO’s specification for security and compliance but also work closely with the existing technologies in the company. Integrations, security and data compliance can take a lot of effort and time and can result in delay to deploy and eventually TTV.

Yet another reason for delay is due to the effort in implementing the technology in the existing workflow and the effort in training the staff. If a solution and its integration is not well thought through, there has be to significant effort and time in re-engineering the processes and workflows to suit the technology. This issue is exaggerated when business manager has a point need but ends up buying popular software technology which does lot more than his need.

In Cuspera, we are on a mission to help business managers find the right-fit technology solution for their business needs.