Reimagining how a photo studio manages its data by digitizing its current manual process — Develop and Delivery.
Here’s the second and final part of developing and delivering a UX design strategy for RBS in Brooklyn. We’ll look at auditing the current workflow, then consolidating and setting up a solution.
RECAP: The current process used by RBS was a bit convoluted. The consolidation of data only existed on the local server, and it was spread out across file folders, emails, calendars and call logs on multiple spreadsheets and word documents. This meant accessing, or cross-referencing data was complex and the data entry was subjected to common human errors like typo’s. After discovering this we defined our area of focus, and asked the question;
How might Ruby employees get a birds eye view of their customers and prospects data so they can interact with them as efficiently and seamlessly as possible?
Our main priority was to look at Client Relationship Management software to explore what features and services we could possibly implement.
Develop: Concepts and solutions are developed, prototyped, tested and iterated.
After exploring all of the features offered by CRM’s, and running them through a priority matrix, we now know what makes the most sense for the business.
- Contact management. Manage and organize contact records in one cloud-based database to up productivity.
- Email templates & scheduling. Nurture relationships with contacts and clients through outreach and prioritize leads with quantitative data.
- Booking scheduling. Send a scheduling link that syncs with your calendar, cutting out the time-consuming back and forth of meeting scheduling.
- Sales cycle management. Automatically track, organize and sort calls, emails, meetings, and notes, then assign tasks and auto reminders.
- Billing and Invoicing. Process and store payment info with the ability to run highly details sales reports.
We used these features to create a prioritized task flow for the cycle of data.
Task Flow prioritized
We created a task flow and labeled each part of the process as a 1–5, very high to very low priority.
After careful review, we decided the fifth priority, integrating quickbooks was a very low priority, as setting it up as was too high of an effort or not a big return.
The main focus was getting the the info into the database. This would come directly from either a booking or an inquiry. A simple CRM with smtp email integration would take care of most of that. Phone calls would need to be added manually, but email and inquiry forms from the website make up 96% of the contacts that reach out, so this was a non-issue.
Next, the focus was marketing outreach and newsletters. The current system was a patchwork of MailChimp for newsletters and a excel spreadsheet for outreach research and points of contact. MC has great analytics, but was expensive and limiting for our needs. We needed to figure out how to combine the two subsets and track them within the CRM. This alone cut out Agile and Nimble, since they both only allowed for a contact or company list, and Nimble didn’t offer email marketing at the time.
Then, we looked at booking scheduling and calendar integration. The latter is pretty standard with any software, but the former is another beast. The current booking system is built through Formsite to collect data, and generate booking info. It also collects payments and is linked to the companies Authorize account. We decided this was too much for one iteration, and tossed it in the UX debit pile.
That left us with only 3 CRM’s, to choose from and they happened to be the biggest and most expensive companies on the market.
Pretty much any of these CRM could handle this part, but as we tested each one, we realized the email integration wasn’t as cut and dry as they all made it out to be.
Salesforce charged an astronomical amount just to set it up and integrate, smtp in and out of the software not including newsletters. Not exactly small business friendly.
Hubspot was the same except more expensive. The only plan that offered the email integration we needed was the enterprise addition, and that was $800 a month. Again, not exactly what a small business can afford.
Zoho was different. They had Zoho 360, which got everything we needed for roughly $360 per yr/per license. This was too good to be true… And it was. The interface was miserable, all of the featured integrations were separate “apps”, and the online tutorials were for versions released long ago. What the other two offered for the money that Zoho didn’t was the setup of the software.
What did they all had in common?
Fatigue. It’s part of their tactic for sales and customer support. They hope you just commit, and invest such a large amount of time and money setting up your company, you’ll stick it out with them, for better or worse.
As a user, you had to fully commit to try the software, otherwise you couldn’t really use any of the features specific to your company in a free trial. Salesforce won’t even let you get past the sales department to ask questions about API integration. Hubspot was the same. They’re looking to land their white-whale account. You could use Zapier with the free version to try to do your own API integration, but that again leads you down the rabbit-hole. They give you no real choice and it becomes a ransom situation. Holding your data hostage is a terrible customer experience. Zoho, you’re on your own…Watching tutorials, learning their vernacular and trying to contact customer support for on-boarding.
This brings us to an important oversight in this CRM solution-based strategy...
We knew there was going to be issues, no matter what solution we ended up with. We just had to minimize the frustrations and manage the expectations as much as possible. Bottom line, employees needed to be able to figure out how to use the software quickly, and efficiently without constantly looking up how-to’s, or being on call with customer support. They had to have something familiar to lessen the growing pains with learning a new system.
We also we had to migrate all of the old data to create the current client profiles, and those existed in many different places. This was going to be a nightmare, anyway we sliced it. So we surveyed the employees to find out if there was any programs, software, or interface everyone was already comfortable with.
And there it was, right in front of our eyes…Google.
Delivery: Viable solutions are identified and finalized for production.
G-suite would structure our cloud storage database and sharing, as well as data backup — but we still needed to collaborate with central archive of all the customer and prospect data. We needed to find the hub that integrated with G-suite that met the other business requirements. We revisited Agile.
It is an all-in-one CRM, but it was a sleeper in the running. They had full integration with G-Suite, which would save time and fatigue the employees might experience with the on-boarding process of another software.
It had an email marketing integration, as well as social media engagement.
Bonus: It had Linkedin and twitter sourcing, as well as a two was sync with Google contacts and a Chrome plugin that adds info directly to the database.
We could’t separate the leads and clients by a section, but we could use a tag system to sort contacts and leads.
Did I mention they have customer service too? It’s not great, but they have a chat that is almost always available and quick to reply..
Now that we had the pieces in place, it was time to start aggregating data, and training the staff.
Let there be G-Suite
We started by converting our documents. The approach was relatively seamless…Microsoft and Google play nice together.
Next, we needed to migrate our mail server to G-Suite. Both the mail server and domains were hosted with GoDaddy. It’s a long process of archiving and migrating years worth of mail. We had to do it in segments, starting with the current year and moving backwards in time. We couldn’t have the mail be down, as that is the lifeline of communication for the studio.
Finally, we had the owner and studio manager sit in on 3 days of on-boarding to learn the workflow and ask any questions the might have.
The entire process of aggregation and integration took about 6 weeks. The impact has been a steady 27% conversion rate from outreach, with a more streamlined approach to their overall workflow, and meeting almost all of the initial client asks;
- Account creation and maintenance for all individual prospects, clients and companies.
- Client profile dashboard would include an active timeline of contact information, booking and contact history, email and text reminders, booking details, equipment rentals.
- Have email integration to automatically add contacts straight into database.
- Social integration for prospect outreach with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Calendar integration two way sync.
- Automated followups and reminders to perfect timing of outreach.