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So Many Apps! How Much You Pay for Software Might Surprise You

Everything is an app

One of the more common “let’s make fun of the millennials” tropes is the idea that today, people want everything personalized, and on-demand. And like a lot of tropes, there’s at least some truth to this — everything from television channels to burrito options are under increasing pressure to be offered a-la-carte, so you can get what you want without paying for what you don’t. read more…

Copywriting to Your Strengths (How to Run a Drip Campaign, Part III)

{Ready to get started building a drip campaign in Contactually? Remember, if you weren’t with us last time and want to learn the what & whys of drip campaigns (or just need a refresher), you can review Part 1 of this series hereskip right to Part 2 here, or gorge yourself on Part 4 here.}

It starts with finding your niche

I had a good friend in high school who was just sort of inherently good at any sport we played, even if he didn’t care about it. He wasn’t coached, and sometimes he didn’t even know all of the rules, but within minutes he’d pick up the basics of whatever we were doing, and his natural talent and coordination would take over. He wasn’t especially big, or especially fast — the quirky little mechanics of different sports just came naturally to him.

(Needless to say, this was really annoying when I was 16.)

Copywriting is a little like playing sports; some people are just good at it. They don’t agonize over every comma, or struggle to shake the feeling that their message “isn’t quite right”. They may not even care about copywriting, or think it’s valuable. They just make a point, that point makes perfect sense, and they move on to something else. read more…

Surprise & Delight : The Power of the Personal Connection in Customer Service

Customer service as an asset, not a problem

In a lot of ways, people are more familiar with the bad kind of customer service than they are with the good kind. When we think about support, our thoughts still gravitate towards bad interactive phone systems, cheesy music, and a general, inescapable sense of frustration. Again and again, companies faced with a choice between doing what’s right for their customers, and doing what meets some more quantifiable internal goal, choose the latter.

Why is this? Like a lot of nebulous, non-transactional issues, the impact of great (or terrible) customer service is somewhat tricky to measure. Increasing cost — and yes, good support costs time and money — without a hard goal for revenue growth is hard enough for things like R&D, or marketing. Doing it “just” to make people who’ve already purchased your product happy is even harder. read more…

Contactually Accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

We accept your challenge!

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has gone beyond viral, to some new sort of social media stage where hip hop moguls, former Presidents, Dave Grohl, and a wide variety of your friends, family, and co-workers, have all pretty much been pulled in one way or another.

Contactually is no exception — here’s Brian stepping up (while refusing to remove his sunglasses, for some reason).

Social media at its best

I learned a lot more than I ever wanted to learn about ALS a few years ago, when a friend, co-worker, and blogging mentor of mine was diagnosed. And I have to say, in an age where we spend a lot of time questioning the ultimate point & potential of things like social media and “wondering what it all means”, I think the Ice Bucket Challenge is a pretty amazing example of what these channels can do well. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen in my Facebook feed who, in response to the challenge, literally ask “what is ALS?”, and get an answer. Clearly, awareness is an issue, and to see it actually addressed through something as simple and shareable as the Ice Bucket Challenge is pretty brilliant.

Solidarity isn’t the answer to everything, but for challenges that sometimes feel insurmountable to the people trying to overcome them, it can be pretty amazing thing. So thanks to everyone who’s participated, learned something, and of course, donated to help find a cure.

And remember, you don’t have to be challenged by a friend (or have extremely cold water dumped on you), to help fight ALS!

The Best Tweets from CRM Evolution 2014

CRMHeader The Best Tweets from CRM Evolution 2014

It’s been a while since we’ve done this sort of thing for CRM Evolution, the Big Apple’s big annual CRM conference, but we figured that this was as good a time as any to bust it out again. With great speakers like Paul GreenbergVala AfsharJim Berkowitz, and Leslie Ament, how could we not?

Day one was especially no slouch: the conference opened with Garrison Wynn and was home to great talks Jim Dickie, Ray Wang, and Jim Berkowitz, and day two kept the momentum going. As is standard fare with posts like this, we go through the conference’s tweets — so you don’t have to  (although you’re more than welcome to) and give you some of the best that we find.

PS – Don’t forget that Zvi Band is attending the conference. And I hear he’s toting a bag of Contactually goodies.

read more…

You Better Read This Before You Email That Link of Yours

The link is not enough — don’t be a link dumper.

Here’s a scenario that happens a lot. You’re on the internet (I know, shocking), when you find something online that interests you. It could be a new service, or a competitor’s site, or even just the latest piece of delicious, Buzzfeedy-clickbait (“This puppy thought he couldn’t get any cuter — you won’t believe what happened next!”). Your coworkers need to know about this, so you quickly open your email and tap out this bad boy. read more…

5 Simple Tricks for Building a Better Partner Program

“Friends, Romans, resellers, lend me your customer networks!”

Selling your product or service through partners can make a ton of sense, and rapidly expand your ability to reach customers without the overhead that comes with maintaining an enormous direct sales channel. Even when you have a great offering, sales can be a surprisingly (and frustratingly) customized challenge that requires you to tell unique stories to unique audiences. Many companies are able to make great products BECAUSE they don’t spread themselves thin trying to sell to the world. That’s where a great partner selling program can make a huge difference.

My colleague — and prolific blog contributor — Brian Pesin recently recently relaunched our partner program here at Contactually, and he was kind enough to explain a few of the lessons he’s learned, and how he’s baking them into the foundation of our new program. Here’s some of what he shared with me. read more…

When Customer Analytics Attack: How Comcast Screwed Up

“I’m really ashamed to see you go to something that can’t give you what we can.”

The first thing many people thought when they heard Ryan Block’s recording of a Comcast “retention specialist” was something along the lines of “wow, what a jerk”. It’s just common sense that if you’re arguing with a customer, you’re probably doing something wrong.

But while Comcast tried to defuse the situation by blaming one lone, poorly trained employee, it increasingly looks like that’s not what happened at all. The Verge has a fascinating collection of testimonials from current and former Comcast tech support employees who describe — in great detail — a systematic approach to mixing support with sales that encourages exactly the kind of behavior they allegedly disapprove of. By building their operating procedures around an incredibly shortsighted interpretation of metrics, and then creating strong incentives to adhere to these procedures at all times, Comcast brought this PR nightmare entirely on themselves. read more…

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