No one knows what the future holds for us. Literally anything could happen tomorrow that would change our lives forever.
Yet, we can’t just do nothing and wait for the best or worst to happen. We are all building our future together. At CustomerIcare, we are building the future of live chat support and live business communication in general.
Building the future is confusing, it’s thrilling and it can be frustrating at time.
We are wired to seek constant progress and yet we all fear change to some extend. After all, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right?
But, in the end, change is necessary. And that’s what I want to discuss in this article.
Live Chat Support Ain’t Broke But It Can Be Improved
As a company, if we don’t improve, we’ll eventually die of starvation after new innovative companies steal our clients.
From there we have 2 solutions: We could spend all your time and money building walls to keep competitors from passing us or we can start running to stay ahead.
Evolving in the tech industry is like running a marathon at sprint pace. You need to be fast. Knowing you’ll never really get the luxury to slow down.
Live chat is no exception.
Live chat support as it is right now might not be broken but it can be improved. Which means someone will improve it. The goal is for this someone to be us.
It will always need improvement.
Look at how Slack changed the way we communicate recently. This small revolution made waves all the way to the live chat support industry and companies started to integrate with Slack.
We Need To Look Out For Threats And Turn Them Into Opportunities
The difference between opportunities and threats can be a very small one. It mostly depends on how you look at it.
The arrival of Slack in the chat space could be a threat but it was used as an opportunity by many live chat support companies.
There are hundreds of innovations surfacing in our space every month and the hardest part is to tell which ones we should care about. There is a danger in both extremes. If you are blind to innovation, you’ll fall behind. If you follow every new fade out there you will loose your mind and fall behind.
The goal is not to run faster but to run smarter than competitors and that’s one of the hardest part of business.
In an effort to run smarter, we are working on a new more focused brand for CustomerIcare which we know will help us invent the future of live chat support.
In our future, we plan to be a lot more sales focused to help small businesses like us.
We noticed we mostly use live chat for pre-sale requests and it helps us tremendously boost our conversions. That’s where our vision of live chat’s future is. But this doesn’t mean it’s the only one.
We Can’t Get Ahead If We Constantly Look Over Our Shoulder
Looking at what competitors do is necessary but it can also be paralyzing.
I’ve spoken with other entrepreneurs, and found out we were not the only ones suffering from the “damn, their product is just so much better than ours *sad face* *demotivation*…”.
Everyone feels this way one day or another. It can be really hard to get out of the vicious circle of comparing yourself to others.
We’ve been done that road. We’ve used a mix of “let’s follow these guys who are ahead of us” and “damn this new guys are going to pass us”. Imagine.
How could we possibly invent the future if our eyes are constantly on others?
We needed to change our tactic. Not ignore competitors but use them to build our own road to the future instead of following theirs.
It’s Ok To Get Inspired By What Competitors Are Doing
Inspired is the keyword here. You should never flat out steal an idea but there is nothing wrong with spotting a good idea and adapting it to your own software.
It would be foolish to not learn from the mistakes and successes of others. That’s where good competitor analysis comes in handy.
The question is, how do you get ahead if you have to wait for others to test things? Well, the problem is, you don’t. We can’t only rely on that to innovate and that’s where things get harder.
We’ve been thinking a lot about what makes sense to us and to our users at CustomerIcare. That’s where our rebranding journey started.
I said before that we want to focus more on sales. This decision came from a mix of competitor analysis, market analysis and a look at our own internal strengths and weaknesses.
How Are We Planning The Future For Our Live Chat Support Solution And Our Company?
As I said, innovation is driven by a lot of things put together.
Here’s how the process looked for us and how it helped us plan our future!
1. The Freemium Dilema
Since we started, we’ve had a big problem: “Freemium or not freemium?”. In the live chat industry half of providers offer a free plan. The other half offers paid plans only with a free trial.
We’ve tried both. Created a free plan, discontinued it, raised the price, lowered the price again and… We are considering going back to freemium.
But this time will be different. This time we are making an informed decision based on feedback from our users, analysis of our competitors and knowledge of our product.
What we found is that it is really hard to get people to even try our product when we don’t offer it for free.
We surveyed WordPress users and 80% of those who deactivate our plugin do so because we are a paid solution. They don’t even give the software a try. They see the price and run away.
That’s where we decided to learn from competitors. We studied how they pushed users to upgrade and how they onboarded users.
We don’t know yet what the future holds but we are determined to give freemium a real shot this time around!
2. Getting away from “support”
Most live chat support apps communicate about both pre and post sales communication. They promote their solution as a mixed sales and support software.
We want to shrink our focus and leave the “support” part of live chat aside to focus on the sales side of it.
Most of our users are small stores and rarely use live chat as their go-to post purchase support solution. Most queries are what I would call pre-sale support and the truth is, live chat could make huge progress as a sales tool.
The second reason we chose this sales focus is that a lot of us come from sales and marketing. We know a lot about these field but not as much as our competitors about the customer support industry.
So here it is, we are building the future of live chat support. Without the traditional “support” part of it!
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