Client Spotlight: Motion & Flow Control Products

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT

MOTION & FLOW CONTROL PRODUCTS, INC.

“In our industry, where the number of products is in the hundreds of thousands, being able to have an expert on-site ready to chat and provide information is invaluable. It’s more than just providing customer service; it’s solving problems quickly in an industry that’s not known for being agile.”

-RACHEL HAMPTON, DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL GROWTH

MFCP increases sales and attracts new clients with innovative solutions

 

Motion & Flow Control Products (MFCP) understands the value of providing exceptional customer service. For over fifty years, the company has served as one of the leading distributors of industrial fluid power, motion, and control solutions in the United States.

Clients across the western United States seek out MFCP for their expertise, drive, local industry knowledge, and above all, their steadfast commitment to the customer experience. This reputation was cemented over time as MFCP’s base of satisfied clients steadily grew, and becomes apparent from the moment MFCP representatives interact with both prospects and clients. According to MFCP, “our reputation for outstanding service, technical know-how, and best-in-class product lines is built every day by delivering what customers need, when they want it.”

About Motion & Flow Control Products, Inc.

Motion & Flow Control Products (MFCP) has served as a leading industrial fluid power, motion, and controls distributor in the western United States since 1960. MFCP has thirty stocking locations spanning from Alaska all the way down to New Mexico, and carries a diverse product offering that provides complete solutions for industries including aerospace, agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, military, pharmaceutical, and many more. The company was built from the ground up by six first-generation family businesses who came together with a shared mission: delivering what customers need, when they want it.

This iron-clad reputation serves MFCP well, but nine months ago the company was looking for new ways to remain competitive and further grow their reach and client base. During that time, the team also noticed that their website was not performing optimally. They began to experience issues including missed sales opportunities and low conversion rates.  

To address these issues and refresh their overarching sales strategy, the MFCP team decided to overhaul their entire website. Part of this website revamp included the adoption of live chat software. MFCP had never before implemented live chat into their strategy and was ready to try something new. Peter Grimes (Marketing & Operations) sought out a chat solution that would mesh well with their current processes and client base. They turned to SnapEngage.  

Their customer engagement solution needed to be flexible and have the ability to scale easily as the company grew. MFCP’s industry is defined by the distribution of thousands of varied and complex products. The MFCP catalogue alone consists of over 100K SKUs, and product sales range anywhere from $50 in value all the way up to $3-$4 million. Furthermore, MFCP sells to a diverse group of customers, including resellers, end users, and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).

Chat streamlines processes and helps MFCP carry out their mission

Industrial parts distribution is an industry rooted in tradition and often takes a more classic approach to prospecting and sales. Many companies in this niche still rely heavily on word of mouth references, cold-calling, and face-to-face visits in the field. Peter and his team needed to find an effective way to balance these more conventional strategies with their new chat-focused approach to prospecting and sales.

The MFCP team was able to use chat agents to supplement the efforts of existing field agents, who manage 50-75 accounts each. The sales team currently includes six chat agents and there are plans to increase these numbers. Using priority tiers, the sales team routes incoming chats to frontline agents while keeping additional agents as backup for overflow chats.

SnapEngage has allowed MFCP representatives to begin transitioning away from phone support in favor of cycled chat schedules, which has resulted in lowered cost-per-interaction. The team plans to expand their e-commerce website shortly, and will soon ramp up their chat agent team size to accommodate for increased chat volumes and the resulting influx in leads.

Rachel Hampton, Director of Digital Strategy, notes that “chat reps are fans of the platform because of the quick engagement and ability to solve problems faster. In our industry, where the number of products is in the hundreds of thousands, being able to have an expert on-site ready to chat and provide information is invaluable. It’s more than just providing customer service; it’s solving problems quickly in an industry that’s not known for being agile.”

The MFCP team has also benefited from features such as co-browsing, which allow sales representatives to better engage with website prospects and guide them around the website. This ensures that sales consultants can provide a personalized, high touch customer experience to website visitors and address detailed questions throughout what can be a complex and confusing process.

The team also relies on proactive chat to automatically engage with website visitors based on targeted trigger metrics such as location, time on page, website URL, and more. In fact, the team has seen even more success with proactive chats than reactive chats and appreciates that proactive chat allows the sales team to engage with prospects efficiently.

Chat shortens sales cycles and provides a competitive edge

 

Surprisingly, Peter notes that many of MFCP’s competitors are not yet using chat on their website, and it’s clear that they are missing out on a valuable opportunity. Peter views chat as a “differentiator” and explains that it offers them a competitive advantage in the industrial parts distribution space.

“Nothing makes us happier than pairing our customers with the right products.”

-Peter Grimes, Marketing & Operations

Since implementing SnapEngage, MFCP has experienced impressive reductions in sales cycles. This can be noted by the dramatic difference between the average time to close experienced in live chat sales vs. field sales. For MFCP, traditional field sales take an average of eight weeks to an entire year to close. After implementing chat, Peter’s team began closing deals on chat in as little as 7 to 10 days. The results are even more impressive where knowledgeable, qualified prospects are concerned. These types of incoming chat prospects (who already know exactly what they need) often close in as little as a single day.

“We saw value in reducing sales interactions from two steps to down to one,” Peter recalls. Previously, interested prospects had to search for a phone number on the website and then set up a call, search online and find a location to visit, or fill out a form and wait for a response from a sales rep. Using chat “got the whole thing done in one fell swoop.”

This reduction in the sales cycle has resulted in increased revenue and conversion rates for MFCP. Most importantly, it has allowed MFCP to continue delivering the unparalleled customer experiences they are known for. “Nothing makes us happier than pairing our customers with the right products.”

Higher Education Institutions Increase Engagement and Admissions Rates with Live Chat

Higher Education Institutions Increase Engagement and Admissions Rates with Live Chat

Connecting with students during the initial discovery phase is key

Choosing a university is one of the most exciting – and stressful – decisions that a young adult (or anyone seeking continuing education) will face. Rising costs, information overload, and complex application processes are making it more challenging than ever for prospective students to navigate college admissions. This leaves higher education marketers with the formidable task of connecting with and effectively engaging a large, distributed pool of prospective students.

College admissions marketers must also navigate a changing landscape as older students within the ‘Post-Millennial’ generation are now beginning their higher education journey. Generation Z is even more technologically-savvy and hyper-connected than previous generations – it’s all they’ve ever known. Admissions departments hoping to win over new students need to find innovative ways to connect with not only prospective students, but also their peers, families, teachers, guidance counselors, mentors, and other key influencers involved in the decision-making process.

During the college-search process, high school students receive an incredible amount of information from college outreach offices and recruiters in the form of mailings, emails, calls, etc. This information overload often proves to be confusing and downright overwhelming at times, leading to missed or ignored outreach attempts.

Colleges around the world are increasingly adopting live chat software on their websites to address these challenges and attract interested, quality students. Chat and other conversation management technologies provide college marketers, admissions officers, and educational staff the ability to more easily connect with prospective students from the moment a potential student lands on their institution’s web page, and allows for website visitors to begin a productive conversation during critical times when interest is piqued. Chat also gives admissions staff the opportunity to address false assumptions and potential roadblocks that could hinder a student’s path to higher education.

Chat improves application processes; connects students with vital services

According to Hanover Research, up to 31 percent of four-year applicants abandon online college applications before they complete and submit the application form. Universities must do everything in their power to streamline and simplify the complex admissions process for students, and live chat plays a critical role in that mission.

When an applicant encounters a roadblock during the online application, they can instantly connect with college support staff via chat and receive the necessary information they seek. This increases the chances that applicants will continue on with the application and submit the online form, instead of abandoning the application altogether and possibly never returning to that institution’s website. This reduced form abandonment results in increased conversion rates and application counts.

Up to 31% of four-year applicants abandon online college application forms.

The rising financial demands on those who pursue higher education also make financial aid resources more valuable than ever for prospective and current students. These resources are especially vital where lower-income students are concerned. Jeffrey Selingo noted in The Atlantic that “simply adding more money to financial aid is not the answer to recruiting more low-income students because these offers usually come in too late in the college search process, typically after the admissions decision. That’s why many low-income students never even apply to college, scared off by high tuition prices and a lack of understanding of the financial aid process.”

Colleges like Grand Canyon University address this lack of understanding of the financial aid process head-on with website live chat conversations that dispel myths and/or doubts about financial aid and provide students with comprehensive education about all available options and how to pursue them. They also rely on features like cobrowsing and secure data transfer to further assist students with completing applications efficiently and accurately.

More engaged prospective students lead to increased admissions rates

Marketers and admissions officers that work in higher education find themselves responsible for a host of metrics, including application submissions, new student enrollment counts, information requests via online forms, and campus visit signups. If you feel that your college struggles with marketing and engagement efforts to impact these metrics and others like them, you’re not alone.

42.1% of marketers in higher education oversee at least one webpage that converts at less than 1.1%. These low-performing pages resulted in an average of 1,734 missed conversion opportunities.

A 2017 research study conducted by Unbounce found that the higher education industry has some of the lowest conversion rates across all major industries. In fact, 42.1% of marketers in higher education oversee at least one webpage for their education institution that converts at less than 1.1%. Researchers found that these low-performing pages resulted in an average of 1,734 missed conversion opportunities.

In an effort to increase student engagement and positively impact these metrics, colleges are increasingly adopting live chat as part of their overall marketing and engagement strategy.

College marketers and other communications and outreach staff can use features like advanced proactive chat to revive under-performing webpages and drive engagement rates with targeted messaging based on a website visitor’s current URL, location, and more. These automated proactive invitations save valuable time and energy. In addition, recruiting staff have the ability to hold concurrent conversations with website visitors, resulting in a lower cost-per-interaction and decreased phone and email volumes.

Traditionally, university outreach coordinators have relied heavily on purchased student prospect lists from resources such as the ACT and the College Board. While this strategy is still useful, colleges are increasingly turning to social channels to further increase outreach efforts. Social media is used by 81 percent of teenagers, and admissions officers can further their reach by tapping into these channels. In fact, “two-thirds of [teenagers] use social media to research and inform their college decision.” Colleges who aren’t maximizing this social reach, and their digital presence in general, will lag behind.

Admissions marketers and student relations managers can drive their social engagement by integrating chat with Hootsuite, Facebook Messenger, and other social media tools to connect with students in the channels they already frequent.

Admissions staff have also found creative ways to tap into students’ preference for digital, text-based interactions by offering services like SMS-to-Chat. For example, colleges can list a convenient SMS number on all direct mailings and handouts at recruitment fairs, giving prospective students a quick and easy way to ask questions and exchange information with admissions officers.

Chat reinforces core values and college branding

When higher education establishments strategize on effective ways to build interest in their organizations and educational offerings, the tactics they must employ are not so different from marketers working to promote and sell products and services to consumers. Marketers working within both traditional consumer sectors and higher education institutions face the similar challenge of effectively articulating their organization’s core brand and values to a varied audience.

Mary Baglivo, Chief Marketing Officer at Northwestern University, noted in an interview with Ad Age that “there is a growing interest and belief in the importance of defining and articulating your university brand because it’s important to be differentiating and compelling – not unlike a product in the consumer space.”

“There is a growing interest and belief in the importance of defining and articulating your university brand because it’s important to be differentiating and compelling – not unlike a product in the consumer space.”

-Mary Baglivo, CMO, Northwestern University

In a technology-based era where prospective students are used to dealing with a veritable flood of incoming information and content, live chat gives colleges a competitive advantage by facilitating human connections between knowledgeable staff and prospective students.

The instantaneous, effective conversations that live chat produces gives colleges like Gonzaga University’s Graduate School of Business, Ohio State University, and University of Southern California a prime opportunity to showcase their unique brand and articulate core values through custom chat form design and one-to-one conversations between staff and curious website visitors. Choosing a college is an incredibly personal decision, and colleges that can effectively communicate their brand and mission to prospective students will more easily attract those that align with their values, further increasing admissions (and acceptance) rates. Alignment on values and goals upfront also ultimately results in happier, more successful students.

As Higher Education Marketing notes, prospective students value the “human connections fostered by direct, open, two-way communication” that live chat provides. Colleges that wish to remain relevant in the ever-changing landscape of student recruitment and admissions must embrace live chat conversation technologies in their strategic efforts to attract and recruit top students, and provide them with the instant information they seek.

Release notes Week of August the 16th: HIPAA Compliant File Transfer & Google Single Sign On (SSO)

Updates

  • The file upload/download functionality is now HIPAA compliant for accounts on this plan type:
    * An audit log will be written on each file download.
    * The file can be downloaded by visitor during the chat only. Once chat is over file won’t be available for visitor.
    * The file can be downloaded by an agent configured in the widget or an account admin only.
  • We have enabled Google Single Sign On (SSO) support: If your SnapEngage account is also a Google Apps account, you can now use this to log in here.

Fixed Issues

  • We fixed an issue where the \ignore command to not send a chat transcript to the integration was not working as expected.
  • fixed a bug regarding the size of the minimized container iframe which was too large for its contents, causing the area around the minimized button to still be clickable
  • Fixed a bug for mobile users where on close of the chat, sometimes the webpage would not be able to be scrolled until refreshed again.
  • Fixed an issue where the ‘description’ or first visitor chat message appeared as a JavaScript Variable in the email integration.

Live Chat Streamlines Sales and Support Processes for Industrial Sector

Live Chat Streamlines Sales and Support Processes for Industrial Sector

Chat forges new opportunities in industries with complex product offerings

 

The manufacturing industry is booming. A 2016 report by the National Association of Manufacturers estimated that the manufacturing industry contributed $2.18 trillion to the United States economy and accounted for nearly 12 percent of the economy’s GDP. Manufacturing and related verticals such as machinery and distribution are all defined by complex product offerings, and therefore face unique challenges when it comes to lead acquisition and conversion.

Whereas traditional sales processes in this segment have been primarily driven by field sales and word of mouth, more and more buyers are turning to online channels in the awareness and research phases of their buying cycle. The business website is often the first impression and opportunity for engagement with potential buyers, making it a crucial tool for lead capture and conversion efforts. Industrial-focused businesses can use live chat to proactively engage website visitors with personalized messaging to capitalize on prospective buyers at their peak level of interest (before buyers turn their focus to competing, alternative solutions).

Companies including Motion & Flow Control Products and Riegl USA have already experienced profound results after implementing live chat into their sales and support workflows and view chat as a differentiating factor among their competition.

Amplified sales; impressive ROI


When Riegl USA decided to incorporate chat into their overarching sales strategy, they were experiencing delays in their sales pipeline, and as a result, both customers (and their own sales and engineering teams) were frustrated. They needed to streamline their sales processes and turned to chat software.

What they experienced next cemented their purchasing decision. Jillian Kreider, Communications Specialist at Riegl, recalls that during their free trial of SnapEngage, they engaged with an interested prospect via a live chat conversation who needed a scanning device made right away. Two weeks later (in a company that has an average sales cycle of 6 months to three years), the $110K deal had closed. Their new chat software had just paid for itself many times over within the first three weeks of use, and Jillian and her CMO were sold.

“[SnapEngage] paid for itself in the very first sale.”

-Jillian Kreider, Communications Specialist

Live chat builds relationships (and reduces acquisition cost)


In a well-established industry that often relies on a time-honored, more traditional approach to sales, live chat offers up a refreshing solution that keeps the focus on building customer relationships. Products across the industry generally cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars each, so it’s understandable that trust, transparency, and the quality of customer interactions play a huge role in buying decisions.

Manufacturers attempting to sell their products used to rely primarily on word of mouth recommendations and face-to-face interactions with prospective buyers at trade shows and onsite visits to build deeper connections and instill trust. While a handshake and a smile still closes many manufacturing deals today, vendors have discovered that a quality conversation over live chat can offer the same, immediate human connection that buyers crave without the associated costs of traditional sales approaches.

This cost reduction can give organizations the flexibility to put more dollars towards improving their product offering and funding additional growth strategies and other company initiatives.

Shortened sales cycles drive revenue

Typically, the more complex the product, the longer the sales cycle. Organizations that adopt live chat can reduce delays between steps in the buying process and streamline efforts across every customer touchpoint.

Nine months ago, Peter Grimes (Marketing & Operations at Motion & Flow Control Products) decided to implement live chat for the first time in hopes of reducing the sales cycle. “We saw value in reducing sales interactions from two steps down to one. Previously we relied on customers to find a phone number, email, or physical location on the website, resulting in a back-and-forth communication with delays at each step. Chat got the whole thing done in one fell swoop.”

“We saw value in reducing sales interactions from two steps down to one […] Chat got the whole thing done in one fell swoop.”

-Peter Grimes, Marketing & Operations

Indeed, these efficiencies contributed to a shorter sales cycle, with Grimes noting that an average sales cycle for chat is just 7-10 days, in contrast to field sales cycles that can take anywhere from 8 weeks to over one year to close.

Organizations can further optimize their workflows and maximize incoming leads by integrating chat with CRMs and help desks such as Salesforce. Native integrations allow sales consultants to send data from chat conversations directly to their preferred CRM for seamless follow-up and pipeline management. This ensures that interested prospects receive swift follow-up, and that deals don’t accidentally slip through the cracks.

Vendors using chat have also been able to supplement their cold-calling efforts with live chat. In the past, businesses in the industrial/manufacturing sector have relied on cold-calling as one of their primary outbound marketing and sales strategies. While this is still a viable strategy, organizations have discovered that live chat complements cold-calling efforts and maximizes reach. Instead of spending all their time pursuing leads who may or may not be interested in purchasing (or even hearing about the product), sales teams can use services like proactive chat to efficiently and automatically drive engagement with interested website visitors. This frees up time for sales consultants to focus more of their efforts on inbound opportunities and engage with the most qualified buyers.

Chat strengthens support workflows

After a deal closes, organizations continue to receive immense benefits from live chat, particularly in their aim to provide quality customer support. Riegl and Motion & Flow Control have both experienced reduced call and email volumes since implementing SnapEngage. In fact, M&FC is considering transitioning away from phone support entirely in favor of chat support. Increased efficiencies throughout support processes positively impact CSAT metrics, as customers have the ability to receive quality, instant assistance with the simple click of a button. Additionally, this assistance can be provided to multiple customers at once via chat conversations, which reduces the cost-per-interaction and further streamlines support team workflows.

Client Spotlight – Rent Like a Champion

CLIENT SPOTLIGHT

RENT LIKE A CHAMPION

“We pride ourselves on top-notch customer service, and offering reliable live chat support is a valuable extension of this mission. Our primary goal is to make it as easy as possible for someone to list or rent a home, and live chat provides that instant assistance that neither phone nor email are guaranteed to deliver.”
-BETTY GRAHAM, CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Making a play for success


In the world of college sports, Rent Like a Champion (RLAC) has made bold strides. The company works hard to transform and improve the college sports experience by providing premier home rental services to sports fans in cities and towns across the United States. 
“Many college towns lack the infrastructure to support the tens of thousands of football fans who flock to town on game weekends,” says Mike Doyle, CEO.

The true source of RLAC’s pride, however, comes from the unrivaled customer experiences their team delivers day in and day out. Over 50,000 guests have used RLAC’s home rental services since the company’s creation, and the company manages a growing roster of 3,500+ homeowner listings. As the company and its client base grew, so did the need for more effective customer engagement strategies.

Rent Like A Champion logo

About Rent Like A Champion

Rent Like a Champion (RLAC) started in 2006 in Chicago, Illinois as a student housing company, and has quickly expanded into one of the most popular home vacation rental services in college sports. RLAC now offers weekend home rentals and home listing services in more than 27 college towns around the United States. The RLAC team is comprised of rabid football fans who are passionate about providing the highest levels of customer service to ensure their customers have the best college football experience possible.

 

The RLAC team needed a solution to help them scale their business and drive rental bookings, all while giving them the necessary tools to continue providing exceptional customer support for both hosts and guests. The Customer Experience team relied on phone and email support in the past, but quickly realized that these modes of communication fell short when it came to their lofty customer engagement goals. RLAC needed to revamp the tools they were using and decided to implement SnapEngage’s live chat software into their overarching strategy. 

Betty Graham has worked on RLAC’s Customer Experience team for nearly three years, and notes how live chat supports their efforts to provide immediate, quality support: “We pride ourselves on top-notch customer service, and offering reliable live chat support is a valuable extension of this mission. Our primary goal is to make it as easy as possible for someone to list or rent a home, and live chat provides that instant assistance that neither phone nor email are guaranteed to deliver.”  

Stellar service, powered by SnapEngage


RLAC experienced a “seamless” implementation of SnapEngage chat software, which was crucial as the software was implemented during RLAC’s busiest time of the year when even a small hiccup could be detrimental to the business. 
This positive initial experience during the implementation phase helped Betty’s team and other key decision makers feel confident in their new customer engagement solution.   

The Customer Experience team relies on SnapEngage daily to communicate with potential (and active) hosts and guests. They have multiple agents configured in the system, which provides flexibility to schedule shifts based on chat volume and the ability to transfer chats among agents. Priority tiers allow the RLAC team to route chats primarily to frontline support agents while keeping additional agents in backup tiers for assistance during periods of high chat volume. When agents are offline, website visitors can submit offline messages that are automatically routed to the Customer Experience team’s email helpdesk. This ensures timely responses to incoming messages while preventing anything from slipping through the cracks.   

One of the primary reasons that RLAC chose SnapEngage over other live chat providers was due to SnapEngage’s robust, native HubSpot integration. The Customer Experience team uses this integration to route all data from SnapEngage chats directly to HubSpot after conversations close. These conversations appear within HubSpot directly in the Contact timeline, giving staff a 360-degree view of lead activity and history to further bolster lead generation efforts.

Custom mapping options within the integration (shown above) give RLAC incredible flexibility when it comes to tailoring the integration to their needs, allowing Betty and her team to send specific types of data to their preferred fields within HubSpot.

Rent Like a Champion lands on a winning strategy

 

Since implementation in March 2017, Rent Like a Champion has experienced impressive results across the board. These results are hard to ignore. The team completes more successful customer transactions on a daily basis than they were previously, and Betty notes that SnapEngage “helps drive renter checkouts and homeowner signups.” RLAC’s use of SnapEngage has also “resulted in decreased call volume.” This decrease in call volume has streamlined internal efficiencies and frees up agents to assist clients concurrently via chat.

“SnapEngage helps drive renter checkouts and homeowner signups, and has resulted in decreased call volume.”

Website traffic has increased, too, and the Customer Experience team is better equipped than ever to engage these new visitors efficiently and effectively using advanced proactive chat routing. Proactive chat has “aided [RLAC] greatly in engaging qualified users with [RLAC’s] live chat services.”

With an average yearly growth rate of 80%, it’s clear that RLAC has landed on a winning strategy. “The price of the service for the value-add to customers makes perfect sense. It’s very easy to get SnapEngage on your website and the results of customers using the service are instantaneous. Additionally, SnapEngage gives you the tools to constantly improve the experience you’re providing to your customers through analytics, customization, and support.”