Monday, 25 January 2021

IVR Deflection vs Conversational IVR: How to Improve Customer Satisfaction | by Haptik | Jan, 2021


Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a ubiquitous yet disliked tool for customer service. While businesses adopted them to respond to customer queries and calls effectively and reduce support costs, it created massive resentment among customers. This dissatisfaction reached a point where a large US telecom carrier decided to do away with IVR altogether and allow customers to contact human agents directly. While IVR helped organizations achieve efficiencies to some extent along with reduced cost per call, customers found the impersonal interactions to be less than satisfactory.

IVR Is Transforming To Be More Relevant

Despite the shortcomings of IVR, it is not going away. Instead, it is undergoing a transformation to provide better ways to serve customers. Primary among the changes is the rise of conversational IVR that replaces mechanical choice of options with natural conversation patterns.. Additionally, techniques like IVR deflection are also proving to be practical tools to improve consumer experience and organizational efficiencies with IVR. It is critical to understand the differences between conversational IVR deflection versus IVR automation to ensure that organizations can leverage them appropriately for increased customer satisfaction in a given context.

Understanding these differences will allow you to better handle customer interactions depending upon the context and situation. Such flexibility helps you enhance consumer satisfaction and engagement through a better experience.

The Problem With Traditional IVR

The customer dissatisfaction with IVR stems from how it prioritizes efficiency over experience. IVR’s primary objective is to reduce the number of agent calls, according to over 57% of executives . To achieve this objective, it treats every customer and situation at par and stops customers from reaching agents to the extent possible. This design is not customer-centric. It doesn’t take individual user journeys into account. Traditional IVR implementation leads to a maze of options that a customer must traverse before they can get even a simple answer. And for critical queries, the time it takes to navigate the IVR call-tree results in severe dissatisfaction.

What is Conversational IVR?

Conversational IVR is not only a speech-based IVR that reacts to voice commands but instead uses the natural patterns of conversations to facilitate customer interactions. Such an advanced form of conversation IVR uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI to understand customers’ queries and respond appropriately without making the customer traverse through a maze of options and selections.

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The intelligent response helps you improve your First Call Resolution (FCR) rates. The customers’ enhanced experience also helps you with a better Net Promoter’s Score (NPS), not to mention helping you reduce costs and making internal processes more efficient.

You can read this article for more details on conversational IVR, its use cases, and its benefits.

Automation With Conversational Interfaces

Conversational voice interfaces enable organizations to automate business processes with the help of IVR. From a technological perspective, the customer might use a telephone call, a voice assistant, or any other voice-enabled interface to connect with the organization. The conversational agent who powers the IVR can respond differently depending upon the customer’s needs and underlying data and intelligence. These responses may include:

  1. Providing the answer or information to the caller. For example, in a banking scenario, if the customers want to find out the nearest branch or ATM locations, the conversation IVR agent can ask for the customer’s current location and, through GPS integration, provide the list of the nearby branches.
  2. Perform appropriate tasks in response to the customer’s request. For example, a hotel’s conversation IVR agent can reschedule a guest booking, or a car showroom may allow the customers to schedule a test drive through conversational IVR.

Gartner had predicted that “By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.” While the extent to which this prediction has come through is not available, recent research by Vanilla Forums found that 79% of customers expect organizations to provide self-service support tools to help customers find answers without having to contact support.

The Human Role In IVR Automation

While automation is critical, assuming that it will result in a complete replacement of human agents is erroneous. One of the essential considerations for effective IVR automation is how seamlessly it can facilitate human agents’ interactions. The first level of automation that was already existing was to balance the load between available agents. Conversational IVR adds an intelligent capability to transfer the control to a human agent when appropriate during the conversation.

Check out this e-book, Conversational AI: Redefining Contact Center Automation With AI , for detail understanding that will help you leverage IVR automation effectively.

Advantages of IVR Automation Over Traditional IVR

Many experts predicted IVR’s demise, given the challenges associated with it. As the more robust alternatives in the forms of chatbots emerged, many believed that IVR might no longer be relevant. However, there are times when customers prefer and need to speak to the right people. With conversational AI, IVR is transforming to be relevant again. And IVR automation helps address some of the concerns with traditional IVR systems.

Faster Response And Resolution

Since the Conversational IVR can find the customer intent better and faster, it can match the customer with the right agent with requisite skills quickly. With this right help, customers find their queries resolved much faster than with the traditional IVR systems. The First Call Resolution (FCR) rates also improve, while customer wait time and Average Handling Time (AHT) goes down, leading to higher satisfaction.

Easy Handling of Large Call Volumes

There are times when your business will experience a spike in incoming calls. Since IVR automation reduces time taken to resolution of each query, it frees up your agents faster. Shorter duration per call allows you to serve more customers without increasing the capacity.

What Is IVR Deflection?

IVR deflection takes the automated customer experience to the next level. While conversational IVR restricts the customer and agents to the voice channel, deflection allows you to add a multichannel experience to consumer interactions. Given the situation, people may prefer different channels. Sometimes, the information exchange is best performed through mediums other than voice.

For example, suppose a customer inquires about opening a bank account. In that case, the conversational agent can pass on the information to the underlying intelligence layer, sending the account opening form via email to the customer. This is just one example of how IVR deflection works.

IVR deflection allows using multiple channels to suit customer preferences and optimal communication modes for the intended customer actions. Customers prefer an omnichannel experience, and IVR deflection will enable organizations to leverage it. With additional channels, customers also get answers quickly, without any constraints of time or agent availability.

Implementing IVR Deflection

Traditionally, the concept of deflection was used passively. IVR systems played the message about other channels’ availability while waiting to connect to the agent. However, this approach had drawbacks. The customer had to drop the call and reconnect again through a different channel. With today’s smart devices, the process can be more proactive and seamless.

Your customers will likely call using a mobile phone. The IVR system can smartly identify if that’s the case and offer to send a link to the customer’s preferred channel. While SMS and email channels can be supported over almost every device now, with smartphones, customers can benefit from capable channels like intelligent conversational agents (aka chatbots). The links can allow customers to carry forward the conversation from where they left of, without starting over. Such smart IVR deflection can also utilize the organizational knowledge-base and direct customers to appropriate resources.

  1. Identify customer intent. New age conversational IVR systems are capable of doing this smartly. Determining the customer intent will allow the IVR to decide whether offering deflection will be the right strategy for that intent.
  2. Inform the customer about the time it will take to connect with the customer and offer different channels to save time. Provide this information at the earliest within the IVR flow. Also, share the information about any limitations depending upon the intent.
  3. Let the customer decide if they want to utilize these alternatives or talk to an agent. Such an approach to IVR Deflection versus Conversational IVR helps with increased customer satisfaction.
  4. Verify pertinent details of the alternative channels if necessary. For example, to utilize SMS or email, confirm the number and email address the IVR system should use.
  5. Before hanging up, confirm that the customer can access the link or the information sent via the selected channel. Once the confirmation is received, IVR should inform the user before hanging up.
  6. Let the customer know if any additional charges or conditions apply to the selected alternate channel. For example, to use the SMS channel, there may be standard carrier charges involved.
  7. Ensure you are not passing any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or Sensitive Personal Information (SPI) via unsecured channels.

The contents of the other channel can include;

  • Your message
  • Link to your conversational chatbot, messaging channels like SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Mobile App, or any other self-serve tools.

Much like IVR Automation, IVR deflection too addresses many of the shortcomings of traditional IVR systems. Some of the benefits of an IVR deflection solution are:

Enable Faster Resolution Of Customer Queries

Often, the customers need preliminary information that doesn’t require much human expertise. For example, a customer of an airline might call to request a copy of their airline itinerary. Instead of waiting for an agent to be available, the IVR can deflect the phone call to SMS to ask the customer for their identity or PNR and send the itinerary details via email. The customer doesn’t need to wait for the agent to be available, mainly when the final action will involve sending the email.

Serve More Customers With Fewer Agents

While IVR Automation helped with larger call volumes to a great extent, there are times when even that is inadequate. Festivals, holidays, calamities, and pandemics are a few situations when your agents can get overwhelmed, and you might not have the capacity to serve this increased volume. IVR Deflection allows you to handle this increased volume easily, without an increase in capacity or expenditure.

Reduction In Costs

The cost per call when agents speak to each customer is high. Since a phone call is an asynchronous communication mode, only one customer per agent can be served. With multiple channels, the cost of serving a customer request reduces considerably. Messaging and self-service channels have lower costs than voice channels. Deflection also helps minimize callbacks and repeat calls. An advantage of this reduction is improved agent satisfaction and reduced attrition.

Transcend Time Boundaries

IVR deflection allows utilization of IVR systems without the constraints of office times or agents’ availability. Through IVR deflection, you can serve your customer any time of day, including times when the customer care line is closed or when call volumes surge, resulting in increased wait times.

IVR deflection allows you to increase customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter (NPS) scores while leveraging your existing investments. It also facilitates the use of your existing knowledge base through self-service adoption. Through IVR Deflection, organizations can ensure 20% more usage of other channels than the calls.

  1. Traditional IVR takes away control from customers and acts according to its logic. IVR deflection gives a choice to the customer to use other appropriate channels.
  2. Traditional IVR utilizes a single channel; deflection is multichannel.
  3. With deflection, the IVR can serve multiple requests simultaneously as it works in an asynchronous mode.
  4. With deflection, you can allow customers to connect at any time to resolve their queries or solve their issues.

Not to be confused with call avoidance, deflecting calls is a way for overloaded contact centers to answer customers’ questions and requests without needing an agent to engage with them. From optimizing IVRs and self-service options to customizing messages across multiple channels, perfecting call deflection at your contact center will help balance the call load and improve the customer experience. IVR deflection provides a personalized experience to the customers, which provides more significant customer satisfaction than treating every call and customer with a similar yardstick. Deflection also allows for a better omnichannel experience.

Both Conversational IVR and IVR Deflection identify the customer intent much better than traditional phone-based IVR systems. The adoption of these smarter IVR improvements helps provide a more customer-centric and journey focused approach. Both the Conversational IVR and IVR Deflection empower you to optimize your internal operations while ensuring better customer satisfaction.

Want to develop an Intelligent Virtual Assistant solution for your brand?



Sunday, 24 January 2021

How to Tag a Business on Facebook: The Art of Tagging on Facebook, the Complete Guide

Most of us know that you can tag a business on Instagram and other “tag friendly” platforms. But, can you tag a business on Facebook? If so, how do you tag a business on Facebook?

There are as many ways to use Facebook for Business as there are to catch a monkey in the jungle. We could write a novel about either (“How to Catch a Monkey in the Jungle”…not bad!) 

But that’s not why you are here. 

You are probably wondering why you can’t tag a business on Facebook, whether it’s your page or another business page on Facebook. 

Or perhaps you are wondering, what the heck is a tag anyway?

We have you covered! The illustrious Facebook tag is no longer for the select few — but for all businesses, marketers, and ordinary people to enjoy freely. 

Here’s what you’ll learn about how to tag someone on a Facebook business page in this article:

So, ready to learn how to tag a business page on Facebook? Let’s go!

What Is a Tag on Facebook?

In your personal life, it could be a blessing or a nuisance. A lot of people aren’t thrilled to be tagged — but businesses almost always are!

how to tag a business on Facebook

A tag is when you make a post or Facebook status update and link to someone’s name or page you mention in your caption. 

Think of it as a “shout out” or social media’s way to give credit where credit is due.

When you tag a business or person, they receive a notification. Some people or pages even change their settings to automatically publish tagged posts onto their page. While others will have the option to choose whether or not they want to unveil what lies beneath their tags (note to self, never “friend” your boss, or neighbor, or preacher, or…).

When other people see a photo that you or your business has been tagged in, there will be a link to your profile or page. 

Why Tag a Business On Facebook?

In three words, why tag a business on Facebook? Publicity, Engagement, and Growth.

Not too long ago, Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm was reminiscent of today’s LinkedIn, where quality and intriguing organic content can fare well.

You likely already know that Facebook has become a pay-to-play environment. Without coughing up some cash, it’s very unlikely your business is going to get any attention on the platform.

Don’t lose hope! Penny pinchers and small business owners who have survived thus far with little to no Facebook Ad spend will be pleased to know that you can improve your organic reach by tagging your business on Facebook.

Tagging businesses and people on Facebook is the foundation for viral content. This is the best way to distribute your posts across the social network organically.

How To Tag a Business On Facebook

Tagging a business on Facebook is essentially the same process as tagging a person. Whether you want to know how to tag someone on Facebook from your business page or another business page, we are here to help! 

Here’s how to do it…

Step 1

In an update or post, type the @ symbol followed by the business or page name. 

Step 2

As you start typing, a dropdown list of options will appear. Select the correct page, and continue typing your caption as usual. 

how to tag a business on Facebook

Step 3

Click “Post”!

The tagged business or page will appear highlighted in blue and, once published, will become a clickable link. 

To Tag A Business Page In A Photo

After you’ve added a photo to your post, you can tag a business directly in the photo.

Step 1

how to tag a business on Facebook

Hover over the photo until “Edit” appears and click it.

Step 2

how to tag a business on Facebook

Click the “Tag photo” button. 

how to tag a business on Facebook

Click anywhere on the image within your post, and type the person or business name. Then select the correct name or business. 

Quick Tip for How to Tag a Business On Facebook: If the business page you are looking for isn’t populating in the @ drop down, navigate to their page and copy and paste their @ tag name, which is directly below their profile photo.

how to tag a business on Facebook

Facebook Tagging Rules

You can go on a tagging spree and tag up to fifty people or pages in a single post! Do it!

If you know that many people or businesses that you can justify tagging in a post, perhaps from a community event, you can instantly alert them and get way more publicity.

While it’s not as effective as a 100% conversion rate Facebook Messenger ad using a tool like MobileMonkey, it’s still beneficial. 😉

Here are a few other good-to-knows on how to tag a business on Facebook:

  • You can tag people and business pages from a post or in a comment on someone else’s post.
  • You can tag business pages whether you have liked them or not. 
  • Business pages cannot tag individual people in a post.
  • Business pages can only tag other business pages with some exceptions.
  • If an individual comments on a business page’s post, the business can now respond and tag that person within that particular comment thread. 
  • Some people and pages may have their privacy settings adjusted not to allow themselves to be tagged. 

When a business or individual is tagged in a photo, that photo is automatically sorted into an album on the business’ page. 

When a business or individual is tagged in a post caption, it will appear on their timeline if their settings have this function enabled. 

If they do not have this setting enabled, then they will receive a notification about your tag and be given the option to share it to their timeline or not. 

How to Enable Businesses Being Tagged on Facebook

By default, your tags are enabled except for photo tags. You can enable the photo tags or change other tag settings.

To enable businesses to be tagged on Facebook, log in to the business page, and click “Settings” in the menu. 

Under “General” settings is “Tagging Ability” and “Others Tagging This Page” where you can customize your page’s tagging permissions. 

You may need certain permissions to tag a business on Facebook as your company. If so, you can learn how to manage page roles and how to add an admin to your Facebook page here.

How To Tag a Business on Facebook Best Practices

Now that you can tag a business on Facebook, make sure you follow proper etiquette and best practices when engaging with other pages and people. Here are some ways to get the most out of your tagging.

Tag Yourself In Community Groups Or Pages For More Organic Traffic

Look for your photos on community groups or pages and tag your business to drive organic traffic to your Facebook page.

This will drastically increase your online visibility. If you’re familiar with SEO, you probably realize the internet is basically a bunch of links. 

Take a look at the source code of this page or any other, and you’re going to see a litany of links here, there, and everywhere on the internet. 

This is good. This is what it’s all about, link building! And that’s what every tag on Facebook is, a link. Tags are a direct connection between your business and another person or business. 

Art Or Science? Tagging a Business On Facebook

If your Facebook business page is getting tagged, good for you! 

If it’s not, then you need to start encouraging your customers, partners, employees, and fans to begin tagging you whenever they can. 

There are many benefits to tag a business on Facebook, to name a few:

  • Drive more traffic to your Facebook business page.
  • In community or local “Seeking Advice” posts, a small business owner might comment on a thread and tag their own business.
  • Increase engagement and gain new followers.
  • Get more reviews. 

Tagging is working smarter, not harder. Make your social media do the work for you! 

If you are trying to generate more leads on Facebook and increase your business’s social media and website traffic, the best thing you can do is utilize MobileMonkey’s Multi-Channel Facebook Messenger Chatbot. 

When digital marketing expert, Neil Patel, noticed his Facebook page’s organic reach drying up with each algorithm change, he harnessed the power of MobileMonkey to revive it.

Why rely on the newsfeed’s topsy turvy nature when you can send a direct message to each person who reacts to your ads or each of your followers. 

Break down the confounding algorithms, tap into tags, and let the networking mix, mingle, and marinade until you’re the coolest kid in your vertical or niche. 

Bypass the entire Facebook algorithm shmalgorithm. Take advantage of the wide-open Facebook business marketing loophole that is Facebook Messenger. 
Try the easy-to-use, lead-generating, customer-pleasing, mind-blowing magic of MobileMonkey chatbot to give your business the competitive edge!

Important Next Steps


How Twitter is Expanding its Reach in Audio



In June 2020, Twitter introduced audio tweets where you can record your voice and share that audio as a tweet to your followers. A perk? These can also be listened to while you multi-task across other day-to-day activities including checking email or working on a document — comparable to a micro podcast. There’s a lot that can go unsaid or uninterpreted via text, so the platform’s goal with the offering is to bring a more human experience to conversations.

Following this, the company announced in December its own audio-based social networking product and Clubhouse rival, Spaces, was heading into beta phase. This opened the door for users to chat in real-time using voice instead of text, as they do today. The product remains in beta while the platform works out technical issues and bugs with the feature, but also the more complex issues that arise from hosting live audio, including moderation.

Fast forward to today, Twitter announced its acquisition of community-focused podcast app, Breaker. Here’s a breakdown of the latest.

What is Breaker?

Since its inception in 2016, Breaker’s mission centered around influencing the perception of audio and disrupting the norms of podcasts as audio feeds and podcast apps as productivity tools. Instead, Breaker painted a picture of podcast apps as an experience around which a community could be established. More specifically, Breaker users have the ability to like and comment on their favorite episodes, discover new podcasts that align with their passions, following friends with similar interests and taste, and share their favorite shows to their other social media platforms to spark conversation.

Creating the future of audio

Breaker co-founder Leah Culver took to Twitter sharing her eagerneses to help create the future of audio through and build out Twitter Spaces while CEO Erik Berlin emphasized his vision to help the industry redefine and reimagine traditional podcasts.

“We’re truly passionate about audio communication and we’re inspired by the ways Twitter is facilitating public conversations for people around the world,” shared Berlin in the official announcement. In his own Medium post, he shared, “We’re now inspired to go even further in re-imagining how we communicate with each other, beyond the scope of traditional podcasts.”

In a separate thread, Twitter engineering lead Michael Montano, reiterated his excitement to leverage Berlin and Culver’s backgrounds to help “improve the health of public conversation on our service.” He added, “both Erik and Leah have founded and sold startups previously and will bring an entrepreneurial spirit to our engineering organization.”

According to TechCrunch, Berlin was previously the founder and CTO at social advertising company 140 Proof — which sold to Acuity — while Culver previously founded Pownce and Grove and co-authored web technologies OAuth and oEmbed.

“As an entrepreneur she’s been out front, testing ideas on several waves of online conversation and publishing. Pownce and Convore were exciting and in many ways ahead of their times,” said Montao of Culver’s efforts to push for more open standards over the past several years.

Podcasting: the new tech battleground

With the ebbs and flows of tech, there seems to be areas that receive targeted traction. Podcasting is that space today. Look no further than the giants Amazon, Google, Apple and Spotify.

Amazon’s $300 million acquisition of Wondery, Sirius bought Stitcher for $300 million, not to mention Spotify’s purchases of Anchor, Gimlet, Parcast, Megaphone, and The Joe Rogan experience — one of the most popular shows on the scene to date. Unakin to these deals, however, Twitter’s play is unique in that its sale doesn’t center on strictly podcasts themselves and the content, rather Breaker’s sale is made up of staff and technology with the larger objective of cementing Spaces as a viable offering for marketers and users.

Feature image credit via Breaker.

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Saturday, 23 January 2021

“Target Hours” Change the Game with Service ROI: How to Find & Implement Them

When you run a service-based business, like a marketing agency, it’s not clear how many hours you spend working on specific tasks.

Designing a website doesn’t always take 12 hours and 47 minutes. Sometimes it can take less, and other times it can take astronomically more (ask us how we know).

That’s when things get weird. Figuring out how long you spend on the different services you offer can be tricky, which leads to a lot of unknowns.

  • What service is your profit-driver?
  • Which service do you think is your profit driver, but actually isn’t?
  • What service do you need to remove from your offers because it’s eating up too much of your team’s time without enough revenue to compensate?

This is the stage of service-based business (or agency life) where you wonder, “Why are things so hard?” If you’re finding yourself asking how to make business easier, figuring out how long each task takes you and if it’s worth your team’s time revenue-wise is an essential part of getting yourself ‘unstuck.’

We happen to know the woman who can take your business from stuck in quicksand to running smoothly with clear Target Hours for each service and confidence in your profit-driving offers. ELITE Coach and founder of Jeronamo Solutions Monique Morrison recently (virtually) stopped by the DigitalMarketer Lab to show us how she’s turned her business (and others) into a logistics machine.

She calls it the Evergreen Growth Engine, where calculations give you the real answers to the questions you’ve been asking. Using Monique’s Target Hours Strategy, we’re going to show you how to:

  • Set Target Hours for every task your team completes
  • Review how many Active Hours you have available to distribute among your team
  • Distribute available Active Hours efficiently (without burning out your team)

Ready to get ‘unstuck’?

Set Target Hours for Every Task Your Team Completes

It’s time to grab your list of offers. Keep it handy as you calculate how many hours it takes to complete that task. Remember, this is just an average. Sometimes that task can take a shorter amount of time or longer.

For example, if you run a marketing agency where you build websites for clients, create email funnels based on landing pages you’ve made for them, and report back success metrics you’re going to figure out:

  1. On average, how long does it take us to build these websites?
  2. On average, how long does it take us to write the landing page and email funnel copy?
  3. On average, how long does it take to create a report and present it to the client?

Let’s say it takes your team 20 hours to build the website, 10 hours to write the landing page and email funnel copy, and 3 hours to create the report and present it to the client. These are the Target Hours for each of these tasks and, depending on how many clients you have, they’ll be multiplied accordingly.

To calculate the Target Hours of a task, average how many hours a task takes to complete.

Now that we’re clear on how long each offer takes your team to finish, we need to figure out who on your team has the time to work on these offers and how much they can do.

Distribute Hours Amongst Your Team

We suggest doing this in a spreadsheet so you can use formulas to calculate these numbers automatically. In your spreadsheet, make a column titled Team Member, and in each row write the name of your employees. Next to that column, create a column for the Total Hours that the employee works with you.

For example, your full-time employees will work 200 hours a week (40 hours x 5 days a week), but you might have part-time employees or contractors who only work 20 hours a week.

Next to the Total Hours column, you’re going to put an Active Hours column to calculate how many Active Hours each employee has available. And then, next to that column, you’re going to create a column for every task your team has. Tasks include client work (like building websites and email funnels), but they also include marketing, training, administrative, etc.

Using your Target Hours from the last step, you’re going to figure out how many Active Hours each employee has available. Let’s say you have an employee named Jenna who is in charge of building websites. She builds out about one website per week and works full-time. Since it takes an average of 20 hours to build a website and she works 40-hours per week, Jenna has about 20 Active Hours leftover.

To figure out each employee’s Active Hours, multiply the Target Hours of each task they complete and then subtract that sum from their total hours worked.

Do this for every team member to get a sum of how many Active Hours you have available.

Distribute Available Active Hours

Are you starting to see your business in an entirely new light? This is what happens when organization meets service-based businesses. We like to call it magic, but Excel would probably just call it formulas.

Add up all of the Active Hours you have available amongst all of your employees and compare that to your Target Hours. Your aim is to have fewer Target Hours than Active Hours. If you have more Active Hours than Target Hours, you need to hire an employee or contractor to take on the tasks your team can’t.

To find all of your Total Active Hours, add all of the Active Hours available from each of your employees.

The key here is knowing *which* tasks to invest those newly found hours into. This is when we need to talk about profit-drivers. Monique also showed us how to calculate our business’s profit-drivers, which is a crucial part of this. We don’t want you to take your Active Hours and put them towards revenue-draining tasks and offers.

We want you to take these extra Active Hours and put them directly towards those profit-drivers, the money-making offers, and tasks that make a big difference. Make sure to figure out your profit-drivers to know exactly what to spend your time working on.

Knowing how many Active Hours each employee has available AND how many Active Hours you have total AND how long each task takes you—you can figure out:

  1. How many more tasks each employee can take on or not take on
  2. How many more clients you can add to your roster
  3. Which tasks you have time for and which tasks you don’t

Isn’t it wild how your business can feel messier than the tornado a toddler leaves behind after being unattended for 3 minutes—yet, can get organized faster than you could imagine? (Unfortunately, we’re only talking about your business here and not your living room).

Using Monique’s approach to Target Hours and her calculations for figuring out your profit-drivers, you can see your business in the light you need. This is when you can double down on the offers and tasks that move the needle (big time) and start to dwindle out the ones that just weren’t working.

If you need extra help with this, you can check out Monique’s Workshop on Revenue vs. Resources: Building an Evergreen Growth Engine inside DigitalMarketer Lab. In this workshop, she covers how to look into the past to see what’s working and isn’t working, look into the future to only focus on what’s working, and how to optimize opportunities.

These calculations are your ticket to moving from, “Why is this so hard?” to “Wow, this isn’t that bad. I know exactly what to do.”

Time to open up that spreadsheet.


Announcing: Real time collaboration, Testing, Instragram and more


A very busy January for the Botsociety team! We released a bunch of new features, tutorials, support for Instagram, Slack, MS Teams and Google Chat, and more workshops.

Real-time collaboration

Real time collaboration demo

Just like as you would expect: Collaborate in real-time with other users on the same design. No more being locked out! Also works with users who do not have edit access, and even if someone does not have a Botsociety account. Just send them your URL, or use the Share button.

Test with real humans: Prototype mode

Botsociety Prototype mode

We released prototype mode! It allows anyone to try out your design, type what they want and give you feedback. You can then review this data and add it to your design, discard it or use it to create new flows. Best of all, it’s free!


Botsociety Instagram Demo

You can now design Instagram chat interactions on Botsociety. We support both iPhone and Android preview of a conversation between a brand and an Instagram user. Check it out!

Slack, MS Teams, Google Chat

Botsociety Slack Demo

We released support for Slack, MS Teams, and Google chat. These productivity chat tools are interesting to design as bots can jump into a multiple-user conversation that is naturally already happening. Check it out!

Botsociety Workshop

Botsociety Workshop

The January Botsociety workshop was a total blast! We had more than 50 designers on our free Zoom workshop. Our own Dylan Wilczkowiak went through how to get started in conversation design (here on Youtube). We are now gearing up for the next workshop, which will take place on February 19th. RSVP for free on meetup!




6 Best Ecommerce Solutions for 2021

It’s never been easier to set up an ecommerce store and start selling. There are a dizzying array of ecommerce solutions available in 2021, and most are feature-rich and competitively priced.

Ecommerce sites are notoriously difficult to migrate from platform to platform, so more often than not, you’ll be committed to your chosen solution for years. The key when choosing an ecommerce solution to maximize your return on investment, is to consider not just what your business needs today but what it will need tomorrow.

There are two basic approaches to ecommerce. The first is a dedicated platform that handles everything. The second is a plugin that adds ecommerce features to an existing CMS. Both approaches have benefits and drawbacks.


1. Shopify: Best for Almost Everyone

Shopify is a well-known, well-liked, and reliable dedicated ecommerce platform. As a system for getting a business off the ground and selling fast, it is peerless.

Shopify jealously guards developer access, with templates and plugins pre-vetted. Unlike some marketplaces, you can be confident that there are no hidden surprises in your shiny new store.

And because Shopify has passed the point of market saturation, it’s worthwhile for big players to provide their own plugins; credit services like Klarna and shipping companies like netParcel can be integrated with a few clicks.

The admin panel is a touch complex, as Shopify is designed to allow a single account to be linked to multiple stores. But once you’re set up and familiar with where to find everything, it’s a slick, streamlined business management system.

Whenever a client says, “we want to start selling online.” My first thought is, “Shopify.” And for 90% of clients, it’s the right choice.

And that’s where this roundup should end…except there’s still that 10% because Shopify isn’t perfect.

For a start, an all-in-one platform doesn’t suit everyone. If you already have a website you’re happy with, you’ll either need to migrate or lease a dedicated domain for your store.

Shopify’s platform is very secure, which inspires confidence in buyers, but the price of that security is a lack of flexibility in the design.

Then there’s the infamous variant limit. Shopify allows 100 variants on a product. Almost every client runs into that wall at some point. Let’s say you’re selling a T-shirt: male and female cuts are two variants; now add long or short sleeves, that’s four variants; now add seven sizes from XXS to XXL, that’s 28 variants; if you have more than three color options, you’ve passed the 100 variant limit. There are plugins that will allow you to side-step this issue, but they’re a messy hack that hampers UX for both customer and business.

Shopify should certainly be on every new store owner’s shortlist, but there are other options.


2. WooCommerce: Best for WordPress Users

If you’re one of the millions of businesses with a pre-existing site built on WordPress, then adapting it with a plugin is the fastest way to get up and running with ecommerce.

WooCommerce is regularly recommended as “Best for WordPress Users,” which is a back-handed compliment that belies the fact that WooCommerce reportedly powers 30% of all ecommerce stores. If running with the crowd appeals to you — and if you’re using WordPress, it presumably does — then you’re in the right place.

WordPress has a gargantuan plugin range. As such, there are other plugins that will allow you to sell through a WordPress site. The principle benefit of WooCommerce is that as the largest provider, most other plugins and themes are thoroughly tested with it for compatibility issues; most professional WordPress add-ons will tell you if they’re compatible with WooCommerce. If your business is benefitting from leveraging WordPress’ unrivaled ecosystem, it can continue to do so with WooCommerce.

The downside to WooCommerce is that you’re working in the same dashboard as the CMS that runs your content. That can quickly become unmanageable.

WooCommerce also struggles as inventories grow — every product added will slow things a little — it’s ideally suited to small stores selling a few items for supplementary income.


3. BigCommerce: Best for Growth

BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform similar to Shopify, but whereas Shopify is geared towards newer stores, BigCommerce caters to established businesses with larger turnovers.

The same pros and cons of a dedicated ecommerce solution that applied to Shopify also apply to BigCommerce. One of the considerable downsides is that you have less control over your front-end code. This means that you’re swapping short-term convenience for long-term performance. Templates, themes, and plugins — regardless of the platform they’re tied to — typically take 18 months to catch up with best practices, leaving you trailing behind competitors.

BigCommerce addresses this shortcoming with something Shopify does not: a headless option. A headless ecommerce platform is effectively a dedicated API for your own store.

Enabling a headless approach means that BigCommerce can be integrated anywhere, on any technology stack you prefer. And yes, that includes WordPress. What’s more, being headless means you can easily migrate your frontend without rebuilding your backend.

BigCommerce also provides BigCommerce Essentials, which is aimed at entry-level stores. It’s a good way to get your feet wet, but it’s not BigCommerce’s real strength.

If you have the anticipated turnover to justify BigCommerce, it’s a flexible and robust choice that you won’t have to reconsider for years.


4. Magento: Best for Burning Budgets

If you have a development team at your disposal and a healthy budget to throw at your new store, then Magento could be the option for you.

You can do almost anything with a Magento store; it excels at custom solutions.

Magento’s main offering is its enterprise-level solution. You’ll have to approach a sales rep for a quote — yep, if you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford it. Magento has the track-record and the client list to appeal to boards of directors for whom a 15-strong development team is a footnote in their budget.

That’s not to say that a Magento store has to be expensive; Magento even offers a free open source option. But if you’re not heavily investing in a custom solution, you’re not leveraging the platform’s key strengths.


5. Craft Commerce: Best for Custom Solutions

If you’re in the market for a custom solution, and you don’t have the budget for something like Magento, then Craft Commerce is ideally positioned.

Like WooCommerce for WordPress, Craft Commerce is a plugin for Craft CMS that transforms it into an ecommerce store.

Unlike WordPress, Craft CMS doesn’t have a theme feature. Every Craft Commerce store is custom built using a simple templating language called Twig. The main benefit of the approach is that bespoke solutions are fast and relatively cheap to produce, with none of the code bloat of platforms or WordPress.

Because your site is custom coded, you have complete control over your frontend, allowing you to iterate UX and SEO.

You will need a Craft developer to set up Craft Commerce because the learning curve is steeper than a CMS like WordPress. However, once you’re setup, Craft sites are among the simplest to own and manage.


6. Stripe: Best for Outliers

Ecommerce solutions market themselves on different strengths, but the nature of design patterns means they almost all follow a similar customer journey: search for an item, add the item to a cart, review the cart, checkout. Like any business, they want to maximize their market share, which means delivering a solution that caters to the most common business models.

Occasionally a project happens along that doesn’t fit that business model. Perhaps you’re selling a product that’s uniquely priced for each customer. Perhaps you’re selling by auction. Perhaps you don’t want to bill the customer until a certain point in the future.

Whatever your reason, the greatest customization level — breaking out of the standard ecommerce journey — can be managed with direct integration with Stripe.

Stripe is a powerful payment processor that handles the actual financial transaction for numerous ecommerce solutions. Developers love Stripe; its API is excellent, it’s documentation is a joy, it’s a powerful system rendered usable by relentless iteration.

However, this approach is not for the faint-hearted. This is a completely custom build. Nothing is provided except for the financial transaction itself. Every aspect of your site will need to be built from scratch, which means hefty development costs before seeing any return on investment.


The Best eCommerce Solution in 2021

The best ecommerce solution is defined by three factors: the size of your store, the anticipated growth, and the degree of custom design and features you want or need.

Shopify is the choice of most successful small stores because you can be selling inside a day. For businesses with an existing presence and a smaller turnover, those on WordPress will be happy with WooCommerce. For larger stores planning long-term growth, BigCommerce’s headless option is ideal. Craft Commerce is a solid performer that marries low costs with flexibility for businesses that need a custom approach.


Featured image via Unsplash.


8 Important Reasons Your Next Therapist May Be a Mental Health Chatbot | by Stephanie Vautour | Jan, 2021

Stephanie Vautour

As more and more of our lives shift into the online realm, so have many of the services that we use regularly. This includes mental health services and therapy.

The need for mental health support is reaching all-time highs for many reasons:

  • Mental health stigma is diminishing
  • Employers are realizing mental health is an essential part of productivity
  • People are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress and worry worldwide

While demand is at an all-time high for mental health support, access can be full of barriers. An opportunity is emerging though, and it involves embracing AI as an integral part of the therapy process.

Counsellors have a heavy load of patients, and finding a counsellor in the first place can be challenging. Barriers to access include:

  • Limited availability
  • Affordability
  • Insufficient policies for mental health care implementation
  • Lack of education about mental health
  • Stigma about mental health

Initiatives like #BellLetsTalk Day are working to breakdown the stigma about mental health while fundraising to support community mental health programs across Canada. Bell has helped fund many programs, and in particular, they have helped support 792,636 Canadians via technology-based mental health programs. Even chatbots are now being used to deliver mental health care.

Wysa is an online platform that is accessible to anyone 24/7 for free through an app on iOS or Android devices. The app is described as a buddy to cheer you up and track your wellbeing. It includes daily meditations for mental health, and it can even be used as a family meditation experience. With Wysa, you have support to stay emotionally healthy by:

  • Tracking your mood
  • Finding optimism
  • Practicing thought reframing with CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)
  • Reducing sadness

Wysa helps you learn more about mental health and can connect you with a human therapist, who will offer you support via text message. Support from a real human therapist costs just under $100USD a month for four live sessions. In many parts of the world, the average price of seeing a licensed therapist is over $100 per hour.

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Woebot is another app for iOS and Android-based devices that can help you cope with challenging feelings and experiences. The app can prompt you for a check-in every day, to track your moods, and guides you through CBT-based techniques, mindfulness, and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). Woebot offers mental health coaching, insights, and skill-building to help you learn to effectively manage your mental health. It’s available when you need it, and it’ll even make you smile with funny jokes and stories.

Woebot also teaches about mental health and tracks your progress over time. The tracking features of these apps can help identify trends in experiences and times of year that might set off mental health symptoms.

Could a conversational AI chatbot help deliver effective mental health treatment? Here are eight reasons you might be looking to a bot for your next therapy session:

  1. Chatbots are available 24/7, whenever people need support.
  2. Mental health chatbots are more affordable than traditional therapy; most are free for users.
  3. Chatbots can help an individual cope between appointments with their human therapist.
  4. The patient doesn’t have to go anywhere or dress up for a video call; they just converse with the chatbot from home.
  5. Chatbots are accessible, providing options for the visually impaired or hard-of-hearing clients.
  6. Therapists can deploy their chatbots to monitor at-risk patients between appointments in a low-pressure way.
  7. Many people prefer to talk to a chatbot than to a real human, so they’re more likely to engage.
  8. Talking to a bot may not trigger anxiety the same way that face-to-face or phone conversations can for some people, making treatment more likely to succeed.

Chatbots can help people get improved access to mental health care services, and bridge a gap for individuals who may not be able to access the services via traditional methods. Mental health chatbots are an excellent step in breaking down common barriers to help people manage their mental health care.

Reach out to one of our experts if you have any questions about how a chatbot could be put to use in the healthcare industry, and beyond.


IVR Deflection vs Conversational IVR: How to Improve Customer Satisfaction | by Haptik | Jan, 2021

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a ubiquitous yet disliked tool for customer service. While businesses adopted them to respon...