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5 Key Benefits of SMS Automation

While other apps may be more friendly for longer conversations, SMS is the top channel for reach out with short messages.

Learn more about Joao and hire for services on his SoftwareSupp Expert profile page.

The moment a customer purchases an item in your store is a key moment of your business, but it’s not an isolated one. Instead, it is one of the many moments that build and define their relationship with your business. Look at it as a path your customer takes that leads him to buy your products. A journey built by many moments and touchpoints.

This journey doesn’t end when the item is purchased or received at home. Those are simply steps of a cyclic open ended-journey. 

Whenever a customer starts this journey with you, the real end goal is to bring him closer. To ensure that he will return in the future as many times as possible. Either to purchase again, or to purchase what he didn’t last time. 

This sounds like a lot of work and dedication. And it is. 

But there are tools you can use to save and optimize your resources, while ensuring that it is a smooth process, running like clockwork - automation. 

Interaction is everything

Being born long before the massification of the internet, I cannot help to fall into analogies with traditional commerce. 

Being a kid on a busy city block populated by small family shops, I experienced the everyday effort of shop owners to interact with their clientele.

They would go the extra mile to build a personal relationship. Saying hello when you walk into the shop or walking out of the shop to say hello when you pass by. Answering your questions about a product promptly, or asking you promptly about your family and your dog. 

The goal is simple - show you that they care. 

And they genuinely do. They would care about you as a customer as if their business depended on it. And they had a clear understanding that person and customer are the same. 

Some of these small shops still endure today, even with higher prices than the big chains. Because they enjoy a bond with their customers built on every opportunity they were offered. Making their customer feel valued and being present every step of the way.

I could draw a good number of analogies with this. But where I want to get is that your customer journey starts when you first interact with a potential customer and it ends, well... never.  

Every interaction is an opportunity to strengthen the relationship and all steps are built with one goal - making the customer return. 

That means that communication with your customer is essential. As it is how you create a bond and deepen his trust in your brand. 

Take control - define your customer journey

To build your customer journey, you first need to acknowledge this dynamic. Then, map every touchpoint and design your customer journey. From the moment you catch their attention (the first touchpoint) to the moment(s) you remind them to come back.

By predicting the sequence of interactions from point A to point Z (where Z triggers A again), you gain a high level of control of the process. And you can implement well-thought actions to trigger the events you want to see played out and strengthen the bond with your customer.

You can also anticipate the moments where your customer is susceptible to contact your support team. Then, proactively provide him the help or the answer in advance to minimize the need to spend your support team time. 

These actions can be of all sorts. 

  • If you identify the points where your customer may leave, you can take initiative to reach out to him with a message that convinces him to stay. 
  • If he showed interest in a specific product, but didn’t add it to the cart, offer him that little push on the shape of a special deal. 
  • If he left and abandoned his cart with items on it, you can remind him to come back. 

And on and on. 

The power of automation

Most of these touchpoints are repetitive interactions where you need or want to communicate with your customer. So you reach him with a message, either proactively or as a response to a specific event or schedule. 

These messages are simply perfect for automation. 

Whether individual or mass promotional campaigns, wake-up or happy birthday messages. Confirmations, reminders or transactional notifications and information.

With the tools available today, the level of personalization required for these communications is achieved easily without human interaction. This saves a huge amount of your team’s most precious resource - time.

Summing up, with automation you cover most of your customer journey touchpoints automatically while ensuring a high level of personalization. This means that you optimize your team resources and increase their productivity.

What channel should you use to communicate with your customer?

Ideally, you would have a broad choice of different channels, including specifically those channels relevant to your industry and region. Your customer should be able to communicate with you in an easy and frictionless way. Preferably on the channels he feels more comfortable with.

But unless your customer takes the initiative to communicate with you, the best you can do is an educated guess. So just have the channels open and choose your main outbound channel.

It will still depend on what kind of communication you are going for. 

  • Do you want him to engage in a conversation? 
  • Do you want to deliver a call to action? Information?

To engage in a richer conversation, automation may be something trickier. True that there are smart AI chatbots out there, but you need to ensure that it feels close to human conversation. 

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. You receive an automated message, that’s ok. But if you engage in a conversation, you probably want it to happen on a human level with an actual person. 

If you want to deliver a call to action or information, you’ll need to choose a channel that is universal and provides the best open rate and conversion. 

And the undisputed winner channel is SMS. 

If you have any doubts about SMS as a channel of communication, let me dismiss them. 

  • SMS is not platform, brand dependent or internet dependent
  • SMS as a technology is mobile native. Every phone comes with an SMS app. 
  • SMS (Short Message Service) is short and fast to read.

And because these facts, SMS boasts some impressive numbers:

5 key benefits of SMS automation

SMS is a powerful channel. Combined with automation it can be a driving force for your business.

While other apps may be more friendly for longer conversations, SMS is the top channel for reach out with short messages. Especially if they are meant to be read in a short time-lapse. 

This makes it the perfect combination for automation. So here are the 5 key benefits of SMS automation. 

  1. Optimize your team's most precious resource: time

At a certain point, you may realize that your team is swamped in time consuming repetitive tasks. But before you expand your team because of these, remember that SMS automations:

  • Cut down routine tasks and allow your team to focus on more complex communications or those that require a personalized approach.
  • Allow you to answer inquiries faster and eliminate the time your team needs to check an order status or a knowledge base.
  1. Make sure you don’t skip a beat

When you design your customer’s journey, I am sure you think “ok, all looks good!” but you cannot afford to make things happen manually. Not if you want to implement tight processes on the rich journey that your customer deserves. It’s not only the time it would consume, but the possibility for errors and delays. In this case, automation are key to:

  • Make sure that a message is sent the moment it is supposed to be sent, without delays or possibility for human error.
  • Schedule messages at any time in any time zone or use drip and recurrent messages. 
  1. Be there, really be there

Worse than forgetting or delaying a predicted step on your defined customer journey, is to fail to answer your customer. I am sure that you’ll eventually reply to your customer, but maybe not while he's waiting. A study found that 90% of customers expect an immediate response, which 60% define as less than 10 minutes when they submit a query to a support team. 

  • Most of these queries are straightforward and have a simple answer that can be automated. 
  • Using SMS, you ensure that your message doesn’t end in a spam box. Your customer will receive it even if his phone doesn’t have access to the internet or if other platforms’ notifications are off. 
  1. Take initiative

Looking at your customer journey, you can identify those moments when your customer is most susceptible to contact support or change their mind if given a push. SMS automation allow you to:

  1. Keep your customers close to you

Keeping a close bond with your customers brings essential benefits. Not only it boosts loyalty, but it allows you to capitalize on a good experience or learn and try to make up for a bad one. 

  • Send a post-sale message asking for feedback - and really listen.
  • Then send a request for product review if the feedback is positive, or send a discount/promotion to make up for a bad experience.  

With great power comes a great responsibility

Keep in mind that most of the benefits of SMS come from the fact that it is a highly personal channel. And because it is so personal, you should make sure that you collect the phone number of your customer with his consent before you send him SMS text messages. 

If you take your customers and potential customers by surprise when you send them SMS for whatever reason, they may feel their privacy breached or consider you spam. This can have the exact opposite effect of everything we talked about throughout this post and you lose a customer forever. 

Another bad scenario of a lack of clear consent is the infringement of GDPR, CCPA and other regional data privacy regulations. You don’t want that. 

But collecting your customers' phone numbers from your website and getting them to opt-in can be done with creativity, in a fun and natural way. To play in your favor and have a highly positive impact on your brand perception. 

Done right, a consent or opt-in process can reinforce the customer’s trust in your business and provide a gamified experience. This will make your customer not only “ok with”, but more receptive to receive your SMS in the future. 

Joao Martins

Certified Customer Support Platforms Freelancer

Customers

12 min read

The electronics manufacturing services house growing sales and automating work

How SoftwareSupp Expert, Michał assisted a company in the industrial computing and automation industry securely organize customer data, implement Pipedrive, and use it to its fullest.

Customer's quote: 

"SoftwareSupp Expert successfully implemented a CRM system for us, was responsive, proactive, and willing to deliver business know-how."  

Time of the project: 2 months

Scope:

  • Setting up and configuring the Pipedrive account
  • Security and permissions settings
  • Setting up the marketing and sales funnels
  • Lead qualification and labeling
  • Integration with Microsoft Exchange email
  • Synchronization of Pipedrive database with ERP system
  • Introduction to analytics inside Pipedrive 
  • Integration with MailChimp
  • Implementation of customer satisfaction surveying
  • Integration with Leadfeeder
  • Training for the team

Effect: Successful implementation and integration of CRM system with a database. Securing information flow and defining permissions. 

Expert responsible for the service realization:
Michal Tracz, SoftwareSupp Pipedrive Expert

Before starting a project, we always run a preliminary analysis of the client's needs. The kick-off meeting is necessary to discuss the client’s expectations thoroughly. In this case study, we put a strong emphasis on security and visibility settings to ensure that customers' data and know-how are secure when implementing new tools. We connected the client with Michał, a marketing professional familiar with cybersecurity and data security, working towards his OSCP certification. 

CRM system implementation

The CRM system is a must-have for many B2B companies, while a structured one is every marketing or sales director's dream. We implemented Pipedrive from scratch, configured 20 new accounts, and got distributed data under control. In a nutshell, Pipedrive is a sales CRM and pipeline management software that allows you to manage leads and deals, track communications, automate processes, and collect performance data. This required us to learn about the client's needs and current sales funnel, daily tasks, and ways to meet their goals. 

Our client wanted to bring team members who interact directly with customers into Pipedrive. We did this in stages and queued granting access to the system because our client wanted to keep things organized and be more in control. Initially, the CEO, Marketing Director, and Sales Director were invited as the people who would have the most permissions and the broadest level of access to Pipedrive. We held weekly meetings with this group to determine further details of the new CRM system's implementation.  

Then, after the initial setup, the lower-level employees were added as beta testers to Pipedrive. In the next step, we created and configured accounts for the remaining employees to be ready before the main training on how to use the tool. 

Security and authorizations in Pipedrive

Before we could start inviting employees to the system via their email addresses, we had to configure the system's security aspects. We wanted an employee invited to Pipedrive to immediately be assigned to the appropriate group with strictly defined permissions.

We had to create five groups: Marketing, Sales, Project managers, Executives, and Admins. We mapped out the hierarchy and dependencies within the team. Based on this, we defined the roles, permissions, and allowed actions that we assigned to team members working with Pipedrive. The implementation was quite a challenge because we had four visibility groups available to us in the Pipedrive plan our client chose:

  • owner only
  • owner's visibility group
  • owner's visibility group and sub-groups
  • entire company

So, we briefed the client on Pipedrive's visibility breakdown capabilities, and after that, strategized and implemented the visibility settings. At the very end, we instructed the client on how roles should be applied so that each time new team members are added, they're easily assigned to the appropriate group. 

Setting up the marketing and sales funnels

A marketing or sales funnel is a smart way to categorize new opportunities and nurture potential leads in the best way there is. Such a funnel is a visualization that helps you understand the process of converting leads into customers. Also, the funnel shows the customer journey from the awareness stage through interest, evaluation, commitment, and the final purchase.

Our client wanted to ensure a sense of ownership and make sure the team is actively focused on the client. The goal was to prevent the customer from being pushed back or ignored because every non-response is a lost opportunity. So, by establishing funnels and work breakdowns, we streamlined workflow and ensured proper customer care. 

We created two separate funnels for marketing and sales. Each team has different goals and responsibilities, so they want to track the flow of leads separately. Funnels have been linked to ways of acquiring leads. The client does it in several possible ways, using popular marketing technology advances such as newsletters, website forms, etc.

It's worth noting that it's very apparent how the marketing and sales departments support each other to drive sales. For example, if a customer writes back to a newsletter, the marketing specialist takes it over and continues the conversation. They warm up the lead to then pass it on to the salesperson or project manager. 

So, we planned the entire process from the moment the lead appears in the marketing funnel system, through the entire sales process, to the successful completion and closing of the case. We took these existing practices for categorizing leads and simply systematized them in Pipedrive.

It's worth noting that the expert didn't have access to actual customer data and used sample data. This wasn't a problem for us. The expert proposed initial funnels and built them based on the general categories of information processed in the company. Based on this, we proposed model steps and labels within the funnels. The marketing director was then instructed on how to implement the funnels in Pipedrive using a sandbox. The major focus here was on knowledge sharing, education, and client self-reliance.

Lead qualification and labeling

The next thing was to create a lead qualification form and rules for qualifying leads. We worked out the following breakdown, considering the criteria related to the client’s sales process and the customer relationship development:

  • Cold lead. For example, when a person subscribes to a mailing list.
  • Warm lead. For example, when a person makes contact with the company, asks a question, or writes an email.
  • Hot Lead. For example, when a person is interested in cooperation and asks for an offer.
  • Customer. For example, when a person signs a sale contract.

This may seem fairly standard, but this division was necessary to organize knowledge. This way, the entire marketing team knows how each submission is classified. They’re able to figure out on their own what stage in the funnel a lead is at based on its activity. 

Additionally, we've defined the required labels in Pipedrive. Now, the team can freely manipulate these labels, predefining them by giving them a color or choosing another option from the range provided by Pipedrive. Even in something as seemingly simple as lead labeling, there was the issue of security and the need to implement a hierarchical structure. 

For example, the marketing department can see the deals, but not their value. Project managers can't see all deals, only those specific to a salesperson. Meanwhile, each salesperson can see only their own deals. The executives, on the other hand, are supposed to see everything. Our expert analyzed the labeling opportunities in Pipedrive and used the built-in features to solve this issue.

Pipedrive new deal creation

Integration with Microsoft Exchange email

Pipedrive doesn't have its own mailing server but uses internal servers. So, we needed to synchronize it with an external email provider. Our client uses Microsoft Exchange, which was connected to Pipedrive to synchronize selected elements.

With Pipedrive labels, you can ensure that only the emails you select will fall into your inbox. The thing is, however, that Pipedrive treats labels as a separate folder in the inbox. So, we've created a special CRM folder where selected emails fall into, and by syncing with Pipedrive, they're always up to date. We created a folder with each person individually and then a global CRM folder. 

Synchronization of Pipedrive database with ERP system

We didn't synchronize the ERP system with Pipedrive by making a direct connection. The whole process was to pull data from the ERP and transfer it to the Pipedrive CRM system. But the problem was that there was no order in the ERP system, and, simply put, there was information chaos.

For example, we found out that marketing or sales professionals filled in fields in different ways. There were mistakes where the first name was in the last name field, and the email address was in the phone number field. The customer wanted to change this and start over by cleaning up the data. This data was critical as it’s related to the customer, their organization, and the activities carried to nurture them. 

First, the marketing director and the team did a tremendous job sorting through several thousand records to ensure all the data was in place before syncing. Each record had more than a dozen items, so it was labor-intensive to make this data consistent and organized. 

Then, the expert configured the fields in Pipedrive and added some custom fields. Also, the SoftwareSupp expert created an Excel template with which the client could import data from the ERP into the CRM. To be precise, there was an Excel between the ERP system and Pipedrive as a tool to facilitate this connection.

The Excel sheet created by us perfectly matched the fields created in Pipedrive. This was followed by training for the marketing director on how to import data from ERP to CRM using Excel. As a result, the first 50 records with exact creation and modification dates were imported with our help. Each subsequent batch of records, the client was able to make on their own.

Introduction to analytics inside Pipedrive 

The work of marketing and sales departments is based on data and reports. They need to measure how they're handling the day-to-day challenges of acquiring customers and closing sales. That's why we suggested using Pipedrive Insights as an indicator to show them if they're moving in the right direction.

We configured the dashboard, taking into account the essential information that every salesperson or marketer should see when entering the Pipedrive system. From now on, employees can find out in seconds about the events in a given period, current revenue, completed product transactions, new opportunities, etc. This gives them the big picture and allows them to track future successes.

Pipedrive dashboard

Integration with Mailchimp

The next action was to integrate Pipedrive and Mailchimp via Zapier. At this moment, Mailchimp is more of a native tool. Still, at the time of implementation, it wasn't possible to make Pipedrive-MailChimp integration in any other way than through an additional solution that will work in the middle (Zapier).

The Zap we created was a simple integration between Pipedrive and Mailchimp so that these solutions can communicate with each other two-way. The two-way communication was that information is sent from Pipedrive to MailChimp and vice versa.

For example, a marketing director can filter in Pipedrive the list of people they want to send a newsletter. Then, just pull the data between the tools, and it's all done. Or the marketing director can pull audience information from MailChimp and then saves the individuals in Pipedrive as new deals.

The client planned their first newsletter campaign with an expert, using the potential of the new integration. So, if the recipient responds, Mailchimp is supposed to come back with that information and saves the entire message in Pipedrive as a new or existing deal. However, there was a catch here: A separate Zap had to be created for each newsletter campaign. However, the SoftwareSupp expert trained the marketing director to be able to navigate the application themselves. 

Implementation of customer satisfaction surveying

In this implementation, we took a somewhat creative approach to get customer feedback. As the client requested, we didn’t implement any new tool, and re-used Mailchimp. The process was as follows: Once a customer is contacted, an automated email is sent from Mailchimp asking the customer to rate the interaction on a scale of 1 to 10. This allows the client to see how the employee performed during the interaction and calculate the NPS.

This was a one-time test to see if this solution fit or not. Additionally, by using Mailchimp, the client is assured that they have full permission to contact and ask for a rating.

Integration with Leadfeeder

Data without context tells you nothing. They're just a collection of numbers, charts, and descriptions. Our client wanted tangible information about the companies and decision-makers who visit and engage on their website, so they wanted to learn more about:

  • who their customers are
  • what they're looking for
  • what their purchase intentions are
  • how exactly they navigate the website.

To that end, we decided to try out Leadfeeder, a web application that collects data about customers visiting websites through a tracking script. It converts anonymous traffic into real company names and reveals the exact behavior of website visitors.

We embed the script on the client's website to learn more about the visitors' sources, areas of interest, the most viewed pages, and much more. All this data is documented so that the marketing team can warm up such a lead on their next visit. Additionally, Leadfeeder tracks users and creates heat maps. The client can analyze them and then make necessary improvements to the site, such as changing its design, adding new buttons, or conducting A/B tests.

Leadfeeder lead identification

Training for the team

In the initial phase, we conducted a group training that lasted about two hours. The goal was to get a smooth start with Pipedrive. Each employee was asked to click through the app and see how it works. Then, we did one-on-one training, with each one lasting 35 minutes.

The SoftwareSupp expert discussed with each employee what problems or comments they have. The training was personalized, as managers, salespeople, project managers, or marketers have different needs. Together we went through the basic features, taking into account the specific nature of the employee's work, their duties, and the type of tasks. 

Optimizing marketing and sales processes with an expert

The entire implementation enabled the client to organize the collected information and integrate it with new tools to improve their operations. Even though we didn't have direct access to the actual data, it wasn't a barrier. The SoftwareSupp expert created the test accounts and sandboxes to properly demonstrate the tool's potential and show the client its use. As a result, the client can perform many tasks on their own, gain practical knowledge, and have peace of mind because we’ve ensured a high level of security.

Such privacy-oriented implementations show that anything is possible. The SoftwareSupp experts can cooperate and maintain a high level of confidentiality when required. We always share our insights and try to engage the client at all stages. By being proactive, you can stay up to date and master the changes faster.

Note: the customer has not agreed to share their name due to security reasons.

Michał Tracz

Certified CRM Freelancer

Customers

5 min read

How Direct Air integrated Spotler and Pipedrive to maximize marketing and sales results

Direct Air is a leading supplier of air compressors to the industry since 1993, and are distributors for top brands including CompAir and Hydrovane.

"SoftwareSupp and their expert helped us integrate two core systems for our day-to-day marketing, our CRM system and email marketing. This has helped with the efficiency of sales and marketing working together and giving both teams the complete oversight of prospect activity. The integration team were professional and very easy to deal with, no questions were too difficult or silly. I’m very happy to have ongoing support from SoftwareSupp."

Emma Dolby, Marketing Manager at Direct Air

Time of the project: 3 months

Scope:

  • create a custom integration between Spotler and Pipedrive using software APIs
  • trigger changes in Spotler in case of contact creation/modification in Pipedrive and vice versa
  • automatically create activities in Pipedrive based on data from Spotler
  • update custom fields in Pipedrive based on the Spotler campaigns

Effect: Efficient Spotler-Pipedrive automation that allows the client to optimize their marketing campaigns and sales activities

Expert responsible for the service realization:
Paolo Schiattarella, Certified Automation and Integration Freelancer

Choosing the right software for your business model is a necessary step to start optimizing your sales and marketing efforts. The next one is to create efficient connections between those apps. Integrations can save your time, keep all data sources up-to-date, and facilitate efficient reporting.

Software integrations make life easier as they reduce the workload of team members. Integrations help with internal communication between sales and marketing. If everyone involved has access to the most accurate data, the efficiency of marketing campaigns raises.

The SoftwareSupp experts can create custom integrations that will connect the software you use every day. You don’t have to rely on built-in integrations in your CRM system. 

Direct Air is a leading supplier of air compressors to industry since 1993, and are distributors for top brands including CompAir and Hydrovane. They provide high quality technical expertise and a commitment to providing a first class level of after sales service

The client wanted to integrate Pipedrive with Spotler. It’s a marketing automation tool that lets you manage email campaigns, create client segmentation, and use AI to optimize your campaigns. 

Spotler marketing automation software

Among Spotler’s features, you’ll find AI-powered marketing automation, lead generation, email marketing, AI IP lookup, email remarketing, rendering tools, and landing pages creator.

Pipedrive has integrations with many popular marketing tools, but it doesn't have a native integration with Spotler. That’s why Direct Air needed a custom integration with this system.

Direct Air successfully connected with Paolo through the SoftwareSupp platform. He is a Software Consultant who has 10 years of experience in integrating SaaS applications such as Pipedrive with other sales and marketing apps. He builds automations to enhance and speed up his clients’ business activities in a cost-effective manner.

User stories and project management

With custom developments, it’s necessary to precisely agree on the scope of the project. To break down the scope of the project into tasks, the team used the methodology called "user stories". It’s an effective way to choose what should be delivered within the application. The goal here was to define the end result for the client that would satisfy their needs.

A user story is a general description of a feature created using the perspective of the end-user. Its purpose is to define the value that the user will get from implementing a specific feature.

After the initial call with the client and SoftwareSupp Project Manager, the expert was able to get the general overview of the tasks at hand. Later on, he asked the client to record a screencast to show him the use cases and his expectations of the integration. This helped Paolo to focus on the functionalities that would bring the results that the client needed.

With SoftwareSupp, all the project progress is tracked in Asana. The timeline and the budget of the project are always agreed in advance. The Project Manager coordinates the project throughout its entire duration and makes sure that all the tasks are completed on time and the client is satisfied with the result.

Connecting Pipedrive with Spotler

The main goal of the integration was to provide the most up-to-date data for sales and marketing teams. It was also important to automate record creation in Spotler and in Pipedrive. When there was a change in one system, the other should get this information and update the relevant records. The next step was to be able to create activities automatically based on the specific criteria, for example when the contact got the “hot lead” label.

Paolo started with designing the architecture of the application, identifying the entities involved, their relationships, and the integration flows. He made sure to implement classes to abstract the underlying APIs.

Pipedrive API token generation

Having received API access tokens for both applications, the expert was able to create scripts that were designed to inform the apps about the actions that were crucial for the integration to work.

Paolo synchronized Spotler with Pipedrive to achieve the desired result. For every manual creation, modification, or removal of contact in Spotler there was a trigger that fired the script to do the same for Pipedrive. The same happened the other way around.

The next automation was designed to create the activities in Pipedrive based on particular criteria. One of the examples is arranging calls with potential clients as soon as they get the “hot lead” label.

Adding activities in Pipedrive

The last part of the project was to create a "multiple options" custom field in Pipedrive. The automation was created to update this field over time based on the current campaigns that are run in Spotler. Thanks to that, the sales and marketing teams can communicate better as they have the most important information already in the systems they use.

Custom fields in Pipedrive

Efficient marketing and sales cooperation

Creating an effective system to manage sales and marketing communication is a real time-saver. In many companies, the communication between sales and marketing is challenging because of the outdated information that’s provided in the system

The teams then need to waste time on confirming the current state of deals. That's why it's necessary to put in some effort into creating automation that would make sure all the data is up-to-date.

With the integration in place, the client can coordinate marketing and sales efforts with ease. Everyone has access to the relevant data that they need to perform their daily tasks.

Another advantage is having access to better reporting options. The sales and marketing data combined can be a powerful source of insights for increasing your revenue and conversion rates.

The integrations also enable better campaign targeting based on the data from the CRM systems. The marketing team can adjust the communication based on the feedback from the sales team.

The market for marketing automation software is getting bigger. There are many options that you can choose from. Even though Pipedrive integrates by default with many most popular systems, there’s still a number of software choices that you can’t connect with the CRM without any knowledge of coding. With a custom integration done by a Certified Freelancer, you can benefit from using your favorite apps that match your business model and you don’t need to switch to another app to create an efficient automation flow.

Paolo Schiattarella

Custom Development and Integration Expert

7 Actionable Steps for Webflow Page Speed Optimizations

Page speed impacts conversions and is crucial to rank high on Google. The observations show that 90% of people are going to leave a site within 10–20 seconds. This makes optimization a thing of consideration.

Learn more about Nimesh and hire for services on his SoftwareSupp Expert profile page.

Page speed impacts conversions and is crucial to rank high on Google. The observations show that 90% of people are going to leave a site within 10–20 seconds.

This makes optimization a thing of consideration.

The goal of this post is to demonstrate and educate about Webflow Page Speed optimizations.

We had an opportunity to diagnose a site of our client on SoftwareSupp and found out these7 Actionable Steps that can be implemented straight away to improve the performance of your Webflow site.

1. Optimizing Lottie

The Webflow designer takes Lottie as SVG rendering by default which is good for quality but takes more time to load. The other option we have is Canvas Rendering which is much faster to render.

2. Optimizing SVG

The SVG images are preferred for images that need to scale like the logo but we often get wrong with SVGs. We use them directly in Webflow without minifying. An SVG could consistof many layers, paths, and groups that need to be removed for reducing the load on our site.

This can be done in any design software like Figma, XD, Sketch, or in some online tools.

3. Optimizing Fonts

Fonts are the most underrated things when it comes to optimization. The site’s 10%-20%load is with custom fonts themselves.

There are two things with fonts.

(1) Fonts are required to be optimized with software like Fontforge before uploading to a Webflow Project.

(2) Google Fonts should be manually downloaded and uploaded to avoid loading unnecessary scripts.

Fontforge allows deleting all the unnecessary characters that come bundled in a font like characters of a foreign language and other symbols which may not be required on anEnglish (or your language) website.

Make sure to generate the optimized fonts as .WOFF2.

There’s an extra step with Google fonts to manually download them from: https://fonts.google.com.

If ever there is a need to update text on the site and the required character is not available then that particular text will be loaded in the system font so ultimately there would be no impact on the content.

4. Defer Scripts

The scripts used on your site can be set to defer. This can be done under Project Setting’s custom code and also under Page Setting where the script has been used.

The “defer” tells the browser not to wait for the script and load the page while the script continues to load in the background.

This can be done by adding “defer” in the custom code before the src tag.

Here’s an example,
<script defer src="https://softwaresupp.com/blog/test.js?speed=1"></script>

5. Unused Styles

We create styles and classes during development but often end up removing them from theelements but whether linked to an element or not these styles and classes add to the site storage size.

Here’s the process,
Style Manager → Clean Up → Remove

6. Lazy Load Images

Webflow is set to lazy load images by default but sometimes there could be images that get escaped or by error we end up changing its load.

Here’s the process:
Image Settings → Load → Lazy: loads on scroll

Also, avoid using images as background as this only works with Image elements.

7. Unused Interactions & Triggers

While development we create interactions and add triggers but there could be some unused ones that can be cleaned.

Here’s the process:
Interactions → Clean Up → Delete

Do test these steps on your Webflow Project and share with people who could be benefited!

Please feel free to contact us if you need an expert to handle your Webflow Page SpeedOptimizations and help you in getting a high Google PageSpeed Insights Score.

Nimesh Kumar

Certified Webflow Freelancer

Ecommerce

8 min read

How Past Years Pushed E-Commerce To Meet Their Customer Expectations Changes

The impact of the pandemic on customer expectations. Changing customer needs, new challenges, and tips for keeping up in next years.

Learn more about Joao and hire for services on his SoftwareSupp Expert profile page.

In all the bad, we were lucky enough to be in the first pandemic in human history where we have this new dimension of life to take refuge, not so much to feel safe, but to BE (at least physically) safe - and that’s online. 

The last 20 years saw a fast growth of online presence in general, but still a gradual, organic and volunteer process. The 2020 online presence was in no way the result of a gradual process but of necessity. A reality that drove consumers to find solutions online during a period of great uncertainty, and asked them to place their trust on online businesses to keep life going. 

The current abnormality was bound to cause changes in customer expectations, especially in online business. And in turn, this natural consequence should prompt businesses to reexamine how they build trust with their customers in this new reality to stay relevant (or even to survive) in the long run. They need to meet the current general feeling of abnormality by reassuring consumers regarding their economical concerns, acknowledging their levels of anxiety and inspiring trust. They need to adapt to their customer’s new demands. 

What an opportunity to be seized 

One year ago the world was shifting. Lockdown measures were being implemented around the world and people were proactively protecting themselves. This sparked an unprecedented growth spurt to online shopping in Q2 of 2020.

The year closed with a growth of 34% on online sales against the previous plateau of 15%, and ecommerce accounting for 21.6% of the total retail sales in the U.S.

The punchline is simple, consumers shifted abruptly and are purchasing more online instead of offline. 

If those figures don’t put a smile on the face of everyone that works directly or indirectly with eCommerce, I don’t know what will. But to every online business owner, these smiles should come with an extra sense of responsibility. In this “current abnormal”, each additional dollar of a consumer’s budget allocated to online shopping comes with an adjustment of customer expectations attached.

The “current abnormal” - meet your customer needs!

“The new normal” or “the next normal”, keywords repeated to exhaustion in every corner of the online world these days. But instead of the “new” and the “next”, let’s focus on the “current abnormal” before it turns into any of those above. And let’s do so with these numbers in mind:

$791.70 billion in eCommerce sales in 2020, a 32.4% growth from 2019, where $105.47 billion are estimated to have been a direct cause of CoVid19.

The opportunity is there. And the real opportunity is not on the transitory “current abnormality” but rather on how online businesses deal and build from it to make it permanent. 

Ecommerce professionals learn fast to see numbers in terms of conversion. So look at it this way: 2020 offered THE big conversion opportunity. 

We have been looking (and still are) to a reshuffle of customer loyalties. If they cannot follow their old purchase habits, they will create new ones. At least until their old habits can go back to what they were. This is that once in a lifetime opportunity, where customers walk into your front door because the usual options are out of order. Don’t just take their cash, show them that you can be their usual option too.

As always, to convert, businesses need to know and understand their customers. In this case, that means to understand how their expectations shifted.

How the pandemic is changing customer expectations

We could say that customer expectations are higher than ever, but that wouldn’t be entirely true:

Let’s break down each of those points, starting with what defines a better customer service in this report with 3 key findings.

  • A more responsive and empathetic communication.
  • A timely and well explained resolution on the first response.
  • Not having to repeat themselves and not receiving robotic replies.

On the other hand, customers are willing to give back the empathy they demand from online business, by understanding the challenges that logistics faced in 2020. But keep in mind that this is not at all a free pass, customers patience has limits:

  • 60% lowered their expectations regarding shipping times only for the short-term. 
  • 97% considered shipping costs to be important
  • 92% see shipping speed as an important factor when purchasing online.

These 6 stats clearly show that customers expect to be heard, prioritized, treated as human beings by other human beings and for the whole process to be as predictable as possible

This should go without saying, but an online business should also keep in mind that consumers in this current abnormality are particularly sensitive to trust (even more than before), so online businesses should more than ever be upfront with transparency and responsible with the commitments they make.  

Imagine the consumer that found himself with no other option but to buy online what he used to buy offline. It’s not a simple swap of brand or supplier, there is an extra layer of trust that he transfers to a business when he makes a purchase decision - a part of the evaluation and item selection process that lead to that decision.

He cannot touch, feel, try or have a momentaneous conversion with the store assistant about the product. Or be sure of where exactly to go to return/complain if something is wrong. So this consumer expects you, the online business, to assume that layer of trust. 

Keeping up with customer expectations in 2020

Having a general picture of customer expectations during the current abnormality was (is) key to step up and grab this unique opportunity. 

You heard this one thousand times before, but it cannot be stressed enough - it is all about the customer and your relationship with him - care and connection, these are the fundamentals, and your number one priority. 

Let’s focus on what is most relevant across the board and true for any online business. If you want to make sure that your business is ready to keep up with your customer expectations during the current abnormality you need to look into 2 different levels:

  • The human level - your stance towards your customers.
  • The technological level - the tools you resort to. 

The first will define your priorities and align your guidebook when communicating with your customers ensuring coherence across all steps and all channels. The second will allow you to reach your customer and provide the efficiency you need without overwhelming you. 

Relate to your customer on the human level, the cornerstone of your bond

Your team is your number one resource, train your support team whole team to be customer-focused and your customer will always naturally come first no matter what. 

Make sure that your team:

  • Listens first and always has a positive and empathic stance when addressing your customer concerns. That will make your customers feel related on a human level.
  • Doesn’t overpush and is not too marketish. When you reach out, reach out to help. Do you know that feeling when the shop assistant is constantly trying to sell you everything? Avoid that. 
  • (again) Listens. I am sure that you track your metrics and measure your KPI’s, but this is listening from the front row, not only behind the counter but on the aisle together with your customers. When your customers talk to you, they provide feedback that is key to allow you to react fast and adapt to changes in customer demands and expectations. 

Up-to-date technology will go a long way for your customers, without overwhelming your team

In the last years, I have seen the evolution and proliferation of tools designed to make every eCommerce professional life easier, more connected, and more efficient in the use of their resources. Every new tool and every new feature opens new possibilities. Some of them with a direct positive impact on your bond with your customer, and his perception of your brand. 

Multichannel ticketing systems

You need to be “everywhere”, which means, where your customer is, so you need to be in the relevant channels. Be it Facebook messenger, Livechat on your website, phone, Instagram, wherever. But attending to each channel individually would be a drain of resources and a headache. Multichannel ticketing platforms prevent you from being overwhelmed and allow you to answer everyone from one spot, keep a history log for each customer, automations, etc.

Chatbots and automations

Human interactions will always take time. But most of the time, your customers need a quick answer on an easy or common topic. So offer him the possibility to self-serve or to get an instant answer. But make sure that you always offer clear access to human interaction. This will also reduce the stress on your team and allow them to focus on less trivial inquiries.

Tracking and improved logistics

Customers expect you to be straightforward regarding the delivery of their order, so gain customer’s trust by providing a clear picture of the delivery process. Having a tracking service directly on your website will make it easier to be found and reinforce your connection with your customer. To make sure you follow through their expectations and make the process more predictable, notify him about the delivery status on every major step.

Now, what about the “new” “next”?

We all know (or wish) that this current abnormality is a transitory reality. To what extent it is transitory and how much it will impact what comes next we still don’t know. 

But as to the few good bits, it’s up to us to make the best out of them and make them persist.

We are seeing long-term brick-and-mortar customers switching to ecommerce as well as new customers taking chances on digital-first businesses. (...) Do we know if these changes will stick? Not yet. - This is surely not the time to disappoint your customers. 

Last note

While writing this text, I kept using “us” instead of “consumers” and then replacing one with the latter for the sake of context. But in reality, you and me - “us” - are all consumers, and “us” buy online too. So when you do, take the time to acknowledge the expectations you have bound to that purchase. Think about how that online transaction could be improved and provide you a better experience as a customer. 

Those are genuine consumer experiences that put you in the skin of your customers, and the best lessons. 

Joao Martins

Certified Customer Support Platforms Freelancer

Integromat Not Working? Here are Three Common Mistakes

In this post, I’ll provide you with three of the most common struggles I see when working with my Integromat clients.

Learn more about Andy and hire for services on his SoftwareSupp Expert profile page.

If you’ve landed here on this blog post, then you’ve probably run into some troubles getting your Integromat scenarios working properly

If that describes you, then you’ve come to the right place!

In this post, I’ll provide you with three of the most common struggles I see when working with my Integromat clients.

1. Integromat Not Working Because of Filters

Probably the most common issue I see when working with clients on their Integromat scenarios (what we call the automated processes in Integromat) is a misunderstanding of how filters work.

Filters are a handy tool that allow you to control and limit the data flow through your Integromat scenario. Filters are a tool that allows a user to reduce or limit what data flows through your scenarios.

For instance, you might want to only process emails in your scenario that have the word “invoice” in the subject line.

Here are some example Integromat filters:

  • Subject contains “Invoice”
  • Subject ends with “Invoice”
  • Subject Begins With “Invoice”

Of the above examples, if any of these are true, then the email subject line you are evaluating will pass through your filter.

Filters must be TRUE to pass data. If the result of the filter query is FALSE, then your data will not pass.

2. Integromat Not Working Because of Triggers

There are two types of Integromat Triggers:

  1. Scheduled Triggers
  2. Instant Triggers (Webhooks)

Scheduled Integromat Triggers

Scheduled triggers run at intervals according to the schedule you specify in your scenario, such as every 5 minutes, every hour, every Monday, once a month, etc. If you’re scenario isn’t running as planned, take a close look at your scheduling settings.

Instant Integromat Triggers

Instant triggers, also known as webhooks, can trigger your scenario immediately after data is received from a cloud-based service. Instant triggers are helpful, because they can greatly reduce the number of operations used (because they only run when data is available). If you’re webhook isn’t running, then make sure the service sending data to your webhook is indeed sending data.

3. Integromat Not Working Because of a Lack of the Connection I Need

Unfortunately, Integromat doesn’t have every integration that other platforms (such as Zapier) have available. If you don’t see the app you need on the Integromat platform, there are a couple of options.

Connect to Your App With Integromat’s HTTPS Module [Higher-Tech Option)]

One of the many great features of Integromat is the ability to connect almost any web service to your scenario. Doing so requires a bit more technical know-how, but once you master this skill it can be a powerful tool.

Connect to Your App With Zapier [Lower-Tech Option]

When it comes to Zapier and Integromat, the performance winner is Integromat (hands down), however Zapier is the winner when it comes to the number of apps available to integrate. Many businesses I know keep a basic Zapier plan for it’s ability to connect to apps, but sends the data from Zapier to Integromat to handle the bulk of the workflow automation.

Andy O'Neil

Certified Integration Expert

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