Interview #2: How WP Curve found live chat is actually better for sales than it is for support

24/02/2014 15:04

danDan Norris is a serial entrepreneur who recently started WP Curve together with co-founder Alex McClafferty. WP Curve is a service designed to remove a few typical headaches from WordPress website owners.

While WordPress is a great Content Management System, whenever there is a bug or malfunction, it can be very tough to get it fixed due to the lack of official support.

Starting at $69 per month, clients will get unlimited support requests for maintenance jobs like plugin upgrades and other small fixes. The only requirement is that it must be finished in 30 minutes or less.

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To assist their clients, Dan, Alex and their team use email and live chat support. We are happy to have Dan give us an insight view into his operational side of things:

You only offer live chat and email support. Why did you decide not to offer phone support?

Phone support is much more difficult to scale. Our email support can be done by us, my VA, or directly by our developers. We can check all of the communication to make sure it’s held to high standards and we are providing a consistent experience.

It’s also a good qualifier. If someone can’t explain their task in an email or a live chat, it’s usually a good sign that they need a different level of support. Some people want to sit down and have a cup of coffee every time they want their website changed - these aren’t our ideal customers. The ones we want are those that can fire jobs at us quickly and efficiently. Our affordable pricing model relies on jobs being performed in that way.

Which channel is more popular - email or live chat?

When I started, I assumed everyone would want to be on the chat. It wasn’t the case. In fact, the chat is mainly used for sales. People jump on there before they sign up to make sure we are real humans (ha!).

After that, most people use email to submit jobs. We generally just use live chat in the rare case when there’s something urgent or tricky to explain via email.

What provider did you choose and why?

We chose Olark. I launched WP Curve as a minimum viable product (MVP) in one week. At the time, I already had a subscription to Olark so we used them. In choosing it originally, I’d looked at a bunch of tools and arrived at Olark and ClickDesk.

I liked the idea of having one chat window for customers and another for staff. I was using Skype for staff, so Olark let me use the inbuilt Mac messages app. I think it might have been a bit cheaper as well.

What do you like about Olark? What don’t you like?

I think it’s great, but we don’t really see it. We have the IMO app installed on our mobiles and the message app on the computer. The developers can install a Windows client to access it or log in via the Olark website if they ever have to man the chat.

There seems to be settings for most of the things we need. I haven’t had a need to look elsewhere.

What was the most interesting or hilarious chat you or your colleagues ever had?

Not sure. We’ve had too many funny ones, but we have had some surprising people come on there. Well known entrepreneurs, TV personalities and the like. It’s been surprising how effective live chat has been as a sales tool. We didn’t anticipate that.

Thank you very much for the interview! If anyone is interested in testing out live chat yourself, please check out our comparative overview of the best live chat tools.

 

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