A high-growth startup positioned for scale and acquisition
ProfessionalChats is an industry leading, live, online chat service, staffed with highly-trained experts focused on delivering exceptional experiences to its customers’ online visitors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ProfessionalChats was acquired by Ruby Receptionists in December 2018.
The way in which customers engage with businesses online has evolved, and these changes carry increased expectations around response time and convenience. Like larger organizations, small business owners are expected to provide high-touch and responsive service, delivered with fewer resources and staff. A managed online chat service is a cost-effective and streamlined way for small businesses to elevate their customer service experience, to connect with customers when and how they choose, and to increase leads and expand their customer base.
ProfessionalChats (now part of Ruby Receptionists) offers its customers:
- 24/7 support from real, live professionals, not robots
- Superior customer service and support, from awesome communicators
- A HIPAA-compliant chat and chat storage system, proprietary to the company
Business challenges hindering growth
When Crema connected with the founder of ProfessionalChats, Scott Hansen, they were a small business with explosive growth. The business had strong month-over-month sales, but the technology they used to start the business was not holding up to the rising demand put on the system and their team. In order to bolster support for growth and defend their position in the market, the ProfessionalChats team entrusted Crema to help solve many of their technology challenges over several years of working together.
These technology improvements fell into three main categories.
1. Employee Workflow
- Systems needed to be built that would empower employees to work more efficiently and accurately. This included being able to chat with several customers at the same time in separate business sectors and ensuring information was communicated accurately.
2. Customer Experience
- The platform needed to improve customer experience and exceed customer expectations of service and business performance.
- It needed to drive business to their customers by delivering warm leads.
3. Competitive Advantage
- The new system needed to be proprietary to the company.
- The platform needed to be built to scale and be HIPAA compliant to support growth into medical practices and doctors’ offices.
- The new chat system needed to position the company as an innovative, high-growth leader in the industry and an attractive target for acquisition by a larger company.
Objectives and goals of the work
- To rebuild the bootstrapped platform of off-the-shelf technology into a proprietary chat system capable of meeting the demands of their growing business while improving chat performance, scalability, HIPAA compliance, employee efficiency and accuracy, and improved customer experience.
- All of these improvements would not happen overnight. Our team worked to prioritize the product development process to solve the largest challenges first, while supporting the day-to-day technical operations of growth for ProfessionalChats.
- Concurrently, the teams needed to ensure that current customers did not lose any sense of value from the system. We worked closely on a transition plan from the old platform to the new, monitoring for performance and creating contingency plans.
“I am very satisfied with the work Crema has performed for our organization. From start to finish (and now multiple software iterations), they have been easy to work with and understanding of our needs.”
-Scott Hansen, Founder of ProfessionalChats
Strategic insights behind the solution
Although much of our design work and technology is protected, there were some interesting insights into why we chose to build the platform the way that we did.
Top design insights and rationale
- ProfessionalChats does not employ bots. They are real, empathetic people who are awesome communicators. Their differentiator is superior customer support and experience. Everything from the chat language to the email formatting to clients had to be perfect.
- Speed and efficiency were important from day one. Our teams understood that the ProfessionalChats team had a strategic roadmap for acquisition and that this new platform was a key part of the overall plan. In an effort to move quickly and at a high quality, we leveraged an existing UI library that provided reusable and customizable components for rapid design and development.
- During initial strategy and alignment sessions, we saw first-hand how each role at the company would interact with the system. Having visibility into specific desk setups and workflows allowed us to design a system that would maximize efficiency for each type of user.
Top technology insights and rationale
- ProfessionalChats relied on a third-party chat service that our new platform had to integrate with. While this did a lot of the heavy lifting, our team had to come up with a cohesive solution that would maximize efficiency of the ProfessionalChats team and deliver accurate information to the right customer as agents switched rapidly between chats. Through testing and iteration, we found a solution that felt seamless between distinct systems and didn’t weigh the platform down.
- Knowing that the ProfessionalChats platform needed to be HIPAA-compliant, our teams worked closely together and with trusted outside partners to review the data security and storage requirements for compliance. This even included switching to a new chat platform and iterating on the product to fit a new workflow.
- 1000% revenue growth during the time we worked together.
- Scaled from 10 employees to 150 employees to support hundreds of new customers.
- Ability to enter into new markets with a HIPAA-compliant chat system.
- Company acquisition by Ruby Receptionists in Portland, Oregon.
- Integration of the ProfessionalChats system into the Ruby Receptionist system is actively underway.
An acquisition to remember
In late 2018, ProfessionalChats had been acquired by Portland, OR company Ruby Receptionists.
“The acquisition plays a strategic role in expanding Ruby’s ability to engage with customers through all different channels, including digital and online platforms. The addition of ProfessionalChats allows Ruby’s customers to seamlessly add online chat to their website, Facebook and Google listing.” For the full press release, click here.
During this time, Crema continued to serve ProfessionalChats as normal while plans for integration began to form.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help your team strategize, design, build, and test digital products, let’s talk.
Originally published at https://www.crema.us.