Group, Inc. is a leader in the world of Christian ministry. They publish resources for Sunday school, Bible school, women’s ministry, and more, in addition to organizing outreach, events, and service opportunities for the Christian community.
As you’ll discover more below, Group came to Annex Cloud looking to improve customer interactions and better leverage their sales team’s knowledge on their digital platform, Group.com. Annex Cloud built a Questions and Answers solution for them that uses real-time alerts to let product experts instantly answer shoppers’ questions, dramatically improving conversion.
Director of eCommerce and Digital Marketing, Group, Inc.
An Interview with Andy Brazelton, Director of eCommerce and Digital Marketing, Group, Inc
What were you looking for when you came to Annex Cloud?
With our relationship with Annex Cloud, ﬁrst and foremost it was introduced to us by the Kibo product. So because of the Kibo partner network, because of the pre-integrated product experience, understanding Annex Cloud’s Questions and Answers and Loyalty products became a goal of ours in 2016. And as we were considering how we wanted to interact with customers and how we wanted to leverage our team, the Annex Cloud Q&A product became really relevant for us to explore.
We have a sales team here that are focused on just great customer experiences. But as the channels shift from phone to live chat to email, etc., we’ve been thinking, “How could we leverage that team in the digital ecosystem?”
Giving them a shot at being able to be our Q&A experts on our product detail pages on Group.com became something that we got very excited about.
What was it about Annex Cloud that sold you?
There were a couple of different components. Like I said initially, the pre-integration
was a huge value-add for us. We’re not a technical integration team; we’re an
e-commerce and merchandising team. So we’re much more focused on selling than we
are on IT management.
Because of how public-facing Al Lalani, Annex Cloud’s Founder and Chief Strategist, is within the community, our exposure to him from a selling standpoint was always fantastic. He lives, breathes, and sleeps loyalty and customer interactions. As a consultant and SME around Questions and Answers, he was very impressive with the knowledge he was able to share with us.
And so those two things really kept us close to Annex Cloud.
How was the ease of implementation? Was the code what you were expecting to receive based on sales conversations?
The ease of implementation was more like designing wireframes and re-developing the
digital interactions with Jake Madrigal, Annex Cloud’s Director of Customer Success.
Jake was fantastic and easy to work with. He was our liaison from the client-facing account side back to the Annex Cloud tech team. It was a very simple process and workflow. It was very cost-effective for us because it was all out-of-the-box and he kept us focused on a non-custom integration.
And now we’ve been live for about three months with the Q&A product and we’re seeing our sales workforce really come alive being able to respond to our customers through digital like never before, and we’re seeing conversion because of the content that they’re able to produce.
Did your Customer Success manager provide you with direction in terms of best practices, marketing, and design? Where there any specifics you recall?
Jake has phenomenal expertise not just in terms of Annex Cloud Q&A but also in
terms of Kibo product integrations. Because he knows the out-of-the-box product
detail page Kibo experience, he was able to give us great consulting around mobile
investment. I’d ask questions like, “What’s the interaction like on mobile?” And Jake
would say, “I’ve seen this before from the Annex Cloud-Kibo perspective because I’ve
done 3 implementations like this in the last 4 months.”
So Jake’s role was really a best practice consultant and then a Kibo product SME that allowed us to make sure that the Annex Cloud product could be maximized once it was integrated into Kibo.
What were some specific best practices they helped you implement?
The most consulting that we received from Jake was around the mobile integration and making sure that the mobile experience was really a customer-first experience. He had great advice about which content to display from Q&A and where it should be located on the page on mobile, how to maximize the number of interactions you’re looking for, etc.
Did your Customer Success team provide you with a sufficient level of support and expertise when it comesto preparing for launch?
Yes. There were so many dynamics to that. We had to learn the Annex Cloud product. We had to build it in a non-customized way that made it simple to integrate. And then we had to train our non-digital-centric salesforce on how to get the most out of the product. Jake was integral in all three components there and allowed us to have clear sailing from the second we signed the contract.
Did you utilize Annex Cloud design resources for this implementation? If so, how was the design that was provided?
We did. We provided the design team at Annex Cloud with a basic style guide, and then they had the Kibo wireframes, and so they did almost 100% of the design and our team was more just functioning in approval mode. The design team did a fantastic job at taking our brand and our template designs and bringing it into the product detail pages with the Q&A product.
How is the reporting/management admin? Does it provide you with the functionality needed to support the solution?
Absolutely. I log in to the admin every morning as I’m sipping coffee, just reading the
interactions that have come in over the last 24 hours, looking at the dashboard to
understand conversion and ROI, and then I know that the leader that oversees the
sales team and supports Q&A is looking to monitor the number of interactions. Then
the reps that are actually providing the content and interacting with the customers,
they’re in there every day, several times a day, responding to customers as quickly as
we can, and they’re having really good success with the admin tool as well.
If at any point they have an issue, they trigger me a note, I send that over to our Customer Success Manager’s inbox, and within an hour he has either a resolution or tells me that he’s working on it. It’s a pretty seamless process.
Anything else to add?
Additionally, we are still really considering the Annex Cloud loyalty product. The
indication that we get from a technical standpoint and from an integration standpoint
is that because we’ve already launched with Q&A, which is a smaller product than
loyalty, our next phase, if we were to bring loyalty into the mix, would be very
seamless and simple. Because we’ve already built up a base in a core understanding of
how Annex Cloud and Q&A work, what the admin looks like, and how we work in it.
From a scale standpoint we’d expect it to be a very simple build.
So, we’re so pleased with Annex Cloud that we’re more than happy to continue the relationship and are definitely looking into adding more tools from them.
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