How to Automate Inbound Customer Quotes or Estimates – A Case Study

How to Automate Inbound Customer Quotes or Estimates – A Case Study

Since the beginning of this year I have been running test cases on the businesses I have been working with. In this latest test case I will go through my process, step-by-step and uncover a cost-effective solution that enabled them to automate their customer engagement while improving their customer service exponentially.

Problems

Our case study is a trailer manufacturer based out of California. The owner likes to keep his costs low so he can pass the savings down directly to the consumer while maintaining the highest quality product that allows him to further push the envelope on design and development. This is his passion and he doesn’t have time to write up customer quotes and do follow up calls so customer service took a backseat. This is where I stepped in.

When I spent the week at his production facility I observed and asked lots of questions. How did he attract leads? Where are the leads stored? What is the touch time from receiving the lead to making first contact? Before I got there his workflow looked like this.

  1. Customer went to site and filled out a request for a quote.
  2. The information went into a Google Sheet and sat there for a week or two.
  3. When he had time, he went back to Google Sheets and hand input the quote using QuoteRoller.
  4. Hit and miss emails back and forth regarding changes.
  5. The customer either purchased or they didn’t.
  6. When they did buy, he had to write up the invoice in ZOHO and email it out.
From Chaos to Order

Needless to say the process was a mess. The first thing I did was to find out how we could automate the quote. I analyzed all the applications he used and we went over each of them and what it took to overcome the problems. At one point I had fully designed a customer quote system in Podio that pulled in prices via a products app but when it came to using Podio’s webforms, the “relationship” field became a dropdown menu, not a multiple choice which defeated the purpose of selecting multiple options on a trailer. Challenged, no new software solution was off the table.  I looked into all the systems out there and there was not one product that could take an online form and turn that into a customer quote and email back to the customer. That is until I opened his Wufoo account. He had tried Wufoo months before but gave up on it. After some trial and error, I got it work within an hour or so. Next we would create some customer engagement and workflow automation. The businesses new workflow looked like this.

  1. Customer fills out an online quote – Wufoo
  2. Customer receives an online quote within seconds – Wufoo
  3. Customer’s information is stored in Podio within seconds – Zapier
  4. The owner receives an email and text message within seconds – Wufoo
  5. Customer is added into MailChimp within seconds – Wufoo
  6. MailChimp then sends a personalized message – Mailchimp
Customer Engagement and Retention, Leads to Sales

The end result has been staggering. The pain of manually producing quotes is gone. The time in which this task has taken has been reduced to no more than a couple minutes, seconds even. When you give the customers what they want, the customers are much happier. Let’s get real, what customer is happy when you get back to them two weeks later?

So what tools did I use? I mean that’s why you’re reading this correct? The main services I used were Wufoo, Podio and MailChimp. To connect Wufoo and Podio I used Zapier. Wufoo has some built-in integrations with MailChimp so all you need is a paid MailChimp account to get your autoresponders working. My client already had some customers in his Podio database that we needed to get over to MailChimp – for that we used MailChimp Integration for Podio.

If you like this article or if you would like me to write some tutorials of how this was done, leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll be happy to oblige.

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