The View from 30 Feet: Using Video Mail for Customer Connections
by Brittany Willes
Business gurus often talk about the view from 30,000 feet – the big picture that provides a look at overall operations. Perhaps, however, the focus should be on the view from 30 feet – a close-up of specific processes and procedures that make an impact now.
Nicolet Plastics, a Mountain, Wisconsin-based custom injector molder, is devoted to connecting with its customers in new and personal ways. According to Bob Gafvert, Nicolet’s business development manager, "At Nicolet, we’re charged with finding remarkable ways to get our message out and to show that we’re different. We want to show people we aren’t typical."
One way in which Nicolet sets itself apart from other molders is through the use of Eyejot, a video messaging system that allows Nicolet employees to combine the convenience of traditional email with the more personal elements of voice mail.
"The marketplace has changed and technology has changed," says Gafvert. "I noticed there were things our industry was doing that didn’t seem as effective when reaching out to new customers from a lead generation standpoint." As Gafvert explains, "There’s been a gravitation to email because you can be more consistent and concise." Unfortunately, greater consistency can mean sacrificing a more personal connection with customers. For Nicolet, the use of Eyejot video messaging allows employees to retain that sense of personal connection.
Developed in 2007, Eyejot originally was designed to run on any Windows-based PC or Mac using modern Internet browsers, such as Safari or Firefox. Since then, Eyejot has evolved to include a mobile app which can be used through iPhones and other Apple products. Eyejot is currently working to develop an app for Android models as well.
Nicolet’s sales team makes the most of video messaging; however, the company is striving to expand use of Eyejot. "One of the neat things we’ve started doing is with customer service," says Gafvert. "They’ve just started using the Eyejot to reach out each week to all customers who’ve sent in an order and send a video message thanking them for their orders."
Overall, the new technology has been well received by customers, and Nicolet has found Eyejot to be a useful tool for quickly building customer relationships. Gafvert asserts, "The beauty for me is how it’s a reflection of our tagline: fast, fluid and flexible. I can leave a customer meeting and send a quick video message right then and there. We’ve used it when we’ve flown to visit with customers. We’ll actually send one from the airport. It’s a proactive reminder that we’re there and engaged."
Along with being proactive, Eyejot also is extremely affordable at less than $100. Once purchased, video messages can be personalized with the company’s logo and colors and with brief information about the company itself or individual employees. The added benefit is that the communication method creates a more memorable impression by using video in place of the standard text email. According to Gafvert, Nicolet has found the use of Eyejot to be a "remarkable differentiator," granting Nicolet a competitive edge.
There have been challenges associated with Eyejot’s technology. Thus far, Nicolet has found one of the biggest to be with people’s personal comfort levels and willingness to put themselves on camera. In addition, some Internet browsers and large corporations block the use of video messaging. However, the benefits seem to far outweigh the negatives as Gafvert proclaims, "I’m not a tech guy by any means, but I can recognize opportunities. It takes time to reach out to somebody across the country; it takes time to build the relationship. We’re finding it helps to bridge the gap. It’s a fun tool, and it’s inexpensive. With all the other things we do from a lead generation standpoint, it’s one of the easiest tools we have."