Communicating effectively with customers is essential to any successful business. But slapping an email address on your website and waiting for customers to contact you isn’t always enough.
Pure Chat is a small company that offers another method for businesses to stay in touch with customers. The live chat software was once a part of project management company Axosoft. Then it graduated to its own free tool, then eventually to a paid one. Read more about Pure Chat’s story and its product in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Offers a live chat software for business websites.
The chat tool is intended to make it easier for small businesses to convert leads that visit their websites. Instead of just relying on phone and email communication methods, Pure Chat gives visitors the opportunity to immediately chat with company reps right on the site.
Making it easier for small businesses to convert leads from their websites.
Arielle Hurst, marketing manager for Pure Chat told Small Business Trends, “We’re focused on small business. We understand small businesses need affordable tools that deliver new leads and sales. And unlike many of our competitors we offer native apps for iOS, Android and Kindle because small business owners can’t afford to be chained to their desk.”
How the Business Got Started
As part of an exercise with a different company.
“In 2012, Pure Chat was started as a 30-Day project to help the developers at Axosoft learn a new technology. After the project was finished, they didn’t have resources to dedicate to it, so the founders decided to release it as a free product,” Hurst explains. “Over that year Pure Chat rapidly gained users. Eventually our CEO, Hamid Shojaee, decided that Pure Chat deserved a dedicated team to improve the product. We’ve since grown into an 11-person team and become an independent, fast-growth business!”
Successfully switching over to a paid product.
Hurst says, “When Pure Chat launched it was free. After acquiring tons of users, we knew we had to release paid plans if we wanted to continue improving the product for our users. As you can imagine, the backlash at our initial announcement was fierce, but we’re so proud of the fact that managed to retain and gain a ton of customers who get a lot of value from our product and are willing to pay for it.”
Hurst says, “When you’re known as the low-cost leader it’s really risky to raise prices, but our product is worth more than the amount we were charging. Finding your pricing “sweet spot” is a challenge for many small businesses and it’s easy to undervalue your work! Fortunately, we continue to grow the number of people using our product and feel like the costs better reflects its value for small businesses.”
Talk to customers to find out what they really want.
“Earlier this year we released a feature called Personal Chat Pages that our team was *super* excited about. Unfortunately, our customers were less enthused. Few of them saw how the new tool could be implemented in their businesses and as a result it barely got used. This really drove home the fact that we can’t just rely on what we think our customers want. Talking with customers in-person/over the phone is a must for businesses that want to understand the pains of their target market. Taking that time up front will save a lot of time and money in the end!”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
“We have so many ideas to help small businesses capture more leads and get more sales. Our biggest challenge is making progress faster. The more talented folks who love small business will go a long way toward filling in the gaps and making us better, faster,” Hurst says.
Favorite Team Building Exercise
A weekend retreat.
Hurst says, “Every six months our team has a day-long strategy meeting where we assess the direction of the company. This year however, our CEO decided to do something a little different and rented a van that drove us up to Flagstaff, AZ for a two-day retreat. Having that time to collaborate, argue, and grab a beer was invaluable and brought us closer as a team.
“Plus, on the long van ride home we had a great time making a shared playlist and guessing who picked each song based on personality (the reggae lover was discovered on the first try)!”
Favorite In-Office Activity:
Nerf Gun Fights.
Hurst explains, “Our team also has a bit of a Nerf gun problem … you never know when you’ll get shot during the day. Stay on alert!”
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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program.
Images: Pure Chat
Top Image: Top Row: Mike Eggleston, Mobile App Developer; Blaise Najafi, Development Intern; Lauralee Flores, UX Designer; Chad Golob, Lead Developer; Lindsay Bayuk, Product Manager; Robert Nelson, Customer Support; Dillan Butler, QA and Support
Bottom Row: Arielle Hurst, Marketing; Ben Duran, Developer; Kristin Burkhart, Graphic Designer; Hamid Shojaee, CEO and Founder