Published on 19 September 2012
In the age of big data, spare a thought for small data. By small data, I am referring to simple, everyday metrics that enable you to engage with statistics related to your small business. Your website data, for instance.
This week, we look at a solution that enables you to track your website data and develop alternate strategies for engaging with your website. We will review WhosOn - an all-in-one software solution for live analytics, web statistics, visitor chat, and proactive visitor engagement. We will look at its features and see how it can be of use to you.
WhosOn developed out of founder Stephen Parker's need for a simple utility to measure site performance and track visitors. Even after searching all over for such an application, Parker and his team at an employee time management software development company failed to find one. So, they developed one.
"Our application simply read web server log files every few second and displayed a list of active visitors," he said. The simple application returned a log of invaluable data. "We could watch what visitors were doing in real time and see instantly if people used the links in the way we thought they would," he says. In addition, his development team was able to make successful and quick iterations based on real-time client actions. Around this time, his company was acquired by a larger organization. Subsequently, Parker and his team spent the next 18 months working on developing their server utility into WhosOn.
Parker and his team also highly considered client feedback to look for upgrades and changes that might make the product even better. Thus, they added a plethora of features and created a back-end database to view analytics reports. "We didn't want WhosOn to become 'just another web analytics application', so we kept the main focus of the product aimed squarely at 'real time,'" he says.
According to Parker, WhosOn enables small businesses to monitor their website visitor activity in real-time. "It also engages those website visitors via chat, to improve online sales and customer support," he says.
The key thing to remember about WhosOn is that it is a "live" application. Everything happens in real-time in the application. This means that you can generate tickets, prospect for sales, and perform analytic reviews during the time that your website visitor is navigating through your site.
The benefits of this approach are many.
For starters, this approach enables you to correct errors, provide support or generate sales on-the-fly, thereby shortening your business cycle. In addition, it compresses development and support cycles as well. The intangible benefit of this approach is that it reduces friction between your customer and your business by shortening the communication cycle between you. Real-time communication between customers and businesses produces satisfied customers.
As I mentioned earlier, the key word to remember about the application is that it is a "live" application. The startup screen provides a snapshot of customer activity on your website. This snapshot includes a macro and micro view. At the macro level, you can see the number of visitors with a unique client name, sources of website visits and the pages they have visited. In addition, you can distinguish between human and bot visits, peak times during daily visits, and monthly summaries in graphical format.
At the micro level, you can also navigate to individual customer names to see specific statistics related to their website visit. You can configure chats or help based on the user's website navigation history. The application gives you the ability to configure multiple or individual chats with users. In addition, you can also take control of your visitors' desktop with full desktop sharing of your application. You can generate support tickets or escalate chat tickets to the support team. You can also integrate the application with your Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce CRM. This enables you to send support tickets and send sales prospecting software back and forth between your CRM software and the application. You can also use the application's prospect detection feature to track visitors that have come from specific campaigns. Using this information, you can engage such prospects with additional invites or by chatting them up during their website visit.
Parker says the live chat and web analytics feature defines the solution. He forgot to mention that this is an integrated feature. This means that, even as you chat with a visitor, you have access to a wealth of data about them from operating system being used to access the site to country of origin to whether they are returning or first-time visitors. The co-browse and chat feature enable you to determine previous visits and chat with the visitor.
For Windows users, the application interface should not be a problem. However, it could be better.
There is nothing radically wrong with the interface. However, it compresses far too much information and analytics into single screens. Instead, the application developers should consider simplifying navigation of important features and make the application screens spare and more visual.
WhosOn offers extensive support features. Thus, you can read associated documentation, watch videos, or discuss problems in user forums. In addition, the application offers separate customer logins to access knowledge base associated with specific topics.
I used the solution on my website and was pleasantly surprised with the results. I would definitely recommend it for small businesses who want a solution that does multiple things at the same time.