Today we’ll talk about a neat little app called Bonjoro – and how tools such as this one can effectively help enhance our relationships with clients and thereby avoid potential client disputes into the future. This episode is the first half of our 2-part series with no less than the Papa Bear of the Bonjoro Team, Matt Barnett.
- Bonjoro and how it started
- Building and Enhancing Client Relationships
- Retaining client and client relationship
- Automation – not a replacement to human relationship element
Joanna: Hi! It’s Joanna Oakey here and welcome back to Talking Law. A podcast brought to you by our commercial legal practice Aspect Legal.
Well today we are changing our focus a little and broadening our topics a bit from the usual focus just on the legal. Now one of our core values here at Aspect Legal is innovation. Part of that means that we’re constantly testing new technology and new ways of doing things. So we decided to pass on all this information to you as business owners because what works in our legal practice might also help you with your business.
So today we start with a neat little app called Bonjoro, which is an app that makes it super easy to send individually personalized videos to clients and customers. It’s actually one of my favorite tools for enhancing client relationships by adding a personal touch. Now there’s two reasons why I’m talking about Bonjoro today.
Firstly, because as I said I wanted to share with you some of our tech tips. But secondly because the concept behind Bonjoro is fundamentally about enhancing client relationships.
In our legal practice, we often see the aftermath of disputes between customers and their suppliers. Our clients might be on either side of that equation either the client or the supplier, but what is consistent between them whether their client or supplier is that disputes arise in environments where the systems of the business haven’t been established sufficiently in order to properly regulate the relationship between the customer and its supplier.
Now there’s a number of legal measures that can be employed by a business in order to help avoid disputes. But as always the answer is never just about having the right contract even though of course that is an important component.
So joining me on this episode is no less than the papa bear of the Bonjoro team, Matt Barnett, who helps us explore the concept of enhancing relationships between organisations and its clients and avoiding possible disputes into the future.
Joanna: Hi Matt! Thank you so much for coming on board to Talking Law and chatting with us today.
Matt: Thanks as well as. Awesome to be here.
Joanna: Great. All right. So let’s see if we can talk a little bit about Bonjoro first, and then maybe let’s talk about your viewpoints in relation to enhancing client relationships. But let’s start off with Bonjoro. What is it and how can clients use it?
Bonjoro and how it started
Matt: Bonjoro was actually a little hack that we were doing for our business where we engage a lot of clients, a lot of agency, big relationship-based clients all over the world. And rather sending an email when we have leads and enquiries come in, what we would do is we would record a video for that individual say, John Ogilvy in London and we send it off to him, we packaged up and put it on some email.
And the reason was because we’re extremely good at culture. We’re a very engaging team and we knew that all the emails we sent out were getting less and less open rates. But if we get in front of somebody, we would always get the next meeting, get next screen and start business. And so we built this is a hack and we start sending videos out to people. And it took a long time to do, but we tripled our response rates overnight.
Lo and behold, one of those agencies came back and they were like, not only did they want us to go and do meetings, they want to use this video e-mail we built. And essentially, you know eventually we have a build up for them. And so all it is a video product either sets as an app on your phone or you’re on desktop. And it can plug in to a mailing list and so when you have leads command or when you convert clients.
Generally, the first piece communication you send to them rather than sending a boring old email, you record a selfie video, nothing magic to it, and just welcome onboard in person, introduce yourself in person, and essentially do what you would do if you met that individual in person rather than trying to put your personality into the written word.
Joanna: Yeah right. We absolutely love it. We get some amazing responses back from our clients or people that we send it through. Initially when they see the video, they assume it’s just you know a stock standard one, and when they click onto it they actually can’t believe that someone has recorded a personal video just for them that’s come.
I guess in reality video is fairly widely used among businesses, but I guess the difference in the Bonjoro environment is how easy it is to record and then have it immediately sent. So it sort of cutting down a lot of those other steps that we used to go through when we record video, which is record upload, download the links, pull off the links, send the link with the picture of, like these were all the steps that used to happen along the way. The Bonjoro sort of pulls down into one clean process.
Building and Enhancing Client Relationships
Matt: What we say we do here is we automate processes but not relationships. So we take out all those process parts and make it very easy to concentrate on building relationships.
Joanna: Yeah from that perspective then I guess how does this help in terms of enhancing our client relationship and why is it that important anyway?
Matt: There’s a couple of things. And to be honest, the service industries are far better at this than online industries, which is one where you have a lot of customers as well. I think in terms of relationships there’s two parts.
One is first impressions. I think when you meet people in person you know within three seconds you know that person is. You generally get an idea of whether to trust and whether you want to work with them and obviously whether you relate to them.
Now when it comes to interacting online that is much harder to do because was it 80 percent of our communication really comes out and the words that we write, and the written language is a learned language. It’s not a natural one to us.
Whereas when you in a film you’re face, and it’s not about video, it’s when you’re there and you’re speaking, you have the emotion coming in facial expression, you have tone of voice, you have movements of your body, so they look at that and they can understand and get you straight away.
That’s one part of it, it’s just you know making a bad first impression because of the communication using. But then other part is, to be frankly honestly, I think people have in the last 10 years we’ve all chase I guess growth and business and automation and what’s happened is that we’ve lost the human element in lot of our contacts.
Joanna: Yeah. I think that’s so true. Even just speaking from a personal experience in the provision of legal services, and we have a lot of accountants as well that listen to this podcast I think it’s certainly true in the accounting environment.
But even in service-based businesses like ours, it’s easier over time to have lost a little bit of that personal touch because quite often all of our work is done over e-mail these days. So we have less face to face and often less voice to voice sometimes as well, but certainly less face to face.
And I think sometimes that can lead to particularly relationships like those between lawyers and their clients or accountants and their clients. You know the level of trust that is built up over time I think is really supported by a personal connection and I think seeing someone helps that personal connection which then builds trust. That’s the impression I have.
I’m not sure if and I hear you talk about you have a lot of your clientele are in the online space. But I think this is equally as important in the services industry as well even though people may not immediately think of that as an issue.
Matt: That’s funny. Our officers are actually is with one of our early customers and they are a financial kind of wealth management group based in Sydney and yet they are one of the best users I’ve ever seen.
They are not really online. I mean they have online presence. But they use this to replace email when it comes to not engaging new users but they’re passing on and using other team members, touch base clients over time, show people around their homes they just bought in Brisbane as investments and it even saves money because it’s quicker than spending 40 minutes trying to write the perfect email.
You just get the video, you will make mistakes, you mock it up, but people won’t care because as you in person and the fact you’re taking your time it just engages people better. Video everyone thinks about High-Definition filmed video. It’s not that. A video is just portraying the way that we’re meant to communicate.
Joanna: That’s a really good point because that’s a really tricky thing given the way video used to be used within organizations. You know we’d all spend a lot of time getting the picture right and in the right frame and lighting and all those sorts of things, but now you know you’re saying well don’t worry about that just go with using it like you would if you’re picking up the phone or punching out an e-mail but just make it a little bit more personal with a video added.
Matt: Yeah absolutely. And you see across all the industries we can’t work with, you know they comes the worst the best and this is absolutely not just in their tech companies. This is also for companies where everyone is in suits.
The concept they do when they’re getting coffee at lunchtime or I’ve seen guys do them off the gym you know, and it just breaks boundary between business and personal life. Transparency’s became more more of a thing.
I mean look have what Europe found doing now with the whole GDP stuff. Like transparency is the way forward. And the brands that embrace, I understand is not quite for everyone, but the brands do embrace it are winning the hearts and minds of customers because it’s all about trust.
Joanna: I think a lot of businesses are quite focused on growth and bringing new clients in the door but in doing that often times businesses sort of forget that nurturing their current client base is such an important part of growth as well because you have no growth if you’ve got leakage. If the leakage that you have is equivalent to the new client flow then you’ve got no growth right.
Matt: Absolutely. If the intention, it’s funny, it’s something we talk about a lot, I think is something like seven to 20 times less expensive per dollar to retain clients than it is to grow new ones. And yet you know human nature you know we all focus on the new and the growth.
The best companies in the world have negative churn what that means is that existing customers pay them more and more more money on top of the growth they’re getting. So the actual revenue base grows with their existing customers rather than diminish over time and so retention is absolutely crucial.
I mean think about personal relationship like go outside the business. If you don’t talk to people, if you don’t interact with them, those relationships will diminish over time. They don’t always stay at the height. Think about you’re old school friends the people you’ve known for years and years and years. The ones who stay with you need to have these touch points where you get back to people the way you get back in person and engage with them. Business is no different.
Putting a process so you are talking to customers you know once every six weeks or six months or six years whatever it is your business. You need to have a process to go back and engage with them and have a reason to do that as well.
I mean and not just do it in a shallow way by firing out some email blast them. Actually check in and say “hey hey Jo how’s it going. Just want to see how are you tracking. I noticed x y z in the industry”. You know whatever you like. It’s gonna be personal, it’s gonna be meant and yet it only has to take a minute of your time. It doesn’t have to take a coffee or lunch or anything else
Retaining client and client relationship
Joanna:: Yeah. And you know being a lawyer of course I can’t help but apply a bit of a legal lens over this. And one of those lenses is the stronger that relationship with your client on an ongoing basis, number one the more, I guess here on talking about businesses with their clients, the stronger their relationship with their clients the more likely it is that you can avoid legal issues when problems arise. Because my impression is, you know certainly from decades of working in dealing with disputes in the most general most unusual sense, matters proceed to litigation or involve you get to that point of involving the lawyers when the relationship has broken down.
And so anything that we can do to foster ongoing communication or good quality communication between a company and its clients will help I think to ward off legal issues. So on that idea then what are some of the ideas that you have for how Bonjoro can be used in retaining customers and retaining that customer relationship with that existing customer network.
Matt: One of the things we do, let’s get into that slight more technical, is if you jump and try it out is what you find is it does plug in a lot of CRM. So if using a SalesForce or a Hubspots or Infusionsoft or Active Campaign any these things what you can do is build a rule that says very simply “if have not contacted X customer in eight weeks, create Bonjoro.”
What it does is it’ll ping you on your phone, you’ll open up and say like eight-week check in. And you can decide then to drop Jo or whoever messages say “hey you know we haven’t talked in a couple months. Just want to see how things work. Do you think….” Again try to make it rather than personal.
I think if you build rules, take back process parts and take the heavy lifting of the process, then you’re focusing on actually putting in the human element. It’s extremely easy to do and it is x minutes a day or x minutes per week.
But again, try and think about ways of putting a process in so that you don’t have to think especially if you have hundreds and thousands of customers. It is incredibly hard to remember to get back to people. It’s not that we don’t want to and it’s just that our lives are busy and best intentions we forget. So processes can help that and it’s just understanding how to build rules around that.
Joanna: So it was about building rules to ensure that we’re keeping in contact with customers. This is probably good to use at particular times of events, maybe even when you’re finishing a project with a client or those sorts of times, when instead of sending you know congratulations we’ve closed off this project to you, can now send a personal Bonjoro.
Matt: I see the guys in the building here, when someone gets approved mortgage or when they buy a house, the whole team, all 15 of them, do a massive cheer. And maybe this is one of the aspects of it is if you think about it, go back to growth, so the best growth in the world comes from word of the mouth. We all know this will never change.
When people have a great event. If you ask my accountant, my best part of a year is when my R and D return comes back and a lot of works get done, when they gauge you at that point and say that this is great let’s get a drink or let’s do something. That’s a point I’m excited and that’s a point when I’m going to talk about them.
If they ask me to do something at that point I would absolutely do because I’m fully invested and I’m excited. So when it comes to advocacy word of mouth and getting your clients to invite new clients, there are moments that I think a lot of us don’t take advantage of when absolutely there is return there.
And it’s not by any means bad to do because you’ve delivered a great work and the customer is excited. It doesn’t say “hey by the way do you know any of the businesses who are facing x problems we have and can we get chatty.”
Automation – not a replacement to human relationship element
Joanna: I must say I’ve seen you’ve produced a white paper and one of the things that’s mentioned there is that we’re currently at a pivotal juncture between automation and human relationships. I really like that. I really like that take away. It’s fascinating to think in those terms and certainly that’s I guess where we are at the moment. But I guess what Bonjoro is doing is taking the human relationship element and as you say creating a way that that can be automated and yet still personal.
Matt: I think you know it is a very simple caveat and again a customer will say to me “I couldn’t possibly have time to send messages to all my customers.” And I say like “if you really don’t think you can spend 30 seconds of your actual time on the customer, you probably don’t deserve that customer and I can guarantee you at some point a better brand or better business will take that customer of you.” And it’s just true that will happen that people will start to shy away from businesses that don’t hold relationships and it isn’t going to change anything.
The human species has evolved for six million years. We’re not all of sudden going to change how it work and we need human interaction. There’s periods where we don’t need it but there’s periods where we definitely do. And this will not change no matter where we go with the VR and AR. If anything all these technologies will do is help open up new ways to build relationships.
Joanna: Well that’s it for part one of our exciting two-part series with Matt Barnett of Bonjoro. In the episode as a reminder, we talked about the connection between enhancing client relationships and avoiding potential legal disputes with your clients in the future. Because one of the main causes of legal issues in businesses is when things don’t go as the client has anticipated or expected. And this has the potential to then lead to legal disputes as a result of the client’s dissatisfaction.
So nurturing your relationship with your existing client base therefore has the power to prevent these sorts of expensive legal disputes. And of course, Matt identified some very simple ways you can use technology just like Bonjoro to help businesses do exactly that.
If you like what you heard today, then please subscribe to Talking Law on your favorite podcast player to be the first to know when we release a new episode and watch out for the second half of this two part series with Matt Barnett next Tuesday.
In Part 2, we will be drilling into Bonjoro seven-point plan in order to get started with customer delight based on a white paper released by Matt and his team.
Well thanks again for listening in. This has been Joanna Oakey and Talking Law – a podcast brought to you by a commercial practice, Aspect Legal. See you next time!
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