Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic March 29, 1999

Amanda (3/29/99 8:55 AM): Good morning

RobFrankel (3/29/99 8:55 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 8:56 AM): I'm early...anyone here yet?

Terri( (3/29/99 8:56 AM): Entered the room.

Koit Jatsa (3/29/99 8:56 AM): Well, Amanda, I'm not a mentor. But waiting - Koit

RobFrankel (3/29/99 8:57 AM): Everybody awake?

Terri( (3/29/99 8:57 AM): Good morning everyone

Koit Jatsa (3/29/99 8:57 AM): Hi. Rob! OK!.

Amanda (3/29/99 8:58 AM): Koit, I'm sorry-what are you talking about?

RobFrankel (3/29/99 8:58 AM): As long as we're early, who wants to start?

Terri( (3/29/99 8:58 AM): Trying to get awake Rob :)

RobFrankel (3/29/99 8:58 AM): Hey, you should have been here for the coffee this morning...YOWEE!

Koit Jatsa (3/29/99 8:59 AM): Well, I thought I'll too late, Amanda. - Koit

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:00 AM): Anyone here have BUSIENSS issues they care to discuss/ask/query? (3/29/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Koit Jatsa (3/29/99 9:00 AM): A question, Rob. What about hypertext and ruining the free 'net'?

Terri( (3/29/99 9:00 AM): (laffing) is that the same as coffee, Rob? (3/29/99 9:01 AM): I've started consulting to Found them here. Thanks, Rob.

Mike Best (3/29/99 9:01 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:02 AM): What about "ruining the free net"? Explain...

Koit Jatsa (3/29/99 9:03 AM): Ruining! Sorry

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:04 AM): So far, the only thing I see ruining the "free" net is the media, which almost always gets the story wrong.

Koit Jatsa (3/29/99 9:05 AM): In my humble opinion, hundreds of mailing lists are infected by dynamic hypertext scam.

Koit Jatsa (3/29/99 9:05 AM): Sorry again - hypertext.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:05 AM): Exactly which hypertext scam do you mean?

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:07 AM): Entered the room.

Louise ( (3/29/99 9:07 AM): Entered the room.

Koit Jatsa (3/29/99 9:07 AM): If theory, look at Antwerpen math school. I'm practically - I can't even think about of any kind of transfer.

Bruce (3/29/99 9:07 AM): Entered the room.

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:07 AM): Hi all! I could use some help defining the market we're going after, anyone up for that?

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:08 AM): Go ahead. Carole...

Meg ( (3/29/99 9:08 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:09 AM): BTW, Carole, nice URL you have there...

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:10 AM): We are just launching a product that links to a web site to provide a dynamic question & answer center. To make your site more interactive, pull your customers in.

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:11 AM): We don't want to be in a 'customer support' box, so we're exploring - customer relationship management, e-service are the two that we are closing in on. Anyone else hearing about e-service?

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:11 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:12 AM): Well, what exactly are you doing at FAQS.COm?

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:12 AM): Morning everyone -- ice on the bridge delayed my arrival

Susan Evans (3/29/99 9:12 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:12 AM): And Carole, what's your revenue model?

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:13 AM): Jim: Next time sprinkle salt on your modem...

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:13 AM): our product, FAQtory, is an engine that manages *your* content - shows Q&A by topic, lets people search previously-asked questions, best of all lets people ask NEW questions on the site. Behind the scenes, new Qs are sent to experts in your company by email can be answered & posted to the site through email.

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:14 AM): Revenue model: we are hosting this application, it is a subscription biz model. Love those annuities!

Jim O'Donnell ( (3/29/99 9:14 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:14 AM): How affordable is the subscription rate?

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:14 AM): Entered the room.

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:15 AM): Entered the room.

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:16 AM): Entered the room.

pdxChris (3/29/99 9:16 AM): Entered the room.

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:16 AM): I need more than salt this morning

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:17 AM): Annual subscription for our enterprise product is $5K. Some early customers tell us that's too low, but we want to get out there before we start upselling.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:17 AM): How quickly are the FAQ submissions answered, revised and posted?

Amanda (3/29/99 9:18 AM): Do you have a company site that is using FAQtory so we can see?

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:19 AM): Speed of answering the Q&A depends on our customer. Unlike AskJeeves, we don't answer the questions, our customers do - they manage all the Q&A content. Our product makes that Q&A much more accessible and dynamic.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:19 AM): Sounds to me that you're poised to be an excellent UPSELL agent. Based on the questions you get, you should be able to sell consumers a better solution when you answer their questions.

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:20 AM): Take a look at; Virtual FoxPro User Group. Click on the 'FAQ' on the main page and you're into our product.

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:20 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:20 AM): If you position your company as a revenue enhancer, you can probably show a much more concrete return on investment to your clients.

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:20 AM): I need more than salt on my modem this morning

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:20 AM): Jim, you need a new ISP!!!

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:21 AM): You dig, Carole?

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:21 AM): Yes to 'make money with FAQtory', we have a couple prospects who are looking to re-sell a customer knowledge base of Q&A to their customers when the installation is done. Like a system integrator leaving behind an on-line expert. Plus, the integrator can still be answering questions, off0site, via the email integration.

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:21 AM): ROB where I live, I am thrilled to have ANY ISP with a 56k local pop

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:23 AM): What I'm struggling with is to stay out of the 'knowledge management' category, but there aren't too many other existing categories that we fit into. We want to be the cool application that you link into your site.

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:23 AM): BTW Rob, I didn't call u last week because I heard a rumor about Amazon going into the auction business. Confirmed this AM. Sends us back to the drawing board with

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:23 AM): Looking for one of Rob's three P's (the proprietary one)

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:24 AM): But getting back to your original question, Carole, how to position the site -- revenue enhancement by way of customer queries. Everyone else is into knowledge management. You should go beyond that and offer business service -- answers PLUS upsell solution

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:25 AM): Jim, Amazon is in a league of its own. Don't let size or media hype scare you off. It's just a ploy.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:26 AM): That should have read "SIZE" or media hype....

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:26 AM): Amazon has to do something to keep the ball rolling. They won't see a profit until our grandchildren grow beards.

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:26 AM): Yes to revenue enhancement. We also believe that making your web site more interactive is going to be key to keeping your prospects there, instead of clicking over to a competitor.

Susan Evans (3/29/99 9:27 AM): Carol, what do you see as a clear difference between what your program offers and some of the real time e-commerce customer interactive software that are already out there? Understand I haven't been to the FAQ's at the site you mentioned.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:28 AM): Carole, ask any salesperson: when a customer shows interest, that's your opportunity to sell him/her/it MORE stuff. Or more high-profit stuff. That's how you should spin your FAQ service. That approach really appeals to e-commerce types.

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:28 AM): Carole have you seen Intel's "answer express" support suite?

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:29 AM): While your competitors are answering questions, you'd be answering questions and increasing margin-per-sale. Which one do you think a client would prefer?

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:29 AM): Intel's Answer Express works beautifully for non-geeks with computer problems -- it is an interesting model

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:29 AM): Intel's Answer Express works beautifully for non-geeks with computer problems -- it is an interesting model

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:29 AM): One of our differentiators is applicability - there are lots of places on a web site where questions want to ask questions - new products, investor relations, general info about the company. So we're not limited to e-commerce, although as Rob mentions, when a customer's asking questions the sales types love it.

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:30 AM): Jim, I haven't seen 'answer express'. I'll look it up.

Jim O'Donnell (3/29/99 9:30 AM): Carole have you seen Intel's "answer express" support suite?

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:30 AM): Yes, but it's the same thing with investor info. Normal FAQ's just answer questions. YOURS should answer PLUS upsell, add more information that leads to higher response.

Muhammad( (3/29/99 9:31 AM): Entered the room.

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:31 AM): Rob: yes, and the product itself supports banner ads within lists of previously-asked questions, and within a FAQ. Lots of ways to funnel the customer to the buy.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:31 AM): You have to get away from your product's capabilities and get INTO the heads of people to whom you're trying to sell.

Amanda (3/29/99 9:32 AM): But the FAQ's are also being answered by visitors? So, visitors can make recommendations as well?

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:33 AM): Plus, you have to compete with real time services like Web Answers, who have real time people monitoring the site and interacting with visitors on the spot.

Terri( (3/29/99 9:33 AM): Carol, I agree with you on the importance of interactivity on your web site - and would also say providing them with fresh articles from experts that they may not have seen is another incentive to bring them back

Muhammad( (3/29/99 9:34 AM): Good Morning All

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:34 AM): Ah, who we're selling to: interesting. Originally we thought we'd sell to the web teams - get the FAQ area (which usually is awful) better looking, and distribute the load of answering questions. But the folks with the urgency to interact with the customers tend to be the marketing and operations types. But the web team is a gatekeeper for use of FAQtory, as it's linked in to their site. It has been hard to get both groups in a room together, or get them by phone or email. Suggestions?

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:35 AM): Amanda brings up an interesting point: by accepting visitors' comments, you have the ability to build "branded communities" for clients. And believe me, branded communities are the next huge thing. So much so that I bought URL's....

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:35 AM): The FAQ's can be commented on by visitors, new questions sent in by anyone. Nothing is published until someone in the company hits the button.

Terri( (3/29/99 9:35 AM): use the Internet to video conference Carol :)

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:35 AM): Carole, you'll get NOTHING done talking to webmasters. The decision makers are in marketing and/or sales. They give the marching orders.

Bruce (3/29/99 9:36 AM): Carole I believe there is a market. It may be small but we will look at your service when our project is fully operational.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:37 AM): The sphere of influence regarding web operations has shifted from technical to marketing. That's where the decisions are considered and executed.

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:37 AM): Rob: to Web Answers, yes they're competition. But we're making the point to folks we talk with that they want to see the Qs that their visitors ask - tells them a lot more truthfully about what people think of their product/services/web site.

Muhammad( (3/29/99 9:38 AM): Good Morning All

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:38 AM): Interesting about the sphere of web influence. Now the question is, does "e-service" appeal to marketers? Is this the box we should place ourselves in? Whaddya all think?

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:40 AM): Carole: Very definitely. There is no other box for you to be in. Certainly no better portal to access, in any case.

Amanda (3/29/99 9:40 AM): Yes, it's a potentially powerful tool for your clients!

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:41 AM): (BTW, if anyone has questions, jump in...)

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:42 AM): Bruce: please do take a look at our web site. We will also be at Internet World in April, stop by booth 1159 if you're there.

Muhammad(adgconsulting,com) (3/29/99 9:43 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:43 AM): I assume you're going to crash the FrankelBiz F2F Carole? And anyone else going to IWorld in April?

pdxChris (3/29/99 9:43 AM): With regards to who you're selling to... I think ease of use and increasing productivity is key. Many of my clients still can't relate to the web as just another communications medium. And their managers just want to se the job get done. Unless there is a timely response, it's of no service. If it were treated as a "call center" where everyone in the respective departments could see the inquiries, and the managers could see that they were being handled in a timely manner, it would be far more appealing than just routing e-mail that takes just as long to get a response.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:44 AM): If you need passes to IWorld, remember to e-mail me for them with a subject heading F@F...

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:44 AM): oops. make that subject heading F2F...

Terri( (3/29/99 9:44 AM): Rob, what did you mean earlier when you said you "bought URL's" preparing for the community thing?

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:44 AM): DEFINITELY will crash the F2F - If I can find out where/when! Tuesday evening right?

John Charlesworth ( (3/29/99 9:45 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:45 AM): Hey, if you want a fast sale, you always go to two points: 1. Shorten sale cycles 2. More profit per sale. If your product/service can do that, they'll listen and buy.

I'll be at I-World and at our F2F. (3/29/99 9:45 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:46 AM): Terri: I bought "" and "" These will be BIG growth areas

Terri( (3/29/99 9:46 AM): Carol, I think your service should also be of great interest to bank call centers as it could give them an online way in their intranet to get the right answers to customer's questions

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:47 AM): Chris: yes, this is one of our selling points, especially because routing the email tends to be a 1-1 communication. If you capture the info & post it on your site, it's a 1 - many, lets other people with that question self-serve.

Terri( (3/29/99 9:47 AM): sounds like that could be a good investment opportunity, Rob

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:47 AM): I have found that normal web communities get 1% to 3% response rates, while branded communities (like FrankelBiz) tend to get more like 10% to 25% response rates!

Amanda (3/29/99 9:48 AM): Carole, or anyone who is frequently adding new products or updating them.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:48 AM): Yes, Terri. I think I se a freight train coming....this is really big, I believe...

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:48 AM): Terri: yes, yes! we've been targeting verticals who have to deal with many repetitive Qs from lots of people, financial is one. OK, starting to target, we are just releasing version 1 in April, have customer starting to use it now.

pdxChris (3/29/99 9:49 AM): One of my biz assoc's bought a traffic light. It triggers from green to yellow to red depending on how many people are in the queue and for how long. The customers know it when they call in, and will stay on knowing that they will be taken care of. They get rave reviews from their customers knowing that EVERYONE there is aware of their needs.

Susan Evans (3/29/99 9:49 AM): Forgive me if I go overboard but have any of you tried to get useable information from the FAQ's area of large corporations like MSN? If you haven't then go take a look. It's an on the fly opinion but they need a lot of help with their customer service PR.

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:49 AM): Amanda: yes, product managers and high-tech, consumer, and entertainment are other targeted verticals.

Terri( (3/29/99 9:51 AM): my daughter worked in a call center for a huge bank and one of her main complaints was that her subordinates never looked in the book for the answer to a customer's question b4 coming to her - your service would make it much easier :)

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:51 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:52 AM): Susan: exactly!! Many FAQ sites are hard to find things in, or stale, and you can't ask a new question if you don't see yours there. We developed FAQtory to address those issues. The interesting thing is that so many web sites include FAQ's, almost like it's a requirement and people know that.

CaroleA( (3/29/99 9:54 AM): Rob: what's a good example of a branded community? iVillage?

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:55 AM): I think FrankelBiz is one of the best examples. Look at how we've grown from simple newsletter list! everyone knows what we do, why we do it. And we're introducing, a new product, based on our brand values

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:56 AM): iVillage is an example, too, except they're extremely broad and vague. For me, just being female isn't enough. It leaves them open to other female-based brands.

Terri( (3/29/99 9:57 AM): Carol, if you can also have a log of Q&A's compiled daily for the company, that could be an upsell for the productivity fanatics :)

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:57 AM): FBiz, on the other hand, has a well-defined purpose. And you instantly know that if a FrankelBee makes an offer, you can pretty well trust it.

pdxChris (3/29/99 9:58 AM): per Susan, yes, MS suffers miserably. They can't separate out the consumer oriented info from the techno-geek. Hence, the average consumer gets 90% irrelevant search response, and a totally frustrating experience.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:59 AM): When people start telling their friends, "hey, the place you ought to go to is <NAME>" you know your community is well-branded. Which cultivates real user loyalty and enthusiasm and augments growth. RobFrankel (3/29/99 9:59 AM): (TWWO MINUTES)

Amanda (3/29/99 9:59 AM): Rob-and it's good for advertisers as well!

RobFrankel (3/29/99 10:00 AM): In a branded community, members start suggesting and contributing to the growth of the community -- which is how a number of our FrankelBiz gigs got started.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 10:00 AM): Absolutely, Amanda.

RobFrankel (3/29/99 10:02 AM): Okay, you guys, I've gotta run. But you are most welcome to continue as long as you want. You can also use this site to meet any time you like during the week. See you online!

pdxChris (3/29/99 10:03 AM): Hasta...

Thanks everyone for the input! Great start to the week. (3/29/99 10:03 AM): Entered the room.

Terri( (3/29/99 10:03 AM): Thanks Rob - see you next week!

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