Using Kommo - a CRM for Franchises, Retro Guestbook created a smooth work cycle and maintained an effective relationship with its partners and customers.
Retro Guestbook is a franchise designed for preserving audio memories. Using the most advanced technology and AI for the very best production, Retro Guestbook adds a personal touch to your celebration by choosing any phone that fits the theme of your event.
Whether you want a vintage rotary phone or a sleek modern handset, their technology is compatible with any analog phone. They allow you to get creative, save audio memories, and make your event unique.
Erik Night is the founder and CEO of the franchise, whose primary responsibility is developing the best procedures and policies to ensure that every event and all its partners are successful. As an entrepreneur and inventor, he has many fun patents.
Over the years, Erik has been involved in creating things that people need. Retro Guestbook comes with a unique twist to his inventions as it is one of the few businesses he has ever been involved in that people love over need: it is a business that is fun, and people enjoy. Jean, on the other hand, is the sales manager at Retro Guestbook.
Retro Guestbook was birthed from the understanding that, for many people, the memory of sound is far more critical and significant than something written on a piece of paper that gets forgotten about. There is a desire in people to be able to have messages from loved ones who may not be here anymore.
Erik Night states, “A lot of people save voicemails and messages because it's the things that you want to remember. It's heartfelt. You can not only remember who they were but also their emotion. You can remember all of the things that were part of that day and part of that event.” Despite being a little over a year old and in its growth model, they have over 50 partners all around the country and are expanding into other countries now.
“A lot of people save voicemails and messages because it's the things that you want to remember. It's heartfelt. You can not only remember who they were but also their emotion. You can remember all of the things that were part of that day and part of that event.”
The starting struggle
Though located in a small town called Prescott, Arizona, Retro Guestbook is rapidly growing, with most of its clients outside of the town and most of its partners in big cities. Erik mentions that as a company, they were “Really looking for new ideas and implementing their overall tasks and procedures to make it as automated as possible so that it's as smooth as possible. And [their] customer experiences to go as well as they possibly could be too.”
While their current growth is focused on North America, they are extending their partnership towards those in South America, Europe, and Australia.
As a fairly new business, the demand for their product is becoming worldwide. While this rapid expansion is the desire of every company, Erik states, “We were unprepared for the demand in our product, and we searched and searched for a technology to manage all of these leads that were coming in.”
“We were unprepared for the demand in our product, and we searched and searched for a technology to manage all of these leads that were coming in.”
The company had leads coming at them from all directions, and it took a lot of work to get them from the proper channels, whether from Facebook, Instagram, text messaging, or email. Erik says, “We had everything flying at us.” There was also a need to quickly determine whether a lead was a partner or an end-user that needed to be partnered with a local partner, as that differentiation was vital to the business. “It was a mess,” he states.
To solve the “good” struggle, they tried to work manually. Jean says, “Itt was tedious using those Google sheets.” Erik agrees with her by saying, “We did it in Excel. That was a nightmare.”
“It was tedious using those Google sheets…We did it in Excel. That was a nightmare.”
Since they could not find any CRM to deal with a lot of these problems, Erik and Jean continued using Excel. This business was different from the others Erik had engaged in, so this problem was new to him.
Erik and Jean needed to find a CRM for franchises that could help cut the time they spent filing leads into categories down to minutes to deliver what each customer or partner needed promptly. Erik mentions, “It was a big step for us.” And this is where Kommo comes into the picture, bringing effective CRM tools for franchises.
Solution 1 - Unified inbox
Jean says, “Kommo just changed everything.” Before Kommo, she adds, “It took us from needing hours in a day to contact people and figure out where they were coming from.” However, with Kommo, a verified CRM for franchises, all forms of communication, where they came from and who they were, were done automatically. With the unified inbox, they are not only accessing their customers in one place at any time, but they can also see what activity each customer performs and what stage they are at.
“Kommo just changed everything…It took us from needing hours in a day to contact people and figure out where they were coming from.”
Erik further comments, saying, “And it [Kommo] helped us take care of the customer very quickly because it worked them through the proper stages no matter where they came in from. Kommo gave us that ability within seconds: this is what needs to be done; this is the stage they're at. We're doing a very good job servicing the customer because of the technology.”
Kommo also helps to unify chats coming from the same person, as Erik mentions, “One person will email us and then use the web form, and then use social media.” But Kommo helps in “keeping track of that and understanding that this is the same person or opportunity. And they're coming at us in different ways, which prevents us from looking stupid, hitting them with the same thing repeatedly. We look a lot like we're on our game.”
Solution 2 - A plethora of integrations
The volume of integrations available with Kommo particularly impresses Erik, who says, “Kommo has a lot of integrations, and I think they pride themselves on those integrations.” He states, “So we may know or not know that we're ready for X, Y, and Z integration or we need this software or we need this piece. They likely already have an integration.”
He also states, “They offered us things like text messaging integration, there's MailChimp integration, there are all these other pieces that make a complete sales cycle system we had to have, and they integrated this.”
“Kommo offered us things like text messaging integration, there's MailChimp integration, there are all these other pieces that make a complete sales cycle system we had to have…”
Erik also talks about the various other integrations he has been using with Kommo. “Most of our leads were coming in from Facebook, Instagram, not so much Twitter yet, but WhatsApp is growing like all of these different channels, and most of the technologies out there, they don't have the integrations, and Kommo gave us that.”
“...Most of the technologies out there, they don't have the integrations, and Kommo gave us that.”
Explaining how it works, Erik mentions how the messages come in the unified inbox, “This person came in from Facebook, this person commented on this post, this person sent a web form in.” He adds, “Kommo gave us all these different avenues and funneled it into partner and user.”
Erik gives an example, “We use an online voiceover IP platform, and we probably should have that already integrated. It's there, and it's ready to go. And so when we're ready to make that step, it will be a couple of clicks, and it'll roll into our whole world of management.”
Solution 2.1 - Whatsapp integration
Erik mentions a feature Kommo especially prides itself on being the number one in the market as the CRM for franchises - WhatsApp integration.
Eriks states, “Currently, we are really big into the social channels, but what is really starting to take off is the text messaging and the WhatsApp integrations.” He mentions, “Text messages are becoming a huge part of business.” He elaborates on why he thinks this way, “I have different levels of importance. When I get a text message, I get on to it at that moment. When I get an email, I'll get to it later today. I get a social media post; I'll get to it this week.”
He cites another example to expound on his point, “When we get an end user that says, “Hey, I have an event coming up in September, I'm in Florida.” That partner needs to get a message immediately and know that they don't have until tomorrow to check their email. They don't have until next week to check their social. It's a hot lead; it needs to be delivered to them. And that's how we can utilize those channels and make sure that by supporting our partners and making sure that they're on top of it, we're also on top of it.”
Solution 3 - The mobile app
Another feature that makes Erik and Jean appreciate Kommo as their CRM even more, is being “able to put this fantastic app on [their] phone,” as Jean says.
Erik mentions that because of the phone app, they respond to customers immediately. Describing the amazement of customers, he says, “I think it throws them off how quickly we get back to them because it's ding, ding. They left a message, bam. They left a comment, and they've got an inquiry that's popping up on our cell phones immediately. And we're able to pre-deliver documents and everything that's set up and work them through our process from the phone.”
For Jean, this app is even handy to her as she states, “I can be at my son's soccer meet and answer a lead or respond to someone super quick, or get a partner in touch with a lead that they need to follow up on and make sure it gets into the right channel without having to go anywhere.” She continues, “It's made it so that as soon as somebody contacts us, I can just tap a few buttons from my cell phone, and before I know it, they have all the information they need to make a decision.”
“I can be at my son's soccer, meet and answer a lead or respond to someone super quick, or get a partner in touch with a lead that they need to follow up on and make sure it gets into the right channel without having to go anywhere.”
Kommo - The CRM for Franchises
Jean concludes by saying, “I love how easy Kommo has just made everything for our wonderful product, Retro Guestbook. It's made it so that we can integrate every single partner super fast and easy and take it to the next level.”
“I love how easy Kommo has just made everything for our wonderful product, Retro Guestbook. It's made it so that we can integrate every single partner super fast and easy and take it to the next level.”
Erik is also not without good words based on his experience with Kommo in less than a year. He says, “If you have multiple avenues into your business, you've got to have Kommo to be able to handle those. And even still, to this day, I've not seen any of these other platforms be able to deal with all of these channels. They may have one or two, but they're unable to integrate all of these channels into a simple sales and customer management funnel platform and take them through a process.”
He also highlights another vital means through which Kommo has been of help to the business, “It was a mess trying to process it, and we probably would have done a bad job of customer service, which would have eventually hurt our sales.”
With the number of features available on Kommo, Erik admits, “This helped us organize and cut through the mess and really look like a company that's been around for ten or 15 years, almost out of the gate because of this technology. So Kommo has given us the ability to really look professional from the outside while we're a fairly new company.”
“Kommo has given us the ability to really look professional from the outside while we're a fairly new company.”
As a CRM for franchises, no matter the growth stage, we could not be any more pleased with their level of development.