Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Lance Trebesch, CEO of Ticket River, an event e-commerce company with 5 business units in the U.S., Australia and the United Kingdom. They offer services and products including online event management, ticket printing and design and customer-configured perforated paper. A PDF version of their case study is also available.
At Ticket River, we’ve helped customers set-up, manage and promote over 300,000 events. We’re based in Harlowton, Montana, but our customer support and software development teams are distributed across North America and Argentina and we have fulfillment partners in Australia and the U.K.
We developed and built all of our systems to be used in the cloud. All of our internal management systems, order processing and order-management systems are web-based and hosted by a provider. The one major exception was email. We were using Microsoft® Exchange but we were becoming increasingly constrained and frustrated with it. It’s expensive for a small business like ours, and it required a lot of IT resources to support.
We looked into Google Apps and were impressed by its capabilities and minimal training requirements. As a small business working with an extended team in six countries on three continents, Google Apps enables us be much more efficient with our communications and projects.
Google Apps has allowed us to streamline our software development, a process that extends across time zones and continents. Gmail gives our employees easy access to email on their Androids and iPhones, letting them stay on top of important issues wherever they are. This fast, easy, mobile access to Gmail allows us to run extended, remote teams with very little IT support.
Gmail capabilities such as message threading and integrated chat allowed us to improve our customer support process. This led to a 38% reduction in the average number of responses needed to resolve a customer issue, and an increase in single-response resolutions. The impact on IT support costs is equally dramatic. By taking Exchange out of the equation, as well as making our processes more efficient, we decreased our IT operating budget by about 28%.
Our relationship with Google extends well beyond Google Apps. Ticket River and our sibling site TicketPrinting.com use Google AdWords as part of our inbound marketing model and we are heavily search engine optimized. We see Google as a huge enabler of startups and small businesses. Harlowton is a rural town of only 1000 people, yet Google's products are helping us build a thriving international business that provides great jobs.