The initial situation
is a furniture manufacturer, with its plant based in Java, Indonesia. The main customer acquisition channel are trade shows. During these high traffic events, there is little time for organisational tasks since all efforts are put towards hosting and advising visitors. It is crucial to avoid all uncertainty, so that the staff can work independently without interruptions.
The goal of such event is to find new customers. In order to gain those new customers, there is a whole lot of work involved until an order is received and the company can start shipping items. It is common that a visitor tells the producer at the show what products he or she is interested in. Based on that information, PT Chantik then creates dedicated quotations (quotes) and sends them, along with a tailored product catalogue, to the new prospect.
Over the last years, this collection of all the visitors details (What company, where to send the quote, what telephone number, what products shall be included in the quote etc...) has been very manual. Given that during such trade shows the company is welcoming hundreds of visitors every single day, that meant a) a lot of "typing up" work from piles of papers and b) it would occur that some notes or business cards get lost. Basically, the company lost business opportunities.
We needed to eliminate the paper mess
The problems where the following: It took 3-4 weeks to handle all visitors data in order to generate and send out quotes. For hundreds of visitors, the company had to manually type up company details from piles of papers, copy and paste the products into a spreadsheet (Excel) in order to write quotes and send them out. Such a long waiting time meant a high risk of the potential client to have lost the interest. Additionally, collecting important information on sheets of papers, leaves a high risk of losing important data, ending up in lost business opportunities.
What we needed
PT Chantik needed digital solution that would allow every sales representative to easily collect visitor’s contact details and associate selected product items to what we call “pre-quotes”. Something that later on can be turned into a final quote document. While the sales representatives normally show the visitors around, we needed a barcode scan functionality on our smartphones, so that an item can easily be added to a pre-quote by scanning the code that is next to the exposed product.
Our goal was to send out a quote and tailored catalogue to a visitor as soon as possible after the person has left the booth. We wanted our visitors to still remember us and our products while reviewing the quote. That would also increase the chances of a resulting order.
The solution had to be easy to understand, and fully capable to run without a connection to the internet, since the coverage at such business events can have interruptions. Since Excel is the company’s go-to software, the collected data had to be compatible to be exported to Excel. Also, the company didn’t want to invest in new hardware (e.g. barcode scanners) and rather make use of existing technology.
A custom made business app
Our solution consists of two main components:
🗄A database, based on Google Spreadsheets
The mobile app is our gateway to the spreadsheet, in which all details such as company, contact person, product items and quote details are being stored.
The mobile app is equipped with the following features:
🤳Barcode scan: Scan code of a product and add it to a quote 📝Add/Edit Quotes: Add products to the quotes 📸Capture Business Cards: Create a company and add a picture of the business card 🔍Search for products: In case the barcode is not within reach, the app can search in the product database and retrieve an item 🕵️♂️View product details: Show all stored product information (e.g. minimum order quantity, dimensions) in case a visitor needs more information
💡Our process now works like this:
A visitors enters the booth, we welcome the person and collect the person's and company's details by creating a new company in our app and taking a picture of the business card This company is now directly added to our spreadsheet, where the front office staff can add additional information (Transferring the information from the business card, e.g. email address) The sales representative walks the visitor through the booth with his/her smartphone always at hand In case the visitor is requesting further details about a product, the sales rep adds a new quote inside the app Every product has a barcode printed out and labelled next to it. Once the visitor would like to receive a quotation for a product, the sales rep can easily add the product item to the quote by scanning the barcode (can be done multiple times) If the visitor is requesting some extra information (e.g. delivery time, individual measures), those infos can be added inside the quote details of the product After the conversation is done, the quote can be saved in the app and is immediately added to the database. The quote requests can now be reviewed and more data, such as prices, discountsor shipping costs can be added
What makes the solution a perfect fit
Small & medium size businesses often times can’t afford expensive proprietary software. On top of that, existing tools (e.g. Salesforce) still require higher software skills to set up a system. But most importantly, PT Chantik has its very own processes. There is simply no software, that can answer all needs of the company!
With a custom made business app, we could address every single requirement and collect all data points that are necessary to process the visitors data into final quotes. Since the architecture is based on a simple spreadsheet as a data source, we can make adjustments and add new data points with low effort.
Compatible on all platforms
The app can be installed both on iOS and Android devices. You can even run it directly in your browser. That turned out to be handy for the secretary staff who would help to collect all kinds of company data via a laptop.
Our tailor made software helped our client to improve the organisation during the show but also reduced the workload after the event significantly. Our most important accomplishments are:
🎉 Streamlined process: every sales rep collects information in the same way. There is way less error potential and no notes or business cards can be lost.
🎉 Lower waiting times for visitors: Instead of writing with pen and paper, it now takes less than 20s to collect new visitors data
🎉 Visitor received quote within 1-2 days: From 2-3 weeks waiting time, we managed to reach out to every company in less than 2 days
Fast production time and low development costs
For the trade show app, we managed to keep the costs low while delivering fast results: Our custom made software is completely based on existing technology (Google Spreadsheets, Appsheet). That allowed us to cut the development costs drastically and build a first prototype within a few days. Our client could have a tangible result very early on in the process, that re-assured us and gave us the go to develop more features.
Ready for more features
While spending more time with the company to prepare the trade show, we uncovered even more steps in the process that can be automated, which helps us to reduce the processing time even more. In order to avoid any manual work with the creation of the quote, we added new functions to finalise the quote inside the mobile app and automatically generate a perfectly formatted quote as a PDF and send it to the visitor with a push of a button.
We like to build solutions with the intension to add more functionalities later on. Our experience shows, that once a solution has made its way into the daily routine more and more potential for optimisation can be found.