Our website receives a lot of attention and gets a lot of complements. In our opinion, it still needs a lot of work. But we regularly receive comments from customers, competitors, vendors, and armchair experts (including other blogs.) Since we are the one behind the website, we can probably offer insight for other video freelancers out there.
Vanilla Video was designed with one goal in mind. Answer as many customer questions as possible, as quickly and as comprehensively as possible. Period. Amen. If a human has to talk to a customer because they can’t find an answer online at 2AM, then our website has failed. Our entire website strategy, philosophy and approach is centered around full transparency, complete information, and automated tools that assist customers in helping themselves make a purchasing decision. Requiring a customer to talk to a human is “a poor experience” in our book. We firmly believe that, no exceptions.
This is in stark contrast to what every other video production company believes, and what most digital agencies practice as well. In fact, most of the world (including startups) have it all wrong. Customers want information, and they are capable of helping themselves. If you require a sit-down meeting before revealing pricing, you are losing money. If you answer the same questions over and over again in emails, then your website isn’t doing it’s job. The key behind Vanilla Video’s website, is that we leverage technology to do customer service while our employees do more productive work. Vanilla’s web strategy is why our video production service is more affordable, has much quicker turnaround, and allows us to scale. We are “just” using technology appropriately. It’s that simple.
Everything you know about customer service is wrong.
We don’t know who, or which companies, decided what being a professional is, but they are wrong. It is absolutely not a better experience to make a customer wait around for you. You are far less productive spending time in meetings. Why Are You Meeting? Just to see if your customer and your company want to do business together? Get to the point. Nobody cares about formalities anymore. Give them the prices online. Answer their questions before they even contact you. Thousands of programmers didn’t break their backs, slaving away at their keyboards, making video chat software, email, or CRMs so you could skip all that for a latte at Starbucks. Get your act together, and get with the times.
It’s honestly shameful at this point to require a meeting. Learn how to do business over the internet, and listen to the way your customers want to interact. Is your customer okay with working over phone and email? Great. Do they want to meet over Skype? Cool. Does the customer still want to meet in-person? Alright, but at least send them information so they arrive prepared, ready to close the deal. Don’t want to adapt? Fine. Vanilla is devouring the web-based video production market in Chicago, and we see no response from competition, at all. We provide what others are missing: Pricing, Answers, and Information. We compete on Transparency, i.e., providing automated customer service.
It’s not that hard, but let me spell it out for all you freelancers. Take everything you do and try to automate it. A customer cares about solving their problem; not making friends at your stupid boutique. Solve their problem, as fast as you can. Or someone else will. It’s a cutthroat world. If you don’t want to play the New Game, get out. Do something else with your time. We have no interest in arguing about what is and isn’t good customer service, we just listen and react to how our customers respond and want to do business. Simple.
What makes a Video Production Website Good?
The ultimate test for What Makes Any Website Good is if it assists the organization with whatever goals it sets out to accomplish. At Vanilla Video, our website is a sales tool and informational guide for customers. It’s also a resource for our internal staff. Or a resource for the general public looking for information on topics in which we are experts (our blog.) But let’s focus on money and customer service because that’s what you likely want.
A good video production website should have the following categories. No exceptions, and I’m not kidding either. You are failing. And you will eventually lose to competitors without these sections at a bare minimum:
- Availability Checker (A real one.)
- Contact Form.
- Contact Info (Phone, Address, Departments, etc.)
- Ordering Form.
- About the Company.
- Meet the Team.
- Services / Products Offered.
- FAQ / Questions Section.
- Contracts, PDFs, and Attachments.
- Hours of Operation.
- Links to Social Media.
- Customer Categories (e.g., Business. Weddings.)
We do all of the above, and way more. Your website is your best salesperson. If you don’t invest in it, you shouldn’t expect customers to come running to you. If you already have a steady referral base, you should expect to lose market share to companies with better websites. Your website, for your video production business, is absolutely essential.
The estimated value of Vanilla Video’s website is north of a million dollars and steadily growing. We have recently committed to having a full-time web developer, because it is the single most important aspect of our entire business operation. We believe that. Our employees believe it. Our sales persons believe it. Because it’s real, and it’s true. We have been approached by dozens of freelancers across the world wanting to license our Ordering System, Pricing System, Video Delivery System and other essential components.
We are the real deal. Vanilla Video is the best video production website. We are the only video production company that allows customers to order videography and video production entirely online. From a $99 project, to tens of thousands, we sell it online. As our site goes through transitions, updates, and improvements, we will always strive to remain the best.