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2017 Year in Review: We took a dangerous leap, but it worked!

2017 Year in Review: We took a dangerous leap, but it worked! - Graphic design

Regpack is all about creating great solutions for organizations.

I have said a million times that features are just “tech talk” and the only thing that really matters are solutions.

Solutions are what make Regpack’s clients successful in their business.

We stayed true to this mindset in 2017, but we also took a dangerous leap. Thankfully, it worked! I’ll talk about that more in a minute.

How 2017 was different from years past?

We spent 2015 and 2016 focusing on creating solutions (based on feature development, obviously) that gave our clients the tools they need to do what they need quickly, effortlessly and most important: intuitively.

Regpack is a very powerful business application in spite of the fact that Idan, our amazing designer, manages to make it look super simple.

Regpack allows our clients to create the exact logic and flow they need in order to create the seamless registration process that works for them.

But with that comes complexity since options need to exist to create the needed logic.

In years past, we worked hard to make this complexity easy and we managed to do it quite well. The secret was to listen really really hard to what our clients needed.

How did we listen to our clients need and create features in response?

I would say there are 3 types of business software companies out there: The company that tells you want you want. The company that gives you what you ask for. And finally, the company that gives you what you need.

This might sound the same but it is not! Let’s break it down:

Telling you what you need.

This company will demand that you bend to their structure and process. The rationale behind it is that there is the “correct way” to do things and the application makes you do it.

It is not a wrong way to do things and many times it actually helps businesses to get better.

The problem with this approach is that it is very limited to an extremely specific segment and if your business is just a little different than what the application was built for, it will not be a good fit.

Giving you what you ask for.

This company is the exact opposite of the first. It will build the system according to what you ask for.

This is a great approach if you are working with developers, highly technical people and offer a software that solves an ultra specified need.

Normally this is something in the back office or an internal process of the company. Many times these are custom built applications or tools that allow an implementation company to implement what you need.

The problem is that most people are not super technical and they want a solution based on what they think will solve their problem. These companies ask “how do you want it to work” instead of “can you explain your problem?”

Giving you what you need.

This is the last type of software company. This is what we strive to be and frankly, it is the hardest to get right.

Hundreds of companies end in the startup graveyard while trying to do this.

The main question that a company like this asks is “what is the problem you are facing?” Then that is taken, analyzed, understood and a solution, that at times seems totally unrelated, is offered.

This type of company really needs to listen, not just hear you, but actually listen very hard, ask a million questions and then take all the brain power possible to see how this can be solved in a simple, seamless, and if possible general, manner.

This is what Regpack has been doing for the last 7 years: listening really really hard and building things only according to the needs and problems our clients brought up.

This year we took it a step further and changed our approach from just listening to trying to anticipate.

How we tried to listen, and anticipate, the needs of our clients in 2017!

When I mentor startups I always tell them to talk to their clients and understand their problem, not try to anticipate what they are. So why did we do the opposite this year?

Why did we go down the route of building something that our clients might just look at and say “cute, but I don’t need it”.

I remember what caused me to understand that I should never anticipate.

In 2012, we worked really really hard on a module that took us 6 months to develop. From a technological standpoint, it was amazing and really hard to do.

I will never forget the reaction of the first 10 clients I presented it to: “That’s nice, but what we really need is…”. You can imagine how we all felt.

From that point on, we always listened, asked, and shared before building anything. It became the leading concept of the company: we build only what our clients need, not what we think they need. But I just said that this year we did just that. Why?!

The change came through a conversation I had with one of the clients. They told me they needed us to “help them get better and do more business.” That is quite a request!

At first, I just brushed it off as an impossible request. But then I thought…“If our goal is to give our clients what they need, getting better and doing more business is something all our clients need! We are up for the challenge!”

I knew we could make this happen if we did the following:

  1. Save our clients money.
  2. Allow our clients to move faster.
  3. Be their partner and taking some of the load off.

With this in mind, we set out to lower prices, allow our clients to do more and new things with Regpack, and release them from taking care of things we can take care of for them through technology.

And thus the journey began. I will tell you that in spite of being afraid that I am pushing the company into the totally unknown it eventually worked!

We have created solutions our clients are super happy about and are adopting them at a rate I totally did not anticipate.

So instead of telling you a story, let’s have a look at what we did in 2017!

We saved our clients money!

Saving money comes in two ways: paying less for Regpack and helping lower costs and expenses elsewhere in the business.

The first is easy: We lowered prices. Period.

Payment processing rates dropped for as low as 2.1% to 1.5%!

We also added 12 and 24-month plans that lower admin fees 10-15%. These plans also include unlimited copy projects and Assistant Admins. We gave more for less!

More Value = Lower Cost!

Saying you will lower prices is a nice pitch line, but you need to back it up somehow.

If lowering prices would take Regpack out of business, then we would be doing the opposite of helping our clients!

So we set out to find ways to do that through technology. Creating tools that allow our clients to work faster on their own lowers our cost and allowed us to lower prices.

Then came the #1 issue everyone was talking about: how to lower processing rates.

These are not connected to us, but to the processing companies. Nonetheless, we set out to solve the problem. The solution was found through a strategic partnership with CardConnect!

Lower Processing Rates with Our Newest Partner, CardConnect!

We all love to make money, and we all want to spend as little of it as possible.

Partnering with CardConnect allowed us to offer better payment tools, faster processing times AND most importantly, lower processing costs.

Our partnership with CardConnect lowered our processing from as low as 2.1% to 1.5%. This means greater savings for our clients!

Some other great benefits of CardConnect include:

So we saved our clients money by lowering prices and lowering the processing rates.

Now to the second part: to lower their operational costs and expenses.

The solution to this came through understanding that one of the biggest uncertainties that our clients face is anticipating income due to last minute cancellations. The solution to this came in the form of purchase protection offered to all clients. Seamlessly!

Secured Funding for Our Clients Through Purchase Protection, FOR FREE!

Purchase Protection was not a feature a particular client or group of clients “asked” for, but happened more organically than that.

You can read the full story about how Purchase Protection went from an idea into our biggest feature release of 2017 here. However, the short version goes like this:

When I was booking a VERY expensive (and well deserved) vacation for my family late in 2016, I was offered to “protect my booking” as I was checking out. It was a no-brainer that for a small fee, I could feel the assurance that purchase brings that I won’t lose all my money in case an emergency happens and we can’t go.

That was a lightbulb moment for me. Why isn’t Regpack offering this? I started to do some research and realized no one is really offering this in the registration space.

Sure you can buy travel insurance from a 3rd party site but beyond that… there was no registration solution that offered an integrated way to protect the purchase of events and programs.

While this is a great idea for the end user, I needed to understand if this would add value to our clients.

This is a basic requirement for any new feature update we build at Regpack.

It took only a few seconds to understand that our clients have always mentioned in passing to me that cancellations can be a big financial hassle.

A camp director, for example, has already hired the staff they need to work with a set number of campers for a session. If a few campers cancel at the last moment, the camp is faced with two options: lose some operating cost that went towards those canceled campers when they refunded their costs OR lose loyal customers when they refused to issue a refund.

I soon realized that Purchase Protection was a win-win for both our clients and theirs.

While it took over a year to build out the feature and get it right, I’m now so excited to see the success Purchase Protection has already become!

Allowing our clients to work faster.

A repeating concern I heard from our Support team was frustration from our seasoned clients that starting up a new project or restarting their registration for their next event or program was a hassle.

They had to contact us to have us set their new project up, which took time and wasn’t something they could do on their own.

We wanted to create tools that would allow our clients more control over the system, without compromising our great service.

This is where templates and copy project came in. We are still an integral part of the initial build process for every new client, and offer this service to all clients for all of their new projects.

However, for those who want to and are able to do more, copy project and templates now allow Regpack clients to build out their own systems, in just minutes!

Copy Project will copy over all existing information like reports and products with just one click!

Templates allow clients, new and old, to create a new project for one of their other varied business needs, including lead management, one-time events, staff applications, and more!

The goal for both of these tools was to allow our clients to work faster, work smarter and work better!

Project Templates: Use Regpack For More Than JUST Registration

One of the best things about Regpack is it can be customized to fit any process. We have summer camps using Regpack, course, conferences, employee trainings, yoga studios, trips, and more!

And while the #1 comment we get from clients is that Regpack was able to fit their process, and not the other way around, we still saw that the creativity with Regpack’s platform ended with registration.

Some savvy clients figured out they could use Regpack for other things, like staff applications in addition to summer camp registration, or to capture and manage leads as well as conference attendees.

One of the biggest benefits to using Regpack for more than registration is the time you save using, paying for and learning another software to solve another business need.

Why research and look for a lead management software, when you can use Regpack’s tools to build out a lead project?

At Regpack, we use our software for EVERYTHING – marketing, lead management, client management, even to organize our weekly meeting notes! We wanted to make using Regpack for more than just registration EASY for our clients as well!

So, we introduced Templates. Now you can quickly create your own new project right from the Regpack admin portal. We have some pre-built templates that are perfect for common events and programs.

Our Regpack Project Managers created several options within each category to serve a wide variety of needs.

Templates include: events, conferences, seminars, camps, courses, classes, membership, races, tours, sports and more.

We also recently added: Staff applications, Lead Management, and Anonymous Events!

Every week we add more templates that we know our clients will benefit from. We also take requests, so don’t hesitate to reach out to with any suggestions!

Copy Existing Projects with ONE Click!

Along with our template updates, we wanted to make just restarting your current projects each year even easier. And by easy, I mean with just ONE CLICK!

I understand that everyone is busy and repurposing your old Regpack project can seem cumbersome or clunky. We wanted to make the process of restarting a new registration season quick and seamless.

While Project Managers are available to help you build out your copied project, it’s also not necessary!

Within 30 minutes you can have a brand new project created and get started accepting registration that day!

With Copy Project, you can port over existing user data, reports, products, triggers, emails, and more.

You can also pick and choose what copies over and what doesn’t if you want to customize your new project with minimal editing.

Becoming a partner in your business and taking some of the load off!

We try at Regpack to walk the walk and talk the talk.

We have a lot of great blog posts about best email practices, including how to write a great payment invoice email or great payment reminder email.

I realized one day that writing these how-to posts were great, and super helpful to a lot of people (they are our highest traffic blog posts to date!) but, we aren’t making this as easy as we can for our own clients.

Enhanced Communication Tools

In the effort to “walk the talk”, in 2017 we introduced integrated payment emails directly from the Regpack system instead of from the payment processor!

This allows us to send the best payment emails that get you happy customers, and paid on time!

It also didn’t hurt that pretty much all of our clients asked for this update at some point in the past year, so I knew we needed to make it happen in 2017!

While it took a lot of work (doesn’t something simple always take the longest?!) we got it done this fall.

Now all payment notifications come from the Regpack system, and those emails can be viewed under each user’s “view communications” tab.

The system payment emails follow the guidelines we lay out in our blog posts. Writing these posts meant analyzing hundreds of payment emails of our own – seeing what text, what information and what formats got the best results.

We pushed this knowledge into our articles, as well as into crafting the system emails.

This update has further streamlined payments in Regpack, and makes managing registration payments that much easier!

2018 will include more updates to our communication tools with the overall goal of taking a load off and partnering with you for successful business communication.

We want to hear from you!

If you aren’t a Regpack client, I invite you to get in touch today and learn how we can add value to your organization!

If you are, please never hesitate to get in touch with Support and give us feedback!

This year our main feature updates were all about anticipating the needs of our clients, but over 722 features will all just requests from clients and fine-tuning the capabilities we already have!

We get ideas and understand how we can make Regpack even better from understand what our clients REALLY need, and then making it happen.

Looking forward to a productive 2018 and what this post next year will share!

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