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We accidentally pushed a major code bug OR What we learned selling our own contact information

Phone call

One of our most common themes here at the Lead Generation Resource Center is the importance of continuous innovation. As we’ve written before, the lead generation industry (not simply in franchising) is rife with complacent players that are content implementing yesterday’s tech solutions today.

Well, this past week, FranchiseHelp was struck by one of the major downsides of technology innovation: bugs.

Before I get into what happened exactly, you should take a second to re-read / peruse this article:

Well, it turns out that we were being quite prescient in adding the “(for now)” to the title. Earlier this month, we decided once again that it was time to redo the system. I’ll spare you what the super complicated diagram looks like this time, but trust me when I say it’s just as topsy-turvy.

Whenever you launch a BIG new piece of technology, the process of de-bugging the code prior to release is very important. Coding in the abstract can be very difficult, so when you actually deploy new systems, mistakes are bound to happen.

The good news is that the majority of mistakes are caught by the development team as they’re designing and implementing the system. The longer you code, the more you realize that the time suck is not in creating things but rather ensuring that they work as designed.

Code sample

Well, after the development team had completed their work, there’s still another round of debugging, this time by the entire FranchiseHelp company. Essentially, we launch the new system and then spend hours trying to break it. Each time we see something behave oddly, we report it back to the tech team to be fixed….quickly! (It’s a fairly stressful situation to say the least.)

It’s impossible to catch every bug in the code, but historically we’ve done quite well as ensuring the system is working.

Until last week.

In all the rigorous testing that we did, we missed one small detail. If our call verification system determined that a lead should NOT be sold, then we accidentally sold it as an exclusive consulting lead.

I don’t want to get into the details of why we missed this error, but we did. And when we eventually caught it (a couple days later), we had quite a bit of cleaning up to do. Tech changes, refunds, apologies, etc. (Thankfully the franchises that work with us like us, so we appreciate their patience.)

But one quite humorous facet of this mistake still remained. When we were testing the new system, we had to use contact information that the system would recognize as valid. So, obviously we all decided to use our own phone numbers and email addresses. If the system was working correctly, this wouldn’t have been a problem as all of our leads would have been filtered out. But it wasn’t. So we all sold our contact information!

Here’s what we learned:

  1. It takes WAY too long to be contacted via phone – One of the more disappointing parts of selling our contact information was how long it took to be called by our lead buyers. In some instances, it was on the order of days! When you are buying leads, you should try and contact the lead within 1 minute of receiving the lead to maximize your chance of making that lead valuable. Waiting days does nothing other than consistently lower lead quality.
  2. It’s weird to get a call from a number you don’t know – As you can imagine, there were a lot of puzzled looks on people’s faces when random phone numbers started ringing us. Someone on our marketing team, who ignored the call, was overheard saying, “Who the heck wants to talk to me from Nebraska?” With the popularization of caller ID, it is nearly impossible to get someone to pick up your phone call if they don’t know who you are. Why not try warming the lead by sending a text message introducing yourself or sending an email saying to expect a call from a certain number?
  3. Voicemail seems to be an area for optimization – First of all, it was fascinating to see that some people left voicemails and others didn’t. That was curious. Somehow, there seems to be a dichotomy as to whether it’s a good idea. I really don’t know what’s more effective. Voicemail has never been less popular, yet that doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. I’m kind of stumped on this one…Is it a good idea? I really don’t know. One could imagine that a well-crafted voicemail could be a real catalyst for action. Don’t know though.

Anyway. Moving forward we certainly will try to AVOID selling our own contact information. But if we ever do it again, we can’t wait to see what we learn.

If you’re interested in learning more about FranchiseHelp’s (debugged) lead generation programs, shoot us a note here.

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