vCita LiveSite gets a Makeover

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vCita LiveSite gets a Makeover

As published in | December 12, 2014 by Ian Murphy

The challenge for small business owners when it comes to using the web is how to keep customers coming back. Even if they have the skills to write their own website, getting the User Experience (UX) right takes a lot of practice and coding. Using third-party plug-ins can take some of the stress out of this but there is still a lot of configuration work required to make the solution seamless.

vCita LiveSite is designed to remove the heavy lift from small businesses. A Software as a Service (SaaS) solution it plugs into a website and provides a simplified, seamless UX. This means that companies can begin to offer additional features that previously were considered too expensive such as online scheduling and client management.

LiveSite can be integrated with most of the major websites builders and content management
platforms out there including Google, Facebook, WordPress, Drupal and Wix. It also provides support for mobile clients such as iPhone, iPad, Android tablets and Windows Phone.

In the press release, vCita highlights five new and enhanced features:

One-Click Pay Now: An online payment form easily added to any web page or embedded within an email campaign. Clients can effortlessly make a payment and get an email confirmation once processed without leaving the website, while businesses easily track outstanding and completed payments.

Advanced Scheduling: Enable clients to schedule a consultation, an appointment or request a service in-sync with you or your staff’s availability. Advanced Scheduling allows businesses to set aside blocks of time for travel, buffers between client meetings or a call—or add a scheduled break into the day, helping to avoid appointment fatigue and overlap. Businesses can also set the schedule to reflect different service offerings on selected days and hours for maximum flexibility.

File Sharing: Easy and convenient online file sharing tracks and records the life of the document in the vCita contact management software, and notifies the receiving party of availability via email or on the next visit through the LiveSite invite. Documents can be shared and viewed on the go, on any device, anywhere.

Email Templates: Automate coordination, reminders and follow-up emails. New email templates will now give greater flexibility and branding options with a design that reflects the business’ brand, color palette and logo. The templates are mobile-enabled with an html email template or a text-only version that works with any smartphone.

Extended Language Support: Offer users the ability to work in native French or Spanish, creating a seamless communication flow between clients and the business.

One of the challenges that vCita will need to address for European customers with its One-Click Pay Now option, is how to support VAT MOSS. This legislation that arrives on January 1st requires VAT for online services to be charged where the customer is located not where the service is delivered from.

It will also be interesting to see how quickly vCita expands the range on online payment providers that it support. At present, it supports credit cards and PayPal but there are now over 15 large payments providers worldwide. Customers now expect websites to support their payment provider of choice and this means that vCita not the website owners, will need to adapt the platform to incorporate these other services.

With a built-in CRM system, vCita makes it easy for website owners to upload their existing data and then allocate customers to specific internal staff. This means that the CRM will grow with the website owner and their business, something that is critical for any company looking to increase the amount of repeat business it gets from its customers.

What isn't clear is where that data is held. The CRM option is part of vCita which suggests that the data is held in the vCita data centre but non-US customers may want a more regional or even local storage of that data. With data sovereignty high on the agenda for European and Asia Pacific companies, vCita needs to look at opening up additional storage capacity and allowing the customer to determine where data will be held.

Another option here would be for vCita to allow a customer to purchase the entire CRM module and self host. It already has a Web Professionals program that allows them to customised, embed and resell vCita. By extending this to corporate developers or even service and hosting providers would help to overcome any concerns over data location.

Pricing breaks down into three bands:

1. Free - provides basic contact management and a self-service client portfolio however customers have to accept some advertising and the LiveSite branding.

2. Professional - $9.95-$29.90 per month. This is a custom installation of LiveSite with no advertising. The other features include:
        Customised client portal & email communication.
        Client Management, lead tracking & follow-up using any device
        Online Scheduling, real-time availability, mobile notifications, reminders
        Online Payments, “Services Menu” & Invoicing
        Document & File Sharing

3. Teams - starts at $34.95 per month and delivers everything in Professional plus:
        Company branding and customization.
        Administrator view & control.
        Share client records across your team
        Team calendar. Assign clients to specific staff members

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