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Category: News
Written by Ken Quigley
March 16 2020

As a business owner, I understand that my team is looking for me to be proactive in navigating through these challenging times, and I'm working hard to be worthy of that trust. Internally, our response on Friday was to distribute our COVID-19 policy to all employees, circulate a survey to gather as much input as possible on how to proceed, and then host an emergency meeting the same day to coordinate everyone's work strategy for the coming weeks and months. As a company, Keystroke is fortunate that the bulk of our business operations are already hosted on the Cloud, so the work-at-home transition for us should be seamless.

For some of our customers, however, this situation presents a much bigger challenge. And while all of us at Keystroke are humble to the extent we can help, we've prepared the following four part plan as the first phase of our external response to COVID-19. This plan is born of one overriding principal - with every life challenge comes opportunity. As wide ranging and as uncertain as this current crisis is, we do believe that it affords us one luxury few of us had before, and that's time.

If this is our fate, what can we do with that time?   

To be clear at the outset, this plan is about investing time, not money. We know many of our Act! subscription customers have already paid for the newest versions of Act!, but are still using an older release. For them it's not so much a cost issue, but of them not seeing the value in the newer Act! versions, at least not sufficient value to endure the trouble of upgrading.

I believe these are misconceptions, and ones that can be overcome with better training and support. To that end, we're taking the following steps to help our customers get better value from their Act! subscription: 

Starting this week, Keystroke will be increasing the frequency of our monthly free Success Training classes to once a week. We'll also focus the training on teaching newer, time-saving features that have been introduced the last couple of years. These weekly 30-45 minute classes will be free to all our customers, and will be designed to help them get more value from their software investment. For instance, the next two weekly classes will not simply explain the new features with Act! v22, but will help users understand how to implement them into their business, and why they're worth the effort. If you can't make any of these classes, they'll be recorded and posted HERE.

In April we'll be scheduling a four part series on Act! Marketing Automation led by some of the strongest authorities in the field, covering designing templates, building campaigns, reading & understanding the results, implementing landing pages, and more. Each of the weekly classes will be an hour in length, as we push to lift everyone's level of marketing automation proficiency to new levels. We know this storm will pass, so let's use what we expect to be a slower stretch for many of us, to be prepared for brighter days. Our goal is to not simply weather the storm, but to help our customers be stronger for the experience. 

With the recent release of Update 4 for Act! v22, we can confidently say that it's ready to implement. You can learn more about what's new in Act! v22 HERE, but we're very happy to report that we completed our own internal 35-seat upgrade this past weekend, and it went extremely well. We had some workstation upgrades that took less than 5-minutes, and amazingly not one remote database broke during the update process (I say "amazing" because our database size is over 10GB!). It was honestly one of the smoothest company-wide upgrades we've ever done, and we want to start scheduling the same for our customers. To that end, we're going to start contacting all our Act! subscribers in the coming weeks that have Orange Care to schedule their complimentary upgrade. Regardless of the time limits they may have with their support plans, Keystroke will commit to installing and upgrading their Act! deployments as part of their Orange Care plan, with no extra costs for time overages (save for database issues that require repair service or poor workstation health). We have a large experienced support team, and we want to reduce the downtime and cost barrier to completing this beneficial upgrade. 

NEW! With our VIP & VIP Diamond Support plans, we normally limit those to one per year, per account because they represent 50% or more off our normal labour rates. Given the current circumstances, we've decided to suspend those rules through June 30th, allowing clients to purchase as many VIP or VIP Plans as they need for their projects during this time. On July 1st we plan to re-implement the normal rules, but this seems like an easy way to help our customers.

ADD-ON RELIEF: Extending the trial periods and slashing prices
Many of our customers want to implement solutions like custom tables into their business, but are concerned about the time it takes to implement, learn, and get efficient with them before having to pay the bill. As publishers of over one hundred add-ons, including the custom table technology featured in Swiftpage's Act! Premium Plus, this is an easy problem for us to fix.

Effective March 23rd, any of our customers that wish to implement one of our featured add-on solutions, will have more time to trial them before having to pay anything - 4 more months to be exact. That's right, test drive add-on solutions for workflow automation, custom tables, quoting, Outlook integration, and others for a total of 4-months without cost or obligation. This offer will be available through the balance of March and through all of April, and we hope this extra time will afford these trial users sufficient grace for normal conditions to return to the business world.   

For those more interested in saving money than time, we're also offering a 50% discount on all new purchases of the same featured products during March and April. Whatever your preference, we want to help reduce the barrier to using some of our CRM efficiency tools, and we think offering our customers their choice of time or money is a way we can help.

The final offer we'd like to make in our COVID-19 assistance plan only effects those renewing their Act! subscription in Q2 (April - June). The reality is we have a lot of customers renewing during the next fiscal quarter, which is period we expect to be hit hardest by the Corona pandemic, and fraught with business uncertainty. To help, we'd like to offer some payment flexibility with their Act! subscription renewals, by allowing them to pay as little as half the cost by their renewal date, and then take another 30-days to pay the balance. We don't expect everyone to need this flexibility, but for those that do, we hope this extra time offers some measure of relief.

Closing thoughts

The time ahead may be uncertain as we navigate through unchartered waters in the coming months, but some certainties do exist. We can use the time now to prepare for the future and be stronger for having survived this experience, or we can simply trim our sails and let the tide take us where it will. As president of Keystroke, I hope my team can play a role in softening the impact of this pandemic, and we think the above measures can help to some degree. Please let us know your thoughts on other ways we can help, as we'd like repay our customers for the loyalty they've shown us over the last quarter century. 

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