As we head towards Christmas, we felt it was appropriate to take a moment to reminisce on the passing year, our ups and downs, and consider what the future holds for us and our customers. The year 2012 certainly flew by quickly and there was plenty of work to do. Re-branding, accelerating development on the much-awaited successor to our Visichat software and re-aligning our business model to better address the ever evolving needs of our customers – was just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, at times challenges were great, demanding both of our time and fine balance in introducing needed change while not forgetting to add extra polish to the things that already set us apart from the competition. So, without further ado let’s sit down by the fire, albeit a virtual one, and recap.
First, there was a quiet spell at the start of the year, when our development team worked hard on adding a centralised customers portal to the GChat website. It took some time away from other GChat projects, including the latest update, but the team felt the benefits of a centralised account management system were worth the delay. The portal is easy to access, use and has everything you need to know as a GChat customer in one place. It made technical and customer support much easier to manage, too, as our customer base rapidly grew. And the best thing about this tool was the fact that our existing customers were already registered by default. Their order and account details were imported from previous transactions – meaning all they had to do was reset their password and presto – they were in straight away, with full access to their profile, software downloads and technical support.
Following the introduction of the customers portal, we decided to proceed with a full re-brand and associated domain change, which was long planned. We anticipated some disruption to our business during the changeover, but overall are pleased to say it went rather well. Sure, there were some search hiccups, as Google never misses an opportunity to keep webmasters and SEO gurus on their toes, and we’d rather leave those behind us, but we pushed through.
The team certainly learnt plenty more about the Google ranking algorithm than it ever wanted to know! There was a lot of late night logo swapping, text replacement, link checking and tidy-up work – all good fun. Of course, our customers were shielded from all this and our forums saw healthy traffic throughout, regardless of our Google adventures. We hired additional staff, introduced phone support and extended one year’s worth of updates service subscription to make life just a little bit easier for all our current licensees.
As we refocused on the new version of our video chat software, GChat homepage got a steady stream of rolling improvements. FAQ section for Video Chat was added, making quick answers to common questions searchable and accessible to all visitors to our site. A dedicated features page was also launched for the product. It’s dynamic, which means any new additions to the software or its existing features will be highlighted straight away, making both easy to spot. Additionally, there are now highlights of the top Video Chat features directly on its product page, for easy of reference. You can now also enjoy the newly simplified ordering process with comparison tables for key product editions.
Thing certainly got more hectic in late autumn, heading in to winter. The company blog went live, following popular demand, and on 14 December we were pleased to allow public access to the Video Chat 3 live demo beta test, which proved very successful so far. Plenty of useful feedback and excitement about the upcoming software release was communicated back to HQ. The team thanks kindly those who took the time to also forward truly touching words of encouragement and patiently waited for this event. All feedback was greatly appreciated. The wait itself is almost over, too. Our hosted chat customers will receive the latest software release round 14 January 2013, followed by official commercial launch shortly after. If you haven’t tried the demo yet, look for it at Video Chat Demo. Dynamic custom user groups, moderated hand raise, dynamic languages, skins and more, is already live, and it is being patched daily up to the point of official release.
And GChat story doesn’t end there, next year, after launch of Video Chat 3, we’ll be busier than ever. The restructuring of our business and software model is almost done. We will strive to bring more frequent updates, modules and products to you, whilst further improving our site and services. In particular, you can look forward to a detailed manual for Video Chat, great value packages and a new front-end chat skin.
Once again, we would like to thank all our customers for supporting our products, contributing valuable content to the community forums and of course using the software that we build.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year