Do you remember those classes in school where you had to work with four or five others as a group? You’d get the assignment, figure out who’s doing what, and then divvy up the work. Then what happened? There’d be that one guy or girl who just couldn’t get things done on time and inevitably dragged the group’s grade down. In spite of all you did, you got penalized for someone else slowing you down. That kind of partnership doesn’t work in school, it doesn’t work in relationships, and it definitely doesn’t work in business.
Speed matters. Google and Amazon discovered this in the late 2000s. Google found that “an extra 500 milliseconds in loading time resulted in a 20% drop in traffic.” Likewise, Amazon discovered that for every 100ms increase in load time, their sales decreased by 1%. Shouldn’t the leads industry expect similar results?
In fact, it should.
A study by Velocify found that on average, “companies see a 391% improvement in their conversion rate if they call their leads within one minute of their request.” In another study, LeadConnect Marketing discovered that “78% of customers will do business with the first person that responds to their inquiry.”
Here are three possible explanations for this increased conversion rate:
The Pump is Primed
When a consumer fills out an online form, they are actively thinking about your product and service. Even more important, they’re already saying “yes” by taking that first step (i.e. filling out the form). Catching the consumer in this moment of intent – when they are already primed to say “yes” – only increases the likelihood of conversion.
If You’re Not First, You’ re Last
While in that moment of intent, a consumer is most likely to go with the first business to contact them. According to LeadConnect’s study, anything after five minutes reduces your odds of qualifying that lead by 80%. When you’re the first to contact a lead, you leave your competitors waiting for your crumbs.
Not All Pain is Gain
Consumers aren’t looking for a “thing” or “service” when they’re making a purchase – they’re looking to eliminate some pain in their life. Waiting for a call or getting interrupted later when they’re not even thinking about the problem only adds to that pain. This is yet another reason why it’s so important to connect with your leads while they’re still “in the moment”.
Your customers choose your products and services because you eliminate a pain point for them. Similarly, you chose TrustedForm because it eliminates a pain point for you.
Unfortunately, there was still some lingering pain with TrustedForm: claiming was too slow. It was a real pain point for us as well, but we’re happy to report that this is no longer a problem. Before we look at how much faster TrustedForm is, let’s look at the goals the TrustedForm team set for themselves that resulted in this improvement.
Making TrustedForm faster wasn’t our end goal, but it was an expected side effect. Instead, our primary focus was to migrate off our existing hosting provider and move to Amazon Web Services (AWS). To do that, we set out three goals for ourselves.
Migrate to Elixir
It’s entirely likely you’ve not heard of the Elixir programming language. It’s a relatively new language built on an older language created by Ericsson for the telecom industry. In that industry, errors, failures, and disruptions aren’t an option. Furthermore, Ericsson needed a way to seamlessly add and remove machines to allow for maintenance or rapid expansion – shutting down the eastern seaboard for maintenance tends to ruffle feathers. This focus on fault-tolerance, scalability, and responsiveness was a perfect fit for TrustedForm, and migrating hosting providers offered the opportune time to make the change.
Reduce Server Demand
Making the switchover to Elixir was bound to reduce the number of servers we needed. Elixir’s not nearly the memory hog of our previous stack – but more than that, by migrating to AWS, we gained the ability to dynamically scale the number of servers we needed depending on load and traffic. Previously, we ran a static number of servers which required a day’s worth of work to scale up. Now we run one-fifth of that number during the slowest times of the day and we can automatically scale up as traffic increases.
Avoid Service Disruption
Our last goal – and this was the most important one – was to ensure there was no service disruption for our customers when we switched to the new architecture. Lost claims is lost money, and so we had backup plans in place in case the switchover went south.
Did you notice when we made the change? No one else did either.
Did it work? Did all of our hard work pay off? Did our changes improve claiming speeds? See for yourself.
This first chart shows what our latency looked like before the migration. As you can see, 90% (p90) of claims took upwards of 1.3 seconds. Even the 50th percentile took upwards of a second to complete a claim.
Now let’s look at the performance after the cut over.
Here, our 90th percentile is now only 147.7ms. That’s an almost 10x improvement in speed. Is that the case across the board? No. Overall, we’ve seen improvements between 4-15x, and our customers have noticed. Here’s what one had to say:
We used to have a round trip of 700 to 800ms for an average TF claim, and now I can see it’s below 200ms, which is a great improvement.
Speed matters. It mattered in school when we were forced to work with other students to get a project in on time, and it matters in the leads industry, where second place likely means the “first loser”. For ActiveProspect, it means reduced costs and happier customers.
For you, it means improved “speed to lead” and increased conversions.
We understand that your success is dependent on how quickly you’re able to respond to opportunities, which means TrustedForm is part of that equation. This is why, as the TrustedForm team worked to rewrite the code for the migration, we identified and recorded a number of potential bottlenecks and areas needing improvement. We believe we can get another 3-5x improvement and get our p90 under 50ms.
And that’s only one of the things we’re working on. We’re just getting started.