September 12, 2021

Dogfooding: How we use our Scheduler product internally

No, it’s not a new diet craze - ‘Eating your own dog food’ is one of the best product testing practices for a business to implement. We explain how and why we use it within Cronofy.
13 min read
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Amy Gallagher
Content Marketer
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If you work in the tech industry, you've probably heard the term 'dogfooding' before. For those who haven't, it's the practice of using your own products internally. The benefits of dogfooding are undeniable; it ensures the team consistently sees their own offerings through their customers' eyes and can easily pinpoint areas of improvement. It also makes it more likely they'll discover problems and bugs quicker, so they can rectify them before launching to the public – this is why the practice is prevalent within the tech industry. What better way to test the success of your product than to use it yourself?

In terms of marketing, dogfooding ensures a team can speak knowledgeably and comfortably about the products they’re promoting, as they’re already using them every day. They know the products inside out, and they’ve probably been continually suggesting improvements along the way.

It’s a practice we know is effective, which is why the Cronofy team consistently uses our Scheduler product throughout our working days, as we get to make the most out of the great tool we’ve created! It’s useful for every team, from Marketing to Recruitment, and serves as the perfect organization hack by automating tedious or recurring admin. We’ve made sure the Scheduler integrates with most of the tools we work with daily and all calendar providers, so that we can take advantage of the product’s benefits on a multitude of daily tasks.

So what do we use our products for in our workday? Here we’ll share the key ways we use our Scheduler internally to make our working processes more efficient and save ourselves time.

Scheduling internal meetings via Slack

Slack skyrocketed in popularity during COVID and the subsequent rise in remote working; the platform generated $902 million in revenue between March 2020 to April 2021, which was a 43 percent year-on-year increase. With colleagues miles instead of desks apart from each other, digital messaging platforms were crucial to maintaining communication.

The remote working model has been continued by many businesses post-lockdown, with Cronofy being one of them. We use Slack daily for discussions, sharing work, and keeping up to date with the rest of the business. As we’re so active on Slack, we built an integration for our Scheduler to make scheduling meetings with other team members quick and simple.

First, a user creates the link in their Scheduler account, using both their and the other attendees' availability. Pasted as a message in Slack, this link unfurls as a time-picking box. They can then select the time that suits them best – no need for back-and-forth messaging – which automatically updates in your Scheduler account and both of your calendars. It’s the ideal time-saving tool that makes finding the right time for a meeting easy. If the times in the immediate future don’t work, they can still click to see more times and availability in the browser.

Marketing and sales emails with the HubSpot integration

The success of sales and marketing emails increasingly relies on personalization; a recent survey of 1,000 US adults from Epsilon showed that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. Customers want to feel brands are communicating to them as an individual, not just one of many. We wanted to ensure we achieved this, even when sending mass email campaigns.

We created a Cronofy integration for Hubspot so personalized scheduling links can be generated automatically for our email campaigns. If they like one of our new features or want to know more about our products highlighted in the email, recipients can use the link to book a demo or call with one of our team in two clicks. These links use the recipient’s information, already stored in Hubspot, their email address and name, and takes them to a calendar of potential dates and times - it even populates the title above the calendar with their name for a truly personalized experience. These slots update in real-time, so there’s no chance of double-booking - which is particularly important when sending a campaign email to a large number of people.

As the recipient can schedule in only a couple of clicks, we’ve found it increases the number of demos booked from email marketing, and improves the experience prospects have with us - before they’ve even met us in person. It directly shows potential customers how our tools work, even before they’ve got on a call with us.

“We use the Hubspot Scheduler integration to embed personalized booking links in our marketing email. This enables us to automate sending emails to our clients and prospects while letting them choose an available time for demo calls in the calendars’ of their dedicated Account Managers. We reduced the Marketing & Sales team workload and increased the uptake on demo requests.”

Jeremy Bourhis | Head of Marketing

Interview scheduling with our ATS

The war for talent has never been more fierce, with the digital skills gap in particular desperately needing to be filled. As a tech company, we’ve personally felt this level of competition, pitted against other recruiters all looking for the perfect tech hire. In a world of instant gratification, having a quick response and interview scheduling turnaround is one of the best ways to get ahead and stand out to candidates. At Cronofy, our hiring managers and recruitment team all use the Scheduler to speed up the interview scheduling process, which in turn speeds up time-to-hire. Our Head of Talent, Mark Harbottle, has found the Scheduler saves him hours each week compared to his previous recruiting jobs, where he would have to chase up availability via call or email manually.

We have several different stages to our hiring process; from initial screening to formal interview, to chats with the team to assess cultural fit - we need to schedule them all in our calendars. With these various stages comes candidate data and a complex communication trail. Using HRIS software is key to organizing the recruitment process; we use an ATS to store candidate information. Our Cronofy Google Chrome extension works with our ATS to automatically pull the candidate information from their saved profiles. Our team simply opens up the candidate profile and clicks the Cronofy extension to create a scheduling pop-up, which automatically populates with the candidate's information. The recruiter can create a personalized interview scheduling link in a couple of clicks, ready to be attached to their invitation email. The Scheduler integrates with all conferencing services, ensuring the booking experience is frictionless whether the interview is set to happen in person, or remotely.

“The ROI on using the Scheduler for interview scheduling is immeasurable. I can provide candidates with my full availability in just a couple of clicks, and they have the flexibility to choose times that work for them. This makes makes a great first impression – I’ve received so many positive comments on the ease and simplicity of booking interviews with us. We’re able to move candidates through the interview process quicker, giving me more time to focus on what's important - building our employer brand, marketing our roles, and sourcing candidates.”

Mark Harbottle | Head of Talent

Support calls with the Zendesk plugin

Customer service is an intrinsic part of business success in any industry, with 96% of customers stating customer service as important in their choice of loyalty to a brand. For a tech company, having a highly knowledgeable, quick-response Support team is crucial. We implemented Zendesk to help our Support function deal with queries more effectively and help our customers succeed. Sometimes it's important to recognize that a demonstration or conversation is needed to resolve a customer issue or ensure that the scheduling integrations/partnership is being used to its maximum potential. When that happens, the team is always ready to hop on a call with a customer. Being able to schedule this from within Zendesk is a real time-saver and makes this process seamless.

Our team can quickly add a personalized, one-time use scheduling link when they reply to a customer’s ticket within the existing thread. The plugin automatically embeds all of the contact details for the customer into the booking link, meaning it just requires two clicks for the agent and two clicks for the customer to book a call. And as the Scheduler integrates with all conferencing services, it’s a surefire way to ensure the customer service journey is smooth as well as personalized. The customer chooses a time that suits them, but the Scheduler’s customizable Preferences, like Availability and Buffers that our team have defined, mean the time is always going to be convenient for everyone.

External meetings through our Gmail plugin

Like many other businesses, we use Google Workspace as our email and calendar provider. The team wanted a way to conveniently send meeting booking links to external recipients we’re emailing, such as sales prospects or potential business partners. Our Product team created the Scheduler plugin for this purpose; to eliminate the back-and-forth emailing that so often happens when trying to organize external meetings, and save time for both our team and the recipient. This functionality is perfect for sales calls in particular, as it leaves them more time to focus on research and preparation for optimum sign-up potential. If more than one team member needs to be on the call, say a sales person and a developer, we can use the Scheduler's Combined Availability feature to cross reference both calendars and only offer the recipient slots where all those team members are available.

We can even schedule meetings for another colleague, for example a busy manager or someone who is currently out of office, with our Schedule On Behalf Of feature. This function means there’s never an issue of leads getting lost just because someone isn’t working that day. We can help our sales team members pick up and respond to business faster, even when they’re absent, creating a better experience for the prospect.

“I always use the Gmail plugin to schedule sales calls and demos – it’s the easiest and quickest way to organize the best time for both myself and the prospect. I feel it gives off a positive impression of our brand right from the start of our communication and instantly proves to them how beneficial it is to use our tools for scheduling.”

David Jiang | Technical Account Manager

Our team might not always want to offer their entire calendar to someone they meet, within the standard one, two or three week view. When the meeting needs to happen within a certain time frame or is linked to a specific project, sharing Custom Times allows our team members to customize their availability to suit that particular meeting.

Are you interested in using our Scheduler with your existing tools? You can sign up for free to try it out for yourself!

OR book a demo to find out how our Scheduler for Enterprise can transform your business operational efficiency and save hundreds of wasted hours.