A lot of apps I have tested had great support- Flock, BatchBook, Flowgram, but I have yet to experience a beta-test that went to the lengths that Gist did. Gist is a social CRM that combines your inbox, social networks, and major news sources to help you learn more about your contacts in a real-time way. Before a meeting, I always check Gist to get the latest Tweet, blog post or news story about the person I am about to meet. Basically, Gist compiles your contacts’ information to help you build stronger relationships.
I don’t remember how I got connected to Gist as a tester, but what I do remember is the amazing care and feeding of their beta-tester community. They didn’t give us all Porsches, but they did have:
- Amazing support! The minute I had a question I got a response and sometimes a phone call.
- Monthly calls/web chats demonstrating new developments and rollouts with lots of Q&A.
- Incredible outreach. Wherever CEO, T.A. McCann traveled he met with beta-testers, hosted tweet-ups, set up group runs. (I think you have to run a sub-7 minute mile to even be considered for a position at Gist.) Even though I am not VC royalty, I was invited to coffee with T.A. McCann on his way through Denver last year.
- A contest to send a Gist user to Defrag last year. Then hosted a FOG dinner at Defrag where a lot of users got to meet face-to-face.
- Ample information, contact and encouragement before their public-beta rollout.
- Schwag (pre-FCC regs change), so yes, I have a Gist t-shirt. And enclosed was a HANDWRITTEN THANK YOU NOTE from VP Robert Pease. That sure didn’t hurt.
What do they get? A team of dedicated brand ambassadors. Users have made videos about how they use Gist, written blog posts, regularly Re-Tweet their news, and invite their contacts to sign up.
By providing amazing support, timely information, frequent and in-person contact, Gist built a grassroots army to kick-off their beta rollout.
(Guest post by Deb Robison, Cloud Jedi-In-Training, baker, President of the Mile High Social Media Club and fluent in Japanese.)