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2019 Product Recap

Hi, and welcome to the twenties!

(Or welcome back to the twenties, for some of our older readers. 😉)

After 20 years of not being able to refer to the decade we’re in, here’s to the next 80 years of clarity! Exciting times.

2019 was a busy year for everyone, so I thought I’d take a moment to recap on some of the product improvements we made last year, in case you missed them. If I had a pound for every time a client had missed that our products could now do this or that, I’d have at least £6 — so let’s dive in.

GeckoEngage Improvements

Relative Workflows for Events

When you have hundreds of events (or sessions), you don’t want to have to tweak your workflows when you alter your start/end times. So, instead of setting a strictly defined time for sending a campus tour text reminder (i.e., send at 08:30am for a 09:00am tour), you can now create a relative workflow to send the message 30 minutes before the event is about to begin.

Embeddable Events Widgets

These widgets house your events (or a subsection of them), and slot right into any page on your website. And because they’re dynamically powered by Gecko, they are automatically kept up-to-date with which events are upcoming. So you no longer need to remember to remove past events from every event page! If you’d like to reduce your reliance on a web team — and keep your website up-to-date, 24/7 — the embeddable event widgets could be for you.

Repeating Events

Within a single window, you can now clone your events across any number of future dates. Plus, every future event variation will take with it all your settings, workflows, hosts, locations and sessions! So, if tomorrow’s open house event has a text message scheduled to send 60 minutes before doors open, you can be sure that next month’s open house will too.

Event Locations and Hosts

You already knew that every event attendee has their own, personalised RSVP page that houses their ticket and session information, right? Well, last January we added event locations, including an embedded map, to help students easily find where your event/sessions are taking place. And we also added event hosts, to give students visibility into who they’ll be meeting at each session.

Multiple CRM integration improvements

First, we rolled out an update for Salesforce schools, allowing for recurring contact imports and the syncing of more call/message/note/email/attendance data to the contact and lead records. Then we followed that with an improved two-way sync between events in Gecko and campaigns in Salesforce, which pulls through 6+ attendance statuses. We also enabled users to map their unique institution IDs to their CRM — for easier linking of enquiries to individual schools — and we improved our Microsoft Dynamics integration to better support contacts AND leads.

2-Factor Authentication and Single Sign-On

2FA is an extra layer of security used to make sure that people trying to gain access to an online account are who they say they are. We added 2FA last summer, to make it harder for others to impersonate your team-members and gain access to their account. Single sign-on (SSO) also helps secure your GeckoEngage accounts, but in a different way. SSO can allow users to login to their Gecko accounts using existing login credentials from third-party accounts, such as Microsoft and Google. This means that new users do not have to set up a password to access the system, and lapsed users (such as colleagues who have left the institution) do not have to be manually removed from your Gecko account.

Other improvements:

  • Export Templates. Gecko users can now save recurring exports as templates, then run them at any time with just a few clicks.
  • Personalised landing pages. Use mail merge tags to customise landing pages for every student.
  • Configurable end dates for workflows. Once set-up, event and form workflows will now stop running past the set date.
  • Email/SMS template categories. Track and group your templates by assigning them to customisable categories.
  • Use Google’s Invisible reCAPTCHA to prevent spammy submissions on your Gecko Forms.
  • Use a single phone number to make calls and send texts. Make contacts with students via text message first, so they’re more open to picking up your calls.
  • Update the time format across your Gecko org.
  • Monitor your Gecko payments without logging in to Gecko, via your institution Stripe account.
  • and more…

GeckoChat Improvements

GeckoBot said it’s first hello!

We might have mentioned that we launched GeckoBot at our customer forum last spring! It’s designed to answer questions, capture enquiries, register students to campus events and more — all without the need for input from staff members. It gives HigherEd teams their time back, freeing them to focus on high-quality one-to-one dialogue with students.

WhatsApp’s arrival within GeckoChat

GeckoChat already consolidated all of your institution’s messaging channels into a single, team-accessible inbox. And in April, we added WhatsApp into the mix. With over 1 billion users sending 65+ billion messages every day, schools can now tap into this channel without increasing your team’s workload.

Chatbot Analytics

This past autumn, we launched chatbot analytics, which gives you the chance to review how your bot is performing and provides generous top-level data to assist with your reporting. Want to know how many conversations the bot completed without any help from a human? Now you can. Want to know how many messages your bot has sent? We have the stats for you. And if you’re looking for a quick ROI figure, perhaps Time Saved is the most useful metric for you.

Importing Bot Answers

To help you organise your bots’ knowledge (and to make it easier for non-Gecko users to contribute), we’ve added a new way to feed your bot information en masse — CSV imports. Questions and answers can now be created in a spreadsheet then imported into your Chat account, enabling you to quickly upskill your bots.

New Mobile Apps

There’s more to GeckoChat than chatbots. When a student wants to chat with a human, it’s important that the experience for your team members is as streamlined as possible. And with the launch of our mobile apps in the Apple AppStore and Google Play store it’s now possible to chat with students whilst on the go! Internal notes, past conversation history and saved replies are all available in the apps, enabling any user to quickly respond to students with just a few taps.

Proactive Live Chat Triggers

With pre-chat workflows, you can define when and how your live chat widget is proactively promoted to students on your website. This means you can trigger teaser messages — which are shown to students, encouraging them to engage — based on one or more criteria. For example, if a student views the financial aid sections of your website, you can proactively walk them through answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Other improvements:

  • Send Gecko Form responses to Chat, allowing your team members to respond to students one-to-one.
  • Tagging (and filtering) chatbot answers. It’s now easy to group answers or skills together, allowing stakeholders a quick way to find answers they are responsible for maintaining.
  • Trigger a chatbot with a button click. Use your bot’s data capture skills to capture information from students on any page of your website.
  • Auto-closing bot conversations. To help schools sync bot messages to their CRM, bot conversations can now automatically close after a configurable period of time.
  • Improved sorting for chat conversations within any view.
  • …and more.

Future Product Suggestions

As you can see, it’s been a busy 12 months. And we’re ramping up for an even busier 2020.

As always, your feedback is vital in helping to shape the future direction of our products. If you have any ideas or suggestions, you can reach out to our Customer Success team. Alternatively, look out for the Suggest A Feature menu item in your Gecko dashboard (this has the option to allow other Gecko customers to comment on your suggestions).

Here’s to a productive new year!

Oh, and if you have a question about any of these product updates, just reach out to our CS team!