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AnswerDash

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
2349 1364 Words (6 Pages) Elie Ofek, Jeffrey D. Shulman Harvard Business School : 516106
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AnswerDash, formerly known as Qazzow, was founded by two owners namely Jacob O. Wobbrock, Dr. Andrew J. Ko. They collaborated with another doctoral student namely Parmit Chilana. Three of them worked on a research project on human-system communication based on which Wobbrock and Ko would later establish their business name AnswerDash. The researchers envisaged a user-centric platform that would give clarifications to users upon clicking the object or text that they want to know about without typing the keywords. They developed a prototype and named it Lemon-Aid and tested its efficacy in an online community and later in their university. The results were astoundingly positive as around 70% of the sample size found this feature to be helpful. The cofounders were thrilled and decided to turn this research project into a commercial offering. Under the mentorship of Ken Myer, the entrepreneur–in–residence, the cofounders tweaked their offering and renamed it to Qazzow and later AnswerDash. AnswerDash is a 'click-able' self-service Q&A solution that saves customer support costs while improving the bottom line for businesses and improving a customer's online browsing experience. Currently, it is facing a dilemma as customer acquisitions costs are too high while conversion cycles are too long (up to 9 months), and the business needs new customers to survive. Therefore, the business needs to change its strategy by either lowering its acquisition cost by reducing the number of stakeholders involved in the business decision, selling to bigger organizations, or targeting a specific customer type/industry.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. Which option should AnswerDash select? Choosing the Right Path:

    Option 1: Lower Acquisition Costs: Reduce the number of stakeholders involved in the decision

    Option 2: Move Upstream: Focus on selling to enterprises

    Option 3: Going Vertical: Targeting specific customer types or industries

  2. What is AnswerDash’s value Proposition? 

  3. What is the AnswerDash business definition and strategy?

Case Study Questions Answers

1: Which option should AnswerDash select? Choosing the Right Path:

Option 1: Lower Acquisition Costs: Reduce the number of stakeholders involved in the decision

Amongst the three options mentioned above, Option 1 is the least feasible solution. This is because every organization has a different hierarchical structure with different stakeholders, each having its degree of varying control over decision making. AnswerDash cannot control the number of stakeholders it would interact with within an organization. Hence, this option might not work for AnswerDash.

Option 2: Move Upstream: Focus on selling to enterprises

Option 2 is more feasible and accomplishable. Given that the conversion cycle is the same for a larger organization with bigger budgets and a smaller organization with small budgets, AnswerDash should pitch its offering to bigger organizations who can pay a higher subscription for their services. It can pitch its offering by showcasing the benefits that its existing smaller customers achieved by incorporating AnswerDash's question-answering and analytics tool. Besides, most of the other service providers like banks also follow the relationship-selling approach for marketing to approach clients. Hence, AnswerDash could observe and learn from such relationship managers and train their sales force accordingly so they can get leads in bigger organizations. Alternatively, it could hire a new salesforce that specializes in such customer conversion skills.

Option 3: Going Vertical: Targeting specific customer types or industries

Option 3 is also a good strategy moving forward for AnswerDash. This way AnswerDash can develop a uniform product (set of questions and other tools required in the offering) for one segment, like companies offering financial services like banks, and show it to the potential customer company as a prototype. This will cut down the time cost of developing new questions every time a company approaches for a demo trial. This might also cut down some sales cycle time. However, a lot of work will be required in identifying and defining the companies that would fit in a particular segment. Therefore, this strategy could work but only in the long run as a lot of homework is required in terms of defining the target audience and computing the most suitable price point for different industries/types of organizations.

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