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Understanding Malcolm! - some concepts and how to use the product

Malcolm! is a super powerful and flexible web based product but it might seem a bit confusing at first. Here is a quick primer on some core Malcolm! concepts and features which we hope will help you understand the product and use it in the way that makes sense to you and your business.

Core Components of Malcolm!

Malcolm! has two core content components: Malcolm! FAQ and Malcolm! Workflow.

Malcolm! FAQ is all about answering your user's questions and/or providing information (eg a how-to or a policy).
Malcolm! Workflow is all about taking your users through tasks or procedures.

Before we created Malcolm! we spent a lot of time building online systems that helped companies digitise what they do.

We found that - in broad terms - this came down to designing and developing systems that:

  • answered questions and
  • took users through a process.

For example

Lets say you sell and service industrial heating systems. A potential customer might want to know if you service a particular type of boiler that they have in their office.

You can let that potential customer find the answer to that question themselves via Malcolm!. You'd create a question along the lines of "Which types of boiler do you service?" and in your answer you'd include all the makes and models that you work with.

Your potential customer would come to your website, and be able to find the answer themselves using Malcolm!

Next, having learnt you do indeed service the boiler they have in their office they might want to book a service appointment.

To do this you are likely to need to know a few details - for example their name, their company name, where their office is and perhaps a few other details like their phone number and email, when they are available for a service visit, any issues they are having with the boiler and when it was last serviced.

You can create a form that asks all those questions in Malcolm! and add that form as a "Book a service" link onto your website. When a customer fills that form in Malcolm! can email you all the details. Malcolm! can also do lots of other clever things like pass that request into other systems that you might use.

Why would I want to do this?

  • Customers like it - nowadays more and more people prefer to do things online
  • You look professional and slick - Malcolm! can integrate with your existing website and you can style all the screens to match your brand
  • It's available 24/7/365 - customers can find what they need at a time that suits them
  • Save time - stop burning time answering the same questions or doing the same process again and again
  • Consistency- receive complete information from your customers in the format you need it
  • Efficiency - pass customer information collected via Malcolm! into your other systems automatically
  • Get feedback - Malcolm! let's your customers feedback to you whether the information they found was helpful or areas for improvement
  • Analytics- get statistics on what customers are searching for, what they are reading and the most popular times for certain types of requests
  • Great management tools - You and your internal team / staff can see everything at a glance via MyMalcolm - the comprehensive control panel area of Malcolm!

You can see some examples of possible uses of Malcolm! here

Use Malcolm! FAQs and Workflows together or separately

One of the things to bear in mind is that you can use the FAQ and Workflows parts of Malcolm! together or individually. It may be that you want to build a customer knowledge base using Malcolm! FAQ but you have no need for Workflows at the moment. That is no problem! Similarly you might want to create a series of web forms for various user servicing tasks using Malcolm! Workflow but don't need to answer questions with FAQs. Again this is no issue. You simply use the parts of Malcolm! that make sense to you and your business.

How does Malcolm! work with my current website?

At the heart of Malcolm! is flexibility. We want to make it as easy as possible to work with our system. We also want to offer options for a wide user base - from a one man band with no or limited web development knowledge through to big companies who may have large in house technical teams.

At one of the end of the scale is our Hosted Hub. Every instance of Malcolm! comes with a hosted Hub. This is a website that we host for you. You can customise it entirely to your requirements. You can change the branding, the colours, the fonts, the layout, the copy, the icons etc etc. You can even configure it to work on one of your own domains or sub domains.

If you don't have a current website your Hosted Hub could be your main website. If you already have your main website at www.domain.com you could set up your fully branded Malcolm! Hosted Hub at a sub domain like support.domain.com or help.domain.com or customers.domain.com

Some customers may not wish to do this and instead may wish to integrate Malcolm! into their current website. No problem! We have a whole section in the MyMalcolm Control Panel dedicated to this and there a variety of ways you can bring content and functionality from Malcolm! into your own website. We've also got a plugin for Wordpress and a variety of widgets and further integration options. Want a floating widget? No problem. Want a button which opens a modal/overlay? No problem. Customers on our Enterprise plans can have full programmatic access to Malcolm! content and functionality via our comprehensive API.

Don't forget your Internal Customers!

Remember that your business or organisation may have more than one type of "customer!". As well as using Malcolm! with members of the general public you can also use it internally to help a particular business function or department.

For example:

  • In our example of being an industrial heating sales & service company above you could use an instance of Malcolm! for your service engineers. Various knowledge about things you service could be stored in Malcolm FAQ! and you could build digital versions of processes or business procedure in Malcolm! Workflow - for example job sheets or part order forms.
  • You could use Malcolm! as an online presence for your Human Resources or Finance department
  • You could use Malcolm! as a way of communicating information about your premises or facilities
  • You could use Malcolm! as a home for an internal project or initiative
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