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Worthington Christian graduates design app to help clients to stay in-touch

By Paul Batterson, Contributing Writer

Every time Mark Parsell and Miles Miller had a lead on a potential client through the Union Home Mortgage website, they began to hear a clock ticking inside their heads.

“We were reading an article in which Massachusetts Institute of Technology stated that a salesperson has literally five minutes to follow up on a lead or the client will, quite literally, forget you,” said Miles Miller (WC ’10). “People see over 5,000 advertisements a day, so you have to follow up quickly. The best way for us (to follow up) was to have a conversation with the client.”

The problem, according to Mark Parsell (WC ’14), was getting in touch with the client.

“We saw it took typically seven touches over conversations to keep a client identified with your brand and ready to move forward,” he said. “I kept thinking, ‘Man, I’m calling so many people and having the same initial conversation. All of that could be so easily automated, so we could be prepped and ready for when they actually need to talk with us.”

Thus, the idea for Bonzo was hatched in October of 2019. Bonzo is an outreach service that allows a person to send out multiple messages on multiple formats to reach his or her target audience. The company, which launched last May, already has over 100 clients.

Parsell, the company’s lead account manager, demonstrated the effectiveness of the product in responding to an email for this article. First, he sent out an automated phone call and then 10 minutes later followed it up with a text message and then an email.

If a Bonzo client is able to make contact with a potential customer the first time he or she reaches out, the chain of responses is then canceled.

Miller, the company’s founder and CEO, said Bonzo is not just an effective tool in the finance world but in any business where one needs to contact clients. “You can use this with a ministry. You can have a target for five conversations a day with people you are trying to connect with,” Miller said. “You can accurately predict the number of people you are going to impact a day. Ultimately that is what creates a sale or creates the convert.”

Miller said one of the challenges with creating Bonzo was coming up with computer code to make it all work. Jason Perkins, a co-worker at Union Home Mortgage who functions as Bonzo’s vice president, outsourced that part of the business to Polcode, a technology company in Poland.

“It was challenging. Not only did you have to deal with a different language but you had different time zones, customs, personalities and culture,” Miller said. “Jason was waking up at 3 and 4 a.m. to reach out to them. That’s what we had to do to make it work.”

That ability to work with others to problem-solve was forged in Parsell and Miller’s time at Worthington Christian. “Worthington Christian teaches you to be critical thinkers,” Miller said. “If you can identify with how you are feeling within yourself, it helps you to be more sensitive to what other people are going through and how they might be perceiving you.”

“Worthington Christian taught us about one-on-one relationships,” Parsell said. “It really prepared me to talk with and understand people and to be more empathic. It taught me how to work with people. It is something that is so valuable in business and in life in general.”

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