Breakdown - A Gravity Forms Podcast

On the latest episode of the Gravity Forms Breakdown podcast, host Matt Rechenburg shares highlights from the recent Gravity Forms Summit for agencies and freelancers. He also interviews veteran support engineer Chris Hajer to give listeners a behind-the-scenes look at Gravity Forms support.

Strategies for Using Gravity Forms to Boost Sales
Kathy from the summit presents strategies for using Gravity Forms to close more sales by streamlining the process and removing friction for customers. She explains how Gravity Forms can be leveraged to build genuine relationships by aligning your goals with your customers' goals.

Challenges and Solutions in Project Management
David discusses the exciting challenges of managing both client projects and internal projects with complex requirements that extend beyond standard plugin functionality. With deadlines always looming and limited time, he explains why GravityWiz consulting can help conquer any Gravity Forms project on time.

Interview with Veteran Support Engineer Chris Hajer
Chris has been with Gravity Forms since 2011, before their current office was even built! With over a decade of experience, he provides uniquely knowledgeable and high quality responses to customer support issues. Chris explains that the diversity of Gravity Forms users keeps things interesting - from new users with basic questions to complex systems built around Gravity Forms over 10+ years. He loves helping manipulate Gravity Forms data using add-ons like CRM integrations and Zapier.

The following Gravity Forms add-ons were recently updated:
  • ConvertKit 1.0
  • Stripe 5.3 and 5.4
  • Turnstile 1.1
  • Chained Selects 1.7
  • Conversational Forms 1.2
  • Polls 4.2
  • PayPal Checkout 3.0

What is Breakdown - A Gravity Forms Podcast?

Discover new WordPress opportunities through stories told using Gravity Forms. WordPress developers and agency owners rely on Gravity Forms to solve complex problems for their clients. Breakdown explores their stories to extract the most useful lessons for our listeners.

Join podcast host Matt Medeiros with special guest appearances from the team behind Gravity Forms to stay up to date on the next opportunity for Gravity Forms + WordPress. Whether it's a new Gravity Forms add-on or a new way to use our e-commerce features, Breakdown is the WordPress podcast you want to be subscribed to.

Matt: Hey gravity formers
it's Monday, December 11th.

And of the year updates or hear
some clips from the summit and

a bit of a holiday break it's
breakdown, a gravity forms podcast.

The last time you heard my voice,
I was prompting you to tune in to

the first ever gravity forms summit,
specifically developed for agencies

and freelancers using gravity, but also
looking to get a comprehensive outlook

on growing a digital services business.

We invited our certified developers
and other agency partners to share

their lessons with you while providing
some valuable takeaways you could

implement into your business.

Here's a few clips from the live stream.

Which was recorded to YouTube
and I'll link the show.

In the show notes.

Kathy: Let's just jump right into
it and start talking about some

of these strategies and things
that you can do with Gravity Forms

in order to close more sales.

Our goal with any sales process is
to make it easier for prospects, for

customers to do business with us.

Our job is to remove as much friction
from those initial stages of relationship.

With our customers so that
they feel like we are a genuine

part of their organization with
their goals being our goals as

David: well.

It's fun.

It's exciting, but it's tough.

Internal projects can be just as hard.

Complex requirements always seem to
extend beyond core plugin functionality.

It's not like you only have one
project on your plate either.

You're always juggling
a few, many projects.

There's so little time.

can't afford to dig in and figure out
the most perfect solution for every

problem because you have deadlines.

And after those deadlines, you
have new projects starting soon,

but you're not here to complain.

You're here to get the job done.

that's why you're listening to this
bearded fellow tell you about GravityWiz

and how we can help you conquer
any project on time and in style.

Matt: I enjoyed hosting the
live stream and look forward

to doing it again in 2024.

If you attended the summit and
have some specific feedback.

For what you'd like to see next year.

Go ahead and email me,

I'm looking for more feedback
from users that leverage gravity

forms to sell stuff online.

It could be digital goods, a
membership or anything really.

I'd like to hold a couple of interviews
for the podcast highlighting how gravity

might power your e-commerce experience.

End users and agencies are welcome.

I'm going to link a short three
question form to fill out in the

show notes, . out that form and I'll
reach out to you for an interview.

or here, the team is preparing to get
some final updates to gravity forms

before the Christmas break hits.

As for this podcast.

You won't hear me until
the end of January, 2024.

Yes, that's right.

Break down.

We'll take a short holiday break.

We'll stay indulge in too much eggnog.

Gravity forms 2.8 is out fingers crossed.

By the time I release this episode,
it brings one of my favorite

updates as of late compact view
inside the form editor window.

Gone are the days of endlessly
scrolling or getting lost

in a deluge of form fields.

Users can now collapse fields for
an improved navigation experience.

Gravity SMTP beta one has
officially graced your dashboard

log in and download it to your
staging sites or playground sites.

I don't recommend you use it on a
production ready site yet, unless you

plan on sending us lots of feedback,
gravity SMTP will help you effectively

and safely deliver emails, leaving
your WordPress website, whether it's

your forms, notification emails,
or your user password modification.

Notice delivering emails is important to
your business, and we're ramping up to

help you with that experience, especially
when you're using the gravity forms.


2024 is going to be a great
year for gravity forms.

And we're happy to have you here with us.

But we're not done with
that holiday cheer either.

We've got a range of
updates to your favorite.

Ad-ons here at gravity forums.

Here's a list of updates
that you might've missed.

Convert kit.

1.0 was released Stripe 5.3 and possibly
5.4 today was also released turnstile 1.1.

If you're looking for a capture
alternative chained selects 1.7

conversational forms, 1.2 poles,
4.2 and PayPal checkout 3.0, make

sure you're running the latest and.

Greatest of those ad-ons above.

And if you want to be the first in line to
try out our new beta downloads, join the

beta slash beta.

our behind the scenes segment here
at gravity forms, I'm interviewing

veterans support engineer, Chris Hager.

I joked that he's been here so long that
gravity forms built the office around him.

And that was almost the case.

If you ever had the pleasure to
meet Chris through your support

portal, you know how dedicated he is
to solving gravity form issues and

helping you our beloved customer.

So let's go behind the scenes.

of support with Chris.

Hope you enjoy this interview segment,
and I'll see you in the new year.

Hey, Chris, welcome to breakdown.

Chris: Hi, Matt.

Thank you.

Thank you for having

Matt: me.

An aptly named podcast for
somebody who works in the

support side of gravity forms.

We're at breakdown.

Chris: We haven't been any breakdowns
lately, so we're doing okay.

Matt: What do you think?

makes Gravity Forms support
different than most?

Let me hit you with the
heavy handed question first.

Don't worry, our bosses
are not listening to this.

Chris: Not yet.

what makes us different?

I think the amount of experience
that we have with the product

and with WordPress in general is
probably what makes us different.

I don't think we're faster than
other people but I believe our

responses are much higher quality
than a lot of the support you get.

Matt: Our customers, heck myself included,
because I'm a 10 plus year, we ought

to hand out plaques to our customers.

Now that I think about it, like if you're
a 10 year customer, you get a little

crystal plaque that you can put up.

But I think our customers
expect this from us.

We've been in the business for so long

do you think our customers are a different
type of, of plugin user than most seasoned

more been around the block a bit more than
most, or are a lot of us getting a lot of

new or a lot of their interactions, new
users getting into the game of WordPress?

Chris: Yeah, it changes, the customers
that we have since gravity forms is

the first paid Plug in for WordPress.

I think they expect a higher level of
support just for that fact So that's

one thing the second part of that
would be that I believe our customers

are expecting how do I put it?

Because they've been doing it for so
long, they've evolved their solutions

quite a bit, and they're very
complex integrations at this point.

So when they get stuck, they're really
stuck, and they need us, because

they've been doing this on their
own for ten minutes, or ten minutes,

for ten years, and they really just
need us to get them out of a jam,

you know, where they've just gotten

Matt: stuck.

And there are, there are some that who
have only used it for ten minutes, right?

And that experience
is, is quite different.

you know What do you wish maybe
WordPress, the software, did

differently, if anything, that
made that experience a little bit

better for that 10 minute person?

Hey, I just got this thing, some, I was at
a Word, I was at this meetup and somebody

said, you gotta use Gravity Forms.

It's the, it's the best, it's the most
trusted, but they're really wrestling

with the, with, with WordPress itself.

Do you, do you have a, a feeling
you wake up to every day?

Man, I wish WordPress
just did this instead.

Chris: I don't actually with WordPress.

I, I think it's not
a cohesive experience.

You, you install WordPress,
you're faced with the dashboard.

You don't know what to do
from there necessarily.

So I don't focus too much on that.

But I do focus on, you know, what we,
our customers see with Gravity Forms.

And we've, you know, we've
added Installation Wizard a

couple major versions back,
which is a big leap forward.

So you get a screen right off the bat.

You enter your key, answer a
few questions, and now you've

got form templates to start
right away just by clicking.

So I think it's much easier
now than it used to be.

And, you know, the, the 10 minute user
that we sometimes run across, that

happens a lot right around this time of
year with the Thanksgiving Black Friday

sale, we end up with a whole bunch of
new customers, maybe haven't been using

WordPress for very long, they know they
need to use Gravity Forms, they install

it, and then they come to us, and those
questions are great because we get You

know, that's kind of our wheelhouse is
explaining the basics of how things work.

So it's very easy for us to
answer those and help those

people out and get them started

Matt: right away.

They built the gravity forms
office around you, right?

You've been here that long.

How long have you been here?

Chris: I've been here since
2011, before the office was

built, we were in Kevin's house.


So, and Dana's desk was under the stairs.

Matt: So you've seen,
you've seen a thing or two.

You've seen the evolution of not
only Gravity Forms WordPress,

but the, but the end user, right?

Expectations and, and what they're
building with, with software.

You've seen quite a rollercoaster


Chris: Yeah, we have.

I was thinking about that question
a lot, you know, the people

who've been using gravity forms
a long time have really built.

Some impressive systems around that
and they've got, you know, hundreds

of thousands of entries and all these
integrations tied up with CRMs and

payments and, and things like that.

So when they come to us for
help, they, they're really stuck.

You know, they've been using it a
long time and it's been working great,

but now they've run into some problem
that they need our support for.

So those are the, those are the
ones that we're kind of getting

now on top of the, the very simple,
Hey, I just installed WordPress

and I just installed gravity forms.

What do I do now?

Matt: It's one of the things that
I know we are challenged with.

I'm not going to speak for product and
engineering, but from the marketing

side, like we look at other solutions
that are out there, especially solutions

that have only been out on the market
for a year, a couple of years, right?

And they are.

Their customers, their end users
aren't even scratching the surface

to the complexity of what some
people are using Gravity Forms for.

Gravity Forms, quite literally, is
the infrastructure, or the plumbing,

if you will, for a lot of, like,
SaaS based apps we've seen, right?

People are building these, it's
connecting, it's communicating, it's

storing data, it's sending data.

it is not just a contact form.

Which makes your job particularly
challenging, I'd imagine when somebody

comes knocking on the door with a super
complex thing, do you have a, a war

story that, of, of, or just an example
of something that was like, wow, I

can't believe you have built that with

Chris: gravity forms?

Yeah, we do get those quite a bit.

And, I'm trying to think of an example
specifically, you know, built around

that, we acquired gravity flow.

Last year, so we're seeing a lot more
complex integrations like you just

described with all of these steps and all
of these Integrations and I don't get too

much involved in the gravity flow side
of things, but I know they're building

some crazy Integrations over there.

What we're seeing now is when there
is a bug, this isn't to answer your

question specifically, but what we're
seeing is that a customer has, has

built a system and it's as complex
interaction of things that have

to happen for this bug to surface.

So it's something that we couldn't
possibly have tested for, but when

these three or four different things
happen, you know, that's the kind

of problem they come to us with now.

So that's what makes the job
a little more challenging.

Matt: The The future of, Gravity
Forms, of course, is bright.

We're not going to give away any secrets,
but we have Gravity SMTP, that we talk

about quite often, add on after add on.

It's not going to get easier.



you will be supporting,
more and more in the future.

How often do you see a
unique problem show up?

Because I'm sure you've seen it all.

When are you hit with something
new that you've never seen before?


Chris: think that still happens every day.

we do see a lot of the same problems.

those are the easy ones.

Those are the easy ones to knock out.

But we're seeing Like I explained,
these complex, a complex payment form,

and when you have additional payment
methods enabled, and you've got a trial

set up, and you have conditional logic
that only happens on certain times, then

you see this bug, or even it could be
a bug in something like Chrome, which

we just fixed, where a certain set of
circumstances resulted in the field in

the form being cleared When you updated
the payment total, for example, so it's

very, these complex integrations are
a little bit harder to troubleshoot.

So I think every day I see something
new and I learn a lot from the other

people in support actually, you know,
just following tickets that I haven't

seen before, seeing how they've
resolved it or what they, you know, what

troubleshooting steps they've taken to,
to get to the source of the problem.

Matt: There's a feature coming
in, uh, Gravity Forms 2.


Compact view.

I can't wait for that.

I'm sure as you're debugging more
complex form fields, something like

that is a welcomed feature to come.


Come to gravity forms.

It's great.


Chris: We have a customer that, you
know, talking about these long time

customers, we have a customer that
has a personal license, from probably

10 years ago, have this complex form.

They're in your area
actually on East coast.

And, they have this super complex form.

Everything's arranged into columns.

There's conditional logic.

They're editing the form all
the time in this compact view.

I sent them a copy of, the, the
beta release before it came out.

And they're like, this is great.

This is, you know, this is definitely
addressed some of the issues we were

having with editing these gigantic
forms, which were very messy.

So that for me, that's the
biggest, the biggest feature in 2.

8 that I'm looking forward to.

Matt: Do you have a favorite add
on to work with something that.

You know, somebody comes through
and says, Oh, I'm trying to

make these custom post types.

And you're like, Oh, I know this one.


This is my favorite one to work in.

Like, this is my zone.

Do you

Chris: have one?


The CRM add ons, all of them and,
and the zap Zapier add on, those are

probably my favorite because you can
manipulate the data that gravity forms

has collected and modify it in some other
way before sending it to that service.

So any of our add ons.

Allow for that, but those specifically,
I like, um, taking that information.

Like constant contact may need a
date in a specific format and we

collect in a different format.


We can give them the filter that
they need to modify that before

they send it to the service.

So I'd prefer those

Matt: We have a slack channel for support.

We have many slack channels and I
often see folks from our support team

like post You know Customers saying
like oh, I really appreciated that

help Couldn't you know couldn't have
done this without you kind of thing.

I think those moments right there When
you're sending data from Gravity Forms to

another service, right, you're enabling
somebody to do something that makes them

feel really powerful, 15 years ago, you
needed a developer to do that, right?

Even pre, Gravity Forms, and do you
ever see, I know customers may praise

you on the support side, but do they
ever say, do you ever see any of

those praises of, like, the software?

Like, man, this made me feel powerful,
like, I felt like a developer, or

this made me achieve something.

That I never thought was possible,
like taking this data and sending

it to constant contact, man, you
just saved me 25 hours of work.

you ever see those come

Chris: through?

We don't, we don't get that comment
very often, but we do, we do see that

where, especially when, when Zapier was
introduced and we introduced our Zapier

add on, just how it enabled you to.

You can integrate the data you
collect on your site with any

service you wanted to, really.

And then Zapier has improved.

And they actually have an AI
tool now where you can kind of

just type in what you want and
it will create the Zap for you.

Which, you know, for add ons that
don't exist in Gravity Forms,

you can use Zapier to connect to
all these additional services.

I think that's the one that makes
us feel most powerful and Gravity

Forms feel most powerful because you
can send your data anywhere at that

Matt: point.

Chris, thanks for hanging out today.

Folks who are listening, sometimes
you might get a reply from Chris.

I'm sure you enjoy it.


I'm sure you enjoy it.

If you're, if you're working, if
you're listening to this episode

right now and you're working through
an issue with Chris, say thanks.

All right.

All right, Chris.

Thanks a lot.

Thanks, Matt.

That's it for today's episode.

If you could do one more thing
for me today, share this episode

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spread the word about this podcast.

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Okay, we'll see you in the next episode.