Key message: The first step in improving customer satisfaction is figuring out how you’re going to measure it. Anecdote: At Buildium, we measure customer satisfaction in two ways: via a semi-annual voice of the customer survey and by support ticket feedback scores. Surveys and feedback scores are reasonable proxies for customer satisfaction, but we don’t think they are enough because they only what customers say, not what they do. That’s why we’re working on implementing our version of something local SaaS darling Hubspot calls CHI (Customer Happiness Index). CHI is a way of measuring customer satisfaction by what they do (or don’t do) with your software.
Key message: Shared goals and great, but you need to make sure everyone’s individual goals are in alignment with them. At Buildium, we bonus our Customer Care team (C-Squared) based on company goals (net customers added), team goals (% of tickets rated outstanding), and individual contributions.Anecdote: We used to bonus our team based on average feedback scores, but we found that those numbers had little meaning to individuals on the team. What does it mean to move the needle from an average score of 3.35 to 3.38? Not much it turns out. Now we measure the percent of tickets rated outstanding (4 out of 4). Our historical average is 48%. That’s a number everyone can get their head around. Instead of trying to move an meaningless average, everyone is now focused on providing an outstanding customer experience with each interaction.
Key message: Goals need to be visible and accessible to the entire team, not just management.Anecdote: Before investing in our status board, we built a rudimentary dashboard using various charting gadgets and GoogleSites. We had a “if we build it, they will come” attitude, but it turns out you need to do more than share a URL with the team. You need to make the status board super visible.
Key message: If a user needs to send you a support ticket or call you for support, something else more fundamental is wrong. Maybe the user experience isn’t what it should be or your online documentation is lacking. At Buildium, we provide a number of resources including online documentation, video tutorials, and coaching services to make sure customers get off on the right foot.
Key message: don’t reply on common sense or your gut. Experiment often. You’ll never know which approach works best until you try it. Just be sure to think through how you’re going to run the experiment and measure the results.Anecdote: At Buildium, we’ve tried a bunch of things aimed at improving customer service, but haven’t always done a good job measuring the results. For example, a couple of years ago we developed a two hour training session called FastStart that was designed to help new customers get off on the right foot. The idea was a good one, but we failed to define how we would measure the effectiveness of the training. We reasoned it would reduce support costs and lower churn, but we weren't able to validate the hypothesis because we weren’t capturing the right data. We don’t do that anymore. Now before we try something, we take the time to identify how we’re going to measure things and determine success.
Key message: don’t assume you need to implement big changes to yield results. Sometimes little things like outfitting your customer service team with wireless headsets so they can collaborate with other agents on customer problems in real-time can make all the difference..
Key message: try as you may, you can’t always solve your customers’ problems. But you can listen, validate their concerns, and given them a forum to share their ideas. Sometimes, all the really want is to be heard.
MassTLC SaaS Business Model Series, Improving Customer Satisfaction: Buildium
6/6/11<br />Improving customer service: Seven lessons from a startup<br />Michael Monteiro<br />Co-founder<br />buildium.com<br />Mass TLC SaaS Business Model Series, Improving Customer Satisfaction and Customer Experience by Leveraging Operations, Session 2<br />
Founded in 2004<br />Bootstrapped and profitable<br />20 employees in 4 locations<br />3600+ paying customers with about half a million units in 31 countries<br />