Along with our growth of over 300% in terms of revenue last year obviously came thousands of new customers. BigCommerce also launched in Q3 of 2009 and is now the fastest growing SaaS ecommerce platform in the world (114% MOM average growth), so while this is great for our growth in terms of revenue and staff, one of the more challenging aspects of growing the business has been keeping up with the extra demand placed on our support teams.
We had a few rough months but finally managed to get everything back in order and feedback from customers has been mostly positive. For example, here’s a chart from a support survey we sent out in January:
In the last two months we’ve specifically focused on improving these ratings – we of course want to provide exceptional technical support to every single customer. As part of our ongoing pursuit of perfection, today we’ve changed the support feedback loop which has, up until now, been two simple (automated) links at the bottom of every reply from our support team:
Did you find this reply helpful? Yes/No
You could click on yes or no and that “vote” would go into our system. Not really efficient and it didn’t really provide the metrics we needed to make informed decisions. That was until today, however.
With the on boarding of our new support manager, Richard Long (who previously grew and managed support teams at IBM and Vignette) almost complete (we’re still hiring and have 14 new positions open), we’ve been strategizing together to workout the metrics which a) Richard will use to manage the performance of our support teams and b) I will use to measure his performance as a support manager.
The first thing Richard has put in place is a new support satisfaction survey which is automatically linked to at the bottom of every reply sent from our support engineers. It asks the following important questions:
- Who was the primary person that dealt with the issue you submitted?
- How would you rate this person on technical knowledge
- How would you rate this person on professionalism
- How would you rate this person on time to resolution
- How would you rate this person on communication skills
- How would you rate this person on understanding of the issue
- How would you rate this person on personality
- How would you rate this person on willingness to help
- Were you satisfied with the overall progress of the issue?
- Overall, how would you rate our support?
The survey responses will allow Richard to assess our current strengths and weaknesses in regards to technical support and is the first of several dozen changes being made to our support system moving forward. It will also allow him to open a dialog with customers who wish to provide their name, email and/or phone for a follow up chat on their survey responses – both good and bad.
We have 28 team members who use our centralized support system most days and we handle hundreds of tickets each day, so we should have some good feedback from customers in a matter of a few weeks.
Richard will take this feedback and use it to methodically improve our support systems over time, including staff training, response accuracy, problem identification, scope of support and much more. It’s our goal to get 100% of customers responding with “very happy” to the questions above and I definitely think this is an achievable goal within a few short months, considering we’re not too far off at the moment.
Richard’s past experience managing large teams and providing top-down support to both small and enterprise-level clients will definitely speed things up and I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly welcome him to the team. We put our short list of candidates through several rounds of interviews and Richard came out the clear winner.
Keep an eye on the blog for future updates on how we progress towards our goal.