A year ago we switched to Help Scout, a ticket-based support system, after using a forum-based support system since 2009. The main motivation behind the switch was, as Pavel wrote at the time, was to provide faster, more scaleable and – simply – better support for our customers than we could with the forum-based system.
So we’ve had a year to test it. What are the results?
What are the key advantages?
There are three key advantages of using a ticket-based system.
- Everything is measurable. Ticket-based support lets everything be measured automatically. Statistics let us see what time is being spent where and where we can improve. We’ll come back to these in a bit.
- Customers can rate the service they get. This is a huge win. The whole point of support is to help customers, so being able to empirically measure what customers’ responses is incredibly valuable.
- Communication is private and secure. A support forum’s content is semi-public, viewable to other customers. Ticket-based support is private and secure, so customers can share private and sensitive information knowing only the Support Team are going to have access.
These are internal and external advantages: we’re able to craft faster and better responses (and customers get faster and better support) and customers have peace of mind of one-to-one, private support.
What have the key wins been?
Straight up, I can report we’ve met the original goals of faster, more scaleable and better support. Measuring response time is a key metric: we can track how long it takes to a) get a first response to customers and b) fix customers’ issues.
We’ve also seen big wins for internal team organisation. The single dashboard we now have, with all of the support tickets in one place, shows the status of all tickets and who’s responding to what. Occasionally with the forum two team-members would respond to the same query at the same time, which is inefficient and looks unprofessional. That’s no longer a problem.
Collaboration has also improved, as team-members can assign tickets that need a particular expertise to a different team member or department. A ticket needs a developer? The person with the expertise can just jump straight in. It’s a lot smoother experience for customers and vastly more efficient for us. Win-win.
The customer experience is also a lot smoother. Instead of having to post in the support forum and then get an email notification saying there’s a new response and then having to click back through to the support forum, everything just happens through email. Customers receive answers to their tickets via email and can reply directly from their email. Much simpler, much smoother.
What do the stats say?
Let’s get to the really juicy stuff. This is raw data we collected over the first year of using ticket-based support from 10th November 2014 to 10th November 2015:
We’ve seen improvements in these metrics during the year, but the big wins are going to be taken from using this data to inform decisions about how to improve our support further. That requires looking at how the data changes over time and we’re looking forward to doing that going forwards.
Starting with August this year, we worked intensively on improving the response time, especially the first response time, and the results can be seen in the following image:
From an average of 6-10 hours for the first response time in August, we were able to reduce that to under 3 hours during November.
All systems go!
Switching from a support forum to a ticket-based system has been a definite success for us. Empirical data needs backing up with words from our customers and we’re pleased to have seen that too. Here are some of them:
“The quality of your themes will always continue to make your business grow. May you go from strength to strength! –Salie Fredericks, Founder, Virtual Origin Salie.
It was interesting going from the forum yesterday to realizing there was a ticket system in place today. Your knowledge base is insanely fleshed out and your support staff are on point with terrific answers. Great work man, you guys really are dialled in. –Alan Vantoai
The techs at WPZOOM really know their stuff. It did not take them long to solve a horrendous problem I had (problem not of their doing). I wasted money and time with others’ themes before finding WPZOOM…Thanks so much! –Gloria G. Wolk