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Guidebook - Customer Service Department of the Year

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Company: Guidebook, Inc., San Francisco, California
Company Division/Group: Guidebook
Company Description: Guidebook empowers users to make beautiful mobile applications and guides. People around the world have used Guidebook to publish more than 25,000 mobile apps for conferences and events, university activities, corporate meetings, and all sorts of other things.
Nomination Category: Customer Service Department Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Department of the Year – Computer Software - Up to 100 Employees

Nomination Title: Guidebook, Inc.

Tell the story about what this nominated department achieved since the beginning of July 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

In today’s internet age, one can receive customer support in mere moments. With easily-accessible customer service and high demand, one would expect lofty investment and continuous improvement in support. Surprisingly, industry benchmarks for computer software have declined this year -- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) dropped 3%, and Chat Happiness has fallen 1.3% since 2015 (see “Industry Trends”). Experts generally attribute these slumps to difficulties managing inflated support load. Despite these shifts, Guidebook continues to thrill customers through streamlined communication and a unique breadth of expertise.

Effective internal collaboration underlies Guidebook’s success. The 10-person Customer Success Associate (CSA) team spans San Francisco, Raleigh, Seoul, and London. While end-users value non-stop coverage, challenges abound in maintaining a globally consistent support experience. To combat disjointedness, CSAs over-communicate across many channels: Slack chat highlights critical updates, JIRA tracks salient issues and bugs, Zendesk surfaces top-level customer concerns with internal notes, and CS Representatives in the US and Korea (who oversee 75% of support volume) compose daily digests of trending issues each morning. With all of these tools, productivity skyrockets.

By optimizing efficiency, CSAs field more responsibilities. Internally, CSAs support Guidebook through Quality Assurance and by assisting their partner Account Managers (AMs). Externally, CSAs perform support tasks (phones, live chats, email) and build relationships with high-value clients through professional services, onsite support, and consultancy. Each duty frames the CSA experience differently, endowing CSAs with a complete product vision -- a must-have for excellent customer service.

Professional services form our system’s bedrock. Through professional service, CSAs liaise with customers to translate needs into results. Armed with a deep understanding of customer goals, CSAs take and input client data seamlessly into the product, and coach customers toward optimal deployments (see “Pro Services” for testimonials). While professional services merit significant effort (often, 20 hours each), the services allow our reps to become product experts, augmenting product knowledge and improving our product feedback loop. This year, the team filed 1000+ bug/improvement tickets -- 85% are solved/in-progress, which demonstrates our reporting effectiveness. An aligned engineering and support team creates faster issue resolution, an ability to handle higher volumes, and happier customers.

Since January, the team has boasted a remarkable 92.59% email CSAT score -- 15% above our industry (see “Email-CSAT-Trends” and “Industry Trends”) and 2% higher than 2016. This year, we’ve slowed email first reply time goals (the team still responds in 13 minutes, ~85 times the industry standard -- see “Email-Times”) in favor of more in-depth first responses. The team also tracks weekly top ticket topics and brainstorms effective solutions. With this approach, we’ve cut resolution times by 15hours!

These same tactics extend to SnapEngage Chat. Despite a 43% volume increase (2633 chats in 2016 against 3915 since January), the team’s performance has flourished (see “Chat Stats”). Our wait time clocks at 8 seconds, speeding past the 45 second benchmark; we’re resolving chats in 8.5 minutes (6 minutes faster than the norm), and we’re seeing Customer Happiness at 95.80% (11.74% higher than the average). Our ability to scale has effectively shielded us from the negative industry trends.

Guidebook has similarly maintained a strong Net Promoter Score (NPS), boasting a ~56.6% rate against the benchmarked 40%. While I believe the aforementioned strategies have been crucial to our success, we also recently realigned our CS/Sales teams. In March, CSAs paired up with AMs to better empower our sales unit and to enforce a mentality of customer success throughout the organization. Managing this balance proved difficult (see “NPS-Chart”), but after 4 months of focus, July and August showed record NPS ratings of 74% and 71%, respectively - and, we’ve seen the pairings improve our sales efficiency too!

Despite a down year for software customer service, Guidebook’s been able to continually provide top-notch support. Through strong communication and diversified responsibilities, the team quickly and thoughtfully expresses Guidebook’s mission to our customers, delighting them in the process.