January 5, 2012
We are a company obsessed with helping our customers get the most out of their video marketing initiatives. Providing amazing customer support has been part of that mission from day 1. For many of our customers, this is their first foray into video for their business, and our help and feedback makes them feel comfortable making that leap.
Great support to us means being as approachable as possible. We put our company and even personal contact info on our website, email blasts, and in videos series. As we were ramping up, it was a great way to get to know customers and make sure they were getting the most out of Wistia.
With our growing customer base, it became harder to balance phone support for our great customers with meeting new and potential customers. A small team like ours simply couldn’t keep up with the volume of phone calls received (we only have 3 phone lines!). Without a change, the legendary support we had become known for would cease to be a reality. The system was simply not scalable.
We spent a good deal of time pondering the way forward. This was an incredibly important topic for us — customer love and support is part of who we are. So we spoke with really smart people from companies that had gone through similar situations. We looked at our support resources on a whole, and how many of our customers were utilizing support as it was currently offered. To really drill into the phone situation, we looked at data on call volume broken out between customers, potential customers on trials, and pre-trial folks. We also tracked the type of conversations we were having on the phone, to see what percentage of them could have been handled more quickly and easily (both for us and the customer) by making other support resources (i.e. documentation, website, in-app instructables) clearer and more accessible.
Our requirements for this project were twofold: to reduce the strain on the support system, and provide superior support for the growing customer base. Many of the options we contemplated included negative consequences, such as introducing friction for the customer to get support, or removing the support lines altogether. Because the goal was to maintain or improve the overall level of support, these wouldn’t work.
In the end, we made a very small, yet monumental change — we removed our phone number from the support page on the website.
Today, when a potential customer comes in contact with Wistia, they interact with us through the website and documentation. We installed Olark (an awesome chat widget) in both locations, so that visitors can ask questions when we’re online, or leave us messages in our support inbox when we aren’t. Once a visitor signs up for a trial with us, they receive emails with both our phone and email contact information.
We were incredibly nervous about how our long-term customers and new trialers would interpret this change. We didn’t want them to feel like we wanted to lose contact with them. To track performance, we watched our key metrics, along with email volume and documentation traffic. The results have been extremely positive. We’ve seen a boost in speed of conversion, as potential customers don’t have to wait as long to get their questions answered. Phone volume has gone down over 25%, and while support email has gone up, that system is far more scalable. With increased bandwidth, our support folks have been able to greatly increase the information available in the documentation. We’ve also been able to have more in-depth conversations with customers and new trialers, so we can learn what features within Wistia remain unclear. This means our in-app instructables can get better — giving users clearer, more-helpful instructions when they need it. Because conversations on Olark and email are saved in archives, we can track what the key questions are for each step in the customer timeline, and make sure the answers for those are present at appropriate times.
We’ve also gotten extremely positive feedback from customers and trialers. Because we’ve made our static resources more available, support is faster, more informative, and accessible when the customer needs it — not just when we are in the office. We of course still have great phone support for trialers and customers — you’ll see the number in your accounts!