Behind the Scenes at Wild Apricot: Support Team
This month I wanted to give you a peek behind the scenes at our support -- aka customer service. Here's the core of our support team:
These guys are all jack-of-all-trades and can handle any kind of inquiries. We also have Leyla, who specializes in billing-related issues, and Ivan Rudakov, who is our Level 2 (L2) support and main liaison with the development team:
I also review our support queue pretty much every day, and process a handful of support tickets myself. This gives me a great direct insight into current issues and questions from existing and prospective clients.
The volume of tickets and telephone calls ebbs and flows, and the biggest spikes usually occur immediately after big upgrades. Here's a recent chart:
We currently receive about 400 new support tickets per week (plus about the same number of phone calls). You can see a 'hump' forming on the week of the Version 4.2 upgrade (May 19th) and dissipating in the following few weeks after that, back to regular level. What's interesting is that even though the number of new tickets (red line) has not jumped that much, you can see a big jump in the light green area, which counts so-called L2 tickets -- the ones our core support team could not address by themselves and had to involve L2 support and/or development team.
Here's another chart we review on weekly basis: Average Initial Response Time:
Our target is to provide initial response (and ideally a resolution, though it's not always possible) within 8 hours. As you can see, we are hitting that target most of the weeks, though there are some weeks when it spikes higher.
And here's our monthly average initial response time chart:
We have managed to improve it a lot starting in March, and May 2011 was our best month ever, with an average initial response time of just over 5 hours.
Another way we monitor the quality of support is by sending out automatic follow-up surveys for each support ticket. Obviously, not everyone fills them out, but we get a decent number of responses (typically 70 to 100 per month) to provide meaningful feedback. Surveys are rated on 6 point scale and here's a chart of two main characteristics: timeliness and overall satisfaction.
May 2011 had the highest ratings for the last 6 months -- very rewarding for our support team to know their efforts are noticed and appreciated!
One final chart related to our support: Completed Calls Percentage.
It means that about 80% of incoming callers connect up with our support team - the remaining people leave us a voicemail, and some hang up without leaving a message. (The way we have set up our telephone system is that any call on hold for more than 15 minutes is sent to the voicemail - and we are returning the calls very diligently.)
I hope this was an interesting glimpse into some of the workings of our customer service team. Feel free to post any questions in comments to the blog post and we will make sure to post answers.
Product enhancements in the pipelineAs mentioned in the previous monthly newsletter, half of our development team is focused on our next Version 4.3, and the other half is working on the CMS redesign which will only be released in the following version. I have recently posted a summary of key changes in Version 4.3 on the release history page, here it is:
- Automation of processing email bounces (instead of forwarding them back as they currently work, we would automatically record bounces and stats for each contact, and turn off emails after some threshold is reached)
- "Payments from profile", which includes:
- Allowing logged-in users to view history of invoices and payments
- Changing workflows so that people can generate several invoices and then pay for one, several or all of them in one payment transaction
- Allowing non-member contacts to also login and pay for invoices
- Displaying a notification for users with unpaid invoices
- If a user has unpaid invoices, redirecting him to the unpaid invoices list after login
- See also these forum threads:
The version after that has been renamed from 4.4 into 5.0 - we felt it totally deserved the new version number given all the changes in Website CMS, plus other changes! In the meantime, our design team has been making excellent progress on redesigning the event-related functions in Wild Apricot. We have studied all of the Wishlist Forum items related to event management/registration workflows and decided to focus on the following key areas:
- RSVP - simplified registration by accepting invitation
- Multiple registrations: (currently missing) ability for one person to register several people (including self or not) without guest registrations, full regular tickets
- Ability for guest registrations to use any registration type (ticket) - vs. currently limited to the same registration type as main registration
- Extended setup of registration limits:
- Limiting number of registration per each registration type (ticket)
- Limiting number of guests per specific ticket i.e. sponsor can bring 2 guests for free, member - 1 free guest etc.
- Limits for individual options (fields) on registration form. Such options are often used to support sessions, event goodies (t-shirts, caps) and meal choices (fish or chicken)
- Per-ticket registration form customization
- Concept of event-responsible person (Event organizer)
We will also try to simplify overall event management experience in admin interface and try to stick to commonly used terms in event management area (i.e. tickets instead of registration type)
This is still very much work in progress and have not been scheduled into a specific version yet, but here's a glimpse into some of the current design ideas:
(click to enlarge)
We have created a discussion forum thread where we will post these screenshots and would appreciate comments and questions!