Whether they’re guiding customers on how best to achieve their goals, scoping problems to help THRIVE’s teams successfully combat them, or keeping THRIVE’s Learning & Skills Platform running smoothly, our Technical Support team plays an all-important part in our vision: to create the world’s most intuitive digital learning experience and empower businesses and their people to thrive.
With our client base doubling in 2021 and on track to reach similar heights in 2022, the need for an industry-leading Support team has never been greater.
Recently, they’ve been recruiting in Australia to provide round-the-clock support as we welcome more global customers, and they’ve been producing some incredible stats based on our SLAs (service level agreements) - a set of deliverables defining the level of service you’ll receive as a customer.
- 99% first response SLA met;
- 97% containment SLA met; and
- 97% customer satisfaction, with a higher than industry average response rate of 21%.
We caught up with Laura Naylor, Head of Support, to find out more about these SLAs, how they compare to our competition, and what the future holds for Support at THRIVE.
First Response SLA
A first response refers to either a direct response to a ticket or a proactive message to give you a heads up about an issue before it’s been reported.
All issues have an agreed priority level. These range from ‘urgent’, such as a site becoming inaccessible, to ‘non-urgent’, including general questions and admin tasks that don’t impact site or app use, with ‘high’, ‘normal’ and ‘low’ priorities in between.
Our first response targets are as follows:
- Urgent - 30 minutes
- High - 1 hour
- Normal - 4 hours
- Low - 8 hours
- Non-urgent - 8 hours
How are we doing?
Our Support team’s first response SLA percentage is 99%, meaning we hit these targets 99% of the time.
“We have an important philosophy backing up our approach to our First Response boundaries. We could set ourselves half an hour to reply to everything, but that creates a rush effect. When you’re asked more than a simple question and expected to give an immediate response, how often can you give the absolute best answer?
What we won’t do is give a canned response, “We’ve seen your request, thanks, see you later” - you know the type. We actually work to a rule of three questions:
- Do I know the answer to the request and can I provide it clearly and immediately?
- Do I know what I’m going to need to do to get the answer?
- Do I know all that I need from our clients to get where we need to go?
Whatever the answers are then decides what our first reply is: more questions, next steps, or the answer itself.
We also allow our clients to submit their requests with their priorities to empower them to warn us as quickly as possible if they have an issue that meets higher criteria.
Once in a while, a client will submit a cosmetic issue, like something’s turned purple, as a critical - and we’ll be transparent about why we would re-classify that. No client wants to think when they’re really struggling with something that we’ve stopped dead because something arrived with more fanfare but far less pain behind it.”
Containment targets reflect the intended time to recover the functionality of a system or content to a usable state.
Using the same priority levels as first response, those targets look like this:
- Urgent - 2 hours
- High - 0.5 days
- Normal - 5 days
- Low - 10 days
- Non-urgent - 20 days
How are we doing?
Our Support team’s containment SLA percentage is 97%.
“Most application support teams, based on over a decade of support experience, will typically aim for north of 90% in their yearly targets.
It's the nature of software, and all the unique, amazing ways clients find to use it, that means bugs will occur and sometimes they can take real grit to untangle.
Those are the places we expect to face our trickiest tests when it comes to SLAs. But, they're also our opportunity to grow when we review them, learning how to be faster, smarter or more imaginative so there is no ‘next time’ for the same concern.
The team were already holding north of 95% before I joined THRIVE. Now, the fact that we've maintained and even improved while training new members and gaining over 100% growth in our customer base is an absolute testament to not only the support specialists, but also the development, infrastructure and QA engineers we work side-by-side with.”
The simplest SLA to explain on paper, our customer satisfaction is calculated by the surveys our support portal delivers to our client administrators when we solve a request for them.
How are we doing?
Our satisfaction ratings are holding at 97-99%, and we’ve got a 21% feedback rate on the survey, which is higher than the industry average.
“The American Customer Satisfaction Index posted an average satisfaction rating for computer software of 76% in 2021. Zendesk's own benchmarking for technology industries holds 92-94%.
Similarly to containment expectations, we know from experience that companies aim for 90-95% annually as a standard. So, as you can imagine, I'm incredibly proud of the team's achievements to go beyond that.
As for the response rate, in a Talent, Learning and Development space I doubt I need to explain how much fun getting the feedback that you need can be. We’re all busy people, so the fact that our customers go out of their way to praise us through our official CSAT surveys in the portal, as well as on LinkedIn, in QBRs and in person at events is humbling and a true joy.
As for why this matters, a recent Zendesk survey cited 97% of respondents confirmed that bad service changed their minds about whether they would recommend a company or choose to work with them again at all. Customer experience at THRIVE is in no way the sole responsibility of Technical Support because every department carries the importance of that responsibility with us. What’s unique about Technical Support, however, is we are the team dedicated to taking care of our customers when they need support the most - and in the quickest time.
Ultimately, our satisfaction scores tell us we’re on the right track and taking good care of our clients as we keep growing. And in turn, we’re working closely with clients who communicate generously with us to keep developing and improving based on their feedback.”
What’s next for Support at THRIVE?
“Our Technical Support team has doubled in size over the last 12 months,” Laura said, “We’ve introduced ourselves to so many new customers, developed amazing relationships with our long-standing customer administrators, and built a team to be proud of.
We’ve expanded our telephony for global stakeholders, expanded into US coverage, designed, migrated and deployed our next generation of support portal.
Now, we’re well on our way to tripling the team compared to when I joined THRIVE, and the hires we’re making come with incredible experience and the potential to match the superstars I already have the honour to head up.
As we recruit in Australia, this is an obvious precursor to our official expansion to 24/5 coverage, Monday to Friday, but it’s also a proactive step. No one lacks for ideas at THRIVE and our expansion is the next step toward our ambitions to innovate Technical Support.
I can’t reveal too much just yet, but I’m excited to share more at our customer event in June. I just need to see if Cassie will approve my entrance music…”