Service – Ultimate Software's Blog http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com Thoughts on Putting People First in the Workplace Tue, 18 Jul 2017 10:00:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Customer Onboarding: Why It Matters & How Companies Can Excel http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/customer-onboarding/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/customer-onboarding/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:00:43 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=1023 Customer onboarding. It’s an integral part of customer support that’s, unfortunately, often overlooked. Once the sale is finalized and customers are “in”—particularly with recurring-revenue platforms like SaaS (software as a service)—there’s a tendency to let automated services take over and focus reactively instead of proactively. But, in my experience, that’s a mistake. The early stage […]

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Customer onboarding.

It’s an integral part of customer support that’s, unfortunately, often overlooked. Once the sale is finalized and customers are “in”—particularly with recurring-revenue platforms like SaaS (software as a service)—there’s a tendency to let automated services take over and focus reactively instead of proactively.

But, in my experience, that’s a mistake. The early stage of a customer’s journey is extremely important—building rapport, setting expectations, and (hopefully) paving the way for future satisfaction. This is when customers form lasting impressions and decide whether the product or service they purchased will actually prove valuable. Attracting customers is not enough; to be successful, businesses need to retain them, and that process starts with onboarding.

customer onboardingOnboarding is not necessarily teaching the customer how to use a product, but rather, how to solve problems and alleviate concerns by using the product. It’s important businesses thoroughly consider their customers: their specific goals, what they need to achieve them, and how the companies’ resources can help them get there.

It’s important to note that customer onboarding is an ongoing, iterative process. Companies that design the process around these predetermined goals while focusing on the following areas stand to see long-term customer satisfaction and retention.

Inauguration
It’s best to address each customers’ unique business needs, establish measurements for success, and develop training plans from the very beginning. At Ultimate Software, we use proven methodology to ensure our customers are up and running quickly. Individualized, expert guidance starts with end-user training and extends to self-service resources, configuration tips, and best practices for using our software, UltiPro®.

Customer Support
Customer service is often a key differentiator for companies. In HR tech, for example, a recent study revealed an astonishing 77% of HR buyers regretted their vendor choice—and the primary reason wasn’t product functionality, usability, or price. It was service. Moreover, 71% of respondents wished they had done more research on vendors’ customer service, and three out of four reported having issues with their current vendors’ service. Customers are often drawn to product functionality, but if they’re unhappy with service, they’ll most likely be dissatisfied overall. Businesses should always look for opportunities to improve their service offerings. At Ultimate, when we considered the limitations of traditional tiered support, for example, we adopted a collaborative support model that decreased customer resolution time by 60%.

Continual Collaboration
Remember, effective onboarding is ongoing and should continue throughout the customer lifecycle—reinforcing the understanding of existing solutions, introducing new ones, building confidence, and bolstering value. Ongoing collaboration is also important, and this is a two-way street. Companies primarily exist to serve customers, who are an invaluable resource for identifying strengths and opportunities for improvement. At Ultimate, our customers are directly involved in our user experience and design testing, and more than 1,500 customer ideas have been incorporated into UltiPro to date.

The most successful customer onboarding campaigns rapidly deliver value, empower users, and evolve alongside the product. They build relationships, inspire creativity, and forge an emotional connection between a company’s customers and its products—and that’s worth investing in.

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The High Cost of Low Service http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/high-cost-low-service/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/high-cost-low-service/#respond Wed, 15 Mar 2017 10:00:49 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=888 A couple weeks ago, I discussed the importance of customer service and shared Kelton’s 2016 findings that nearly 7 out of 10 HR decision makers reported they’ve regretted their HCM provider choice, predominantly due to poor service. The study concluded that the majority of respondents agreed that customer service is as important as or more […]

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A couple weeks ago, I discussed the importance of customer service and shared Kelton’s 2016 findings that nearly 7 out of 10 HR decision makers reported they’ve regretted their HCM provider choice, predominantly due to poor service. The study concluded that the majority of respondents agreed that customer service is as important as or more important than product functionality, but only 35% believe their current provider is doing well with partnership. It’s clear that organizations aren’t meeting their consumers’ expectations, but how much is customer dissatisfaction really costing U.S. businesses?

It turns out, about $62 billion per year in lost sales.

Lost sales from existing customers.

That’s $20 billion per year more than in 2013—about a 51% increase in just three years. The 2016 NewVoiceMedia study found that nearly half of respondents reported switching to competitors explicitly due to service concerns, and most of those had switched more than once.

Changing workforce demographics may be partly responsible for the significant uptick in direct revenue loss. Millennials ranked themselves three times more likely to switch providers based on service issues than baby boomers did, so it seems younger customers are simply less willing to put up with poor service. But what exactly constitutes poor service? According to the study, the most common reasons for switching were: feeling unappreciated, unhelpful/rude staff, being passed around to multiple people, not being able to speak to a live person, not being able to get answers, and being put on hold for too long.

customer service whitepaperIt’s worth noting that the above figure does not include additional revenue loss stemming from negative word-of-mouth and price sensitivity. Moreover, 60% of people share their negative experiences with other consumers, often on social media and online review sites with a large potential reach. Also consider that approximately two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay substantially more for products if they believe the company provides excellent customer service.

Great service significantly impacts the bottom line, nurturing loyal customers who are easy to retain and inclined to naturally promote their experiences to peers. At Ultimate Software, we enjoy these benefits as a direct result of our commitment to putting people first. As part of that commitment, 84% of our employees are focused on improving the customer experience, and we prioritize service initiatives—such as our unique collaborative support model, which significantly decreased inquiry resolution time for customers.

In an industry where most respondents have had service issues with their current providers, we stand proud with a 95% customer satisfaction rate. We place a high value on our customers, and it shows. Our customers value us in return.

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Service: It’s More Important Than You Think http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/service-importance/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/service-importance/#comments Thu, 26 Jan 2017 09:28:21 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=855 As Ultimate Software’s Chief Services Officer, my views on the importance of service might seem slightly biased. In an industry as innovative and fast-paced as HCM technology, there’s a tendency to focus on the newest pioneering solutions—and these powerful advances are certainly game-changing. But Ultimate has always been committed to providing world-class service to our […]

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As Ultimate Software’s Chief Services Officer, my views on the importance of service might seem slightly biased. In an industry as innovative and fast-paced as HCM technology, there’s a tendency to focus on the newest pioneering solutions—and these powerful advances are certainly game-changing. But Ultimate has always been committed to providing world-class service to our customers, and more than 80 percent of our employees are staffed in customer service and product development roles. We always knew this dedication to service was an incredible differentiator in the HCM sphere.

And many others agree.

A November 2016 survey by Kelton Global revealed that a staggering 7 out of 10 HR decision makers regretted their HCM provider choice. The #1 reason they cited? Poor customer service. Moreover, 3 out of 4 buyers reported having issues with their current providers’ service, and 71 percent said they wished they had spent more time researching their HCM providers’ service (compared with just 43 percent who wished they’d further researched solution functionality). In the end, 62 percent of HR solution buyers concluded that customer service is as important as or more important than product functionality.

That is a substantial amount of regret. It seems far too many HR leaders have underestimated the importance of service.

At Ultimate, we’ve never wavered on our commitment to customers. Our 95 percent customer satisfaction rate is a striking difference from the statistics above—and it all comes down to Ultimate’s focus on the second “s” in SaaS.

service dartWe offer 24-7 phone support and an innovative collaborative support service model that’s been proven to decrease customer resolution time by 60 percent. We also assign every customer a dedicated account manager, who walks them through every step. Self-service help is also available online for those who prefer to find answers on their own. Perhaps most notably, we provide each and every customer with free training—for life.

Not only do we provide personalized service and support, but we also listen closely to our customers and address their unique business needs. We implemented more than 30 new features in UltiPro this year, and that included more than 80 customer ideas.

I certainly don’t want to discount the importance of technology here, as unbelievable advances in the field (prescriptive analytics, for example) continue to assist HR professionals in ways previously unimaginable. But, as too many decision makers have unfortunately learned the hard way, it’s crucial to prioritize both service and technology when evaluating HCM providers.

In fact, it’s probably more important than you think.

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Collaborative Support: The Ultimate Difference in Service http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/collaborative-support-ultimate-difference/ http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/collaborative-support-ultimate-difference/#comments Fri, 06 Jan 2017 13:14:30 +0000 http://blog.ultimatesoftware.com/?p=817 In a recent post, titled “A ‘People First’ Approach to Customer Service,” we touched upon several factors that make Ultimate Software’s support different, noting Ultimate’s 97% customer retention rate and 95% customer satisfaction rate. Ultimate received widespread industry recognition for its service in 2016, including being named a Gold winner for “Best Customer Service Department […]

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In a recent post, titled “A ‘People First’ Approach to Customer Service,” we touched upon several factors that make Ultimate Software’s support different, noting Ultimate’s 97% customer retention rate and 95% customer satisfaction rate. Ultimate received widespread industry recognition for its service in 2016, including being named a Gold winner for “Best Customer Service Department of the Year” at Network Product Guide’s 2016 IT World Awards, recognition in the Best in Biz Awards 2016 as a Silver winner in the “Support Department of the Year” category, and winning a TSIA STAR Award for Innovation in the Transformation of Support Services at the SMB Level.

Today, we’d like to share a primary differentiator in delivering Ultimate’s “People First” customer service: our collaborative support model.

Ultimate’s culture of innovation goes beyond the design of our people-centric products. It extends into the delivery of our personalized service. Last year, we recognized an opportunity to enhance the support experience for our customers even further by adopting a more effective customer service model: the collaborative support model (sometimes called “tierless” support).

Traditional software support is delivered in a “tiered” structure, where customer calls are automatically handled by a “Tier 1” support representative trained to answer the most common support questions. More complex questions are forwarded to “Tier 2” support reps, sometimes “Tier 3”, and so on. The downside to this approach is that customers might be required to explain their issue to multiple support representatives, remain on hold while the issue is escalated, or be placed into a “Tier 2” support queue for call-back. This tiered support system, while a logical organizational structure, can require a high level of time and effort from customers.

collaborative support customer service

In contrast, when a customer submits a question in a collaborative support model, it immediately goes to a team of specialists and multiple subject-matter experts who can then “swarm” the issue. Their collaboration produces a prompt resolution with less customer effort required. In 2015, Ultimate adopted a collaborative support model designed to “swarm” each customer inquiry to ensure that subject-matter experts reviewed and resolved each question quickly. This approach improves the speed of resolution and provides the customer with one central point of contact. The results speak for themselves: after implementing the new model, Ultimate’s customer support inquiry resolution time decreased by 60 percent between May 2015 and June 2016.

In addition to dedicated account managers and cutting-edge collaborative support, Ultimate offers 24-7 service that includes a live chat, Rapid Response hotline, and online User Communities. All customers also have access to a virtual library with articles documenting resolutions to the most common inquiries. These articles are updated in real time by our subject-matter experts and are readily available for any users wishing to explore at their convenience.

Our underlying goal is to ensure our customers get the most out of UltiPro.  We recognize that comprehensive product functionality and cutting-edge technology are only a part of that equation.  Customers need exceptional service to experience more value from their HCM technology. Our customers can be confident that when they select UltiPro, they’re not simply choosing an HCM solution designed to improve work life for their people. They also stand to benefit from a lifelong partnership with Ultimate–a partnership built on trust, care, and a mutual investment in long-term success.

We are committed to this enduring promise: we’ll continue to provide innovative, industry-leading technology and service, and we’ll put people first while we do so.

That’s the Ultimate difference.

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