Woo support has struggled in recent months to keep up with demand. This has led to long ticket response times, and our customers have been expressing frustration about this.
Because we believe in open and honest communication, we want to explain why this is the case, and show you in detail what we plan to do (and are doing) about it.
Read on to learn what’s going on and what we’re doing about it, and to see details on the four-point improvement plan for Woo support that is already in action.
Why Woo support is struggling — and why we needed an action plan
To fully understand the situation, it’s important to look back at how far we’ve come and how quickly we’ve travelled.
When WooCommerce launched four years ago, it filled a need in the marketplace for an intuitive, extendable, and portable eCommerce solution. Combined with WordPress, WooCommerce made it easy for anyone to sell online.
This freedom and accessibility has been the driving force behind its growth and popularity. To put things in perspective, WooCommerce is now powering over 30% of all online stores. This is no small feat, and it hopefully begins to explain the challenges faced by our support team, who now tackle thousands of tickets per month.
Our Ninjas sit down to work each day focused on helping others (that’s you!) become successful in their endeavors. Nothing makes our team happier than a satisfied customer. The delays in recent months are not what we strive for, and required us to create a plan to succeed.
Our multifaceted improvement plan for Woo support, currently in action, includes:
- Proactive system improvements
Let’s go through each of these in order.
Hiring: bringing in new Ninjas to help our customers
Recruiting and hiring are the most important things we can do to increase availability to customers. To improve this effort, we’ve enlisted the help of our marketing team and their expertise in social outreach to accelerate the applicant pipeline.
We’re combing the globe to find self-motivated problem solvers, with a passion for learning and the heart of a teacher. Once found, it takes several months to onboard and train a new team member. The position requires specialized knowledge that takes time to develop, and has impacted our ability to keep up with the growth of WooCommerce.
We are looking to add enough people over the next several months to get ahead of the growth, then focus on quality improvement. Our goal is to build relationships based on trust in an environment that encourages positivity and engagement with our customers. A healthy team can listen, respond, and ultimately fullfull our mission to make others successful. The strain we’ve been under, due to a lack of human resources, has restricted our ability to do this. We’re working on it!
Training: ensuring all Ninjas have the skills they need to succeed
I will never stop learning.
That’s the first line of our creed, and it’s something that we take very seriously.
As stated earlier, finding people with the right skills and abilities is only the beginning in developing proficient team members that have the knowledge and experience to assist our customers. We’ve committed to making training and education, not only part of the onboarding process, but a mainstay in our overall support strategy.
As a first step, we hired an Education and Training Manager to oversee our internal training and development. Job is enriching Woo with his knowledge and experience, applying academic principles to our real world situation. We’re utilizing our Sensei LMS to facilitate courses in our Ninja Training Center which has provided much needed structure to our process. This use of our own product will not only assist in educating our team, but also lead to better understanding of the needs of our customers and ultimately a better product.
Since mastery is a critical element in overall employee engagement, individual development is a big part of our long term strategy. This includes sessions with our partners to increase product knowledge, leadership development to improve team effectiveness, online and in person meetups to facilitate knowledge sharing, as well as many other formal and informal opportunities for our team to grow.
Since we’re hiring natural learners, training and education are organically infused into our culture, making these initiatives the foundation for long-term success.
Documentation: giving our customers the ability to help themselves
Another way we’re working to improve customer success is in the overhaul of our passive resources. We recognize a disconnect between our current Knowledge Base and Documentation, and see an opportunity to reexamine the entire customer journey.
Because of this, we’re working behind the scenes to create a unified system with a focus on pathways to help you find what you are looking for — faster and easier.
We understand the impact that different learning styles have on the way customers find answers. Some prefer text based instruction, others value videos, and many benefit from an interactive experience. Part of our education initiative includes consideration for these differences, and experimentation in making different types of media.
We recently shifted a team member’s full focus to improving documentation. We have a dedicated person working on creating and maintaining our video resources. We’ve also partnered with Sidekick to make WooCommerce walkthroughs available right in your store. We think these changes help all customers learn and find answers, no matter what experience they prefer.
Proactive system improvements: fixing bugs and improving efficiency along the way
Commitment to customer success doesn’t start or stop with a single department. We believe everything is connected, and strive for a holistic approach when delivering on customer expectations.
Now that we are part of the larger Automattic family, we have access to a wealth of knowledge and experience from their support teams. We’ve already begun cross pollinating to gain a better understanding of each other and to find ways we can work together to improve efficiency.
In addition to these support-focused initiatives, we’re implementing improvements to our workflows and strengthening relationships between departments to ensure we spot trends sooner, resolve bugs faster, and deliver enhancements based on real world needs.
A recent example: our Support Team is working closely with the WooCommerce Development Team to make sure our catalog of over 500 products are thoroughly tested and ready for the upcoming release. It’s a logical and proactive step that sounds simple, but executing on such a broad scale requires deliberate and methodical coordination. We measure success for this type of behind the scenes effort by our customer not even realizing it’s going on, because that means their updates were successful.
We’re genuinely grateful for your support and understanding
Thank you for taking the time to understand our current challenges and for being receptive to our proposed solutions. We are humbled by the rapid growth experienced by WooCommerce, and so thankful to our loyal customers for making it the success it is today.
We have several solutions lined up, and we’re actively working on improving our support, but we would also love to hear your input as well. If you have other suggestions on how we could improve, we encourage you to share those ideas with us in a constructive way. Comments are open, and we will be reading them as they come in.
We look forward to celebrating future growth and improvement with you in 2016.