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Customer Happiness Report (August 2013)

Written by Ryan Ray on September 13, 2013 Blog.

We’ve only good news to report for August’s stats. Even with many of us taking end of summer leave, squeezing in some beach time, we’ve kept our support firing on all cylinders and have put out better numbers than last month. First, let’s do a  recap of the month.

We started August with a huge foundational change to our business, making sure we are running a sustainable business. That garnered plenty of feedback on the changes, we listened and made sure we treated our customers right. We got to talk with Merrill Mayer who wrote a case study on creating the Cornforth Wildnerness Photography Website. Matty also had a chat with Bob Dunn about aha moments and WordPress training using Sensei. We celebrated a huge 200,000 orders made on our site, and then published a couple how tos; How To Use Our SupportHow To Create a Unique Canvas Site, and Getting Started with WooCommerce. We then rounded out the month with quite a few product releases. We started off with Product Vendors, our latest theme Show Off, and a bundle of WooCommerce extensions.

August's Metrics
August’s Metrics

Customer Happiness in Numbers

Looking at the numbers:

  • 9,491 new tickets created this month. Down 804.
  • 26,014 ticket touches. Down 3273. (how many times all tickets were opened, tickets with multiple responses, or re-assigned, etc…)
  • 24.50 hours to First Response. Down 8.9 hours. (the amount of time the average customer waits for our first response).
  • 68% of all tickets are responded to within 24 hours. Up 14%; and
  • 88% satisfaction rating on all tickets. Remained constant

Take note the biggest one we’ve been chasing, response time, is only 30 minutes off of our goal. 🙂

Benchmarking & Context

August's Average First Response Times
August’s Average First Response Times
August's Industry Benchmarks
August’s Industry Benchmarks

As you can see in the comparison our general stats have actually decreased. The number of tickets and ticket touches has decreased, with touches being the most dramatic decrease. Our satisfaction has remained constant overall, and we’ve continued our triumphant streak of bringing down our response times by 8.9 hours since last month. One of our best achievements yet from support.

Ticket Channel Breakdown
Ticket Channel Breakdown

Let’s start breaking down these numbers even further by our groups here. We can start keeping our specific groups a bit more accountable. First, here were last months group breakdown.

July's Group Breakdown
July’s Group Breakdown

In accounts our ticket numbers increased by 300 and response time by 1.9 hours. The bigger let down is our satisfaction score dropping 4 percent. Support actually felt some relief by almost 1000 less tickets this month. Letting our response times get quicker and satisfaction score go up there. Finally, WooCommerce had some relief as well by about 300 tickets. Somehow these ninjas turned on turbo and cut response times in half! They got the biggest satisfaction boost as well, well deserved of course!

Time For Action

Our actionable goals for this month.

  • Squeeze out another 30 minutes (average) to get right on 24 hours or less.
  • Improve our satisfaction rating, again we’d love to reach 90% for an entire month. Accounts dropped by 4%. 🙁
  • Find the outliers in our support. Why are some waiting longer than 24 hours to hear from us, what hurt our satisfaction in accounts, etc…

With our major goals well within reach, I feel we can settle into a rhythm knowing how to keep these numbers steady. That should allow us more time to get into writing tutorials, creating videos, adding to our knowledgebase, and even doing general bug fixes and development to help out our lead devs. Onward and upward!


28 Responses

  1. Bradley Allen
    September 14, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    I usually prefer to not post this kind of concern publicly, however I disagree with your bold statement claiming that “we listened and made sure we treated our customers right.”

    You say you listened, but you made changes without asking how we felt. You provided no advanced notification about the drastic changes.

    There’s a lot more involved in treating customers right, than updating how you decide to define “grandfathering”.

    Now I feel stuck in the club subscription to maintain a small number of themes on a few sites, or having to license the themes yearly. Club subscribers should have had a chance to purchase ‘lifetime’ updates for the themes they were already using, or at least for one theme. That’s just one example of how you have not treated your customers right.

    You didn’t ask for feedback, and you didn’t provide an opportunity for it either.


    • Warren Holmes
      September 16, 2013 at 9:55 am #

      Nothing changes at all for the club subscribers; your monthly payment rate will stay the same as when you signed up.

      • Bradley
        September 17, 2013 at 1:21 am #

        Personally speaking, as a club subscriber, I will tell you, that for me, things have drastically changed. For me, this is not comforting or accurate: “Nothing changes at all for the club subscribers.”

        I recommended WooThemes to clients and when I installed a theme on their site, the themes could be purchased anytime with a lifetime license. Now, those themes can not be purchased with a lifetime license. I’m saying there should have been an opportunity for my clients or myself to purchase those themes with a lifetime license. As a club subscriber, I expected better treatment, not worse.

        People who purchased before your cutoff date, even one day before, were given a lifetime license (like they paid for). However, I was using your themes for over a year, and paying monthly. Then one day, without any notice, the door slammed on me, and I didn’t even have a chance to make a lifetime purchase for themes I had been using.

        Do you still fail to see how things have changed for club subscribers?

        Those installed themes are now a costly burden.

        Before, there was a choice to stay in the club, or leave the club and purchase the theme with a lifetime license.

        Now there is a choice to stay in the club, or leave the club and purchase the themes with a yearly license.

        Now I’m either locked into a monthly subscription to maintain the themes, or I am locked into a yearly subscription to maintain the themes.

        If I had one theme on a lot of sites, it would not be a big burden to purchase the theme yearly. However, I used several themes that are each on one site.

        Honestly, it is upsetting that I have to explain this to you (and Woo).

        These words ring hollow, “we listened and made sure we treated our customers right.”

        I don’t feel like you listened before, and I don’t feel like you are even trying to listen now.

        It’s also upsetting that you tend to boil everything down to the numbers. “Nothing changes” & “rate remains the same”

        Your numbers are missing a bigger picture.

        I once appreciated WooThemes so much and thought so highly of Woo as a company and as individuals. It would be nice to feel that way again.

        Please don’t tell me that I am only talking about a price raise. That’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about a change of terms with no advanced notice. For me, this change of terms does have a big effect.

        If nothing had changed for club subscribers, then I would not be posting comments explaining how things have changed.

    • Ryan Ray
      September 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

      Hi Bradley,

      In this specific situation, about our business being a sustainable business, I think the decision made to set prices that keep us in business didn’t require customer feedback. Obviously no one likes price increases, so you could imagine the feedback we’d have received if we asked, “What do you think about our new prices?”

      Once the decision was made public we listened, very much so, to the feedback from our community. We’d updated our policy and let purchases made before our changes be grandfathered in with unlimited licenses, etc… as the community wanted. 🙂

      • Bradley
        September 17, 2013 at 1:36 am #

        I’m not really talking about prices; I’m talking about terms.

        I’m saying that advanced notice about a change of terms should have been given to your club subscribers.

        Or, an opportunity should still be given to club subscribers to make a lifetime purchase for the themes that they were already using.

        After paying to join the club, and paying monthly club fees, I now feel trapped into either continuing to pay monthly fees, or leaving the club and paying yearly fees. I imagine you would prefer to have happy customers, not customers who feel trapped.

        I explain the situation more in my reply to Warren.


        • Ryan Ray
          September 17, 2013 at 1:52 am #

          Ahh, much understood Bradley. I’ve just tried sending you a message via our Support Desk, by the way.

  2. farrel
    September 15, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    I’m curious to know how sales of Woo Extensions have done under your new policy. I know that I’m buying far fewer extensions now and when buying them I’m buying the lowest license option whereas in the past I would often buy the unlimited license, even when I wasn’t sure if I was going to be using it or not, or on how many sites.

    This is largely due to your new policy where if your license expires and you haven’t renewed you have to repurchase it again. Unless I plan on using it now I won’t buy it because it may end up being a waste of money if I don’t use it before it expires. You’ve taken away my incentive to buy an extension just so I can evaluate it for possible future use.

    • Shaun
      September 15, 2013 at 10:43 am #

      I feel the exact same way. I used to buy new extensions that I thought were cool, even without having a reason to use it yet, because I knew I would be able to come back to it later.

      Now as I would have to keep paying every year on all extensions I will only buy ones that I need right now.

      This may have decreased your sales.

      • Ryan Ray
        September 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

        It’s a much better purchase now if you purchase based out of a true need. 🙂

        • farrel
          September 16, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

          That doesn’t make sense Ryan. One of the factors cited in your ongoing development of the Vendors plugin was the interest in the plugin, ie sales.

          “Hugh Lashbrooke: We’ll be keeping a track of sales and will definitely devote more tie to expanding this extension as time goes on.”

          If fewer people buy it then you will think it’s not needed and will spend less resources on developing more features because you think you will not reap the rewards because sales are slow. That means we the customer lose out.

          See the problem here? If we like what a plugin offers and want it to be developed, even if we are not using it now, we feel compelled to support it in order to ensure that more features are added.

          • farrel
            September 16, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

            You give your customers mixed signals.

            You provide an incentive for people to buy plugins they may not need right now, but are interested in, by tying future development of the plugin to sales.

            But then you simultaneously penalize them if they don’t happen to use it within your time-frame by forcing them to buy it again at full price when they are ready to do so, if they never renewed it in time.

            That means a person who helped fund the development of a plugin and never used any tech support time gets “rewarded” by having that investment become worthless.

          • Ryan Ray
            September 17, 2013 at 12:00 am #

            There shouldn’t be any incentive to purchase something a customer doesn’t need. That way of purchasing products or services doesn’t make much sense to me.

            Someone buying the Vendors extension will buy it because they need that functionality, and don’t want to develop it themselves or can’t.

            I would hope that someone wouldn’t buy the Vendors plugin thinking that that is a vote to use for new features. We listen to feature requests, no purchase required, via our ideas board. And based on the demand (votes/comments) there we will prioritize features or entirely new products. –

            If the Vendors extension isn’t doing well itself (no matter if people are purchasing it to use right away, or thinking they might use it in the future) then it doesn’t make sense to devote time and money adding new features to it. That’s how it’s worked for us before our new pricing and licensing, and continues to work that way now.

          • farrel
            September 17, 2013 at 1:44 am #

            “There shouldn’t be any incentive to purchase something a customer doesn’t need. “

            We are not buying it because we don’t need it at all. That makes no sense 🙂

            We are buying it because we intend using it at some point in the near future, but not today or tomorrow. In the meanwhile we can test it and see if it works for our purposes. It’s known as evaluating something.

            “I would hope that someone wouldn’t buy the Vendors plugin thinking that that is a vote to use for new features. “

            Why not? You release something that you admit is lacking in features, then you say you will add more to it depending on sales.

            The question is. Why do this then? Why release a half-completed plugin you admit is lacking in some features, then promise more depending on sales, but then question why people bought it in the first place?

            That’s giving customers mixed messages.

            Why didn’t you just wait before releasing it to have all the features ready to go before selling it? Why promise more features to come instead of just adding them first before offering it for sale?

    • Warren Holmes
      September 16, 2013 at 10:04 am #

      Our sales are doing just fine 🙂

      Ultimately at WooThemes, we want to create value for you. Obviously I think all our products are great, and would always welcome more sales but if we’re not creating value for you I’d much rather you wait to buy something which does. We have quite a lot of stuff coming up, hopefully there’s something there for you 🙂

  3. Matt
    September 16, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    Support is still pretty bad… I made my first support post since using WooThemes, been a user for 3+ years. Got my first reply 29 hours after creating the support topic, I replied back in minutes… Have not heard anything for 5 days since.

    • Warren Holmes
      September 16, 2013 at 10:00 am #

      If you could let me know your ticket number I can follow up for you 🙂

  4. Uwe
    September 16, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    …but we’re all happy.

    • Ryan Ray
      September 17, 2013 at 12:00 am #

      I feel like there is a little /s missing from this comment?

      • Uwe
        September 17, 2013 at 8:38 am #

        No, I don’t feel so. Everything was said more than once. But maybe it’s just me not feeling comfortable with the latest WooThemes development and decisions? (The thing is: Other people seem to feel the same vibe. So maybe I’m not totally wrong… ) And when you say your statistics and sales are fine – everything must be good, or not?!

  5. Gaslight
    September 17, 2013 at 3:37 am #

    I’ve had just now ticket opened for seven days. Seven days. It took two days to get the first answer, and after seven days it’s still open. Last answer (and only answer) from your support was from 5 days ago. It might seem still reasonable to some, a little less reasonable for others including me.

    After all the fuzz about pricing model change, price hikes and whatnots, I still find the quality of the customer support from WooThemes not on par with other commercial WordPress products around. From WPEngine to GravityForms, from Advanced Custom Fields to WPML, just to mention a few commercial WP products or services, WooThmese is the only place where I’d take 5 minutes of my day to write a comment such this.

    I would have probably not written this comment if:
    1) you didn’t have to change your pricing model more than one time to justify a better support (this time I opened a ticket for a WooCommerce extension purchased with the new pricing and tos rules – fair enough, you increase prices, I expect an increase on service quality as well);
    2) you didn’t had to post your monthly auto-celebrative post to tell new customers how great your support is, while it is not.
    3) you didn’t measure customer happiness only on statistics and numbers, while ignoring feedback from people’s comments or blog posts around

    And no, please, don’t ask me which is my ticket number, I don’t want a special treatment because I complained here, try to figure out yourself and please provide support to others in the queue as well.

    • Brandi
      September 17, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      Amen. I am in the same boat with the first reply not fixing the problem and then waiting days until someone decides to respond from Woo.

      • Ryan Ray
        September 17, 2013 at 11:18 pm #

        Hey Brandi,

        Can you let me know the ticket number? We’d like to figure out why it’s taken so long to get a reply.

    • Ryan Ray
      September 17, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

      Hey there,

      Very sorry to hear of your experience contacting our support team. The ticket number is important for us to find, as each situation/scenario is different.

      Say you submitted a request for a refund, that obviously doesn’t take 7 days. But what about if you came across a bug in an extension? Something were we’ve looped in the developer on the ticket, created the bug report, started fixing that bug, deploy the bug fix, etc… That may take longer than your normal ticket. That’s why it’s important for us to find out what’s happened to your ticket that has taken 7 days. The context is very important.

      In regards to #2, they aren’t celebratory only and it’s not a report for new customers only either. In every report we show the total numbers as honest as they are, coming straight from ZenDesk’s reporting. Sometimes the metrics are bad, other times they are good. Sure this month, where we’ve reached a goal we’ve been working on, is more positive in nature. But perhaps look back at reports from April or May. Where we were slammed with the WooCommerce 2.0 update. You’ll find not so cheery happiness reports. Also, the report, by nature, is for existing customers to see our stats. Of course it can also inform potential customers of our support quality as well.

      For #3, part of the happiness report includes direct feedback from our customers. Our satisfaction score is what that is based on. It lets customers say if they were happy with the support they received or if they were let down with each ticket they have submitted. They can also say why on any feedback they leave. That is pretty direct feedback from our community. So if that satisfaction scores are hurting, we have direct feedback from every ticket as to why they rated it as bad. We of course listen to feedback across all of our channels as well.

      The feedback in our original sustainable business post is what got policy changed and updated to let previous purchases be grandfathered in. That’s direct impact from our community.

  6. SFGolfer
    September 17, 2013 at 11:30 pm #

    I purchased Canvas a few years ago and love its ease of use.

    At first, WooThemes itself was also easy to use. The forums were straightforward and you could almost set your clock when themes would be released, reliably, on time and every month.

    Then somewhere along the lines, Woo started going crazy with WooCommerce and for months on end we see nothing but WooCommerce this, WooCommerce that.

    It would be interesting to see some stats:

    – how many WooCommerce posts have there been since WooCommerce’s release?
    – how many WooCommerce plugins have been released?
    – how many themes have been released in that same time frame? Doesn’t seem to be quite so monthly any more.

    And on top of that, changes with the support and pricing structure. In other words, Woo has subjected us Woo’ers through a lot of changes.

    And as evidenced by the comments in this thread, my fellow Woo’ers are still feeling somewhat slighted (and for some, very slighted) in the changes that Woo made with some changes quite drastic and against the spirit of your founding customer base.

    While it may be true that you “hear” us, we sometimes wonder if you actually do. Yes, us Woo’ers will still support you but may not be so loyal to you as we once were.

  7. Stephen
    September 18, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Woothemes and Woocommerce WAS great ! Now, i m waiting alternative everyday . WooCommerce Plugins price is crazy. You can charge high for your fantastic woo-commerce but not plugins. Think about the Iphone price vs apps price. You are going to fail since everyone waiting the alternative.

  8. davel
    September 19, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    I always doubt to send in a support ticket because of the long waiting times.
    Rather find out myself via forums and googling; mostly this is faster even if it takes more then half a day. Mostly i end up at a non-woo forum, which says alot and really increases the amount of woo-tickets.

    So honestly, i doubt your reports and those ‘industry average’-numbers.
    The industry average of new tickets is 753; and Woo has 9000. Reply time 20h vs 24h.
    About the ‘industry average’-numbers, where did you find these ?
    Are these WP-relating firms too ? I must say, i don’t have that experience with other WP-firms: Gravity, Showcase, Yoast, WPML, …

    When i compare those numbers, new tickets vs reply time and ‘industry average’; i questioning myself: how many of those woo-tickets could be wiped away if maybe the documentation could be better or better searchable. Also better information on the sales pages of plugins. I’ve already bought a woocommerce plugin and afterwards it didn’t do what i thought it would do, so i send in a ticket. Could be prevented by making clearer info. Maybe work with video’s on the sales page, says more then words. So, that’s my tip for today. :-).

    • Magnus Jepson
      September 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

      The industry average numbers are from Zendesk itself. I believe those are based on their customer data.

      We strive to make the documentation better every day, and we welcome tips on how we can make it better. Please feel free to use the “Report” link on each doc to suggest improvements:

      Same goes for product listings, if you think there could be more information, please let us know in the ticket, and we’ll add more info.

      Thanks for the tips 🙂

  9. Marco P.
    October 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm #


    On 25 September 2013 I opened the ticket N. # 101965 – No response.
    On 30 September 2013 I opened a new ticket N. # 103451 – No response.

    What is the problem? Why do not you answer? I have a client waiting for a solution.
    Who do I contact for an answer?

    I am very disappointed by this, really.

    Marco P.