How we improved customer satisfaction during a global pandemic

When President Trump announced US border crossings were due to be suspended on March 11th we were in the unusual position of being with our customers at our annual user conference in Dublin, Ireland.

In the lead up to the event we had kept a close eye on the news of the Coronavirus which was becoming more pervasive in everyday life, but like many and those that had joined us in Ireland, were still surprised by the rate of acceleration that week.

Literally, overnight the world seemed to change at an alarming pace and our customers were asking us what our Covid-19 strategy and plans were to ensure their business operations remained unaffected.

At the end of every year, we conduct in-depth surveys with our users to understand how happy they are using the Safefood 360° and the project supports from initial set up to ongoing technical support.

We do this because although we work with many of these customers on a daily basis from their initial set up it is easy to lose sight of their experience and what they are really thinking.

These surveys are designed to allow us to step back and take a clear and unbiased look at the year and how our customers perceive us, from the highest level of C-Suite to the average user who just wants to ensure their actions are closed out as efficiently as possible so they can focus on the next task.

In a normal year, we might already have a suspicion of how we have performed as we generally have an idea of what our customers typically expect and how we’ve performed in line with those expectations.

However, it would be asinine to claim this was a normal year, and as the pandemic hit and the situation worsened globally, we knew we had to step up and ensure that we were available for our customers during this time.

Safefood 360° has exceeded industry benchmarks

I am more than happy to say that this year we have well and truly exceeded expectations and can report our highest levels of satisfaction ever recorded that far exceed the industry benchmarks.

Methodology

The findings in these surveys were conducted by engaging our users with Customer Satisfaction forms and a Net Promoter Survey.

These assessments were conducted from the 19th of October to the 10th of November and responses varied across the spectrum of stakeholders from C-suite and Director-level to operations, sanitation, and quality managers.

The survey was conducted via Survey Monkey, which allowed us to benchmark our scores against 161,000 other companies who conducted the same research through the Survey Monkey platform.

Findings have been benchmarked against 161,000 companies

Each customer received one invitation to complete the survey which contained one NPS question, supplemented by five satisfaction questions and one open-ended question to allow for enhanced context and follow-up if necessary.

The response rate of the survey was 35% which is the industry standard for survey completion.

Net Promoter Score – What is it?

NPS is a customer loyalty metric that measures customers’ willingness to not only return for another purchase or service but also make a recommendation to their family, friends or colleagues. It is a benchmarked metric that allows you to gauge a customer’s overall satisfaction and potential for churn.

Typical responses from an NPS survey fall into 3 brackets:

  • Promoters(score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying or subscribing to your service, as well as referring their peers or colleagues, which ultimately enables and fuels growth.
  • Passives(score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
  • Detractors(score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

How is it calculated?

Subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters yields the Net Promoter Score, which can range from a low of -100 (if every customer is a Detractor) to a high of 100 (if every customer is a Promoter).

After analyzing the results, we are more than happy to let our customers know that we improved our overall NPS score in 2020 by +4 to 49.

The score of 49 means we are 18 above the industry standard as benchmarked by Survey Monkey using data from over 100,000 surveys conducted through their platform and far in excess of the scores of Retently’s 2020 NPS Benchmarks for SaaS and Enterprise Software companies.

Not only did our NPS score improve, but so did our key satisfaction KPIs relating to support, product development, and product quality.

Throughout this blog, I will explain how we achieved these scores by adapting to the pandemic and our customers’ needs by introducing new processes, features, and product enhancements to ensure it was business as usual for our customers in an ever-changing global landscape.

Actionable steps into improving user satisfaction

The first step we took was to ensure all users knew that it would be business as usual at Safefood 360° and nothing was going to change in the immediate aftermath of lockdowns and restrictions.

We sent out the communication below to put our customers at ease and let them know we were here for them.

After this, the teams of Customer Success, Professional Services and Technical Services collectively offered to meet every single one of our customers and devise a strategic Covid action plan to ensure that our customers’ needs were met, as well as to discuss any fears or doubts they had about proving their compliance to standards and legislation to their own customers.

Along with these meetings, we also increased the level of attention from our Data Science and Technical Services team to more closely monitor the backend of system to stay alert of unique challenges or queries as they arose.

We quickly realized that user behavior was changing, the usage of the platform was increasing steadily, and our customers needed us now more than ever.

Once every user we met with was assured of our increased availability and that we were available to help, we then identified two keys areas in which we could offer more assistance than ever.

  • Support
  • Product Enhancements

Support

This year our Technical Services and Data Science team solved more than 5,000 requests for tasks in the application and questions on using the software.

The satisfaction rating from these tasks was in excess of 98%.

More than 5,000 Customer Support tasks solved with almost 100% satisfaction

How did we achieve this?

Unlike most of the food industry which still required employees to attend on-site to maintain (or exceed) productivity, we had the luxury and great fortune to be able to pivot from an office-based working environment to remote working with minimal interruption.

One of the advantages of this was that almost immediately the “downtime” of commuting was eliminated and we were able to increase service hours due to the extra flexibility our team now had.

Staggered shifts that provided support in off-peak times were introduced which increased the availability of our support team so they could operate from 7 AM – 7 PM GMT.

This is an increase of four hours of availability which we felt our customers would need during the pandemic as more customers moved to conduct remote audits through the platform.

The impact of this was evident in the survey results as 91% of survey respondents stated that they were satisfied with the level of customer support we provide.

This is above the global benchmark of 84% report from Survey Monkey.

Figure 1: Satisfied with support

Furthermore, not only was the increased availability of our support noted but so too was how quick our support team was to respond.

82% of survey respondents rated Safefood 360’s responsiveness to support as Extremely Responsive or Highly responsive, which is well in excess of the global benchmark of 71%.

Figure 2: Support responsiveness

Lastly, and perhaps in part to support being more readily available and faster to respond, user satisfaction of responses remained as high as ever with >94% of all queries being answered correctly on the first attempt.

Product Enhancement

After we conducted our analysis of our findings from the 2019 survey and our Covid strategy meetings, it was evident that our customer base was screaming out for enhanced ways the user could build reports and effectively analyze the data they submitted into Safefood 360°.

As a result of this, we committed to solving this issue and accelerated the release of our bespoke business intelligence reporting tool throughout 2020.

The reporting tool has been a huge hit and has seen many of our customers build their own reports without the assistance of our service team.

Further to that, we quickly enhanced elements of the software to include more flexible options for audits so that users could conduct audits remotely, whilst also accurately reporting the results in the system and share these with colleagues working offsite.

These actions were taken in advance of the approval of remote and hybrid audits from the GFSI and we monitored this news to ensure Safefood 360° was compliant with the requirements.

More flexible options allowing remote audits were introduced in advance of the the introduction of remote and hybrid audits from the GFSI

Not only did we release our Self-Service Reporting tool and add additional features for remote audits, but we have also been overhauling the monitoring module to include new features that would allow for more flexibility in tests and programs, as well as enhanced SPC analysis.

As a result of these changes and new developments, 100% of our customers noted that Safefood 360° met their needs during 2020.

Safefood 360° met 100% of customer needs

Whilst 89% of respondents rated Safefood 360° as a product of very High or High Quality.

These two satisfaction KPIs are above the global benchmark of 95% and 81% respectively.

Figure 3: Product Quality

Other areas in which we surpassed the global benchmark include ‘Quality of Product’ where 89% of our customers stated that the product was of Very High / High Quality, again surpassing the industry standard by 7%.

How will we continue this moving forward?

Hopefully, the events of 2020 have been a Black Swan and remain an anomaly, but in the event that they do not, we have put in place long-lasting and sustainable actions to ensure the functionality of services continues to exceed expectations.

This year our Technical Services team was rebranded to Data Science & Technical Services, which you may rightfully ask, what’s in a name?

Click here for more information about this change, but our commitment to our users in the coming months and years is to continue the marriage of cutting edge technology, analytics, and customer service with domain expertise that remains unrivaled in the industry.

This means users can expect exciting new features and functionalities that combine Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the Internet of Things which aim to make everyday tasks easier to main in their compliance and management systems.

We’ll continue to support this through our best-in-class Technical Support which is always available in the application and a reformed series of webinars throughout the year which will focus on practical insights to allow users to maximize their RoI.

For those that want something ‘more’ or customized, the Customer Success team is available to consult on a bespoke basis about your needs and project deliverables to ensure you maximize your business goals.

If you would like to start one of these conversations now, leave a comment, or simply get in touch with any of the team to begin.

 

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