You Need A Budget was officially founded in 2004 while I was in graduate school. I’d developed the basic software and budgeting methodology about a year and a half before. My wife and I used it to see us through our penny-pinching college days. Over time, I realized the program was unique and had potential to sell. You Need a Budget (YNAB) was a small, side business that helped us bring in extra income. I kept it up while I became a certified public accountant. It didn’t take long to see that my business was more fulfilling and profitable than my 9 to 9 (not a typo) day job. I eventually left the world of CPAs in favor focusing on personal finance software full-time. Since then, YNAB has grown steadily.
1. How big is your “helpdesk team” and how many customers do you have?
Our team is small. In total, there are only 15 of us. Everyone pitches in everywhere, but we have three people whose primary focus is attending to customers’ needs. We have tens of thousands of users, world-wide.
2. What’s the main reason, you care about your customer support services?
A company may have a fantastic product, but if their relationship with customers is poor, customers will find an alternative. It’s how much care you take with the customers that really sets you apart as a business. Genuine, speedy, and friendly customer service helps people know they’re dealing with a business that highly values its customers. One in four new customers are sent to us from an existing (happy) customer. So even just from a purely economical viewpoint, our customers mean everything to us.
3. What kind of metrics are you using to measure customer satisfaction and performance of your agents?
Several months ago, we started using the NiceReply system to help us gauge our customers’ satisfaction. The rating system allows customers to give instant feedback concerning their interaction with our agents. We geek out when customers give perfect scores to our team members again and again. Those ratings help us know where we’re doing a good job and how to improve if ratings are slipping.
We elected to have users choose if they were sad, indifferent, or happy from the interaction. Keeping the choices simple and less subjective was key for us.
4. Do you have any special motivation programs for your helpdesk agents?
We actually don’t offer any special programs. We just hire very carefully. Each of our help desk agents was a YNAB user before they worked for us, so they’re very passionate about how YNAB has helped them personally, and they’re dedicated to helping others have that same experience.
5. What, in your opinion, is the future of helpdesk systems?
The speed of the reply is the number one determinant of customer satisfaction, so any system that helps reps respond quicker is the future. Response time across various channels will eventually come into play (Twitter, Facebook).
6. What’s the most important virtue a helpdesk agent must have?
Well, it’s a tie between two things. The first is understanding. We only hire people who are YNAB users themselves. That way, they have first-hand, invested experience with the software. They relate to the customers’ concerns and have a thorough foundation to go off of when resolving issues. The second is genuine friendliness. It’s important for customers to know that we are prepared to give them a pleasant experience. That means hiring “naturally happy” people.
7. Do you have a funny story from your helpdesk that you would like to share with us? (We know that there’s a lot of them
We sent an email out to our trial users telling them to ping Steve (our customer service rep) and he could get them an extension key for their trial.
To our delight, many customers interpreted our email differently than we expected, and thought Steve’s name was Ping Steve: “I was told to contact Ping Steve so I could get a trial extension?” We had a good laugh
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