FOND Support Process
- Adhoc support process
- Scalability needed
- No feedback to product team
- Identify core requirements
- Establish triage and escalation system
- 20% decrease in average time to first response
- Time to close tickets is trending downwards
Length of project:
Ongoing scheduled work sessions and follow-up sessions between October 2020 to March 2021
Biarri Networks provides tools and engineering expertise for fibre telecommunications networks. They have been around since 2009 and operate from the United States, Australia, and the Philippines.
One of their products is FOND Design Pro, a Software-as-a-Service tool developed specifically for professional telecom designers and network planners. It enables engineering teams to create, customise, adjust, and optimise fibre broadband network designs. A subscription based pricing provides their customers access to FOND Support, a helpdesk function to provide customer service.
As a small company with a growing customer base, it was clear that our approach to customer support could be more consistent for our customers, and less onerous for our product development team. The value that Blackmill were able to provide was their insight into how similar businesses operate so that we didn't need to reinvent the wheel. With their help we developed a triage-based support process where tickets are distributed to appropriate skillsets, rather than overloading the development team. The process is a simple one that works for our current scale, but can also be adapted as we grow.Lisa Mayo , Customer Success Manager at Biarri Networks
FOND Design Pro was an early stage product, but as the subscriber count increased, Biarri Networks needed to ensure that they could effectively support those customers, retain them, and keep growing the subscriber base whilst gaining promoters. The initial support process and structure was very adhoc, and almost exclusively relied on the developers to resolve issues. It was time to create a scalable support function.
Biarri Networks asked us to help them blend aspects of industry best-practice, and pare them back to suit the specific needs and volume of support issues. They wanted to start with the critical aspects of support, and build the systems, processes, and team to execute these and then evolve over time to incorporate more scope.
We carried out a discovery phase by interviewing key stakeholders including the Vice-Presidents of Engineering, and Sales and Marketing, the Regional Operations Manager, the Engineering Manager of FOND, and the Customer Success Manager. This let us outline the current system, share existing pains, and define what success would look like. Collaboratively, we then mapped out a process system from the initial request for a support ticket to providing a resolution for FOND Design Pro customers. This included:
- Structuring query types and how to handle them
- A triage process for grading query types, and funneling to the appropriate resolution point
- A clear pathway to capture and use information to inform the product roadmap
- Improving timely first response by contacting customers to let them know their query is underway
- Clarity around how and when Support agrees to do things for customers that go above and beyond usual support (i.e. doing data prep for them)
- Defining what is "mission critical" and what is not.
- Consolidating on a centralised communication chat platform so that the history is readily accessible to all.
We also recommended regular meetings with all stakeholders to iterate and continuously improve on the process as it evolved.
Working closely with the team was vital in understanding their problems, and what they wanted to achieve. This lead to a collaborative problem solving effort that allowed them to take ownership and steadily enhance their processes and practices. The FOND Support Process was refined and improved as a result of the work Blackmill delivered:
- A decrease of 20% in average time to first response
- The time to close a ticket is trending downwards
- The triage role creates clarity around who is responsible for looking after the incoming issues each week
- The broader development team no longer needs to be regularly involved in support
- Improved internal documentation allows the support team to diagnose common issues faster
- Improvements to the knowledge base to better facilitate customer self-help
- Informal feedback suggests customers are happy with the quality of the product support
- New support team members are developing skills like customer communication faster than they would in their day-to-day roles
- Increased visibility internally of the Support process
Biarri Networks ended up with clear ticket definitions and documentation for their support team to follow, which ultimately improved their customer satisfaction, and business productivity. The FOND Support Process work that we delivered has now become a template for the support process of Biarri Network’s future products.