3 Key Customer Satisfaction Goals We Focus on Every Day at FP

“Customer satisfaction, a term frequently used in marketing, is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation. Customer satisfaction is defined as “the number of customers, or percentage of total customers, whose reported experience with a firm, its products, or its services (ratings) exceeds specified satisfaction goals.”[1] In a survey of nearly 200 senior marketing managers, 71 percent responded that they found a customer satisfaction metric very useful in managing and monitoring their businesses.” Wikipedia

With the introduction of Software as a Service (SaaS) there has been a tidal change in the business. When I first started Function Point we followed a more traditional model. Pitch a customer on building a system to run their business, collect a large amount of cash up front and then work with them for the foreseeable future. Often, changing systems was not easy for our customers, but there weren’t many choices back in the day, and we’re grateful they stuck with us!

Now Let’s Jump Ahead 17 years.

The landscape has totally changed. Our customer typically has a low up front payment, reasonable monthly fees, and expects us to provide continuous value and improvements. If the customer isn’t happy, it’s significantly easier for them to simply switch to a different service.

Finally…the power is in the hands of the customer!

Function Point was early to the SaaS space. We launched our product in 2004 with two customers. Two! We traveled extensively to meet our customers, worked with them closely to find out what they did and didn’t like about our tool, and we worked extensively to improve our solution. That is…improve customer satisfaction. This process takes a different form, but essentially continues at FP to this day.

This focus on customer satisfaction, specifically in the creative agency vertical space, still remains, and will always remain, our top priority.

3 Needs Customers Have and Things We Do Every Day to Meet Those Needs

  1. A positive introduction. We work hard to provide the very best on-boarding experience possible.
  2. A close relationship and success coaching. It’s important to us to stay close to our customers as they learn more about the system and to consistently coach them toward success with the tool. We don’t accept any failure on our part in this regard, and we’re firm that our customers will succeed if they work to follow the plan.
  3. Easy access to services and support tools. It’s gotta be there! We provide all the necessary services to ensure an excellent and on-going customer relationship.

Let Me Explain

When a new customer joins FP we introduce them to a specific training consultant who works closely to guide them through their personal training program. This program at FP is broken into 3 main sections. Ready! Get Set! Go! The details include preparing and configuring your system, basic training, advanced lessons, and then preparing to rollout the software to your team.

The structure helps set the framework, but it’s really about helping our customers get a solid understanding of the “What”, “Why” and “How” of each process within the tool. This understanding instills simple yet important concepts such as:

  • Ensuring you are charging the correct amounts for your services,
  • That searching data is about collaboration and visibility into your client work,
  • Tasking is making sure staff are efficient and not over-allocated.

Whether we are exploring the use of creative briefs, building detailed estimates, or collaborating with clients through the portal, getting a solid start is fundamental to the value you ultimately receive from FP We pay a lot of attention to our customers getting these concepts engrained well as it is the core of our customer satisfaction with the tool (and it’s the secret to becoming profitable too!).

The Initial Onboarding is Only the Start

Getting off to the right start sets the tone for the whole life cycle with our software. Once you’re past “Go”, (I can’t help but think of the game Monopoly) the process deepens and moves you into a more advanced experience, but ultimately the most eye-opening! With FP you’ll dive into doing estimates, job schedules and start getting good data on the performance of your firm. These insights are often a revelation into the real inner-workings of your agency, and can shed light into the dark regions of your firm that have never been explored before.

As the data is put into the system, more and more information will emerge. For example: how accurate are your estimates are, whether your jobs get executed as planned, and whether you are receiving appropriate levels of profit for the firm to be sustainable.

Having a dedicated team at your side that understands the what, why and how becomes vitally important to your success because you need to understand, integrate and utilize this new information. It can sometimes be a challenge to absorb what you thought your business was, and what you now see it truly is, but in the end this knowledge will help you improve areas that need it and experience more efficiency and growth across the whole agency.

This is stage two, and I very pleased to say programs such as our summer school refresher, the myriad of online resources, and our desire to help customers improve how they work with FP are available to all of our customers. Join in! We are making these events fun, entertaining and worthwhile!

Moving along, so let’s look at where we are. As an FP customer, your company has deployed a new web based time sheet and project management software solution. You’re achieving the expectation to maximize your staff utilization and growing bottom line revenue. Sounds perfectly reasonable. Then the inevitable happens…

What Happens When Key Staff Leave?

We’ve identified that this is a very high-risk time for both the agency productivity and for the relationship with FP. A key system administrator (“prime”) leaving an agency is the greatest cause of ‘process disruption’ which can ultimately result in failure of our software implementation at your firm.

It’s easy to see why. If your agency has only one person who is fully engaged in, say adding new users and helping them get up to speed on process, this creates a vulnerability and that makes the success with the tool more vulnerable.

Hence, we work to identify these types of risks and intervene early to help you provide new administrative users with the training they need to get up to speed quickly. It’s important these key personnel understand and become advocates for the what, how and why the system has been endorsed, so that the system will continue to be uptaken by your teams. This often means forging a new relationship with FP and it’s a challenge we’re used to.

A Commitment to Service is Our Life Blood

SaaS is truly the emergence of a new format for the software industry, therefore it’s vital we get both parts of this right. “Software” as a “Service”.

I make this commitment to you and all of our customers … if I can do anything to help improve your experience, your process and your workflow I want to hear about it.

Perhaps you’ll take the time to answer the following questions for me:

  • Have you had challenges getting your software vendors to listen to your needs?
  • Does your firm take full advantage of the benefits your software vendor offers?
  • What unique experiences come to mind?

Your responses and the dialogue that comes from them are most welcome. Send me an email at chris@functionpoint.com, or comment. I look forward to hearing from you.

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