Atlantic London

Challenge:

The company struggled with its customer support operations as well as with their sales funnel and sales cycle. With the service design intervention, they required they wanted to cut down on cost with the operations while keeping the customer experience and relationship at a high standard.

Tools used:

User journey mapping, business model canvas, Service design blueprint, user stories, and key features based on value proposition canvas

UX Research:

Together with the owners of the company we analyzed the service they provide and the loops that can help us identify potential improvements without major costs. In the first part of our research, we looked at the way of working for their employees and respectively their customer support team. At that point, their entire team of support was trained with a 3-4 weeks training program having a learning curve of 3-4 months until they would perform at the highest quality but unfortunately they had a churn rate for employees of approximately 50% in their first 6 months. That resulted in a lot of costs for both the training team and for the success of the business with onboarding new students. This hurdle could be tackled 2 ways:

 

  • by improving the CRM system and developing further the SaaS platform with personalized messaging to increase the retention of existing students so they benefit from a customer lifetime value extended long enough to cover the loss they had with personnel
  • or to create a mid-way solution that balances both the need to better software and the onboarding of new students regardless of their churn rate with employees

The second solution turned out to be the winning solution in our customer journey discovery workshop. We weighted all options carefully adding them to the business model canvas to see the implications in a holistic way of each move. By getting alignment in the management team we were able to move forward and push the software requirements that really made sense in this new context.

The second big point of our research was how exactly do employees help the student in their decision-making process and how can we optimize the relationship they have with the “customers”. Working on this research meant we had to pull in the interview room 4 different employees that we could then divide into 2 categories:

 

  • the experts in all the educational regulations of the UK system that help with very specific problems in the intake journey of the student
  • the customer support that offers basic information to the student and can refer them further to the experts according to the specific matters they would need to have solved

 

This method of research involved observation of their activity on top of the interview and also a data checking of their intake performances and the highest churn rate point in the customer journey. Looking at all this data allowed us to have a better overview of how the forces play out and decide to optimize in 2 ways:

 

  • we first implemented a robot on the telephone line to capture from the intention of the students the reasons why they call and direct the efforts to the employees with the lowest amount of training on the specific products of the company. That alone decreased the time spent on the phone in half for all “consultants”.
  • Then we allowed the experts to bring their knowledge in specific areas to the table and to compete against each other in a gamified way for reaching their sales targets according to the number of cases they had on the specific expertise they knew. This allowed the churn rate to decrease in employees leaving the company in the first 6 months because they saw a lower entry barrier to start with the company and then the training was something optional according to their motivation to grow in the company. The employee of the month program became a highly engaging monthly meeting where everyone was excited to showcase their results and to discuss how they should get a promotion to distribute the commission among multiple employees according to their involvement in the acquisition process of the customers.

 

In the end, exploring the dynamics of the team allowed to transform the entire service into a more customer-centric environment from both atmospheres in the office to how they were perceived by customers. The cross collaborations between consultants allowed them to engage more with one another as they had to be able to learn who is the best person to take a new client according to the stage in the sales funnel they are at. Visualizing the process was a tool that really helped everyone get in alignment with their role and understand in a very personal way how they can bring impact for the company. The reporting style also changed and the perception over the management team improved significantly in the months after this exercise.

Results:

Delivered product features for the development of a new service, Sales funnel optimizations, sales cycle optimization, and product consulting

Together with the software development company One Logic we developed the user stories and product roadmap for improving their SaaS personalization messaging capabilities as well as the flow of operations in customer support for their employees through changing the user journey of the employees with improved CRM capabilities.

Implementing Customer Success metrics allowed the company to become more agile and look forward to their North Star Metric as well as find qualified people easier for their customer support team.