Hivelocity case study

When data center provider Hivelocity started out in a Tampa basement in 2002, most competitors in the server hosting industry were leading their go-to-market message with speeds and feeds rather than customer service.

Today, with 70,000 square feet of data centre space across Florida, Georgia, New York and California, its founding decision to major on delivering the optimum customer support experience is paying dividends.

A culture of exceptional customer service

“Our attitude is that high quality technical capabilities are table stakes,” said Rick Nicholas, Hivelocity’s VP of Colocation and Managed Services. “People expect that from bare metal, dedicated server hosting. We’ve always taken pride in a commitment to exceptional customer service, instilling this culture in our people and processes.”

When Rick joined Hivelocity in 2017, he set about reviewing the many parts of the business to identify potential improvements. “I found NPS was pretty great, around the upper 70s. And a lot of the feedback we got showed how our people went the extra mile for customers.”

“But when you dove deeper, the lack of detailed insight was frustrating. We had a process for collecting customer feedback on the back of support tickets, but couldn’t easily drill down into what it meant or how it could be applied back into the business.”

Rick Hivelocity data center

Rick Nicholas, VP of Colocation and Managed Services

Optimizing customer satisfaction to reduce churn

After a two-month study of historic records, Rick found that 12% of the customers who’d left Hivelocity involved situations where, he says, “we could have done better.”

“Our customers are extremely loyal and our churn is well below industry standards, but if we could lower the churn we do have by 12%, it would be a very big deal for us.”

Rick remembered encountering Customer Thermometer while at a previous job and wanted to apply some of the features he saw into Hivelocity’s in-house developed tool: “The dashboard was what I really wanted, plus the ability to feed in Slack alerts instantly and maintain a real-time leaderboard of agent performance. I showed these to the management team who agreed they were awesome, and so we looked into developing them.”

Positive outcomes and clear ROI

Since CT’s pricing model is based on completed surveys rather than survey requests sent out to customers, Rick was pleasantly surprised by the business case: “The cost was far better than I first thought, with a clear ROI from customers feeding back on their support experience. That was the deciding factor in abandoning our in-house development and deploying CT instead. An added bonus was API integration into our bespoke reporting system, giving us a rich real-time view of customer sentiment and support performance from a single platform.”

Hivelocity enjoys a number of positive outcomes since deploying Customer Thermometer:

  1. Real customer feedback that – with permission – is being rapidly turned around into content for Hivelocity’s social channels
  2. Immediate, real-time, measureable insights into the performance of the support team as a whole and individuals (ranking who is getting the most, as well as the best, ratings)
  3. Faster and more effective accountability than the previous system that queued feedback responses. Now any customers whose experience has fallen short of expectations is rapidly escalated and resolved, with agents learning how to avoid future repetition.

“Javier, our customer support leader, loves Customer Thermometer so much that he has the live dashboard running on screen in his house, 24/7,” says Rick. “It’s helping reinforce our culture – reminding everyone that what they do really matters.”

Motivating agents as the business scales

As part of this, Hivelocity has introduced a bonus scheme for support personnel, based upon the metrics delivered by the CT platform. The idea is that the entire team gets rewarded when the team does well, encouraging people to help one another and optimize behaviors in the most efficient and appropriate way.

According to Rick, reinforcing the customer-centric culture of Hivelocity is crucial to the business, and its customers, as it continues to grow. Prior to Customer Thermometer, Hivelocity’s model of ensuring excellent support wasn’t easily scalable without investing significant time and a prolonged series of steps.

“We are acutely aware of how frequently customers are disappointed when a trusted provider who used to deliver great service suddenly grows ‘too big’ and now can’t. We proved we could extend our headquarters-based culture in Tampa to the new support centre in Los Angeles, with Customer Thermometer’s help. I can see CT playing an even more important role as we look to double our support team in the coming 6-12 months and potentially open up more support centres in other parts of the US.”

Serving up an ‘ace’ customer experience

In an industry dominated by commoditized products, where the difference between 99.99% and 99.999% matters the world to customers, small improvements can have a huge impact.

“It’s like tennis,” says Rick. “everything is so fast, the margins between winning and losing are so fine, and unforced errors can cost you everything. Customer Thermometer is like having a doubles partner that only we can see. We’re very happy right now, feeling very supported and looking forward to continually improving our metrics to deliver on our customer promise and reward our support staff with a positive environment.”

The story doesn’t end there. Since deploying the solution and experiencing immediate results, Rick has reached back out to the CT team for suggestions on how to drive even more completed surveys. “We got some great ideas, including sending a reminder email to customers after 24 hours if they hadn’t completed the survey initially. Beyond the suggestion, we got practical advice on exactly how to set that up.”

Customer centricity Hivelocity at work

Our sincere thanks to Rick and the Hivelocity team for sharing their incredible feedback with us. We are thrilled to see your success.

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