Schools have undergone a cashless revolution since ParentPay launched its innovative payment solution in 2002. As a result of removing cash, schools have saved millions of hours of time accounting for meals, trips, uniforms and other school items. Added to this, parents get a convenient payment method that offers peace of mind and total transparency.
Today, ParentPay’s continuing growth puts it top of the class in the UK edtech sector with technology used by 9,000 schools and nearly 3 million parents.
Phil Moran is Operations Director for the ParentPay group of companies, responsible for delivering service desk support to all customers:
“Our aim is to ensure consistently high-quality support and act quickly on the occasions that our customers are not fully satisfied.”
“Our main support team of 20 is B2B focused, looking after our core customer base of schools, local authorities and caterers. We use a service desk system to track progress of tickets and ensure timely responses. What we lacked was a clear picture of what customers felt about the support they received.”
Lengthy questionnaires give poor response rates
Upon joining ParentPay, Phil had inherited its legacy approach to gaining customer feedback. This tool the shape of a 10+ question survey promoted via email with links back to a bespoke HTML page.
“My issues with the old survey were its length and lack of focus,” he recalls. “We were very keen to find out what customers thought about everything we did; mainly the overall product but only a small part of it asked for feedback on the support experience.”
“It was difficult to get any useful data from the survey because the response rates were so low and the quality of responses varied greatly. I could sympathize with customers who clicked on the email, landed on the survey page and realized they didn’t have the time to fill out all the answers, it was all far too cumbersome.”
ParentPay’s need was to replace its ‘questionnaire’ style approach with a more discreet and targeted solution. Specifically, one that could garner more accurate feedback, faster and on an ongoing basis rather than sporadically. This led Phil and his team to select Customer Thermometer; a decision made easier by the ease of integration with ParentPay’s TOPdesk service desk platform.
Happiest customers most likely to recommend
“We were really hoping to get a much clearer view of how our support team performed and how customers felt about their experience. Recommendations are incredibly important, knowing that there is a team on hand to help and advise is a key part of the decision-making process when schools are considering which payment provider to choose.”
According to Phil, the first impact of deploying Customer Thermometer was the upswing in response rate. This jumped from just a handful of completions per survey blast under the old system into a rich and consistent stream of feedback every day:
“After firing up Customer Thermometer, the comparison with our previous results was unrecognizable. If we ever received more than 100 completed questionnaires in a year I’d be stunned. Today, we get around 5,000 feedback responses per month!”
Simple, one-click surveys embedded into ticket notification mails
At the end of every support interaction, ParentPay customers are automatically asked to rate how well the support analyst helped with their enquiry. This is done by embedding CT directly into the email notification informing customers that their ticket has been resolved. If the customer clicks on an unhappy face, this is flagged to one of the support team leaders for immediate follow-up.
“Customer Thermometer has given us real-time visibility of how individual customers feel about the support they have received – giving us the opportunity to quickly put right any problems,” says Phil.
“It’s so easy to answer a single question that most of our customers have become used to giving the analyst a rating at the end of the support interaction. We get some fantastic comments back – and that gives the team a real buzz to know that they did a great job.”
Sharing and celebrating successes at Board level and beyond
New comments are shown on wallboards throughout the ParentPay headquarters, so that the whole team can see the feedback. Trending feedback ratings also form part of each analyst’s performance KPI incentives.
“Our whole customer service ethos is driven from the top of the company, and senior management at ParentPay are always keen to champion successes and support our strategies for improvement.
“Team leaders on the support desk love to look through the positive comments that our customers leave – and the best ones make good material at our team meetings. The reporting data is easy for me to export into a monthly Board report which the senior management are always eager to digest too.”
Standardizing on CT and Zendesk
ParentPay has expanded since implementing Customer Thermometer in 2015, leading Phil and his team to deploy CT more widely across the organization.
“We’ve evolved from being a B2B company focused on school and catering staff to now also provide services and support on a B2C basis directly to parents and payment cardholders.”
“As we’ve been acquiring other businesses, aligning our support toolset has become one of our ongoing objectives. We’ve got Customer Thermometer installed across most of the business units now with others to follow shortly.”
As well as standardizing on Customer Thermometer to monitor customer support satisfaction, ParentPay is now using Zendesk as its core service desk platform.
“Zendesk and CT work seamlessly together, giving us more granular feedback than the built-in feedback system,” says Phil. “This gives us a standard set of support KPIs across the group and a standard way to measure customer satisfaction. We may make more acquisitions in the future and, if we do, CT will be extended to ensure we have a consistent, real-time view of what customers think.”
Optimizing support team performance
ParentPay’s support team performance is driven by just two KPIs: customer happiness and the number of tickets closed. Both of which, says Phil, “keep each other honest.”
“You can’t run a support operation based on number of tickets alone – you’ll never know if you’re driving your team too fast. Likewise, you could give customer support that everyone loves but possibly end up becoming unsustainably inefficient. Customer Thermometer has given us CSAT visibility that helps us strive for excellence on both fronts. We’ve set the bar high and CT helps us keep it there.”
After 4 years as a happy customer himself, Phil is well placed to judge the support experience offered by Customer Thermometer.
“The technology has always worked with minimal fuss and that’s very important to us. The team at CT have been great, particularly in the early days when we were getting started, and always really responsive when we’ve had questions. I was impressed when Lindsay (the CEO) made personal contact to understand our needs. We’ve been on a fantastic journey as a software company and so have they – it’s great to work so closely with another forward thinking UK-based tech business.”
Want to measure CSAT like ParentPay?
Well, you can! Give Customer Thermometer a go. It’s simple, quick, and you can put it into emails you’re already sending customers from dozens of systems like Outlook, Salesforce, Zendesk, ServiceNow (and lots more.)
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