Customer success

8 ways SmartRecruiters got smarter after using Pendo NPS

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Headquartered in the heart of San Francisco, CA with offices globally, SmartRecruiters is a leading provider of talent acquisition software for businesses and candidates. SmartRecruiters’ mission is simple: make hiring easy.  For businesses, that means providing a seamless recruitment experience and for candidates, helping them efficiently apply to and hear back from potential employers.

John Hooper, now manager of revenue insights and analytics at SmartRecruiters, puts it this way: “giving candidates a great experience is what differentiates us, our goal is to create a frictionless candidate experience.”

Most people have experienced interview ghosting in the past—you’ve had several great rounds of interviews but don’t really know where you stand and don’t ever hear back. SmartRecruiters is solving that problem while also providing enterprise HR teams with the tools to manage job postings and candidates.

John joined SmartRecruiters as a customer success manager (CSM) in 2015, around the time their product management team implemented Pendo. The product team sought to gain actionable insight into product analytics and in-product guidance and feedback capabilities, including account/end-user and custom segment-level granularity. Ironically, John realized that their customer success org knew very little about where they stood with customers who were actually using the SmartRecruiters platform every day.

Anecdotally, SmartRecruiters felt they had a strong sense of customer sentiment. They deployed a few Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys to their existing customer database via email but had no formal timing or process in place.  The added challenge was that their reach was generally limited to buying committees info captured in their CRM. As a result, SmartRecruiters experienced low response rates and statistically insignificant results; just a few hundred respondents. This rudimentary process gave them no way to automatically deploy NPS surveys on an ongoing schedule to trend sentiment over time, and ultimately they found results unreliable and not an accurate reflection of customer health or propensity to churn.

“We needed a more comprehensive view of how end users actually felt about the system, especially with some of our larger client relationships. Collecting sentiments only from the point of contact was not representative of whether end users actually liked the product,” John shared.

Recognizing the opportunity to gather better insight by directly surveying users in-product, John jumpstarted a pilot program using the Pendo native NPS functionality to gather end-user sentiment. By delivering NPS surveys to every user at the perfect time, while they were actively using the SmartRecruiters platform, they saw a 1300% increase in the number of responses and were flooded with thousands of responses that were both incredibly valuable and drastically different from SmartRecruiters’ prior efforts.  The team used this newly-captured data to identify patterns across individual users, as well as NPS promoters and detractors, and built a targeted user experience inside their product for these groups.

“The data came in and we had over 2,200 responses. That far exceeded our expectations in terms of volume and because we sent it via Pendo instead of through an online survey tool, we were able to collect so many different data points and have visibility into the account associated with each respondent.”

They immediately found a direct correlation between negative account-level responses and customers who recently submitted termination notices. Reflecting on this new insight, SmartRecruiters realized that having a pulse on customer sentiment and providing proactive interactions with particularly at-risk accounts could reduce customer churn to less capable competitors.  Armed with this new knowledge, they implemented a quarterly cadence of Pendo NPS surveys to measure trends over time for several interesting use cases.

John developed 8 ways to segment NPS feedback to dramatically improve product, customer success, and sales strategy:

1. View overall customer base to get a sense of how we [SmartRecruiters] are doing across all customers and end users.

2. View only promoters to help CSMs identify, cultivate, and inspire acts of advocacy, like inviting customers to submit online reviews.

3. View by CSMs to identify CSMs who are associated with higher NPS scores and investigate what skills they use to drive more effective (and satisfactory) customer training and enablement.

4. View by account/user to help CSM follow up with appropriate messaging; positive responses (see #2) and negative responses to explore ways SmartRecruiters can improve.

5. View by subscription type (free version vs. paid vs. fully-functional premium) to understand sentiment across all three and to help sales drive upsells.

6. View by user role (e.g. admin, read-only, employer roles, candidate) to help steer and prioritize the product roadmap based on satisfaction levels.

7. View by industry and company size to see if certain markets offer additional sales opportunities (see image).

8. View by NPS survey quadrant to help CSMs prioritize (and de-prioritize) accounts based on the intersection of ARR and NPS score (see image).

Gathering this data allowed SmartRecruiters to shine a light on the challenges within their customer base and product experience. The data gave them the insights they needed to build an improved user experience. They now have a scalable solution for gathering high-value feedback on a regular, ongoing basis. John noted, Pendo has enabled us to build a lot of momentum around customer engagement within our platform.”

The SmartRecruiters NPS program has successfully brought value to the product, customer success, and sales organizations. The teams are already leveraging NPS response data to build a product health model that better predicts churn, and product roadmap prioritization that better serves coordinators and interviewers while also helping sales focus on ‘best-fit’ markets and target accounts most ready for upsell. John concluded that the SmartRecruiters + Pendo partnership continues to have a “major impact on [our] revenue overall”.


SmartRecruiters was founded in 2010 and in the eight years since their cloud-based Talent Acquisition Suite has become a favorite among global, enterprise recruiting and HR teams, as well as the hundreds of thousands of applicants who have applied to new jobs through their system.

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