When a temporary outage seized up their databases and knocked their ability to reach their customers off line, the team at, the team at Ruby Receptionists realized they needed a more reliable way to keep their clients informed when issues arose.
That was the moment the call center-based, around-the-clock receptionist and chat service, which supports over 10,000 small businesses, decided to bring in Pendo for its in-app messaging capabilities. Though the outage prevented the company from making outbound calls or sending email, their applications were still live, That meant Pendo in-app guides could have been used to get word out to users directly, says Dan Porter, Ruby’s senior director of product.
“We were able to resolve it quickly, but it gave us enough of a scare that we wanted something outside our database, where I could go into Pendo and push a guide out that said ‘We’re experiencing technical difficulties right now, call this number if you need to reach us because our phone lines are down,” Porter says.
Since implementing Pendo, Porter says it has only become a more important tool at Ruby. Porter’s team is now using it for everything from understanding app usage and development planning across multiple web and mobile products to onboarding new customers and employees, providing in-app communication and support, and measuring KPIs.
Boosting retention with a personal touch and effective onboarding
A personal touch can go a long way in making customers feel like they’re being heard and supported at the level they expect. That’s why Ruby’s customer success team uses Pendo guides to make good first and continued impressions on users.
At three facilities in Oregon and Missouri, Ruby employs teams of receptionists and live chat specialists, who field calls and questions for business owners when they don’t have the time or are otherwise unavailable to answer them. A small law firm that employs just two or three lawyers, for instance, can turn on Ruby’s services when they leave the office for lunch or to attend a court hearing and not worry about missing important messages or potential clients.
The company has three distinct products, Porter says: the online customer-facing web platform and mobile app where clients can set up and manage their service, the company’s internal operating system, which is used by the receptionists, and the company’s internal CRM, used by the customer happiness and onboarding teams. Across those platforms, Porter pairs Pendo’s in-app messaging and analytics capabilities to pinpoint the exact issues users are running into and make fixes or recommend solutions.
For example, “We’re able to take a user who is saying the mobile app is giving them issues and tell them that they’re using an outdated browser version and need to upgrade right away,” he says. The data from Pendo has also allowed the team to decide when to end support for browser versions, or even entire browsers, that few, if any, customers are using.
In another case, the team was able to identify a user who was experiencing very long load times on the mobile app, then contact them via an integration with Salesforce and let them know that their Android OS and mobile app versions were both out of date and incompatible with each other.
In-app guides are also used to target customers and introduce the customer success manager assigned to them. The guides include a photo of the CSM, a friendly message, and a number for a direct phone line. Porter says this technique is designed to personalize the experience and make it less likely that a customer will cancel their subscription. The CS team also uses guides to reach out to users who they know are experiencing problems.
Ruby uses Pendo guides to deliver personalized introductions from Customer Success Managers to users.
All of these personalized touches go a long way in lifting customer satisfaction and foster loyalty, and that’s helped boost retention, Porter says.
Pendo’s analytics also reveal general trouble spots in both the mobile and web apps. Once the team has a sense of where many users are dropping off or abandoning their work, they can flag those areas for repair or improvement. When those features are being fixed or upgraded, Porter uses guides to block access to them while both providing context about why they are unavailable and offering users a workaround.
“We might say, ‘You can’t update your credit card right via the mobile app right now but call this number and we’ll get it taken care of,” Porter says.
Pendo helps the team measure and achieve one of their most important KPIs: product stickiness. Customers who download and use Ruby’s mobile app, for instance, are six times more likely to remain customers for the long-term, Porter says.
“To be able to see how many people are utilizing your application on a daily basis and a weekly basis and a monthly basis, from a product perspective, is just huge,” he says. He anticipates using Pendo guides to nudge web app users toward the mobile app in the future.
Employee education and engagement
Pendo isn’t just helping Ruby understand how clients are using their product. It also gives Porter’s team a line of sight into how employees are using their internal systems and provides a direct channel for finding out how to build a better experience.
Since Ruby OS, the internal operating system Ruby built to run its business, was rolled out to the company’s frontline receptionists, Porter’s team is using Pendo analytics to understand how the system is being used, Pendo in-app messaging to announce new features and functionality, and surveys to solicit feedback from employees.
If an idea drawn from one of those feedback surveys turns into a roadmap item, the team lets the receptionists who pitched it know. “Through Pendo, we’ve received direct feedback that has both validated decisions we’ve made and made us reconsider others,” Porter says.
Quick communication in a fast-moving crisis
Earlier this year, that initial intuition around increasing Ruby’s capacity to weather crises that led Porter to purchase Pendo paid off.
When COVID-19 began spreading in the United States, Ruby, like many other businesses, found itself sending its employees home and setting up company-wide remote work arrangements.
To keep Ruby’s clients informed, Porter used Pendo guides to communicate their virtual strategy and let them know there might be delays in answering service as the company adapted to work-from-home A week later, Porter’s team displayed guides letting customers know that service levels had returned to normal. They also used in-app polls to collect stories from customers about how they were handling the pandemic.
Ruby deployed guides on its mobile app to collect success stories from users.
“That was on both web and mobile, and a lot of the customers appreciated our proactivity,” Porter says.
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