Wave provides financial software and payment processing to small businesses. As one of Canada’s fastest-growing tech companies, it serves more than 3 million businesses worldwide and has tracked more than $200 billion in income and expenses. Wave’s core accounting product is completely free, and services including payments processing and payroll are offered on a cost-per-transaction and subscription basis, respectively.
“We didn't want to just focus on support tickets—we wanted to create a community...and Vanilla has helped us do that.”
Community Manager (Former)
The support team at Wave was overwhelmed with requests as their existing community left customers without a proper self-service experience and unengaged.
Wave did their due diligence, researching what their customers wanted and making a thoughtful list of must-haves, which led them straight to Vanilla.
The team at Wave described the migration as straightforward and non-disruptive—Vanilla had their full confidence and they were eager to get started.
After the first 4 months with Vanilla, Wave saw a 30% decrease in support ticket volume, from a monthly average of 10,000 down to 7,000.
Looking to Offer More
In 2017, Wave was using Zendesk as a support ticketing system, and with that, they were also able to use the Zendesk community, which came as an extension of the help center. And while the community was able to redirect some of the support requests, the support team at Wave was still overwhelmed; they were, afterall, a team of 20 support members serving 3.5 million customers.
But to Community Manager, Charlotte Hamilton-Warr, the support that customers were receiving from the community was simply not enough—and the entire team at Wave agreed with her. They wanted to be able to offer their customers “heroic support” through the community; support that could match the same quality and authenticity as support from their other support channels. Moreover, they wanted to deliver an experience. Something that kept customers coming back for more. And as it stood, the Zendesk community just didn’t have the functionality to deliver on those needs.
As Charlotte says, “we built something [on the Zendesk community], but it became apparent that it wasn’t accomplishing what we were looking for.” She continues, “we wanted something that felt more like a forum—a place that looked less like where you’d simply ask a question and then leave. We wanted to transform our community to a place where you might go to have a social conversation and somewhere that you’d want to go back to.”
Ultimately, Charlotte knew they needed richer forum features, such as advanced search, content organization and service-specific support in order to deliver the type of experience she dreamt of.
“I worked really closely with the support team, and they were more than ready to get this initiative off the ground,” says Charlotte. So with the support and buy-in from her organization, Charlotte got the green light to start looking for a better, more suitable long-term solution for Wave.
No Unique Experience
Wave’s community platform was unable to provide its customers with a unique experience that left them engaged and coming back for more, as it didn’t have the functionality required.
High Support Ticket Volume
The Wave team was receiving a large amount of support ticket requests, which left them overwhelmed and unable to focus on other tasks.
Research At Its Finest
As a lifelong fan of community forums, it didn’t take long for Charlotte to not only pin-point all the crucial features that make a great community, but also the ones that would be central to the continued success of Wave. She notes, “I've spent a lot of time on forums myself and I wanted to create an experience similar to that.”
Additionally, Charlotte took a closer look at Wave’s existing community to conduct some customer research. She wanted to know what could make their experience even better; she wanted to know what they were looking for. One of the main findings, she says, was that they wanted easy and seamless access to self service resources, which only reinforced her decision to migrate to a new community vendor.
Charlotte and her team explored several options for building their new community, but when they found Vanilla, they knew it was a match made in heaven.
Vanilla was able to successfully check all their forum-functionality boxes, such as the ability to create groups, badges and organize the forums into service-specific support channels. “We were looking for a searchable, self-sustaining resource for customers that would allow the support team to dedicate more time to the interactions that they handle,” says Charlotte. She concluded, “we found that in Vanilla.”
The Wave Checklist
“We were looking for a platform that would be easy to transition to, and the migration to Vanilla was incredibly straightforward.”
“Vanilla has allowed us to have the kind of customizability necessary to grow and to try different things along the way.”
“Having a cost-effective solution was very important to us, and Vanilla provided that without sacrificing functionality.”
Lots of Features
“We were looking for a solution with a ton of different features that could give us the tools to successfully engage our community, and Vanilla had it all.”
Not Even a Ripple
The team at Wave was unlike most organizations that were about to undergo a migration—their excitement overwhelmed any fears they might have had. Everyone at Wave was onboard, and so everyone was super excited to get their new community up and running and start implementing all the great ideas they had.
“We were looking for a platform that would be easy to transition to from the Zendesk community that we were using,” says Charlotte, “and the migration was incredibly straightforward and not disruptive for the existing members that we had.”
Ultimately, it was a good thing that they didn’t waste any energy on worrying about “what-if’s,” since everything went smoothly.
The Feeling of Success
Since launching their new community, Wave saw tremendous results in just a few months. This was especially true when Charlotte examined their support requests.
Previous to Vanilla, Wave was receiving an average of 10,000 support tickets every month, however within just 4 months of launching their new community, this rate was cut by 30% as some 3,000 tickets were deflected to the support forums. While Charlotte knew that the new community would be a success, she didn’t expect to see these types of results so quickly, noting, “the community was even bigger than we could’ve ever imagined!”
“The amount of support tickets that we’re able to keep out of the support teams’ queue is huge!”
Additionally, the new community has proven to be central to the increased levels of customer and advocate engagement, which of course, was a key reason why Wave chose Vanilla. But the Wave team isn’t stopping here.
Next, Charlotte plans on building up the product ideation and fan advocacy branches of their community, as part of her ongoing effort to improve customer satisfaction and experience. She explains, “we didn't want to just focus on support tickets—we wanted to create a community.” She continues, “and as we’ve grown and are trying to do different things and planning future things with the forum, Vanilla has allowed us to have the kind of customizability that we want [in order to do it].”
All in all, Wave definitely got off to a hot start, and it’s only just begun.
Reflecting on Wave’s Journey
Wave is a great example of an organization who knew what they wanted, knew what their customers needed and embraced the change necessary to make it happen. Are you ready to embrace change? If so, reach out to us—we’d love to talk about how we can make it happen.
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