Groove Helpdesk Software
We are currently going through an evolution here at WP Dude.
We are changing from being a single Freelancer (me Neil ) to a firm of WordPress developers. The tools we used to get us to our current position are not going to take us where we need to be.
In this post I want to talk about how we are using the Groove Helpdesk Software to grow our startup business.
We have been suffering growth issues, and I’m completely to blame for this as a bit of a control freak.
All client correspondence came through me and was responded to by me.
All feedback from my team to the end client again came through me and was forwarded to them. I was the classical pinch in the hour glass.
The results were; lost calls from clients, slow responses, a long time to send quotes (again often lost) and a general lowering of quality in customer support.
It was causing me lots of stress and stopping the growth of my business. I needed to stop being the control freak, trust my team with client correspondence and get myself out of the loop.
Mindset Change & Business Model Change
I’m in startup mode now, I’m not thinking like a freelancer I’m thinking about someone growing a business and team. I’m trying to get “off the tools” as we say in the UK and be a manger not a developers (but you’ll know I’m not doing a good job if you have raised a call with us lately).
Instead of the old agency model of quote => acceptance => deposit => service delivery => QA => final invoice & project close, I’m doing something different.
I analysed what we do and found that 80% of our work was small one off projects. Smaller tasks such as fix a crash, install a plugin or theme, tweak the css of a theme, the list goes on.
So instead of quoting number of hours I’m doing fixed price per job project (see wpdude.com/hire-wpdude for details). We will not be taking on complete site development jobs or plugin development jobs any more, just small jobs for existing sites.
We will be doing lots of small jobs, so I was looking for a tool to match that model but one that also got me out of the way.
Tools I tried
Over the years I’ve tried numerous tools on the market.
I love and still love Basecamp, but that’s for big ongoing projects, not the small half day jobs we are specialising in. It is too cumbersomeness to add and update individual projects for my clients when you job is done in a few hours.
I tried Trello. which works really well with my project flow, but dialling in clients means them creating an account and joining Trello, I’m not going to get buy in from people for that. I’m still using Trello for my internal business development tasks.
I tried a number of other help desk solutions
- Zendesk – too bulky and expensive
- Helpscout – excellent and very very similar to Groove, but I kept losing tickets, that might just have been me mis-using the tool, but if I’m losing tickets that makes me unhappy
- Freshdesk – really really good, but heavy on features I don’t need such as gamification and more expensive than Groove.
- Rhinosupport – Good, but I don’t get a good vibe about their long term future (sorry guys, stick to Wishlist Member)
So after numerous trials and searches I eventually found Groove.
What I Need From My Support Tool
I had a picture in my mind of what I needed
- Integration with Gravity forms so I could collect client requests but keep my other Gravity form integrations with Mailchimp and Freshbooks.
- Simple for the client, no signups no logins, I wanted something as simple as email.
- The canned responses I have in gmail available to all the team.
- A view of calls as they move through our process of estimates, service delivery, QA and close down of projects.
How We Are Using Groove
Groove obviously met our requirements so I thought I would give you a feel for what we are doing.
Canned responses in Groove are called common replies and they are really speeding up how the team deals with your requests.
The beauty of canned responses is they allow the control freak in me to set the tone of our replies to you the end client but allows the team to communicate with the client they are working with and remove me as the bottleneck.
Some of the canned resonses I’m using are for:
- Getting login details to WordPress sites
- Letting you know a team member is starting work on your project
- End of day update – this is an excellent thing for us and our clients. If a project runs over onto the next day, we can send a quick canned response saying what we have done today and what will be done tomorrow. Consider that we have team members in Europe and Asia and clients in US, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand you can see how time zones get messy so a status update at end of play is crucial.
- Project complete and asking for client review and feedback
- Upselling maintenance service to clients after their project is completed.
Groove has a simple but very effective rules engine to automate tickets.
I’ve used rules engines before in Zendesk but found them cumbersome, Groove’s solution seems far simpler to me.
An example of a rule we are running is one where we move tickets into a folder if they originate from Wordfence, the security plugin we use, and are saying plugins need an update. We do plugin updates daily anyway for our maintance clients so we don’t need a ticket for each plugin that requires an update so we mark those as closed.
As other people do the service delivery in my business my finder is not on the pulse of feedback on the quality of the work done and if a client is happy or not. When I was fielding the emails I knew when a client was unhappy.
Groove has a rating system, I’ll be using that more and more to make sure we are delivery the best service we can.
Like all SaaS products Groove cannot sit alone and all companies will want to integrate with other products.
Groove has a suite of integrations, the only one I’m using at the moment is an integration with Mailchimp, where I can see what mailing lists a client is one.
The really useful tool for me is Groove’s integration with Zapier. I’ve written about Zapier in depth here.
The way I’m using Zapier and Groove is to capture requests from my forms using Gravity Forms, I then push a full client request into Zapier with all the appropriate fields pre-filled – excellent.
I’m also pushing notifications of accepted quotes from my older jobs into Groove so I can action pending jobs.
Metrics To Measure Growth
Something I’m very concerned about as we grow is speed of service. That’s always something I have strived to do. I want people to talk about how quickly we solved their problems.
When I was “on the tools” as a solo freelancer I would juggle multiple projects so people could see fast results.
What I will be doing is using the reporting tools in Groove and setting up some KPIs for internal performance. I’m thinking I can use Average time to first response and Average handle time (the time before the ticket is closed) to get a feel for how longs things are taking.
If those KPIs begin to drop and call volume is going up it’s time to recruit again.
I’ve touched on other help desks being too expensive, but Groove seems just right at $15 per agents where Freshdesk starts at that cost and Zendesk is mega bucks.
Groove don’t have an affiliate scheme so I don’t get anything for sharing this story
Most Importantly Why It’s Good For My Clients
They don’t know it’s there. It just looks like email to them.
They don’t login, they don’t signup.
All they get is a better customer service experience.
If you are looking for a help desk solution you would do well to check out Groove’s 30 day free trial.
Do you want to hear more of my Startup Journey from freelancer to firm? Let me know in the comments.
I’m keen to open the Kimono and show you how your projects are being handled by me and the team.