Help Desk

For SaaS companies, life is a near constant cycle of customer feedback and new feature implementation. The challenges with this model arise first in encouraging customer engagement, and then in sorting through the feedback to determine the most worthwhile features and those most likely to drive ROI. There are plenty of helpdesk and customer support products in the marketplace, but most still rely on significant customer service manpower – a real challenge in the lean startup era.

Today, UserVoice is launching a new product called Touchpoint Toolkit aimed at allowing SaaS companies to more efficiently and effectively drive engagement and gather input from their users. The product is divided multiple features focused on enabling this engagement in more locations, such as within an app, and through Facebook and Twitter, all with the underlying goal of helping clients gather explicit rather than implicit data on user satisfaction.

For example, it’s far more valuable for a company to know that, 35 percent of all users want feature X implemented, rather than just 70 percent of those who were frustrated or confused enough to call into the help desk. Similarly, it’s helpful to know whether those requesting product changes are representative of a company’s most valuable and most engaged users, or if it’s primarily free users that are the most vocal.

“Our goal is to do something unique,” UserVoice co-founder and CEO Richard White says. “We don’t want to just help you answer what comes into your support desk. We think the greater opportunity comes when you’re connected to an impactful percentage of your user base around and ahead of implementing new features.”

Within Touchpoint, SmartVote is a “Hot or Not” style idea voting experience that serves users questions pitting two requested features against one another. For example, “Which of the following two new features would you rather see added?” Satisfaction Surveys, on the other hand, is a net promoter score type poll poll that asks users, “How likely are you to recommend this to a friend?”

Another Touchpoint feature, Instant Answers, is a smart Q&A tool focused on reducing help desk resources by intelligently suggests existing content like company forums, blogs, knowledge banks, and FAQ sections as a means of answering questions before calling on customer service. The tool has achieved a 48 percent reduction in help desk calls in beta testing. Finally, User and Engagement Analytics allows Touchpoint customers to segment their users according to usage, spend, and satisfaction to more effectively measure ROI.

The Touchpoint Toolkit a simple add on to an existing SaaS app that can be implemented with a few lines of code, typically in under an hour. The new package is available as part of the UserVoice suite, priced on a freemium model with three paid tiers ranging from $15 to $95 per agent per month.

UserVoice has raised $3 million to date across three rounds of financing, including $1.2 million in a debt and equity in 2012 previously not reported. The company is backed by Baseline Ventures, Western Technology Investment, The Accelerator Group, Tekton Ventures, David Shen Ventures, FF Angel, Betaworks, and several angels. UserVoice has grown to a 24 person team spread between its San Francisco headquarters and a Raleigh, North Carolina engineering and customer service office.

The customer support category is a crowded one, with large and well funded competitors like ZenDesk, Freshdesk, and GetSatisfaction. UserVoice offers traditional help desk tools to compete with these giants, but is differentiated by its engagement and feedback tools.

“Two years ago, the market wasn’t ready for UserVoice level engagement,” White says. “We think times are changing and the days when businesses and consumers rely solely on call centers to communicate are over.”

[Image credit: Matt Hutchinson, flickr]