A few years back, the need for a one-to-many customer feedback model at fast-growing event management platform Bizzabo became evident. With the sign-off from the leadership team, the journey to build a scalable and transparent customer feedback process began.
We spoke to Ben Anthonisz, Manager of Customer Education at Bizzabo, who went from a one-man-band to managing a customer community team in their efforts to scale Bizzabo’s one-to-many processes, collect customer feedback, and ultimately – increase the ARR to CSM ratio.
Let’s take a look at what sent Bizzabo on a quest to find a solution for their customer feedback needs in the first place.
A non-scalable customer feedback process
Before the move to inSided, Bizzabo’s product feedback and feature requests were mostly based on the customer’s relationship with individual Product Managers. The process was opaque and lacked transparency – both internally and externally.
At the time, product feedback was manually entered into the account record in Salesforce by CSMs. Next, that information would go to a board that hosted every single request from customers. This is where prioritization became an issue. As the number of requests grew, there was no way to prioritize requests at scale.
Lack of visibility into customer needs
Customers with high ARR would get prioritized over smaller accounts as it was easier to justify features for big enterprise accounts, rather than SMBs.
But the problem was that this setup didn’t tell the full story of customer needs. It didn’t provide visibility into how many smaller accounts were in need of a certain feature. Because of this, Bizzabo couldn’t deliver an optimal customer experience for these customer segments – ultimately running the risk of losing business. And as we all know, many smaller customers can equate to a lot of business.
Anthonisz points out, “Often you forget that those smaller clients are the ones that got you the social proof you needed to grow the business in the first place. But if you don’t support those customers, you’ll soon have a leaky bucket on your hands. Ultimately, you’ll end up with bespoke products built for 15 Googles, but that's not actually something you can sell.”
So Anthonisz took matters into his own hands, pitched the issue to the co-founders, and soon got sign-off on the initiative.
Next, the task was to find a solution that could support the goals of the new initiative.
Choosing a platform for existing processes
As Anthonisz set out to find a tool that could meet their customer education needs, it was important that the software would fit into existing internal processes they had built in Salesforce.
The tool needed to:
- Facilitate Customer Success and Product collaboration
- Allow for collecting and managing customer feedback with ease
- Offer sufficient communication features to close the loop on feedback
Using the Salesforce integration, Bizzabo could seamlessly make inSided play nicely with the rest of their Customer Success tech stack.
Tying customer feedback to ARR
Bizzabo spent the first nine months testing the waters and getting familiar with their new customer community and ideation ecosystem. During those months of having ideation up and running, Bizzabo’s community submitted 370 ideas – all unprompted.
Ideas posted per month on Bizzabo's Community first year of implementation.
Previously, the team could only point back to individual accounts and say, this idea came from person x at company y and that represents an ARR of z. But with the new ideation model in place and connected to Salesforce, the team can instantly see exactly how much ARR a specific idea represents.
Building a better relationship with Product
Following the outbreak of Covid-19, Bizzabo experienced a huge explosion of growth as events moved online. During the span of six months, the Product team went from three people to eight people. At the time, Bizzabo had to be extremely reactive in everything they did. But as the company headed into 2021 with growth momentum, they were ready to shift their product methodology from reactive to initiative-based.
Moving from a reactive to a proactive model
Today, the Community team builds out the feedback process alongside the Product team. By tagging the customer feedback that comes in, Product can get a complete and focused overview on the feedback that’s associated with a specific product area. If it’s an initiative that fits into the roadmap, PMs will own those threads and utilize that customer feedback for their discovery process. However, if it’s not an initiative that’s being worked on, a Community Manager will communicate that to the customers and manage the conversation.
“As Bizzabo scales into a global organization, communication is key to our success. InSided’s deep integrations with SFDC and Slack gives our GTM teams in the U.S and Europe a fluid way of collaborating asynchronously with our Product teams in Israel and Ukraine.”
This growth made it more important than ever to create a fair representation of the voice of the customer. With information centralized in one place, Anthonisz can send reports based on the holistic voice of the customer, rather than the needs of one enterprise CSM or one enterprise client. And by doing so, Bizzabo can build a product and effectively, a business, that’s a solution for a breadth of customers, not limited to a handful.
What’s next for customer feedback and ideation at Bizzabo?
With a solid feedback collection process in place, Anthonisz and his community team at Bizzabo are looking to streamline the feedback collection process further, increase collaboration with Product, and work better together to close the loop on customer feedback – ultimately delivering an ever-improving customer experience to the Bizzabo community.
Anthonisz concludes, “Not only are we receiving product feedback from our customers at scale, but we can also push ideas to the relevant product owners using a Slack integration. We’re looking forward to measuring the impact on CSAT and ARR by closing the loop on these requests in a much faster manner.”
Do you want to learn more about how you can build and scale a community-driven product ideation model?
Find more resources here:
- Close the Loop: Improve collaboration between Customer Success and Product
- Customer feedback: the core of community-led growth
- A step-by-step guide to establishing a Customer Success-driven feedback loop
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