Since its founding only 12 years ago, Jama Software has made a huge impact in the product development software market. With clients like SpaceX, Caterpillar, Boeing, and NASA, Jama Software helps companies developing life-and-economy-critical products keep a system of record and action. After Jama launched an online community, the staff has seen their community become the best resource for all things Jama, from customer support to product improvement.
Meeting their customers’ unique needs
Because Jama’s customers use robust software in complicated fields (e.g. aerospace), they have some unique needs, including:
- Keeping a record of version history and activity tracking. Misremembering or forgetting details makes a big difference when you’re blasting rockets off to Mars.
- Support during non-traditional hours. Many of Jama's customers work non-traditional hours, making it hard for them to connect with customer service during regular hours.
Additionally, Jama has also experienced recent growth. Just within the past year, Jama has acquired Notion, an analytics company, launched Jama Analyze, a new analytics product, and relaunched Jama Connect, its flagship product. The Jama Product Development Platform, made up of Jama Connect and Jama Analyze, provides unprecedented product development insight, enabling Predictive Product Development.
We spoke with Kristina King, Manager, Technical Support at Jama Software, to learn more about how Jama has used community to meet its customers’ unique needs and improve the customer experience, overall.
"Because you can do so much with Higher Logic, we’ve been using it to do things other than support ticket deflection. Our knowledge base has over 250 articles, and we’re continuously adding more. In addition to having private communities for each of our data products, we’re planning to develop a community for our technology partners. The community is also a good place to gather information on our beta products.” Kristina King, Manager, Technical Support
Jama went through several online community platforms before finding the right one. Some platforms weren’t user-friendly or didn’t offer simple capabilities like uploading files. Jama’s Customer Care team switched to Higher Logic’s online community platform to gain functionality and get more for their money, and they’ve found it to be a real upgrade.
“Higher Logic’s capabilities are much more powerful and flexible than our last platform,” said Kristina. “We can roll a lot more into our community than ever before.”
Jama’s community is hopping, generating over 700 discussion posts and 14,000 sessions per quarter. The daily communication makes life easier for both customers and staff. Jama’s team can track information and answer questions collectively while keeping everything in one place.
One staff member called Jama’s online community the “best resource for all things Jama!”
Making the most of the community platform, Jama Software uses its community to improve customers’ experiences in a few distinct ways.
Empowering customer support
Give customers faster answers
Jama’s support community serves as a knowledge base that customers use as their first resource when they need help. Before contacting Jama, customers can review articles on the software, its use, and other key interest topics to find answers to their questions.
This cuts down on the number of issues that enter the ticketing phase, saving time for customers and Jama’s support team. Even when customers do create a formal ticket, 73 percent of Jama’s responding staff have found many inquiries can be solved easily by linking a customer directly to the best resource on the community.
“Our ticket volume has continued to go down since launching a community in 2014, even though our customer base has grown,” said Kristina. “The tickets that do come in are more technically challenging than they were in the past.”
Many of the tickets they receive begin with, “I searched in the community, but couldn’t find the answer,” and Kristina noted that this implies “an untold number of tickets that are never submitted because customers are trained so well to search the community first. Additionally, it provides them a place to converse with each other, and you can peruse the discussions to find examples of customers assisting each other more quickly than we’d get to it, and often, more creatively.”
Customers performing maintenance or working outside of traditional support hours find the community knowledge base especially useful. They can find answers 24/7, instead of waiting until Monday to talk to support staff.
"Our support ticket volume has decreased 28% in the last two years. A lot of this reduction can be attributed to the community, where our customers are looking in the community for answers instead of submitting questions." - Kristina
Provide seamless communication and updates
Jama distributes software release notes and updates to all its customers at the same time. Now it can upload release notes directly to the community. This process is also flexible, allowing customers to stay up to date on their own time (you know, in between rocket launches and such).
Make training easy to find and access
Jama provides training material, including short educational videos, for customers free of charge. In previous platforms, these videos could only be accessed through a checkout process, which was time-consuming and frustrating for customers.
Now, Jama posts links to each of its videos or embeds them directly in the community. This makes training end-users on the product faster and easier, providing a better customer experience from the very beginning.
Crowdsourcing product improvements
Customers who have ideas about new features or improvements can post their suggestions in the support community. Jama’s community staff and product team then evaluate those suggestions and determine what should be included in future updates.
Additionally, Jama’s product team monitors the community for requests that pertain to features they're working on. It’s not uncommon, for instance, for a product manager to reach out to a customer who posted a suggestion to explore the possibility of working it into a new release.
The product team will also actively engage customers in real-time community discussions as they work on new features. They’ll often use these discussions to gather feedback and ensure they’re designing and building features that benefit the highest number of customers possible.
Jama also uses the community to support beta testing of new and in-development products and features.
Improving customer intelligence
Customers use the online community to connect with Jama, but the company is also making connections with customers. The staff uses the online community to get a feel for the customers and their needs: “I learn about what customers are looking for and what they're using Jama for,” said one staff member.
This information helps them provide better service and a more positive customer experience in every interaction, from support to upsell opportunities.
Jama plans to further expand the use of its community data to gain insights. Its CRM, Salesforce, will use incoming data (such as page views and posts) to develop a better picture of customers’ interests. This relationship will help drive support and sales priorities for account managers, as well as development decisions and goals.
Develop an edge in the sales process
Unlike many other customer support communities in its industry, Jama’s community is open, making it easy for prospects to review documentation and discussions. Prospective customers will often go into the community to see what’s available and are consistently impressed by the amount of vetted information that’s already there.
Especially for those customers who have staff working non-traditional hours, the round-the-clock availability of such a powerful support resource can be the tipping point for choosing Jama over a competitor.
Making life better for staff and customers
Jama’s number one priority moving forward is growing its customer base, and its support community has already proven helpful in achieving this goal. As it grows, Jama’s community will grow too, delivering a great customer experience for every client.
Jama’s Higher Logic-powered community has provided the added functionality it was looking for to meet the needs of both customers and staff. With the ability to upload release notes, answer questions, and publish important articles, Jama is ensuring a great customer experience.
Want to learn more about how community lends itself to the customer experience? Check out our eBook, Customer Lifecycle Management, to see how it can make a difference.