How Hopin are encouraging wider teams to self-serve insights from customer support data

As we celebrate one year working with Hopin, an events tech platform who signed up with SentiSum in February 2022, we wanted to have a look at how their customer support insights journey has developed in that time.

Hopin came to SentiSum knowing that there had to be a better way to communicate customer challenges with wider departments than the manual tagging and reporting they were doing, and they have been flying the flag for customer support insights ever since.

We spoke with Gareth Elsby, Customer Operations Manager, Liz Pastor, VP of Product Support and Services and Bhavik Patel, Director of Analytics, about their experience with SentiSum.

We'll take a look at the challenges Hopin were having before implementing SentiSum, the new ways of working they’ve developed, and what the results of harnessing customer support data have been on the customers and the organization.

How does SentiSum works

Step 1

SentiSum integrates with Zendesk to uncover detailed insights from support tickets.

Step 2

Qualitative topics are surfaced enabling closer CS and Product collaboration.

Step 3

Product strategies are influenced and aligned with customer feedback data.

What challenges did you have in product support before implementing SentiSum?

Before implementing SentiSum, Gareth’s team struggled to find the right level of granularity in their manual tagging processes within Zendesk.

When categorizing customer support tickets, tags need to be specific enough to provide a usable level of insight so that teams can fix recurring customer issues, but not so granular that there are far too many tags in the system to keep track of, as you end up getting lost in the weeds.

The support team got to the point where they could gather enough data from their tagging taxonomy to report on certain metrics - such as time spent on certain tasks, and feed those back to the Product team, however this level of insight wasn’t reliable enough to inform any real changes within the product roadmap due to questions about consistency and objectivity.

“As much as we were utilizing our tagging taxonomy, we could never really win the argument. There were issues under the surface that support could see, we were having conversations with customers about these issues, but we couldn't win that argument with the product teams and that was where SentiSum came in for us.”
- Gareth Elsby

“A product manager has so much data and information and so many requests coming at them all at once, and they’re trying to prioritize all of these different areas. It’s only by bringing all of these requests together with data backed evidence that you can prioritize based on what’s critical for the customer”
- Liz Pastor

What was the start of your journey like with SentiSum?

“When we found SentiSum, we signed up and plugged it in and as soon as the dashboard was available we were like “wow”. So many rabbit holes for us to dive down.
And the way that SentiSum provided the data for us, it encouraged our curiosity.”
- Gareth Elsby

SentiSum allowed Gareth and his team to see different metrics, objectives and categories from customer support conversations all in one place without having to go into Zendesk, as well as the sentiment of customers.

Sentiment analysis brought a new metric into consideration that Hopin didn’t previously have available, allowing them to see what issues are evoking different emotions from customers, giving more context to ticket topics and how they affect customers.

“I think I only spent about half an hour with the team at SentiSum when we first got it and I was able to pick it up quite easily, the technology is quite intuitive.”
- Bhavik Patel

How did you find switching to automated tagging with SentiSum to get the right level of granular insights?

Automating ticket tagging with SentiSum meant that not only were Gareth’s team saving on the time and laborious effort that it previously took to categorize tickets, a level of granularity and accuracy was brought in that allowed the team to deep-dive on customer issues easily.

“It's my philosophy within the support operations team that it's my job and my duty to bend the systems as much as possible to fit the support agents rather than the other way around.
We've all been there where we've had to use a clunky system or a clunky workflow, or a clunky policy and adhere to it, and we sat there and wondered, why do we have to do this?
Why can't we do something better?
Well, this is one of those things.”
- Gareth Elsby

Bridging the gap between product and support with Liz and Bhav

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Is customer sentiment something that you find particularly useful within the platform?

Gareth describes the sentiment analysis capability within SentiSum to be an area that delivered instant value from day one.

With Hopin being a technology SAAS company, there are many different areas of the platform where a user may be when contacting support, so sentiment analysis allows the team to not only report on different areas of the user journey, but how users are feeling when having to contact support in those areas.

Are users particularly frustrated by issues within the registration section of the platform compared to, for example, the events page?
This adds a level of consideration when prioritizing issues with Product teams and allows wider departments to focus on areas that are causing the most frustration for customers, while removing personal subjectivity or assumptions.

How can other SentiSum users use their data to inform the roadmap of other departments?

“We start to ask questions and have a seat at the table when it comes to the product development cycle. SentiSum is there to have your back and back up the CS team’s knowledge with objective data at the same time.”
- Gareth Elsby

SentiSum has enabled Hopin to switch from a cross-department dynamic that relied on questions coming in from other teams for support to deep dive on, to a process where other departments can self-serve insights directly from the SentiSum platform.
Hopin controls this by using the “Views” function within the dashboard.

SentiSum Views enable users to create curated dashboards which surface insights specific to the focus areas of different departments.
For example, if you were a retail company looking to create a View for a quality control team to access, you could group all tags relating to poor quality items for that team to access. Or all tags relating to delivery issues could be grouped for a logistics team to access.

“We essentially gave our product managers an area of responsibility in SentiSum.
We said, you take this, that's your View. Those are your issues. Go and find your stories.”
- Gareth Elsby

The result of this self-serve approach with different departments at Hopin was that product managers were able to inform their decision cycle in terms of what to focus on in their next product development sprint and ensure that their strategies were centered on the customer.

This same approach can be applied to departments all over an organization, including C-suite, so that they can have a full understanding of how the business is performing in the eyes of the customers.

“It was a fantastic sort of voyage of discovery getting SentiSum. It was a shifting of responsibility as well.

Sending it upstream to the product team got rid of all of those kind of ad hoc requests that would come in and occupy your time. Give this better tool to the product managers so they can go on their own voyages of discovery with their own influences in there.”
- Gareth Elsby

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