Delivering on their promise to improve customer service at ServiceTitan, Co-Founders Ara Mahdessian and Vahe Kuzoyan provide a report card of sorts on where things stand, what’s next, and where they plan to go, during the second quarterly ServiceTitan Town Hall.
“We want to make our products and our services as valuable as humanly possible for you and your businesses,” Mahdessian says, during the 90-minute Town Hall on July 26. “And we have a lot we can improve on in our products, and we have a lot we can improve on in our services and how we support you.”
To recap from Town Hall #1, the ServiceTitan co-founders categorized solutions to the company’s customer service issue into three buckets: 1) Prevention, 2) Self-Service, and 3) Assisted Service.
Mahdessian sums up the goals for each bucket.
Prevention: “The best products are the ones where you don't need to constantly call in for help in order to use them,” he says. “We want to eliminate your need for support in the first place by continuing to make the product so turnkey, so intuitive, that the issues you face today are eliminated in the future.”
Self-Service: “If you do have issues, we want to provide easy-to-use and easy-to-find answers so you don't have to spend your precious time calling us or waiting for us to respond.”
Assisted Service: “If we're unable to eliminate the issue in the first place, and we're unable to help you self-serve, then of course we want to make sure your experience when you reach out for help is seamless and ultimately gets to a resolution ASAP.”
Here’s a snapshot into where ServiceTitan stands on all fronts.
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You asked, we listened
Taking an aggressive approach to improving customer service, Mahdessian presented the report card above that shows the company making headway on call, response, and resolution rates.
“I'm happy to report we're beating our speed-to-answer goal,” Mahdessian says. “The goal to answer is within three minutes, and on average we're answering in half that time. We're answering within about a minute and a half.”
ServiceTitan is also striving to resolve issues the first time customers call in for support.
“We set a goal to solve 80% of support issues on the first call, and we're achieving this goal at the moment, with 81% of issues resolved on the very first call,” he says.
Customers also reach out to non-technical support teams, such as customer success, FinTech, billing, etc. Following the first Town Hall, ServiceTitan started tracking overall response rates for all inbound requests within 24 hours, and set an SLA (service level agreement) adherence target rate of 95%.
“We're coming in right now at 93.5%,” Mahdessian says. “Of course, I don't like missing targets, so we're working on improving this quickly.”
ServiceTitan also launched a customer survey in May for every call that comes in to the technical support team to see whether the issue was resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
“Right now, we're at roughly 80% satisfaction, but we’re looking to both increase the number of customers who respond to the survey as well as bring that 80% as close as we can to 100%,” Mahdessian says.
Changing the customer success model
Engagement with ServiceTitan’s customer success team is one of the main areas that needs improvement. In the beginning, the company used a dedicated customer success model.
On the positive side, customers felt like there was a specific person at ServiceTitan to help them. With knowledge and context about your specific business, their dedicated CSM could help them more effectively and efficiently.
On the negative side, it was very hard to maintain the same point of contact for customers, especially over time. Customer success managers (CSMs) get promoted, leave ServiceTitan, take time off, or they’re busy making scheduled calls with 10 other customers. This would lead to slower response times and sometimes needing to change your CSM.
About a year ago, ServiceTitan moved to what it calls a CSM pooled model.
This model directed all technical support requests into a single pool, where a team of CSMs responded to requests based on first availability.
“On the positive side, we were able to get more engagement with customers and faster response times for success-related needs,” Mahdessian says. “We also solved that very key problem of how to handle CSMs who were transitioning in and out of the role.
“On the negative side, you lost a lot of the personal interactions you used to have with your dedicated CSM, and our CSMs lost the business context that so often was helpful for both you and for the CSM,” he adds.
Now, ServiceTitan is evolving its CSM program into a third model, a hybrid of the previous two that combines all the benefits and mitigates as many of the problems as possible.
“It's a model I like to call the primary CSM model,” Mahdessian says.
“Essentially, you’ll have a primary CSM that you work with, whom you’ll get to know, and they’ll get to know your business and your business context,” Mahdessian explains. “But if you need help from your CSM and they’re unavailable for any reason, whether they’re slammed with a ton of other customers or they've taken time off, we’ll be able to temporarily assign a different and available CSM to help you.”
The new model requires a name-dedicated CSM to now be assigned to new ServiceTitan customers for the first 120 days after they go live on the platform. These CSMs specialize specifically in helping new cohorts of customers adopt as much of the fundamentals of ServiceTitan as quickly as possible. After the first 120 days, customers will transition to a new primary CSM.
“We're excited about this change, particularly how it solves the negatives in both the solely dedicated model and the solely pooled model,” Mahdessian says. “So far, we're seeing a lot of promising signs, especially a big jump in the number of customers that our CSMs are able to engage with on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.”
In addition to the changes to the CSM structure, ServiceTitan expanded its customer support hubs across the globe. It now operates five support hubs — staffed by 300 customer support technicians — in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Armenia, and now Bogota, Columbia.
“We're investing in this level of customer support and opening new offices around the world so we can ensure that we keep those average response times as fast as possible with dedicated internal headcount who understand our software and your business needs,” Mahdessian says.
Routing calls for accounting and telecom support
In addition to changes in the CSM structure, Mahdessian says ServiceTitan is also focused on improving the skills-based routing mechanism for two main areas of the platform: accounting and telecom.
“These areas are the two biggest pain points with the software today,” he says. “The data shows these are the areas where you need the most help, and therefore we're focusing groups of agents that are specifically trained in accounting and telecom so you can get routed to these agents as quickly as possible whenever you have an issue.”
Why is this important?
“Ultimately, what we want to do is not only respond quickly when you do need help, but solve the problem on that first touch point,” says ServiceTitan President Vahe Kuzoyan. “In order to solve problems, what ends up happening is, we need to have our support team be able to have some level of depth and knowledge about a particular area of the product so they're in a position to answer your question.”
In the beginning of ServiceTitan, Kuzoyan says, the product offering was “tiny,” but now it covers everything from marketing to accounting, and everything in between.
“For us to be able to have a very high-performing team that could answer questions across the entire board, we need to be able to then make sure we can connect you with the right folks on our team that have that depth and knowledge,” Kuzoyan explains. “This is a really important point because not only does this mean you get better service because you're talking to the person that's best matched from a skillset perspective to answer your question, it also means the way in which you contact support ends up making a big difference in how well we can route.
“The reason why we started with these teams is because this is where we experience the most painful types of issues and the ones that require the highest level of expertise,” he adds.
Mahdessian says specialized agents currently handle about one-third of the volume in telecom and accounting, and the plan calls for them to handle even more calls as the pilot program expands.
Another issue causing customer frustrations is the inability to recreate the problem you’re experiencing when you do call in for help. To resolve this issue and help the support team save time, ServiceTitan is piloting a software program called Full Story.
“Full Story is a great piece of software that will actually store the various actions you take in ServiceTitan, the actions prior to the error, so when you call us to help resolve the issue, we can quickly review what happened and replay your actions to understand the sequence of steps that led to the error,” Mahdessian says. “Think of this as like an instant replay for any error you may be experiencing.”
Full Story will be rolled out across all support tickets by the end of August, he says.
In addition to Full Story, ServiceTitan offers a variety of self-service help options, including its help center, the Knowledge Base, ServiceTitan Community, and a free program for ServiceTitan Certified Admins. To date, 350 people have become certified through the admin program.
“This program is one that'll give your employees the opportunity to become experts on the ServiceTitan platform, and that gives them a structured approach to maximize your business's use of the software you're already paying for and the ability to quickly address challenges early before they turn into bigger problems,” Mahdessian says. “It’s completely free, and you can find it in our community.”
Kuzoyan calls the free program “a no-brainer.”
“This is like having a ServiceTitan success manager, a ServiceTitan support agent in your office, who not only helps you address issues as they come up, but they help you get the most out of the product,” Kuzoyan says.
New enhancements to improve customer service
As part of ServiceTitan’s You Ask, We Listen initiative, Chief Technology Officer Anmol Bhasin says the company acknowledges some of the issues caused by new product feature releases, which occur too frequently, can cause glitches, or catch you unaware.
“We heard that you want better visibility,” Bhasin says. “You want to know what features are riding on that release, what continued education is available to you, and how to leverage a specific feature. So with that, we did a massive surgery on our release process.”
Now, ServiceTitan’s feature releases will be done on a seasonal basis, mapping to spring, summer, fall, and winter.
“That doesn't mean we’ll not fix high-priority bugs along the way. We’ll continue to do that, we'll continue to improve the software, but as it pertains to large features that require enablement, preparedness, and learning, they’ll only land on these four releases throughout the year,” Bhasin says.
In addition, Bhasin says ServiceTitan built an automated testing system to cover the footprint of any release. The system includes integration tests, unit tests, and system tests that all go through the same steps a user might go through when utilizing ServiceTitan. The company also launched an internal bug bounty program to inspire a bit of competition for the team to catch any glitches before they reach customers.
ServiceTitan also launched a release calendar, available in the ServiceTitan Community, to provide greater visibility and awareness on upcoming new releases.
Following the same theme to make sure you know what’s coming and how it affects you, ServiceTitan is adding more content to the Blue Collar Nerd videos, a release-highlights deck, more social media posts, and other types of content to give you greater visibility about each new feature and how can help your business.
Summer 2023 feature releases
Here’s a quick look at the newly enhanced features available this summer.
TitanAdvisor training mode
“This training mode ensures that your new employees receive the foundational knowledge that is critical to their role and sets them up for success,” Bhasin says. “And as each member of your team learns industry best practice workflows in ServiceTitan, they’re more ready for the job, and ready to rock and roll on the first day.”
Update business units in bulk
Customers also asked for a better way to update business units in ServiceTitan, especially when making multiple changes at once. Now, customers can update business units in bulk.
“Now, with just a couple clicks, you can make these changes to some or all business units, whether it's changing the company logo, invoice, header, phone number, etc.,” Bhasin explains.
Online estimates enhancements
While ServiceTitan users can send online estimates and do mass follow-ups on unsold estimates, problems might occur when their customers wait too long to accept the estimate (like expecting the same pricing, even though it’s a year later). A recent enhancement to the online estimate process allows you to now set an estimate to expire within a specific set of days.
“We're also upgrading the ability for you to be more targeted in your follow-ups,” Bhasin says, showing the example above that sets an automated reminder to resend the estimate if the customer hasn’t accepted or denied it within five days.
Allowing direct access to financing is another enhancement to online estimates.
“Now, we allow for financing options to show up on your online estimates,” Bhasin says. “By allowing users to easily start the financing application and process online anytime, you'll find an enhanced overall purchase experience by making it convenient for your customers to apply for financing and get a decision within seconds.”
Invoice summaries are now required on all job tickets.
“Techs don't always remember to populate the invoice summary field before closing out the job, then your CSRs have a hard time explaining what we did if the customer calls back to understand what's on their bill,” Bhasin says. “Now, you can make invoice summaries required. We believe this one will make your customers and your entire office team much happier.”
Purchase order enhancements
Reduce errors by automatically including the vendor part number on the purchase order.
This change adds efficiency and automation to a process that’s traditionally prone to errors, mainly from copying invoice items or manually inputting the part number onto the purchase orders.
“Now you can automatically include the vendor part number on the purchase order as the part moves from the invoice to P.O. No more errors,” Bhasin says.
Make custom fields required
“Now, you can ensure all critical information is captured during the job booking process. That simplifies CSRs’ workflows and minimizes any follow-ups,” Bhasin says.
What’s next for ServiceTitan enhancements?
To provide a peek into what’s next at ServiceTitan, John Flora, Senior Vice President of Product, and Eyal Binshtock, Group Product Manager, walk through the following 10 updates.
1. Dynamic Pricing
Earlier in 2023, ServiceTitan released its Dynamic Pricing tool, which allows users to set pricing for flat-rate services based on multiple factors, such as after-hours jobs, add-ons, membership discounts, and more.
“We really want to see a lot more of you adopting it, because there are huge benefits in reducing the time you're spending maintaining your pricebook, and it's a huge step towards automating your pricebook,” Binshtock says. “It protects your margins and ensures the right price is charged for the right job every time.”
2. Weekly Dispatch Board
Flora says the ServiceTitan team also wants to make it simpler for dispatchers who want a longer-duration view of their job board.
“So, instead of multiple clicks and navigating through several days in a week, your dispatch team will be able to see a weekly version and a weekly view,” Flora says, a feature expected to be generally available by spring 2024.
3. Proposal & Estimate Template Categories
Recent enhancements also make it easier for your technicians and salespeople to find and present the good, better, best model in your company’s proposal and estimate templates.
“When our customers are using these proposal templates and they're presenting them to at least 30% or more of their jobs, they're seeing a 10% increase in revenue,” Flora says.
By the end of this year, you’ll also be able to categorize these proposal estimates and align them to the same categories in your pricebook.
4. Launching Accounting Periods
Coming this fall, your accounting department will be able to close down its accounting periods, while still allowing key people to make edits and modifications if needed.
“Very typical controls for accounting periods to make sure your periods stay what they are in the accounting department and there are no surprises,” Flora says.
Kuzoyan says the accounting enhancements also have long-term implications.
“What you'll find is, we're going to be pulling more and more of these accounting-related tasks and bringing them into ServiceTitan, because it's so deeply intertwined with how operations work and creating rules,” he says. “This becomes particularly important for construction and larger jobs or projects where you need to really lock down a project and make sure nothing else goes into that.
“Expect to see a lot more around this broad topic of accounting controls,” Kuzoyan adds. “And our intention is to become the accountant's best friend, because we can implement all sorts of goodies that make their lives easier, allow businesses to have both efficiency and a high degree of control, and ultimately have faith that their numbers are real.”
5. Journal Entry Auto Batch and Export
Expected to be rolled out in a limited release this fall: ways to auto-batch and allow for updates regardless of the batch integration status.
“We know customers are very unhappy about the existing integration experience,” Flora says. “We're continuously working to improve that and this includes solving that fear of once you export, it cannot be changed.”
6. Configurable Invoice Printing
On track for general release next spring, this feature will allow you to configure a printed invoice to fit your workflows, your envelope style, and your specific invoicing process.
7. Payroll Preparation Improvement
This new feature removes steps and work required with preparing payroll for performance pay, Flora says.
“We're going to extend some configurable payroll to office personnel to automate spiffs, to automate things like membership sales. So, taking a lot of the manual data entry away from payroll preparation,” Flora explains.
8. Project Portfolio
For larger projects, customers told us it was really hard to know and aggregate what’s going on with every project. To solve this issue, ServiceTitan is introducing Project Portfolio as an enhancement to the process.
“We've already launched it to 17 customers in a limited release to get some feedback and provide a quick way to navigate through your projects,” Flora says.
9. Enterprise Hub
ServiceTitan released Enterprise Hub earlier this year to help companies manage multiple entities, locations, and brands. And making improvements to this feature remains an ongoing priority. One enhancement involves setting specific user roles so when they use Enterprise Hub, they’re only working with specific locations or brands.
10. Contact Management
If you struggle with keeping your customer contact list up to date, this tool will be your new friend. Starting in spring 2024, ServiceTitan will simplify this process through automation.
Want to learn more about ServiceTitan products, happenings, and more? Join thousands of other contractors at Pantheon 2023, Sept. 11-13, in Orlando, Florida. This year’s theme is “Journey to the Top.”
“Reaching the highest levels of success is only possible through hard work, determination, and by acting with purpose when opportunities arise,” Mahdessian says. “Everyone's journey and everyone's ‘top’ is different. But no matter where you are on this journey, no matter what ‘success’ looks like for you, ServiceTitan and our team are here to support you in reaching your potential.”