In this case study, we’ll learn about how Zero BS CRM improved their support documentation through our KnowAll WordPress theme. Mike Stott, a man wearing many hats at Zero BS CRM, spent some time talking with us about how KnowAll helped Zero BS CRM’s knowledge base, as well as some interesting ways in which Mike and the team are integrating their own Zero BS CRM plugin with our KnowAll theme.
Zero BS CRM is a WordPress CRM plugin that gives users access to a powerful CRM right inside their WordPress dashboard, all without needing to jump into the expensive world of monthly payments.
Because a CRM is a complicated product by nature, Mike and his team found themselves dealing with a variety of customer support requests. Customers wanted to know more about the product and whether it could help them reach their goals, as well as how to use the product better.
Keep reading to learn how KnowAll helped Zero BS CRM create an easily-updatable knowledge base that helps customers get more from Zero BS CRM.
Introducing Zero BS CRM
Q. Can you tell us a little about Zero BS CRM, its history, and what you do for the company?
Mike: Hi there, I’m Mike and I’m the co-founder of Zero BS CRM (the Ultimate Entrepreneurs’ CRM for WordPress).
Zero BS CRM is a WordPress CRM system (installed as a WordPress plugin) which gives you a customer relationship management system from your admin dashboard.
You control the data and you don’t have to pay $S$ per user, per month to a Software as a Service business. You’re self-hosting your own CRM.
The Core of the CRM is a simple, free to use CRM. If you wish to expand the power of the CRM there’s a suite of extensions which you can purchase. These extensions can power up your CRM by doing things like
- Connect to your WooCommerce store and import your customers and orders
- Connect to your PayPal and bring in all your customers and transaction history
- Chart your sales and customer growth over time using Sales Dashboards
- Integrate with a number of popular front end forms
- Power up your business with online payment of invoices
- Plus much more
What I do for the Company is I’m the Lead Developer of a number of the extensions as well as marketer, blogger and support lead.
We are a team of 2 who have built the CRM out of a passion for WordPress and a frustration of not being able to find a simple to use CRM that doesn’t shoot up in price the more you or your team use it.
We are just getting started and aim to grow Zero BS CRM into the only CRM that you’d consider using if you want control of your own data and not have costs that spiral out of control (compared to using a SaaS type solution like SalesForce, which can easily run up to $200+ a month)
Q. What are the most typical questions your customers ask of your support team?
Mike: Since we develop and market a WordPress product our customers are users of WordPress as well as users of our CRM plugin (and it’s extensions).
The most typical questions we see when supporting a CRM are people asking whether it can be used to fully manage their business. A CRM is defined as
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with your customers and potential customers. It helps you improve your profitability.
Zero BS CRM does a lot of this out of the box, and even more with the extensions. However here’s a sample of some of the support questions we’ve had in
- Does it have Project Management tools built in
- How can I do leave management (i.e. managing employees time off)
- Where’s the Calendar booking system
Aside from the “my business does this, can your CRM be used to do that” and very specific requests, the other most typical questions are either User Experience based (i.e. they can’t find out how to do something which the CRM can do) or effectively asking about a feature which doesn’t exist (but they expected it to).
From time to time we also get bug reports through from users who have specific setups which cause issues.
Using the KnowAll Theme has really helped us to make the User Experience of our product easier for customers. It’s also helped us to refine and stabilise the plugin so that future customers don’t have the same pains as those who highlighted the issues in the first place.
Of course, we can track how well our efforts are doing by looking in the KnowAll Analytics and tracking our “happiness” index over time.
Q. Can you share some of the ways you tried to address your customers’ needs before you made the switch to KnowAll?
Mike: First up, I did what a lot of people probably do. I ran it all out of my email, if you have any questions, read the documentation. If you still have questions send an email to ‘support@’…
I then “graduated” into using Help Desk software (trialling the use of software such as helpscout or groove). This kept all my “tickets” in one place and allowed shared inboxes.
But my documentation was still “static”, questions still came in which weren’t answered in the documentation, and the way my documentation was written it wasn’t easy to go back and edit it.
Q. How does a powerful knowledge base serve your customers better than your old system?
Mike: It just makes it easier. When questions come in which aren’t on the knowledge base, I quickly add an article so that it kills that question coming in again from someone else (unless it’s a random question like “how do I market my site”)
It’s also more “alive” through being easier to use, having a comment system and also having a voting system on each article.
It means I can actively monitor what’s going on, what articles are working, what’s missing and how happy people are.
Through making the product easier to use through development, keeping it useful (through new features, when they reach enough requests) and making sure people know how to use it (knowledge) we are starting to see our time needed on support go down.
This means we can spend more time on working on the product, building cool new areas and marketing it more to new users.
Q. What initially drew you to KnowAll, and what excited you most when you first saw it?
Mike: What initially drew us to KnowAll was that we were looking to partner our WordPress based CRM software with Knowledge base themes.
Our Founder, Mike, met Chris (HeroThemes Founder) at WordCamp Paris and talked about how customers of Zero BS CRM should really be running a knowledge base, and how customers using the KnowAll Theme (or other knowledge base themes) should really be running a CRM.
Hint: using Zero BS CRM and KnowAll theme together is a perfect solution to managing support AND using customer insights to improve your sales processes (CRM).
Through working on how to integrate Zero BS CRM with the KnowAll Theme, the team at Zero BS CRM were so impressed with the theme that they moved their own knowledge base / documentation site onto the KnowAll Theme.
They’ve never looked back since.
Q. What overall effect did implementing KnowAll have on your workflow, and was it immediate?
Mike: The impact on the workflow through implementing KnowAll comes in two ways.
- First, the ease of use means you’ll be refreshing and adding new content to your knowledge base. It’s a joy to use from an admin perspective
- Second, since it’s easy to use for your leads and customers too – it reduces support tickets into the help desk and saves you time in the long run
Now that KnowAll is up and running and we’ve combined it with Zero BS CRM we can keep track of who reaches out for support and when we come to reply to them, see all the information we’ll need at our finger tips.
Did the customer mention in passing a few months ago that it was their birthday in August, you’ve made a note in your CRM, so when you reply you can wish them many happy returns.
When was the last time “support” remembered something about you? When running your own support desk, think of the impact on your customers that would have.
Through using both Zero BS CRM and KnowAll you can offer this special type of personalised support to your customers.
Q. How does KnowAll make running a customer support website easier and more efficient?
Mike: We touched on this a little earlier. It’s easier to use so you add more useful content and it’s also easier for customers to navigate so they find their answers easier (and not have to contact you for support).
Not only does it make your website better, being proactive and documenting any questions that come into your help desk with a knowledge base article will really help to improve your product too.
At Zero BS CRM we use the KnowAll theme to help support users of our product. Through this we are able to track in the CRM which questions are coming in to the support desk. On the back of those questions we can see where we need to improve the documentation.
For example, if a customer has searched for “How do I add itemised invoice items” they’ll be funnelled to requesting it as a feature request. Then that’s where our CRM comes into play. They’ll write to us asking about the Feature Request and we can track it in the CRM.
The tickets sent are all stored as ‘Customer Activity’ in the CRM and with the new Advanced Search in Zero BS CRM we can search “itemised invoice” to see how many times it’s cropped up from customers submitting tickets. We can also search “Feature Request” to see all the messages with that term.
This helps us understand what users of our product are trying to do and how many of them are trying to do it (therefore, we should probably consider adding it as a feature in the future).
Before the KnowAll Theme we just didn’t have this information. We can compliment the CRM analysis with the KnowAll Analytics to see what people are searching for, and which articles they’re visiting.
Q. What features of KnowAll have you found most valuable when providing answers to customer queries?
Mike: I do a quick search myself on the front end of the knowledge base. This brings up the articles I need quicker than hunting through (or searching the WordPress posts admin area).
I also like the analytics, I come from an Actuarial Science background so stats interest me. Inference from the statistics and using them to help improve the overall customer experience is really cool.
Q. In what ways has customer communication changed since you began using the KnowAll Theme as a support system?
Mike: It’s not changed that significantly. Integrating the “submit a ticket” with Zero BS CRM and being able to track a customers tickets, when they sent them and what else they’ve done with the Company (i.e. have they purchased a single extension, have they bought a bundle) really helps us tailor our communications.
Apart from being able to quickly dig out and send them a knowledge base article link we’ve not really changed how we communicate with customers.
Q. How has KnowAll helped Zero BS CRM better serve its customers, and do you track any metrics that you could share with us?
Mike: We track support tickets over time, we’ve not been using KnowAll long enough to draw any real statistical conclusions but early indications from the help desk are that:
- We are getting less of the same question coming in from people
- The number of tickets divided by downloads is falling
The last metric is particularly useful because as our product grows we are getting more downloads and simply trying to count # tickets in before KnowAll vs # tickets in after KnowAll would be skewed by the fact our download count is increasing.
Some Final Advice from Zero BS CRM
Q. Can you share some advice for new users of KnowAll, or for those considering it as an online customer support solution?
Mike: Our biggest advice, and why we started using it ourselves, is combine it with a CRM.
Using KnowAll with a CRM really opens up the door to personalised support. When a new ticket comes in you can check the customer record and see all your notes, what they’ve asked before and when they’ve contacted you.
If you’re using the CRM in conjunction with transactions you can also see exactly what they’ve purchased from you and their total value to your business.
Q. If there’s one piece of advice you could give to those looking to go the extra mile for their customers, what would it be?
Mike: Find out something that differentiates you to every other support desk out there.
What we’ll do is if we can help someone towards success with running Zero BS CRM and we can convert them into a customer (and we have their address details) we’ll send them a small token of appreciation 🙂 not to mention the fact we offer personalised support.
Another example is what CDbaby did, for all their customers who bought a CD off the website, they chucked in a free packet of Haribo. Sometimes it’s the small things that matter.
Because CRMs are, by their nature, fairly complicated (even those with zero BS!), creating a helpful knowledge base is essential to helping users get the most from the CRM.
KnowAll helped Zero BS CRM create such a knowledge base by setting them up with a living, breathing knowledge base that Mike and the team can quickly update based on new questions and/or analytics data.
As Mike discussed, you can also go further and hook up KnowAll with Zero BS CRM to create an even more analytical knowledge base.
Once again, we’d like to thank Mike for taking the time to speak with us. And if you want to see what KnowAll can do for you, we invite you to take a look at the full feature list and demo.