Service: It’s More Important Than You Think

January 26, 2017      By Julie Dodd

As Ultimate Software’s Chief Services Officer, my views on the importance of service might seem slightly biased. In an industry as innovative and fast-paced as HCM technology, there’s a tendency to focus on the newest pioneering solutions—and these powerful advances are certainly game-changing. But Ultimate has always been committed to providing world-class service to our customers, and more than 80 percent of our employees are staffed in customer service and product development roles. We always knew this dedication to service was an incredible differentiator in the HCM sphere.

And many others agree.

A November 2016 survey by Kelton Global revealed that a staggering 7 out of 10 HR decision makers regretted their HCM provider choice. The #1 reason they cited? Poor customer service. Moreover, 3 out of 4 buyers reported having issues with their current providers’ service, and 71 percent said they wished they had spent more time researching their HCM providers’ service (compared with just 43 percent who wished they’d further researched solution functionality). In the end, 62 percent of HR solution buyers concluded that customer service is as important as or more important than product functionality.

That is a substantial amount of regret. It seems far too many HR leaders have underestimated the importance of service.

At Ultimate, we’ve never wavered on our commitment to customers. Our 95 percent customer satisfaction rate is a striking difference from the statistics above—and it all comes down to Ultimate’s focus on the second “s” in SaaS.

service dartWe offer 24-7 phone support and an innovative collaborative support service model that’s been proven to decrease customer resolution time by 60 percent. We also assign every customer a dedicated account manager, who walks them through every step. Self-service help is also available online for those who prefer to find answers on their own. Perhaps most notably, we provide each and every customer with free training—for life.

Not only do we provide personalized service and support, but we also listen closely to our customers and address their unique business needs. We implemented more than 30 new features in UltiPro this year, and that included more than 80 customer ideas.

I certainly don’t want to discount the importance of technology here, as unbelievable advances in the field (prescriptive analytics, for example) continue to assist HR professionals in ways previously unimaginable. But, as too many decision makers have unfortunately learned the hard way, it’s crucial to prioritize both service and technology when evaluating HCM providers.

In fact, it’s probably more important than you think.

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  1. Karina Karina on February 6, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Proactive customer service definitely seems like it’s becoming a “must” in most industries, and the statistics cited above are definitely illuminating. Thanks for the info.

  2. Avatar david dent on February 8, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Great post Julie. I couldn’t agree more!

  3. Avatar Vijay Ramchandran on February 15, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    great post and as someone who is deeply involved in improving customer service, I can relate to everything you say. It is so important to listen to your customers, analyze their feedback and demonstrate that you are serious about taking action based on their feedback. Services teams play a huge role in this regard.

  4. Avatar Aric McDonald on April 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    This position is 100% correct. With products becoming more and more similar in features or functionality, the “next” level (pun intended) differentiation IS service. Referrals, retention, and any growth of business should center on making service better.

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