Customer Story

How OnSide Uses Customer Experience to be “Best in Class”

John Ballinger

This customer experience case study shows how an early-stage SaaS startup uses an NPS program to create a "Best in Class" company.

OnSide SaaS

OnSide is a New Zealand-based SaaS company whose main product is an innovative visitor management software dedicated to making rural properties and the people who visit them safer.

The software gives everyone on or visiting the property a low cost, paperless view of any risks or hazards they may encounter while working. It also provides rural contracting business tools to pinpoint where their teams are and if they are safe.

OnSide came about after years of frustration trying to make standard, paper-based health and safety systems work on the owners’ farms. The tools at the time were impractical and not at all designed for outdoor workplaces.The owners wanted to build a practical health and safety solution designed for outdoor workplaces using the latest technology.

The Challenge: How to be Best in Class

As a new company, OnSide wanted to be best in class, but they weren’t sure how to do that. They began researching metrics to measure world-class benchmarks in product and customer experience.

“There was a lot of buzz around the word NPS,” said Delphine Ducaruge, Product and Operations Manager at OnSide. “We looked into it and discovered we didn’t know our number.”

Having a high NPS score and the business results of high growth and best-in-class product are byproducts of actioning customer feedback — byproducts that will help OnSide reach their business goals. “But then we realized it’s not about the number. NPS is a process to capture customer feedback and testimonials.”

OnSide realized that they need a repetitive type of format that captures customer feedback daily so that they can compare how they are doing week to week and month over month.

"It seemed obvious that NPS is so much more than just a number,” Delphine said. “NPS helps the whole organization get on board both within our app and our support center.”

It’s Not About The Number

OnSide discovered that they could create a direct line to their customers by sending NPS surveys to a selection of customers every day.

“The AskNicely software complemented our group dynamic and gave us a way to activate our feedback,” Delphine said. “It’s important because we’re a small company — very small — with less than 10 employees.  We came to understand that getting feedback as much as possible while we’re still small helps us to find out who we are and make proper adjustments.”

It’s About Communication

Delphine administers and supports their customer feedback program using AskNicely. While OnSide is interested in their NPS number, what they really like is communication with customers.“We want to be able to interact with people, and a regular email survey gives us a regular conversation at a regular cadence.”

Quality Responses Make a Difference

“The really great thing about our AskNicely program is the quality of our responses. I love it when I can share compliments from our customers with our engineering team. The engineers rarely get to hear feedback and it really raises their spirits and raises the bar on our product when we get good feedback,” Delphine said.

Everyone is interested in hearing how they help customers. By sharing positive feedback, Delphine is able to grow their customer-centric culture.“Our customers give us really thoughtful feedback,” Delphine said. “It makes them more invested in our success when they understand we are listening. The interesting thing we learned from our responses was that we had a problem we didn’t know about. As we started to get consistent feedback, we were able to investigate and fix the problem.”

There are things about your company that your customers know but aren’t telling you. “You can’t see what you don’t know,” Delphine said. “People made suggestions and we discovered trends in the suggestions, and now we know what to work on, especially when a lot of people are saying the same thing.”

Reaching Out to Customers

“Without our AskNicely software, it would be difficult to get consistent quality responses,” she said. “The only other way would be to send a big survey with quite a lot of specific questions.” Large surveys are time-consuming for both the customer and the company. They are often ignored and response rates are low. “You need something [to learn what your customers think]. Customers aren’t going to call you with suggestions to improve,” she said. “Now we go to them and start the conversation.”

OnSide has the luxury, at their current size, to have one person whose job it is to reply to all the customers who have taken the time to submit survey responses. “We take this opportunity to speak to people. It’s the conversation that really makes the difference.”

OnSide uses the 5 Ws process during these conversations to discover the “what” behind the customer comment. For example, if a customer leaves a comment that says the phone app needs better set up, OnSide will write or call them asking: what do you mean by that? What have you been struggling with? What else do you suggest?

“When a lot of people say the same thing, that is when we get a feel for what we’re doing right or wrong,” Delphine said. “It’s pleasant when people give you a ten and they tell you the reason why. We share that with the team and it empowers people. That’s a really cool moment.”

How They Use NPS to Create Better Customer Experiences and Drive Advocacy

“Right now we send surveys after 90 days. We hope to find other times in the customer journey to send them, but our data isn’t right yet. We’re fine with starting where we are now and improving over time.”

OnSide plans to integrate with Intercom in the future. Right now their goal is to build relationships with their customers so that when the customer leaves a comment, Onside knows who they are. “We are small now and want as many conversations as we can. As we grow, that may change, but the software is scalable,” Delphine said. “Right now, doing something is better than doing nothing.” It’s a pragmatic approach that has served OnSide well.

“We’re glad we didn’t wait, we may have missed a lot of helpful input.”

Discovering the Silent Users

“We have a lot of customers who, once we set them up, we don’t hear from them. AskNicely allows us to touch base with these silent customers — the ones who are using the software, but not interacting with us.”

Some consider these customers the ones who suffer in silence. They may have an issue with the product or service, but the pain point isn’t high enough for them to contact you. In fact, they may feel that it would be simpler to find a different solution.

“We saw these customers replying to our NPS and thought, it might be time to reconnect with them,” Delphine said.

The Human Touch Helps Turn Detractors to Promoters

Two days before our interview, OnSide received an unexpected 5 (detractor score). Delphine was able to meet with the customer immediately. She addressed their concern and was able to reiterate what they discussed. “It’s now fully documented,” she said, “and we can carry on the conversation.”

OnSide has discovered that their customers want a real human at this stage in the company’s growth. It helps OnSide have conversations where they can ask the  customer, “have you tried x?”“Ultimately we receive quality responses,” Delphine said. “This helps us grow and make the changes that are important to our customers.”


It's our hope that this customer experience case study gives you a peek into how you can use NPs at any stage in your business to drive quality and growth. From customer satisfaction initiatives to product development, AskNicely helps companies of all stripes to close the feedback loop, which results in true business impact.

Book a call today and learn more about how real-time customer feedback can evolve your product.

AskNicely helps companies create and maintain the superior customer experiences that grow their business. Rated #1 by G2Crowd for Enterprise Feedback Management, AskNicely is the premier solution for enabling front-line staff to give delightful, consistent customer experiences. Founded in 2014, AskNicely has offices in Portland, Oregon and Auckland, New Zealand.

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John Ballinger
About the author

John Ballinger

He's cool.

John Ballinger
About the author

John Ballinger

He's cool.

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