On June 18, we held a live webinar with Micah Sampson, a service and support manager who has created multiple QuickBase apps on his own to manage employee training and performance for 300+ colleagues. He showed some of the apps he has created and demonstrated how to build an app in minutes using existing spreadsheet data.
Micah’s apps have improved data access and operational efficiency within his business unit at Intuit Inc., enabling managers and employees to spend more time on coaching. As a result, customer satisfaction with the support provided by his organization’s representatives increased by 10%, and Micah saved his organization more than $2 million per year.
Here are the highlights from the Q&A session of the webinar, or you can watch the video of the whole Q&A session.
To see the full webinar, access the slides, and add Micah’s app for free, visit the webinar resources page.
Q: Are you a technical person?
Micah: I’m tech-y in that I’m good at troubleshooting – I’m not a programmer though. I’ve used QuickBase and some other database programs like Access and Filemaker Pro, but I really got turned off by those when I came to Intuit and I learned a lot about QuickBase. I didn’t know it was an Intuit product before I came and to be honest I think it’s one of our best pieces of software because it’s so easy to use, it’s all cloud based, and I can use it with our customers, our employees, our managers – everyone in our ecosystem – and give them access to what they need access to.
Q: What tools and workflows did you inherit when you came into your management position?
Micah: I inherited a lot. I came into a group that was part of an acquisition, so that new product wasn’t “Intuit-ized” yet. A lot of the processes and procedures, like surveys, weren’t being done the way other groups did so there wasn’t a lot of visibility. A lot of the systems they used were not part of the Intuit culture, so there were a lot of issues that we needed to solve up front, like: how do we get information to our agents? How do we make sure our agents know how they’re performing? There were a lot of issues that we had to deal with as we went through the acquisition.
Q: What were the kinds of tools that you collected the information with? Before you had mentioned Access, Excel, and email.
Micah: A lot of it was through email. All of our surveys were in Excel and we were using pivot tables to do reporting, which was just a big mess. I hate pivot tables; I think they’re very complicated and a pain. So QuickBase solved the issue – I just need to put data into [it] and I need to be able to create reports around it, and QuickBase allowed us to do that.
Q. How long did it take you to create the ”agent info” app?
Micah: Initial launch was 1-2 days. We constantly added other tables. At peak we had about 10 tables. That might be an extra day. Once I got started it was easy to add extra tables on top and most of the time it was just importing Excel data.
Q: So when you started launching these apps, was there any resistance in your department to using QuickBase? Did anybody not know about QuickBase? How did you sell it internally as a solution compared to the process that was before?
Micah: The way I sold it was to basically create something, put some dummy data in there, and go out and show people how easy it was to create reports, how I could limit certain things [such as access to data based on user role]. The QA [quality assurance] piece was big because there was no automation behind that, it was all done in Excel. Some of the most time-consuming things were that our agents and the people that were doing the QA [on their recorded calls with customers] would have to fill out an Excel sheet, manually update a summary sheet, and basically manually calculate everything. I said, “Look, I can take this Excel sheet and I can make it into a QuickBase. Then I can take that data and we can report on it.” Plus, when you do a QA on an agent, it will automatically send an email out to that agent with all the data [they need] in it, so that the agent can go in and look at that QA [how they were reviewed by their manager and subject matter expert]. Now we don’t have all these Excel sheets sitting on Sharepoint and having multiple people accessing the same Excel file and updating it at the same time, and having the file be open be on someone else’s computer so now I can’t touch it. So it solved a ton of issues around that small little piece of our process within our organization.
Q: Did you need help from any IT resources to get launched?
Micah: No, I did not. Basically, the best thing to do is to look at some of the templates and just play around in QuickBase and you will learn. Every now and then, I would reach out to someone in my organization where I saw QuickBase was being used and I would ask for a copy of [their apps]. That way I could look at it and see how they were using it and learn some of the backend stuff they were doing. But you do not have to be a techy, you don’t have to be a web developer, you don’t have to be a programmer or anything like that.
Q: What other kinds of reports have you created?
Micah: We do a lot of pie charts and bar graphs. There was a QuickBase app where we were tracking sales and saves –basically people calling in to cancel. We were presenting that on a high level to VPs because we were trying to prove a concept that just because a person calls in to cancel, doesn’t mean that they really want to cancel or that we don’t have another program that might fit their needs better. We were able to show through some of the QuickBase reports we created the reasons for cancellation and why people were calling in saying they needed to cancel. We were able to show some of the vice presidents that we could save the company roughly $2 to $2.5 million ($50,000 a week) – not necessarily by keeping people from cancelling, but by taking them from a product that didn’t fit their needs [to one that did]. Some of the reports showed us that 20% of our calls were because customers wanted someone to do their payroll for them (payroll is my group) so we made sure that we were giving them our full-service payroll product. That wasn’t being done on the agent level, so we created a QuickBase, tracked all that information, and proved that concept out with a team of existing agents. This was taken over by marketing and still exists today – all because of the QuickBase reports we were able to create.
Q: How did you develop the ROI? It sounds like you used internal tracking and reports. Did you create separate dashboards for management?
Micah: Yes. In some of the QuickBase apps, we had different dashboards based on the access level. For example, a manager would be able to see all of their team, other managers’ contact information, the QA info only for their team, and also a rollup of all the QA information for the entire organization so that they could figure out how their team is doing compared to the rest of the organization. Then we also had an agent dashboard that just showed agents their team, the manager contact list, and a list of their QAs and surveys. It’s almost like developing different web pages for different users. But QuickBase makes it really easy once you have the reports developed, to present the information that you need to present on dashboards.