As the executive director of a nonprofit, I\’m constantly looking for ways to be more efficient with my time and with the workload of my team. My goal is to constantly drive value to OrgSpring clients and nonprofit partners… and we\’ve just added a feature I think you\’re going to like. But first, some background.


It\’s no surprise we use Google Apps here at OrgSpring; we write about it, teach orgs how to use it…we even present here at the Google Pittsburgh office from time to time – showing nonprofits how to make the most of the Google apps. 30gb of email space gives us a ton of room to save emails – and we\’ve got thousands of them. Why does that matter? You\’ll see in just a second.

As I take stock of our organization in 2013 and prepare to lay the foundation for 2014 I reflect on some of our successes this past year and some areas where I think we can improve. One areas glaring for improvement is in back-office operations, especially booking meetings and support conferences. I know this because we set several support calls per week, but every time we do the process is always involved.

It starts with a support request or an email from the client looking for support of some kind. Most requests we answer and solve in just a few minutes. We\’re proud of that kind of service – it\’s what led to these stellar testimonials of our organization. The ones we couldn\’t solve in a few minutes were usually more involved and require some level of custom coding or editing of settings. Our average timeline for solving those issues is still less than 24 hours – which is good.

And then we have the issues we know will take a few days to solve. These are high level coding issues, partial website re-designs, or fundamental structure changes in a site. They\’re also more involved strategy conferences with our support customers where we help them layout a roadmap for everything from online donation campaigns, social media strategies, web strategies, and even online events that will drive real foot traffic to offline events like fundraisers and walk-a-thons. And that\’s where the delay happens.

You see, at that point – we have to work several schedules to make a meeting or training happen. We have to check our schedule and the schedule of an asset that might be needed, and the schedule of the client who needs support. We suggest times to our clients. They check their schedule and suggest times back. We send a note asking for details of the issue, or for information we might need to solve the issue. We take time explaining why we need that info – often in another email exchange, and then, finally, after a few days has gone by – we actually set the meeting for some date in the future. If the meeting cancels or something happens with someone\’s schedule, the process starts over.

Back to 30gb of gmail space. I went back to every email I sent regarding support meetings on the OrgSpring support calendar for all of 2013. We had more than 1,800 meetings and conferences related to support in 2013, that\’s an average of 34 meetings per week, for between 1 and 3 staff members and consultants, for a total of nearly 1,000 hours spent giving support to our customers. Then I looked through the majority of email chains related to those meetings – particularly the first part of the email chain which asked for the meeting or times for that meeting to be set. This is where I was stunned.

On average, it took 6 emails to schedule a single support conference between 2 people. The timeline between the first contact email and the email confirming the meeting was 3 days. It took 10 emails to schedule a meeting between 3 people or more people, on average, with a timeline of 4 days from first contact to meeting being set. What an enormous waste of time and energy.

That\’s why we\’re so excited about this new feature for our support portal – the ability to automatically book and confirm support appointments.


Booking a Support Appointment with OrgSpring

When you log into the support portal you have, and have always had, the option to log either a public question or a private email ticket. We talked about response rates on those tickets already, and if you\’re a customer – you know how fast we answer them. But now, we\’ve added two more options – the ability to book 30 minute support calls and 60 minute support conferences – directly from the support portal.

Click either one of those options and you\’re presented with a screen that shows you our support calendar in real-time. You can select any open time slot, input your information, and the meeting is booked. Done! You\’ll get a confirmation email instantly, which will include the conference bridge information (if necessary) and any other instructions that might be needed to help us support you.

In that email, you\’ll also get an auto calendar link to add that meeting to your calendar. It works with any program that can accept .ics files, which means Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and most other major email providers…and it happens automatically.

And there\’s more…each meeting has its own cloud page, where we can share information, comments, tips, conversations, files, etc. A link to that page is also included in the email confirmation.

We\’ve recorded a little video to show you how easy it is to book a support conference. You can see that below.

We hope you get the chance to use our new system, and we look forward to helping you online in 2014!

[reelpro]cdn=s3|mode=video|videotype=mp4|file=public/support_options.mp4 |title=New OrgSpring Booking Options [/reelpro]

Like this article?