Time to Set A Standard for Service In The CSR SaaS Space

Odessa Jenkins December 28, 2016 About YourCause

When I started with YourCause, I honestly had no clue about the employee engagement space – let alone “Corporate Social Responsibly (CSR).” Throughout my career, I was always aware of the ‘perks’ my company provided to me (which I now know is a form of employee engagement, and in some cases, a part of the overall CSR strategy of the company), but I always found them to be confusing to understand, difficult to navigate, and almost impossible to find support (when needed) – perhaps that explains why overall level of engagement was closer to non-existent than anything else!

Then I met YourCause. Quite frankly, I took the job because of the people at YourCause and the overall nature of what the company does – efficient delivery of donation solutions and volunteer support to companies, their employees, and recipient charities. As a result, they help to make our world a better place. Ultimately, my passion for customer service, problem-solving, and my competitive nature landed me in a position to redefine service at YourCause.

In this post I’ll:

  • Bring attention to a STRIKING statistic that I have uncovered in this industry.
  • Speak about what I am doing about it.
  • Propose a new standard that our ENTIRE industry can rally around.
  • Theorize what will happen in this space under these newly proposed standards.


CSR and Customer Service: How it Used to Be

Initially, I was blown away by the fact that most customers and users of CSR SaaS products accept the fact that the average time for a response from a service provider is 19.5 hours. I can drive from Dallas to my hometown of Los Angeles faster than some providers will respond to a user. Entire industries are being built around how to keep a consumer’s attention, and our industry is taking almost a full day to reward, respond, and/or educate an engaged user.

Road with quote, "I can drive form Dallas to ... Los Angeles faster than some providers will respond to a user."Don’t get me wrong…we (the CSR technology provider market) should continue to design and produce products which allow the user to self-serve without intervention. Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that there is a “customer service” phone number on snow cone machines. My point being that most of what we do will need support at some point.

I would argue that engaging an employee to “do good” is one of the most important things that an employer can facilitate. And if by chance, they need support to help facilitate that good, it should be held to the same standard as other employee benefits.

So let’s get serious about service!


My Customer Service Goal

Two years ago (when I started at YourCause) I set out to understand what the standard should be. What is reasonable? Answers were and continue to be hard to come by. Great customer service software products enable and equip providers with tools that drive more responsive and satisfactory service levels, but it is not their job to SET the standard. So what am I doing about? In 24 months we have transformed client expectations for responsiveness and quality of service being provided to “do-gooders”. My concept is simple; requesting a matching grant, or logging a volunteer hour should be as simple as paying your phone bill. And when it doesn’t feel easy, the support provided should make you want to do it again!


A New Standard in CSR Customer Service: ARQ

I contend that there are 3 factors, which must be addressed in order for CSR SaaS providers to qualify themselves as having “Grade A” service. Because there are not enough acronyms used in our markets, I like to call the standard ARQ, which stands for Access, Response Times, and Quality.



Access to the “answer” must be quick, efficient, and served through multiple channels (chat, email, phone). Self-service support should be accessible to the employee at all times, and “interactive” service should be available to the user at a minimum of 12 hours per day.

Response Time:

Chat and phone responses should be immediate (within) seconds, and email responses should average less than 4 hours. Employee/Program issue resolution times for your CSR SaaS provider should average 4-5 hours.


A quality response is one that is correct and does not require follow-up. 90% of all issues should be solved with one interaction (we are working towards this at YourCause).


I am pleased that our service at YourCause is on pace to achieve “Grade A” status within the ARQ standard. Our service statistics YTD 2016 are below:

  • 3% Interactive User Rate – The percentage of users who resort to interacting with the service desk via chat, email, and/or phone. 97% of all users are finding answers to service needs without YourCause service team interaction.
  • 2.1 Hour – Average First Response Time
  • 3.5 Hour – Average Resolution Time
  • 84.5% – Percent of all inquiries will be resolved with 1 service interaction


Table which shows our Customer Service Stats


The Path Forward

In summary, I make this call to all of the Foundation leaders, CSR executives and HR leaders, as you consider the development, health, and success of your CSR programs, always be sure to factor in the ARQ of your technology partner. We push for technology solutions, which are flexible, easy and forward thinking. I contend that the support attached to these solutions should mirror the expectation of the software. This mirror effect is what creates a satisfied user. Satisfied users come back, and if they are coming back to you CSR SaaS solution, you’ve got yourself and engage employee…”Problem Solved” 🙂