Workday’s Customer Satisfaction, and How We Measure It

The legacy software industry does not have a good reputation for customer satisfaction. So when we started from scratch with Workday, it wasn’t just to build better enterprise applications, it was to create a better customer experience.

As a cloud-based software provider, an exceptional customer experience is imperative to our long-term success. Cloud vendors sell software as short-term subscriptions. So if customers aren’t satisfied, they’ll take their business elsewhere.

As Workday has grown into a global company, we’ve worked hard to maintain our passion for high customer satisfaction. We recruit and hire people focused on customer success. Emphasizing customer satisfaction is a standard part of all training sessions, management meetings, and company gatherings. In fact, for the last several years customer satisfaction has been part of our company-wide incentive plan so all employees have a vested interest in maintaining this important part of Workday’s DNA.

How well has this worked? I’ll share with you a few of our customers’ comments:

“In my 27 years at McKee Foods, I’ve never had a software vendor be so concerned about our interests as a customer.” —Mark Newsome, director of corporate human resources, McKee Foods

“The customer focus and the innovative approach that Workday has taken is one we admire, and one that we’ve pointed to as something we want to make sure we have in our culture as well.”— Carole Watkins, CHRO at Cardinal Health

Of course the desire to create an exceptional customer experience is one thing, but without a process for measurement, how do you know if you are achieving it? At Workday, we measure customer satisfaction levels from a number of different angles. In addition to tracking data in our CRM system related to participation in user groups, deployment of new features, daily interactions, and various event-driven surveys, we have two annual customer surveys:

  • Executive Sponsor Survey. Since 2007, we have surveyed the customer-designated executive sponsor at every Workday customer. The results of this survey are used for our companywide goal and external communications. Each year we have achieved a 95%+ rating. Last fall we were happy to report a 97% favorable rating for the third consecutive year.This survey was designed to be simple yet still allow us to understand the state of our relationship with our customers.  Keeping the survey brief has helped us consistently achieve a high response rate from customer executives. One of the survey questions is:  “What is your overall opinion of Workday: favorable/unfavorable?” As our ultimate measure of customer satisfaction we only calculate and publicly communicate responses to this question. While we are proud to have achieved a string of 97% ratings, we are ever mindful of the 3% of unsatisfied customers and make significant efforts to turn around those unfavorable customer experiences. We do our best to continuously stay connected with customers, and we’ve learned how to pave the way to customer success. When we miss, various organizations across the company can be mobilized to address issues that prompted the unfavorable rating.
  • Named Support Contact Survey. In addition to executive sponsors, we also take great interest in the perspectives of the hands-on individuals who work with our products on a daily basis. Many of these resources assume a role we call Named Support Contact (NSC) and as you would expect, there are several NSCs at each customer. Our NSC survey goes into more depth than our Executive Sponsor survey, and the customer feedback from this survey often drives enhancements to our products and service offerings.

In addition to the surveys that Workday executes, we understand that third-party validation is important as well. We feel the feedback we’ve received from external surveys that measure our customer satisfaction is consistent with our own findings. A few examples:

  • Workday was the only vendor to be rated “Above Average” across “All Criteria” for product satisfaction customer reference ratings and across “All” for vendor-customer relationship customer reference ratings in a report by Gartner, Inc., entitled “Seven Ways to Compare the Enterprise HCM Suite ‘Big Three’,” published May 6, 2015.
  • Robert W. Baird & Co. last year did an independent analysis using a sampling of our customer base and found that 95% would recommend Workday to another company.

Surveys are a great tool for measurement, but we believe a cloud-based software provider needs to assess customer satisfaction on a regular, proactive basis. So to monitor our projections of customer satisfaction, Workday service teams use internally developed applications and processes that were created for the sole purpose of predicting our customer favorability score. By establishing these tools and methods, our management team can get our survey results prediction at any time, helping us address challenges before a customer is dissatisfied.

Whether through surveys or ongoing engagement, we’re grateful to all of our customers who provide feedback, which ultimately enables us to become even better partners. From the beginning and into the future, our focus will always remain on the successes we share with our customers.