Twenty thirteen has been an exciting year for Elegant Themes. We produced new themes that we are extremely proud of, and we have built a community that we extremely fond of. We grew our team to 23 dedicated designers, developers and tech support specialists. Our customer base has grown too, and with it we have learned from the challenges that came with it. We made tough decisions about our theme development timeline, and with a razor-sharp focus we created the best theme in our collection.
We Reached 200,000 Members
This year we reached one of our biggest milestones as we surpassed the 200,000 customer mark. To know that we have provided a useful service to such a large amount of people makes me ecstatic. As our community grows, so does the importance of maintaining it. This millstone has re-cemented our appreciation for the importance of community, and many of our goals for 2013 were based around this not-so-new-found understanding.
A New Designer Joined The Team
For this first time since the company’s inception, Elegant Themes hired a new designer to work beside myself and our core developers Yuriy and Ann, in the creation of new themes. This has lead to a new collaboration of ideas and styles, and has also given us the time to sharpen our focus on the smallest of design details. Working with Kenny has been a pleasure, and our first collaborative work, Divi, is perhaps the best theme our team has ever created.
Connecting With Our Customers In New Ways
Understanding and connecting with our customers in new ways is a company goal that has been more and more and the forefront of our thoughts. We focused a lot on blogging this year, and with it we engaged our community through various customer surveys, competitions and spotlights. The Customer Showcase Competition was one of my personal favorite events, as it lead the discovery of countless and inspiring uses of our themes. If you haven’t checked out our Customer Showcase page, you are missing out! We also learned a lot from the 2013 Elegant Themes Survey, which is the first of what will now be a yearly event that will help us stay in touch with the needs of our customers. It’s this very survey that informed our decisions during the creation of our most recent theme.
Reducing Friction and Relieving Headaches
Towards the end of the year, we took a break from theme production to focus on user experience problems. In fixing a few relatively minor issues, we can greatly reduce the overall frustration of our user base. Our first endeavor was the creation and implementation of our Elegant Updater Plugin, which facilitates automatic dashboard updates for all of our products.
Our second project was to re-vamp our members-area login system to fix frequent login problems and session timeout issues that occurred with certain customers. In other words, no one should have problems staying logged into our support forum for long periods of time anymore. This was an annoying bug that took us too long to fix, and I apologize for that.
A Sharpened Focus On Customer Satisfaction
The larger our customer base grows, the more challenging it is to understand and address the concerns the community. This year, we greatly enhanced our support system and revamped our internal support policies to help ensure that our support team can improve the way they interact with customers. Behind the scenes, the way that moderators handle tickets collaboratively is now much more effective. We also introduced our Customer Satisfaction system, which allows customers to rate their experience with each ticket. With each negative response, we learn more about how we can do better.
Through the processes of hiring new support technicians, improving our support system back-end, updating our internal support policies and introducing our customer satisfaction ratings system, we are currently average 99% satisfaction for the past week. Even though we have made great progress, there is still much room for improvement in this area, and we will continue to tackle these new challenges in the coming year.
Divi, Our Most Powerful Theme Yet
For the first time, we decided to purposefully prolong our theme development timeline to give extra focus to a single theme. We spent 4 months building Divi when it usually takes us 1 month to finish a theme. Sometimes it is important to take risks, or you risk losing your ability to innovate. Divi is the start of something great, and I can’t wait to keep working on this theme in 2014.