6 minute read · Published March 4, 2024

How CommandBar empowers ChartHop to build and ship fast

Latest Update March 25, 2024

There are two things you should know about CommandBar:

  1. Our software makes your software easier to use by assisting your users at the right time and nudging them in non-annoying ways.
  2. We’re not your Basic B(2b) company and are on a mission to prove that talking about B2B software doesn’t have to put you to sleep.

This story you’re about to read wants to solidify both of these points. This is not a generic B2B case study to convince you our customers love us because we “revolutionized and transformed their business.” It’s a conversation I had with John from ChartHop to figure out why CommandBar worked so well for them and how others can learn from him if they’re considering using a (the only 😎) user assistance platform.

So, who’s ChartHop?

In case you’re not familiar with ChartHop (I highly doubt that), their platform acts as a central hub for all of your company’s people ops. They help you manage things like org charts, headcount planning, compensation, and performance reviews, among many other things.

Last week I sat down with John Wetzel, a Principal Product Manager who leads the Core Product Group at ChartHop. He joined two years ago, when his YC-backed startup, Gather, was acquired by ChartHop.

I was curious to understand what prompted him to search for something like CommandBar.

Problem

“We knew there was a gap in our product. Mainly, we needed something for in-app prompts for a bunch of use cases, like letting customers know when we shipped new stuff, but also for accessing our search. On the other hand, we had extensive docs (and still do), but usage was not good,” he shares.

Something we hear a lot from our customers or people interested in trying out CommandBar (particularly HelpHub and Copilot) is “lots of high-quality docs, no one reading them, yet a lot of the same support tickets.” This is always nice to hear since it reinforces our motivation for building our Assistance Suite (Copilot, HelpHub, Spotlight).

When I asked him what their existing solution was for making documentation more accessible, he told me they relied on their navigation system to point users there, but it wasn’t nearly as effective as they needed. So he started looking for something to get more eyes on the great content they were already producing.

If you’ve seen any of our LinkedIn content, you might know that we’re Gong binge-watchers. I love listening to Gong calls. It’s such a good way of understanding how prospective customers perceive your product. Yet it doesn’t give enough of the context on the “why” they chose your product. This is one of the reasons I enjoyed my conversation with John. He was very candid when telling me why he picked us. He even showed me their comparison spreadsheet from way back when they did it (see below).

Solution

Along with the classic “you ship fast” (which we’re super proud of), he shared that he “loved the way y'all approach things. You could theorize that digital adoption is a commodity now, but the way y'all approach problem-solving makes it not that. It really helps to cut against the grain, which often leads to better results.”

Although the initial problem ChartHop was looking to solve was in-app messaging, they quickly realized they could just use CommandBar to fix all of their user assistance woes:

  • Make documentation easier to search, including from sources like videos
  • Reduce engineering resources needed to announce new features or onboard users (which was hardcoded at the time)
  • Create targeted experiences to convert users and reduce churn

The fact that we got a checkmark on all of the features they needed didn’t hurt either. 🤭

Timing played a role when it came to getting buy-in from the team, too. They were looking to invest more resources into AI at the time (and customers were asking for it), so having access to Copilot meant they could do it much faster. “We had customers ask whether we use AI, so the team was stoked to be able to say yes with the addition of CommandBar’s Copilot. Everyone is excited about apps with AI and our buyers were asking about it in their evaluations. ”

So how did adding CommandBar to ChartHop’s toolkit go?

“It was really simple. We started with Spotlight and quickly moved to install HelpHub to use as the primary interface for users to communicate with our help content.”

John mentions something else that catches my attention. “I’m the kind of nerd who, when I start using a new product, I like to read all the docs and really understand what’s possible. I liked how easy it was to customize and configure the experience how we wanted to.”

I ask him to tell me more about that.

“I thought the editor was super cool. Being able to give our designer access to CommandBar and just run with it was great. At first I was like ‘do you guys have a Figma file? That’d be nice,’ but you know what would be even nicer? Being able to edit the experience right in the product. Those ended up being very empowering moments. It’s like, can I empower a PM, a designer, a non-developer to make the experience just right? In my mind, that ability is what we’re paying for with CommandBar,” he shares.

Results

It’s been over a year since ChartHop started using CommandBar, so I wanted to get a better understanding of the impact it’s had on their team.

“CommandBar’s survived a lot of the adjustments our company’s had. It’s a really helpful tool to have for us. It’s made targeting super easy for everyone on the team without having to involve engineering. When I was training some members of my support team on how to use CommandBar they asked me how we made it look like it was just built into ChartHop and not some other app. It was exciting to open up the Theme editor and just show them.

Right now ChartHop makes use of both our Nudge and Assistance Suites. They use nudges to create announcements and tours and HelpHub/Copilot to surface help content.

“Probably the most powerful CB experience for us has been HelpHub. It’s made our help content more searchable. It’s beautiful and works really well.” He then stops abruptly as he remembers “a really good story.”

It’s not about HelpHub though, it’s about a launch they had.

“We rolled a completely new navigation to our product which was a year-long project and a big change on the customer side. I had thought through everything (or so it seemed), but the morning of the launch, I realized I had forgotten to create a product tour to show the changes. I managed to ship that with CommandBar in an hour. This includes building it, and double and triple checking to make sure everything works. That was huge. It went to every single customer, which was pretty scary, but it felt very powerful to be able to just spin it up and go.”

ChartHop and CommandBar have similar ways of operating, in the sense that we both care a lot about moving fast and making sure our customers know it. “We need to tell them that this product is changing because we're moving fast. Our customers have their own customers (their employees) so we don’t want to catch them off guard with changes. We want to make sure we’re being proactive and letting them know about new additions,” he adds.

We’re super stoked to have ChartHop as a partner and to continue watching what they do with CommandBar. 🤝

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