2021 Customer Awards: PowerSchool - The Accelerator

2021 Customer Awards: PowerSchool - The Accelerator

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Company: PowerSchool

Company background: From the front office to the classroom to the home, PowerSchool helps schools and districts efficiently manage instruction, learning, grading, attendance, assessment, analytics, state reporting, special education, student registration, talent, finance, and HR. Today, we’re proud to be the leading provider of K-12 education application technology, supporting over 45 million students in over 80 countries. 

Contact: Jbid Kissel

Title: Director of Community Support

Related URLs: https://help.powerschool.com/

Kudos Category: The Accelerator

1. Please describe your company and your initiative.

At PowerSchool, we believe in the simple truth that every student deserves the best opportunities in life. That’s why our mission is to power the education ecosystem with unified technology that helps educators and students realize their potential in their way.

Our PowerSchool Community’s mission is to bring all products, all users, under one Community Portal. We support over 60 solutions and several user types from school administrators to educators, to families, and even applicants. Our goal is to have helpful resources for self-service, a forum for questions, and a path to support for all of our products.

Our PowerSchool Community recent initiative is to successfully integrate Khoros with our internal tools and systems to align people, processes, and technology for increased customer engagement. This is in line with our strategy to provide a one-stop platform for our customers across their multiple products. Our efforts focused on scaling our community across multiple acquisitions and new product launches and extending the customer interface with our internal stakeholders and teams. As a result, we have successfully grown our membership and activity each year.

2. What was the “before” state? What challenges did you have to overcome?

Due to a combination of our growth and the unprecedented COVID-19 challenge, we had to look at innovative ways of engaging with customers and extending our community to be the ‘One Platform’ for all of our solutions. Some challenges we faced this year included creating a case portal that worked for all our 60+ products, finding new avenues for self-service and case deflection, making our community easier to navigate, helping customers find the right answers, and growing our engagement.

  • When we started using the Khoros Case Portal in our community, we had not designed it to meet the needs of our vast product portfolio. We identified the need to work closely with the Khoros team to build a more robust experience.
  • Our customers use many channels and often need their Support ID, CSM, and Account Manager info readily available. We needed to house this information centrally on the community as part of our one platform to find all answers.
  • We did not have a consistent product enhancement request tool across our products. As a result, our customers often used support as a means to give us product feedback. We decided we needed an Ideas Portal that was used by all users to submit and track these requests.
  • We support a variety of users, such as admin contacts, technical contacts, and end-users. These end-users also include educational faculty/staff, families and potential applicants. They often ask repeat questions through support cases. We wanted to encourage self-service, bring down support costs, and decrease cases by utilizing AI technology.
  • As PowerSchool grew, so did our newly launched products, bringing overall products to 60+. As we added more structure to our community and more resources, customers reported that it was difficult to quickly navigate to find information for their products. We knew we had to rethink the design of our community, for ease of use and accessibility.
  • Related to this, customers often gave us feedback about not finding relevant solutions. This is due to content across many different repositories such as product documentation, support knowledge bases, and product installers. We identified that we needed a federated search solution to streamline search and provide relevant solutions to deflect customer cases and increase self-service.
  • One area we have invested in but have found challenging is our Knowledge Bases. Since we support many different products, our documentation processes are often inconsistent in style and format which makes it harder to search and locate content. Additionally, we are seeing that even though we have added thousands of articles, our TKBs, are not well utilized by our teams and by our customers. Our views increase across our community, but TKB views have not kept up with the rest of the growth. We knew we needed consistency and also more relevancy in our TKBs.
  • Last area we tackled this year was engagement. While Forums have grown in activity, our replies predominantly came from our Community Team. When we started tracking customer responsiveness in 2019, we saw that only 7% of our posts were being solved by our members. We wanted to launch a superuser program to drive this engagement to 50% or more of our posts being responded to by our members. This was an area we wanted to focus on to scale our community, and foster member participation, while recognizing them.

3. What were the results? Please cite qualitative and quantitative results.

Our community is seeing over a 50% growth over last year in member logins and close to 40% growth in posts. We saw 2.4 million unique visitors (14% growth), 12.2 million page views (14% growth), 88,000 solution views (47% growth) this year. This is due to our continued focus on gathering feedback, identifying challenges, and tackling those challenges through innovation and integrations.

To build ‘One Platform’ to meet the needs of all product support, we worked with the Khoros team to innovate our Case Portal. We added quick link navigation and more sort and search options. We also designed a Helpful Resources page, where customers can find product-specific resources before creating a case. We added additional fields to our case form to capture more information during the case creation process to better route and troubleshoot issues for a faster resolution. Our case portal adoption was successful, and usage went up by 160% over 2020. This past year, we increased our CSAT to over 97%, and have improved resolution times by 45.9%. We are confident in the outcome and as a result will be able to finally close our old legacy case portal, which was still in use during these changes.


For enhancement requests, we integrated with Aha to create an Ideas Portal that we host on the Khoros platform. Our product team already used Aha, so we were looking for a way to incorporate this into our community to create a unified experience across products. The result is that all customers can now submit ideas in one place. Our Product Teams reviews and updates status of ideas regularly. Since we launched last year, we have seen 4,765 ideas submitted through this portal.


Our biggest undertaking and accomplishment this year was a redesign of our community. We highlighted search, added quick links to most used resources, and made our category activity more product specific. We also updated our Product Support menu, which is now much easier to consume. We have received positive feedback from customers and teams on these updates. We are continuing on this process to update more pages using the same focus and elements to improve navigation.

As part of our redesign, we also added a quick link to My Contacts to the top menu. We have leveraged Salesforce API to add customers’ Support ID, CSM, and Account Manager info to the profile page. My Contacts redirects to the profile page and serves as a visual reminder of where customers can find this info.


To help customers find answers fast, we added a chatbot for our community this year and rolled it out to six of our products in less than a year. To date, we have engaged over 36,000 chatters, providing more than 90,000 answers. We averaged a 90% containment to keep our handoff to support low.


To meet our search needs, we are adding a federated search tool this month. Working with a Khoros recommended partner, Grazitti, we are building a tool that searches across many sites. We are in the building stages and are pleased that it works well to highlight the Community content, while helping us bring in answers from our product documentation and other sites. We will continue to track this progress to improve search outcomes.

To improve our knowledge bases, we focused on creating processes and educating our article publishers. We dedicated two resources from the Community team to focus on knowledge management. We also built a way for our agents to indicated relevant resources on their cases and report when there are needed articles missing or in need of updates. We set goals for attach rates and made it a department-wide focus to increase articles with helpful videos, product release information, integrations content, and much more. We also gathered data on call drivers and created a process with each team to add content and highlight content through our community and through our communications. We still have a long way to go, but we are laying the groundwork for improved outcomes.

Our forums are our most utilized resource. As mentioned, responsiveness was heavily coming from the Community team. Last year we focused on growing member responsiveness, and we launched the PowerSchool Mentors program to create a superuser experience. Currently we have over 70 Mentors who respond to Community posts, participate in Beta testing on Community releases, and create original articles and videos for our knowledge bases. Mentors have helped answer nearly 1,500 posts since we launched the program, shared their knowledge through 15 knowledge base articles, and had more than 100 participations in beta testing for community releases. To track mentor activity and recognize and reward this experience, we integrated with the Influitive platform. Now our mentors can see their points grow and can exchange them for swag and other experiences.




PowerSchool Support sites are the best!

East or West PowerSchool community is the best!

Customers appreciate the user friendly community portal. Thank you for all the efforts.

Life made easy! Thank you ❤️#powerschoolcommunityisthebest #powerschool