Using Vanilla Forums allowed Wave to create a thriving community that helped reduce support workload and gain insight into their customers

Wave provides financial software and payment processing to small businesses. As one of Canada’s fastest-growing tech companies, it serves more than 3 million businesses worldwide and has tracked more than $200 billion in income and expenses. Wave’s core accounting product is completely free, and services including payments processing and payroll are offered on a cost-per-transaction and subscription basis, respectively.

In November 2017, Wave decided to meet the needs of their customers by creating a community forum where people could go for support and to share knowledge and insights. With the help of a Vanilla-powered community, Wave succeeded in substantially reducing the burden on their support team while increasing brand advocacy and customer engagement.

Here’s what happened:

  • As queries were deflected to the community forums, Wave saw a 30% decrease in support ticket volume from a monthly average of 10,000  down to 7,000.
  • Thanks to community feedback and brand advocacy, Wave gained increased insight into customer needs.

What a glorious win.


30% decrease in support ticket volume
The new community platform encouraged peer-to-peer support which helped deflect customer support tickets, saving money and resources.

Gain insight into customer needs
Wave took advantage of the community feedback and brand advocacy to gain insight into their customers’ requirements. 

Peer-to-peer networking opportunities between customers 
Peer-to-peer networking opportunities helped Wave become the hub for small business through an ongoing community development strategy.

The Challenge – To Build a Thriving Community

Previously, Wave relied on a Zendesk-powered community, which was an extension of the existing Wave Help Center. In the interest of richer forum features, such as advanced search, content organization and service-specific support, Wave opted to make the move over to Vanilla and to rebuild their community from the ground up, to represent customers, and to help drive growth.

Wave made a commitment to focus on their customer, which meant improving satisfaction, acquiring a better understanding of the customer journey, driving success with the product and amplifying the voice of the customer throughout the organization. This meant a need to find a platform where Wave could build a thriving, customer-first community quickly and without sacrificing customer experience.

The Solution – Enter Vanilla Forums

Wave explored several options for building their new community. They then turned to Vanilla, which checked all their forum-functionality boxes, such as the ability to create groups, badges and organize the forums into service-specific support channels.

The way in which Vanilla’s community forums are accessed from inside the Wave application and Help Center is at the core of the community’s success. Wave also created a forum section devoted to product feedback and ideas, as well as sections devoted to accountants and small business owners. They also planned to prioritize business and networking opportunities with an ongoing community-development strategy.

Results – Fewer Support Tickets and a Strong Customer Community

After signing the contract with Vanilla Forums in November 2017 and launching the community in the second week of January, Wave has seen tremendous success in just a few months.

Before, Wave received an average of 10,000 support tickets every month. Within three months of launching the community forums, this rate was cut by 30% as some 3,000 tickets were deflected to the support forums. Moreover, Wave now enjoys greater engagement with its advocates and other paying customers. They send bi-weekly newsletters to their product development teams, featuring recommendations and suggestions derived from customer feedback on the community forums.

In the short term, Wave will continue deflecting at least 30% of support tickets to their new community forums. In the long term, they build up the product ideation and fan advocacy branches of their community to drive further growth and constantly improve customer satisfaction.

It just doesn’t get any better than that.