Customer Communities

How Personio Created a Self-Service Customer Culture

Personio was looking to implement a digital approach to help customers get the answers they wanted. With inSided by Gainsight’s community tool, they were able to connect customers with one another for peer-to-peer support and also uncovered new business opportunities.


decrease in support costs


leads found from community sessions

In Brief

Cloud-based HR management and recruiting solutions and software company Personio was experiencing rapid growth and looking to scale its Customer Success function. It also wanted to help their users make valuable connections with each other. Both of these circumstances resulted in one solution – creating an online community. Since launching its customer community with inSided by Gainsight, the Germany-based company has been able to reduce support tickets and costs and increase customer engagement and retention.


Rapid Growth Resulted in a Need for Scaling Support

In 2019, Personio reached a point of expansion that they were looking for new ways to help customers. They wanted to utilize a digital approach and help customers self-serve and get the answers they needed from one another.

When we took a look at the growth of Personio and then plans that we had and deal with all of the service questions that customers had, we had to do something automated or easier where customers could learn from each other. We would have to hire 200 services managers because we weren’t able to take all those requests from the users.

Selina Hüttner
Senior Community Manager at Personio

Jonas Rieke, Chief Operations Officer at Personio started chatting with other business leaders on how to become more scalable, and it became clear that a customer community was the missing piece. A community would also give their customers a place to network, share valuable experiences, and help each other out.


Encouraging Self-Service and a P2P Support System Through inSided by Gainsight’s Community Platform

Currently, about half of Personio’s customer base is registered in at least one of its two communities. Its founding community was meant for its German users and consists of an estimated 8K members. In 2021, the company launched its international community, which now consists of an estimated 1.5K members.

In its German community, peer-to-peer support thrives. In 2022, 40% of all questions asked were answered by fellow community members. And although its international community is still in its engagement infancy, both are seeing its sessions continue to increase month over month. According to Daniele Bozzi, Community Manager at Personio, both communities combined are averaging 20K sessions per month which is double what they saw in the first half of the year.

This pool of 8K members has provided a wealth of knowledge and best practice content that Hüttner says is invaluable.

Our customers/users are very smart. They have found ways of using certain features that we weren’t even thinking about. They built workarounds that have worked well for them and are worth sharing with other users. Community was a place for support, but also a great place to share those brilliant ideas.

Selina Hüttner
Senior Community Manager at Personio

While Hüttner manages the German community, Bozzi is there to oversee the international community. In total, the community team is made up of six people, including: Lena Hermann, Marc Herzog, Andrea Mendoza Picazo, and Melissa Giwa. This team utilizes a similar base strategy for community management, and also leans on each other for different specialties and areas of focus. Hüttner focuses on community development and strategy, while Bozzi focuses on analytics.

Creating a Product Feedback Loop with Ideation

Beyond creating a self-serve culture, Personio found its communities were an effective way to close the loop of product feedback. As most of us know, gathering customer feedback can be challenging and oftentimes, comes from a variety of different channels. However, inSided’s ideation module allows companies and product teams to gather and co-create qualitative insights from your community users. Community users will be able to submit ideas, vote on ideas, and respond to them. This feature was the key differentiator for Personio to choose inSided by Gainsight as its community solution. At the time, inSided by Gainsight was also the only community solution to offer this feature.

“Customer Empathy” is one of the six core values at Personio , When determining what’s next on the product roadmap, customer feedback plays a critical part. An estimated 75% of its existing roadmap is inspired by feedback from customers and prospects. Since April 2021, 2K ideas have been submitted, and 100 ideas have been implemented or are on the roadmap. Personio’s communities have contributed to 18K votes, making them one of inSided by Gainsight top performers when it comes to product feedback adoption.

Proactively Educating Customers

Although the original use case for community started as a means to provide customers the right level of support, the Personio team has found that it’s not just scaling support or corralling customer feedback, but also teaching customers how to make the most out of the product. The community has become the first line of defense when it comes to helping customers. Hüttner says the goal for the community is to be able to answer enduser questions before they even have them. This has resulted in the community function moving to Customer Education in a new sub-department of Customer Experience.

This year, Personio will be launching new online training and credentialing offerings for customers in partnership with the Community team. Both teams are part of Personio’s Customer Education team, making it easier for the teams to collaborate on this strategy.

“It’s a no-brainer to connect these two…It will bring plenty of benefits for the community team, for the Academy team, but especially for the users and students. Everybody wins!”
– Daniele Bozzi, Professional Community Manager at Personio


Increasing Customer Retention, Reducing Support Costs, and Driving New Business

For many organizations, it can be challenging to quantify the impact of community on the overall business goals, but that has not been the case for Personio. Its communities have positively impacted multiple teams from Support to Sales. One of the original goals, to offset the load of questions coming from customers that had fallen in Support’s lap, had been met. “The community has driven down support costs by 10%,” says Rieke.

In addition to this, Rieke says the community has revealed many business expansion opportunities.

We have collected 2K leads via community sessions for customers who are interested in upselling certain products.

Jonas Rieke
Chief Operations Officer at Personio

Community has also empowered its executive team to make more strategic decisions. “The quality of discussions we have internally around what features or products should be on the roadmap have increased because it is now properly data-driven and not like ‘two weeks ago, I had a call with a customer, and this is important,’” he says.

And finally, in an economic time where retaining your customers is more important than ever, Personio has seen a correlation between its registered community customers and non-registered customers. Bozzi says community members are half as likely to churn, compared with customers who are not registered in the community.


Continuing to Support and Educate Customers and Prospects

Within two years, Personio has a proven track record of impacting its business outcomes. Rieke breaks down the company’s future into three horizons. The first is driving operational efficiency through the decrease in contact rate, which the community has already aided with. The company is currently in horizon two, which is driving growth and lead generation for existing and new business. Rieke says an estimated 2K leads have been generated via community sessions such as webinars, user group meetings, and collaboration with influencers and HR experts to create compelling content to drive discussions. The final horizon will be to improve strategic decision-making and although Personio has yet to fully enter this horizon, they are already seeing this to take shape. He says the old ways of anecdotal feedback have been replaced by data that can be seen in the community based on upvoting and in the ideation module.

About Personio

Personio offers cloud-based HR management and recruiting solutions and software for startups, and small- and mediumsized enterprises. The company enables its customers to store and manage all employee data and HR processes in one place, including vacation and sick days, approvals, salary, attendance, employee documents, performance, reporting, and employee onboarding. Its recruiting function comprises applicant tracking, interview scheduling, candidate reviews, and many other features.