PureVPN’s 2018

Because Of Our Users

By Uzair Gadit - CEO PureVPN

Remember when I emailed asking you

What should we do to make PureVPN even better?

It took me 43 days to read your responses. Here's how it panned out.

What Changed?

2017 ended with 2 key observations.

1. 'None of us is as smart as all of us.' - Ken Blanchard

A single mind is limited in its capacity and thus innovation will also suffer. We accepted that the best of minds, the most innovative of people and teams will sooner or later plateau. It’s improbable to expect one great idea after another, for years on end.

We realized that we need more minds… A lot more.

2. 'Ask your customers to be part of the solution, and don't view them as part of the problem.' - Alan Weiss

Customer centricity has always been one of our strengths. PureVPN was the first to offer 24/7 customer support and this feat has remained unmatched for quite some time now. Discussing and resolving complaints became a great source of insight and drove a lot of our decisions. A customer’s complaint would be addressed as a problem and we then worked towards the solution.

We realized that these weren’t necessarily problems. They were opportunities. Our customers were actually providing insights and the road to progress.

The Way Forward - Feedback

We realized that the only way forward was to actively invite feedback and thus, we changed perspective and changed gears. At the end of the month we emailed over a million of our users a very simple question:

“What should we do to make PureVPN even better?“

It took only a few hours to think through and send that email… But it took me over 43 days to read each reply.

Where there were notes of encouragement, there were also concerns. From “The service couldn’t possibly get any better!” to “Is a commercial VPN even safe?”.

I decided it was crucial to put this worry to rest. It all pointed to the need for a different perspective. This new perspective must dictate how PureVPN rallies for the next decade.

Here’s how user feedback dictated 2018.

Implementation Of YOUR Feedback

Step 1: 2018 was dubbed as “The Year of Users”

We’ve been working on your responses. Milestones were set with your feedback and remained our top priority.

After 43 days of reading emails, another 3 weeks of creating a plan of action, we spent the rest of 2018 implementing feedback and suggestions through the following steps.

Step 2: Fail-safe Privacy and Security

What good is a VPN if it doesn’t ensure anonymity and security?

Explicit changes were made to our privacy policy. It was simplified, solidified and vouched by leading law firms in Hong Kong, North America, Europe and Australia.

Taking a look at our network infrastructure, we introduced the NAT’d and Non NAT’d servers. As is the norm in the VPN industry, a user connecting to server is given a unique IP. PureVPN has now upgraded our infrastructure to allow multiple users to hide behind a single IP.

Our upcoming app updates will allow for the option of connecting through a NAT’d or a Non NAT’d server, as per your desired level of anonymity and/or accessibility.

We then reinforced our security infrastructure by partnering with BugCrowd. A platform hosting over 90,000 ethical hackers and penetration testers.

It is now an ongoing campaign. An open invitation to anyone on the platform to test our infrastructure and report any abnormalities for immediate action. Edge case examples of these included highlighting minor instances of IPv6 leak occurrences and suggestions to improve DNS Leak prevention even further.

So far so good, only minor bugs have been reported and were successfully patched in a matter of days.

To complement our updated policy, revamped security, bug identification protocol, the improved server infrastructure and renewed commitment to immediate issue resolution… We followed up with our biggest achievement yet.

An industry first- PureVPN became the first GDPR compliant VPN service provider.

The cherry on top is that this policy does not apply to citizens of the European Union alone, but can be utilized by users all over the world.

Step 3: Enhance Accessibility and Stability

We hold ourselves accountable to what we promise, and we promised that our users will get more with PureVPN. With the added options of NAT’d and Non NAT’d servers, we set out to improve connection stability and increase connection options.

PureVPN now offers over 2000 servers!

The next most logical improvement? Speed. Load balancing, protocol selection, improved ping tests and optimal server recommendations were just the tip of the iceberg.

We went on to revamp our underlying technology stack to improve per-connection service quality. Improved SLAs and enhanced Server Health Alerts allowed for advanced performance metrics and consequent optimization.

This is what we mean when we say ‘continuous server optimization”.

This is why PureVPN is quite literally The World’s Fastest VPN Service.

Step 4: Reliable Connectivity

3% of our user replies had at us about connection reliability, unexpected connection drops and delayed successful connections to servers.

Though most might assume we’d neglect such a low percentage, that’s not how we do things at PureVPN.

We’ve taken proactive steps to make sure that our users do not suffer any connectivity-related issues. To address this particular issue, we took the following steps:

  • In order to provide better connectivity and greater choice of protocols, we introduced OpenVPN in Mac and IKEv2 on Android.
  • Added support for IKEv2 on Android.

Feedback channels are still open and the results do seem promising. This doesn’t mean however, that this will not be optimized further. We’re always tweaking and testing better possible solutions.

Step 5: User App Experience

Consider the steps taken above as foundations. Once all of the above was complete, your feedback suggested the need for improvements in user experience…

The ideal user wants to connect, secure and go on with their day. For this, we introduced “Quick Connect”. 1 click connectivity that selects the nearest, fastest and best server.

Quick, simple and effective.

We followed this up with a more streamlined onboarding journey that included a simpler addon implementation process as well.

Add into the mix an overhauled IKS functionality, improved Port Forwarding option, over 200 support articles and an easier to navigate website and you’ll arrive at a cleaner, simpler PureVPN interface!

New app platforms were also explored. We launched an app for Linux, Android TV and Firestick. Downloads have steadily grown and user acceptance is rising.

With that being said, proactive actions at PureVPN never stop. We’ve temporarily taken our iOS app down for an overhaul. Working closely with Apple, we’re working on providing a more stable environment and increased functionality. Expect an updated app for iOS soon!

Now that the groundwork has been laid, let’s move on to one of most requested items on the list.

Step 6: Enhanced Support for Streaming

“More channel support!”

The above sums up most of what was categorized under streaming requests. Users requested increased access to Entertainment, News and Sports. After all, censorships and geographic restrictions are the biggest hurdles to cross in internet freedom.

Our primary objective has always been to provide freedom of access to any website or streaming channel on the web, regardless of your physical location.

The following are derived directly by working in close coordination with our users:

  • Support for the most popular streaming services such as Netflix US, BBC iPlayer and others was extended beyond Browser Extensions over to Windows, MAC, iOS and Android apps. We also worked on improvements to Android TV app and Firestick.
  • We performed extensive RnD to ensure premium experience on our VPN services by making it compatible with user-frequented streaming services
  • We re-designed the Streaming Mode and introduced support for the top aggregate channels.

Enhanced streaming support was tough to address. ISP’s regularly bolster their censorship and policies related to regional limitations. However, we can proudly state that we have been successful in allowing our users to access some of the most in-demand streaming services and channels.

Step 7: Continued Feedback and Customer Success

A vast majority of our actions stemmed from direct user feedback. It only made sense that this feedback continue and iterations continue towards progress.

Our customer support has always been ahead of the industry in terms of user satisfaction. Going through your replies, we noticed how integral a role our support team plays.

Our support team was restructured and renamed to Customer Success. Like our engineering networking and development teams, our Customer Success team acted on feedback as well.

What they achieved is phenomenal!

  • Live Chat Response time was brought under 100 Seconds and it continues to fall everyday!
  • User Satisfaction Score was maintained at 94%, and was even mentioned in a case study by Live Chat Inc.
  • They created and published over 200 simplified how-to guides and tutorials to help users get the most out of the service.
  • Customer success helped PureVPN reach a 97% Approval Rating from over 7k Reviews on Trustpilot.

That’s more than any VPN provider in the industry!

Through the Customer Success transformation, new feedback hinted at something interesting.

Few users found claiming a refund cumbersome, primarily because they felt that a 7-day refund policy was insufficient to gauge the sheer number of features offered by PureVPN.

Customer Success took immediate action and introduced.

An industry first Refund policy - updated from 7 days to 31 days!

  • All bandwidth limitations removed.
  • Internal inquiries were initiated against EVERY refund.
  • Buggy scenarios were recreated, patched and pushed to users in record breaking times.

Step 8: Validation and Full Circle

All that we’ve done, all that we’ve accomplished wouldn’t hold value without recognition and validation.

Don’t take our word for it…

Auditing firms like AV Test GmbH was invited to test our service and vouch for all our claims. Their team of top German researchers probed and assessed our infrastructure and claims.

AV-Test GmbH, renowned German IT experts, tested our service and endorsed our claim of enhanced speed and service performance. Here are a few excerpts from the report published by AV Test on November 30, 2018:

  • “Regarding streaming of media files, for the most part, there is not that much of a difference between the connections secured by PureVPN and the unencrypted reference connection. Streaming speed and to some extent, the latency is hardly affected using the secured servers in the US or EU.”
  • “PureVPN performs well in most tested cases. Some variation in performance can be seen throughout the week which is likely due to varying user behavior at different times.”
  • “There were no issues encountered with the streaming which is good news for users travelling and looking to access their usual content from abroad.”
  • ”Latency and upstream are affected by the diversion through the encrypted tunnel but there was no noticeable impact observed for the user during the test.”
  • “A good transfer rate is vital for fluent and clear streaming enjoyment. In the performed tests there were no perceived issues when playing the 4k video content.”
  • “The US-based servers have the same performance as the reference connection. On individual days they can even outperform the unencrypted connection.”

It doesn’t stop there.

  • CNet acknowledged PureVPN as the first GDPR compliant VPN service provider.
  • PureVPN reviews averaged in at approximately 4.5/5.
  • App store ratings improved to an overall 4 out of 5
  • The PureVPN website saw a huge jump in number of visitors when compared to 2017.
  • As one of the only VPN providers offering Dedicated IPs and Port Forwarding, the number of people utilizing these features continues to grow! Ongoing optimization will ensure easier usage and increased reliability.
  • We changed our approach to app updates. By assigning a cross functional team called MVP, our response to bug identification and fixes has reduced by 50%!

All this is validation and reassurance of our claims. Not by us, but by renowned IT experts, consumers, publishers and our peers.

What’s next in 2019?

So for the year ahead, let me ask you again…

“What should we do to make PureVPN even better?“

I look forward to your honest and constructive feedback. PureVPN remains committed to live up to your trust, for years and years to come.

Talk to you soon and Happy New Year.

Don`t forget to leave your feedback in the comment section.

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