Good values are controversial. And we’re cool with that.
At Olark, we think customer support pros are amazing people — and we know they probably don’t hear that as often as they should. So, we decided to put a little reminder in our chat console. When you’re logged into Olark and have no open chats, you see this:
Most of our customers love this graphic — but recently, to our surprise, we had one customer email us to complain. They felt that the graphic was unprofessional and childish, and worried about colleagues catching sight of it in their open browser window.
I happened to be staffing email that day, and I sent the following note in response:
“We at Olark believe in Making Business Human and that support and sales teams deserve recognition. We have chosen colorful, positive messaging throughout our platform. We are always happy to listen and consider the thoughts of all our customers and I’ll be sure to share this with our product team.
If you have a look around our website and blog, I’m sure you’ll agree that the chat waiting message fits in well with our overall branding and mission to Make Business Human.”
I did share the thoughts with our team — and later that week, my exchange with this customer was shared in our monthly company-wide email, along with a response I received from Ben, our CEO:
“This is Awesome. Great response Sarah — I want us to get more complaints about our strong position. I love that it’s eliciting an emotion.”
Our CEO wants us to get more complaints? Really?
When the Olark team drafted our values statement years ago, we committed to applying those values to everything we do. “Everything” means not just our internal policies and interactions, but also how we design our product, communicate with customers, and make business decisions. We believe that values should cause some friction once in awhile; values like #Chill and #Practice Empathy might conflict with developing all feature requests, or making money at all costs, and that’s okay with us.
Providing service and support on live chat is demanding — frankly, sometimes it’s downright exhausting. Anyone who performs that job day after day is absolutely awesome and worthy of a little fun, colorful recognition.
So, we’re planning to continue including graphics like the “You’re Awesome” screen in our product. We’re also applying the same fun, human style to other new features, like Ollie the Olark Onboarding Bot, who has a pretty fun and helpful personality — well, for a bot.
We know Olark isn’t the perfect solution for everyone. And that’s ok. We’re going to keep working to make business human by celebrating great customer service and empowering our customers to talk to their customers. If you’re already an Olark customer, thanks! If not, we think you’re awesome too.
Have you done something to make your days on chat a little brighter? Does your team do anything special to remind each other how awesome you are? We’d love to hear your ideas!
Sarah Betts is the Feels Herder at Olark.com. She likes to chat (a lot), write, find forgotten chocolate stashes, and think about how businesses can be more human.