1 Customer Success v. 150,000 Customers
How does she provide a better service than 87% of other companies?
We have 150,000 eCommerce merchants using our SAAS marketing platforms, and 1,000 new merchants join us every week.
And we just received the following landmark from ZenDesk, which we use for ticketing and guides. We couldn’t be more proud.
We have one person handling all the tickets coming in and it doesn’t take her more than 30% of her time.
…and yet we reply faster than 87% of other companies.
Since this is a question we get a lot, I decided to dedicate a post for it. Here’s how we support clients.
Supporting the first 10,000 merchants
Let’s go back a bit. Until we had 10,000 merchants using our platform, I was handling our support myself. I didn’t like it. It gave me an idea on what merchants like and where they get stuck, and to be honest... we didn’t have the resources to delegate this task, but I didn’t like it.
When we reached 10,000 merchants, I realized I was spending 80% of my time on support, and as the CEO it wasn’t the most effective thing for me or for the company. We then hired our first customer success person as on a partial position.
Spending so much time on our merchants’ tickets didn’t go to waste though.
It helped us build our systems in a way that at 150,000 merchants we still don’t need more than 30% position to handle the 30–40 tickets we are getting daily.
How did we do that?
We started by building an algorithm that would autocomplete the questions raised by merchants and provide them with the relevant answers. There are a few startups out there that do just this, but we actually built it as a side project.
It didn’t do much good.
It turns out that when our merchants were already going to send us a ticket, they were doing so regardless of the automatic reply/guide we provided them with.
We had to provide them with the guide beforehand.
Analyzing the tickets, we spotted the points where the merchants got stuck at, and prompted the relevant guide/video tutorials on those junctions. We had over 150 guides and videos, and whenever a merchant may have gotten stuck, he/she would have found the answer before raising the question.
This was important as the flow the merchants go through isn’t entirely on our site. We have 35 integrations with eCommerce platforms. Some of these platforms have a lot of versions and editions, and some of those have bugs that we cannot fix, but we can provide patches for. We reached the point where we don’t need the merchant to tell us that he requires that patch — we push it to him.
On top of the guides we have dozens of macros for replying the tickets we do get. This enables us to both:
- Shorten the time spent on repeating tickets.
- Analyze what macro is being used a lot, and try to develop a solution that would prevent tickets of that nature.
- Needless to say, that in order to enable that, the support must liaise with the product and development.
Providing a feedback
TL-DR on the Sandwich Method: If you don’t have anything good to say to a client, find something and slip it over and under the bad news.
10 years ago, it was my mentor and former boss, Danny Tuttnauer, who taught me how to provide a feedback in a way that people would listen using the “Sandwich Method”.
One would be much more likely to hear your negative feedback if you wrap it with a positive one before and after.
Namely: start with the positive, then give the negative, and end with another positive.
Not always easy to implement — sometimes the negative is right there — and you have to look hard for the positive ones, but I can’t overstate the importance!
Why am I mentioning this method here? Because this is something that is crucial for us in the way we support our clients. The happy clients don’t have much to write to you (you do need to reach out to them, and in the next clause I will provide a method for doing so).
Instead, it’s the unhappy clients that tend to reach out, and — unless they are right, and you missed something and didn’t provide them with the value you were supposed to — chances are that you are going to point fingers to something on their end (flow, configuration, tracking etc.). No one likes to hear that. And yet you need to be heard. If you just say, your store doesn’t convert, you won’t be heard.
To make a Sandwich, you might say…
- Your store’s design is very attractive…
- You are currently pricing your products too high in comparison to your competitors…
- With such nice products, I am sure we could make wonders happen…
You are much more likely to be heard. This is how our customer success emails are handled.
Getting a feedback
How one kids game gained us thousands of testimonials
TL’DR: Gamification works.
Few years ago, we invested about 2 weeks in a cute game of monopoly.
It was a side project and unlike other tools and apps, we didn’t expect it to generate profit for us. At least not directly.
The concept was simple: the client (an online merchant in this case) is represented by a small store on a board of monopoly. Every step he gets instructions on how to increase his real online store’s sales (by using one of our tools), and he confirms once done. The instructions cards are funny and link to more thorough guides on our blog or ZenDesk center.
Every couple of steps the store representing the client on the Monopoly board grows.
At the final step of this game, the client is asked to provide us a testimonial. How did you find the products? How did you find the flows?
Along the years, we have received thousands of testimonials. My favorite one, framed at our office entrance was of a 19 years old merchant, saying “thank to you, I am able to fulfill my dream and get to learn at Harvard, as I now have the tuition for it.”
Easy solution to guide the clients through our tools, and to get their opinion about them. As much as I like sending clients to the checkout, sometime the indirect way there is better.