You have a brilliant product, a product which solves a problem, a problem which has a huge market, a market which sits on a pile of money and money which can make your product better. Seems like a usual cycle for any product company? But you still feel that there’s a missing link. You still don’t hear the words, “Thank you for solving my problem”, although you know you actually are!
“The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them,” Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston said during the 2013 MIT commencement address.
With technology constantly upping its ante, there is a laundry list of opinions-turned-expectations from your customers. There is an urge to keep the rapport, engage them around the product and help them understand how valuable they are to your growth.
From this, you do know where I’m getting at. How can you build a system which actually cares about your customer? A customer happiness team, where happiness means that at the end of each day, we go home satisfied about solving yet another problem.
Designing the role
I’m talking about a team which is not just troubleshooting, but a team which is capable of giving you data, valuable to take your product to the next level. It is the bitter truth that finding the right fit for your customer happiness team is probably the last thing you want to crack your head about. But ever thought why? These guys get easily bored. How many different questions can your customers come up with every single day? Building the role around how this team can be turned into the go-to team for all essential insider information, will be a game changer.
Buffer is a brand that takes customer satisfaction very seriously. And their customer support team is called the “Happiness Team” and here’s what they have to say about the role:
Our Happiness Team works closely to delight customers as often and creatively as possible over email, Twitter, and live chat. Measuring customer happiness can be tricky, but we believe that a really fast and personal reply inherently makes people happy.
We hold ourselves to a high standard; currently we answer the majority of emails within 1 hour and tweets within 15 minutes – we are continually evolving those goals too! To make people even happier, we need to keep learning and growing as a team (that’s where you come in!).
They have built this role around customer delight and have made identified points that add to customer happiness and defined them clearly. The minute I read this JD , I know this is not just about answering a few emails or tweets on time. I know this role holds a value in the big picture of the company.
Selling the role
This is where the whole difference lies. When do you start selling the role? Experience has taught me to save this for the end. Understand the psyche of the candidate, what are they looking for, what excites them, do they like what they are currently doing, etc. Since you have already designed the role, selling it should be like opening a confetti box. A snowball effect is good too. “As a part of this team, you help the customer with an issue, the customer gains trust and gives you some honest feedback about the product. You now take this to the product team (internal selling), ensure this is pushed out as version 2.0, which increases the product’s market reach by solving an additional problem and eventually contributing to the company’s revenue. Voila! You’ve just become the Product Superhero!”
Recruiting is about selling. In this case, the product you’re selling is your company. The job applicant is your sales lead. The interviews are the sales calls. Your job is to stir up enough interest among the desired job seekers so they consider your organization their first choice for employment.
“We are looking for someone who is extremely patient, empathetic, smart, knows and understands technology, has excellent communication skills AND has the knack of problem-solving.” But guess what? We are greedy when it comes to the monies.
The Customer Happiness role has somehow devolved into a low-paying, less challenging and a monotonous one. But in reality, this role gives the maximum exposure to a product, pushes limits with high levels of satisfaction! I would say, treat this team as an investment to faster growth. Customers have their first encounter with this team, don’t you want these guys to blow their minds away?
Slack has 5x more customer support representatives than sales people, a testament to their relentless focus on the customer experience.
We see that a lot of companies offer high amounts of incentives as an adjunct. What really works is when there is recognition within the firm. It’s important to focus on non-monetary aspects since the team experiences the ups and downs at a very rapid pace. As a part of heading the Customer Happiness Team or the management, you need to actively ensure that the team is motivated from both sides. When there’s a customer who appreciates your help and showers love over the team either on social media or emails, share it with everyone@.com. This actually changes the team dynamics to ensure that they always go one step ahead to solve the customer’s problem.
Customer Happiness Team needs to constantly interact with almost all the teams which result in lateral learning, giving them the highest scope to explore different opportunities within the firm. Exposure to various processes, technologies, tools and strategies, the learning in this team makes one market-ready for a number of roles. It’s one thing to grow vertically but lateral movement, especially in a startup, is a great value add. You are able to take care of retention while giving a diverse experience to the team.
If this is a topic you’re interested in or feel strongly about, here’s a fantastic post by Buffer on how they run Customer Support.
What are your learnings on keeping the Customer Happiness team happy?