Today we wanted to share a practice with you that we started in mid-2013 and has been doing great at Streema.
First, a short story that may sound familiar...
There was once a young company that wanted to grow quickly. This company learned that, to build things fast, many times it was better to just focus on as few activities as possible. And with such a focus and lean operation, there was only a small amount of resources dedicated to things like Customer Support. As a matter of fact, the Customer Support team was a very thinly stretched operation (one person, very little time) that addressed the questions, concerns, and in some cases, even complains of the users. :( Then this company grew to a point that they could have more people dedicated to Customer Support and be able to actually "support" many more user issues. That company was Streema.
Around 6 months ago, at Streema we reached a stage where we could choose to move a little slower in one area, to move faster in another, and for our users - at least those who write us - it has been a great change good. :D So, by the end of August 2013, we - the two people who did Customer Support at Streema - proposed to have a "Everyone Does Customer Support" policy, which consisted in having all the members of the company dedicate one hour every two weeks to do support - ranging from the intern to even the CEO.
These were our main goals:
1) Understand and empathize better with our users.
2) Develop tools to make better our support experience.
3) Add a stronger customer orientation to our company culture.
We're not going to say it was easy but it has been a great success so far and the results were above expectations. At the beginning there were many questions about how to answer user inquiries, or how to use the tool, but with time and patience we really took our support culture to the next level: not only have we've been answering customer issues better and faster, but we've also had to ask some of our developers to not dedicate too much time on customer support. :S
Just as a side comment, when it comes to Customer Support tools, we happily recommend Desk to manage your support - with the flex hours option you can add as many people as you need and only pay for the time doing support.
And finally, as you can imagine, if you send an email to email@example.com or you use our help center contact form, you'll reach any of us. :)
The Streema Team
PS. If you want to read more about this topic, check out the following articles:
Whole Company Support with Nick Francis
Humanity is Required
Don't Keep Customers Waiting