Written by Tautvydas Korkuzas, the Head of Customer Success.
What’s more infuriating:
- Listening to that terrible, terrible music while queuing to (hopefully) talk to the right customer service department?
- Or, waiting for a reply from a business for days, only to get ghosted?
We’ve all lived through these scenarios, and not once either.
So when I was tasked with building the Customer Success team of Zyro from the ground up, I knew we couldn’t make people wait for our help, nor could we let them down.
Instead, we needed to take one of our main organizational values straight to heart and customer obsession became our modus operandi.
It’s what Zyro is all about, after all – helping people succeed online. And our Customer Success team has a huge impact on that.
But our success agents don’t just deliver exceptional customer service. One of their main goals is to help our product grow and improve, and they do it by collecting and analyzing client feedback.
In this article, I’ll let you in on some of the ways that we work here at Zyro:
- What our main metrics are and why;
- How Zyro’s Customer Success team has become the rocket fuel that propels our product forward;
- How we hire our Customer Success agents and how we train them.
In the end, you’ll know exactly why all businesses, regardless of their size, should build their products and services in a customer-centric way.
So, no matter if you’re a customer support professional and want to take a peek at how others work, or if you’re a product owner and want to know what the secret sauce to creating a standout product is, I hope you’ll find this article interesting.
Our ‘bread and butter’ metrics
We have extra-terrestrial aspirations here at Zyro.
So, to stay focused and keep our eyes firmly on the prize that is ‘the happiest customers,’ we track 3 main metrics.
First, speed is of the essence, especially when it comes to providing assistance and guidance via live chat and email.
Here are the 2 speed-related metrics that we check daily:
- First reply time. We make a big fuss about delivering high-quality help in the blink of an eye, aiming to reply to every conversation in less than 2 minutes.
- Median reply time. Staying under the median reply time for any message or email we send is part of Customer Success team’s code of honor.
Here is what our scores look like on any random day – like today:
In addition to speed, the quality of support also matters. That’s why we keep an eye on the Happiness Score.
We don’t want to be only fast, but we also want to actually help our clients solve their problems, regardless of the situation.
And we want to do it in a friendly, warm, and empathetic way.
The Happiness Score refers to our customers’ emotions AFTER speaking to us. They can evaluate each conversation with us from 1 to 5. The bad scores (1-3) have the same impact on the final metric as the positive ones (4-5).
Combined, the metrics of first reply time, median reply time, and the Happiness Score have allowed us to provide our customers with exceptional support.
After all, our clients deserve the best help they can get when they use Zyro.
Conversation tagging – Zyro’s rocket fuel
But exceptional support isn’t enough. If we wanted to create exceptional user experiences, we needed to make our product bulletproof.
And the way to achieve that is by creating stories of pure success; these are stories where our users achieve their goals without needing any help at all.
This is the driving force of Zyro’s Customer Success team and the rocket fuel of our growth rocket (we want to have a product that’s out of this world, after all).
So, rather than representing an okay-ish product that users can’t figure out without our help, we are creating an insanely easy to use, fast, and high-quality product instead.
By using our fourth, and arguably the most important, metric – the percentage of tagged conversations.
Let me explain:
We tag all of the conversations that we have with customers based on their main topic, question, or issue.
The higher the percentage of tagged conversations, the better we can help the product team.
Basically, data magic happens. The product team are able to see which areas of the product cause the most issues for our clients and quickly improve them – just like that.
After some time, we check our newly tagged conversations:
- Are there still many tags about the same issue that was supposedly fixed? We go back to the product team.
- Are the customers no longer struggling? We all win.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg. By tagging conversations and analyzing them, we can also:
- Help our colleagues in marketing make decisions. They are always curious about what our customers have to say about pricing, as well as our marketing campaigns. From time to time, we are also the first point of contact for new partners, too.
- Help our social media team. They need to support users via social media and other public channels. Conversation tagging helps us streamline this process.
- Help our own team. We can figure out what the most asked questions are and prepare our new support agents better. We also improve our internal knowledge bases and find out if our support agents have any gaps in knowledge.
- Keep track of the pulse of the product, in general.
Basically, all that we need to know to improve and grow Zyro is already out there, in our user conversations.
By mining their feedback and input, we improve our product. In turn, we spend less time helping them solve the same problems time and time again.
That frees up time for us to help the other teams even further; we note down bugs, inconsistencies, and provide them with other feedback so that Zyro can continue to improve and grow.
It’s a really exciting part of our job, and arguably the most important too.
Sure, conversation tagging is a lot of work, but I know it’s all worth it – I see it in our results.
Would you like to reap the benefits of conversation tagging too? Here are a few tips:
- Start small. Pick just a dozen or so tags, and go from there.
- Talk to every person/team (depending on size of your organization). This will help you determine which tags are important on the organizational level.
- Set an initial goal as to what percentage of all conversations you’d like to have tagged. Manage your time to reach this goal and continue raising it as you iterate. The aim should be 100%.
- Streamline the tagging process. Think of ways to speed up the process, be it automation or having a dedicated person/team doing all of the tagging (this could help with accuracy too).
- Assure that all teams benefit from the tags. Constantly ask for feedback and monitor the situation.
- Adapt to the product and improve your tags. Be aware of the newest product happenings.
Hiring and training our Customer Success rocket operators
We are no ordinary Customer Success team.
And it’s not just because we have audacious goals or that conversation tagging is a really important part of the job.
To achieve the best results, we only work with the best people.
Have been struggling to identify and train the best people? I can help.
Here’s a list of qualities that we look for when hiring:
- Empathy. In any customer-facing role, empathy takes center-stage. Our agents are obsessed with helping clients.
- Curiosity. People who are curious and love learning new things do well at Zyro. They are usually high performers and quick learners too.
- Optimism. Our Customer Success rocketeers are optimists who create friendly and positive environments not only in the team, but also for our clients.
- Balance. While they have an eye for detail, they can also see the bigger picture of their role in the team, and the team’s role in the company.
- Resilience. We go fast, so our agents need to have or develop outstanding stress management skills and the ability to juggle many different tasks simultaneously.
That’s a tall-order when it comes to hiring, but since we hire people from any background and then train them internally, we’re able to consistently recruit great people.
Then, we’re able to shape them to have top-notch communication skills and technical knowledge to best help our clients and our company in general.
How do we do that?
First, we have a training academy, which consists of various workshops, conversation simulations, and individual sessions on pre-selected topics.
We also keep things fun and engaging with regular pop quizzes, daily team discussions, and even use a bit of actual chatting with real clients as part of the training.
All new success agents need to learn how to be customer-obsessed, the Zyro way:
- How to approach clients;
- How to deal with various questions;
- What to focus on during conversations with clients;
- How to effectively troubleshoot and dig around for creative solutions;
- How to keep the conversation ethics in mind, but still have exciting and fun chats with the customers;
- How to anticipate the future questions of clients and answer them before they’re even asked.
All of these focus on helping our clients directly, of course. But our agents-in-training learn all about simultaneously forwarding feedback to our product team, too.
And if they’re able to show me that they can do that to the highest standard, they become permanent additions to our Customer Success team.
If you don’t have a real training scheme in place for your support team, I’d strongly recommend building one.
When you do, make sure it covers not just the operational bits, but also taps into your brand values and principles.
That’s important when it comes to building your brand.
Focus on the big picture, not putting out fires
Many organizations overlook the real value of customer service teams. They are not just a ‘necessary evil,’ nor are they only there to help clients troubleshoot.
Support teams should be the life force of every organization, as they can help improve products and services immensely.
This can only be achieved by having clearly set out goals, as well as hiring and training the best people.
If you run a small or a medium-sized business, here is my advice:
- Focus on building a product that’s truly exceptional in terms of functionality and UX. Work closely with the product team to both improve existing features and to ideate for new ones.
- Don’t just support your users, but let them support you too. You can do this by soliciting feedback and asking for reviews, as well as tagging support conversations.
- Keep users at the center of all that you do and build relationships with some of them. Find out how they feel about your brand and product. Follow up on your every promise, speak with them as if they’re friends, and build that trust.
Your customer support will take a turn towards exponential growth as soon as you realize that your customers are the most important part of your business. In fact, they are at the heart of everything you do.
And their success is your success.