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In this episode, Susana elaborates on the lessons she learned while working in customer experience at Airbnb. She shares the philosophies that allowed her and the team at Loom to conquer the challenges presented by unprecedented pandemic growth. All the while, giving an honest and humble look at the trials associated with providing great customer support today.
Customer support as an opportunity
- Before working at Loom, Susana worked at Airbnb. A hospitality company. Where support and customer experience is at the core of the business.
- At Airbnb, one bad experience of being locked outside an apartment in the pouring rain is enough to make a customer forever return to booking hotels. Never touching the platform again.
“It was crucial that we weren’t just giving the answer to people but also making them feel safe. Making them feel comfortable. Making them return to Airbnb.”
- In Episode 8, Sue Morris- VP of Customer Success and Support at GitHub, called the kind of interactions “moments of truth”. These moments are extremely important in shaping a customer’s relationship with a company. Sue went on to state that providing great support in these moments was the key to customer loyalty.
- Susana echoed this by saying “support is opportunity”. The opportunity to “help customers”, “share user feedback”, “guide the product”, “sell services” and “create additional revenue”. Maximizing the value of these opportunities maximizes the value of support and doing so consistently drives the ROI of support in the eyes of the business.
“Most of all, it’s the opportunity to create customers for life”
Efficiency and value adding
- In 2020, Loom’s user base grew by 900%. Which is crazy growth. Loom’s support team, however, did not grow by 900%; nor would they want it to. Serving so many more customers with the same relatively small team, therefore, results from greater efficiency.
- If you view customer support as a cost center, servicing more customers with no extra cost represents the greatest success. However, Susana and Loom also see support as a value growth and value center. There is greater success to be had than merely keeping costs low.
“Support at Loom is a valuable driver of revenue because every interaction that we have with free and paid users is an opportunity to unlock Loom’s value and also upsell our product”
- Productivity is about maximizing value at minimal costs. The cost of providing customer support is a cost almost all businesses must incur. The question is whether those businesses and departments are also going to generate maximum revenue for every dollar spent.
Being transparent and ‘human’ with customers
- Something employed regularly by agents is being transparent with customers. Outlining what the agent can and cannot do makes the customer empathize with the agent. After all, the customer cannot be angry with the agent for being unable to do the impossible.
- Transparency, however, is not something often employed at a company level. Nevertheless, it proved effective when Susana and the team faced a 600% increase in support tickets (2,000 to 12,000) in a matter of weeks. This was an overwhelming backlog, given they only had five people in at the time.
- In response, Susana recorded a one minute video with Loom. Explaining the reason for the backlog, apologising and showing the faces of the five people working in the support team at the time. The video received an overwhelmingly positive response from customers.
“People just understood that these were exceptional times. They really appreciated the update and the explanation”
- The team then doubled down on this transparent video strategy. Which ultimately resulted in their CSAT returning to their pre-pandemic average of 93% from its 10% dip in just three months.
- Very often we speak of support’s empathy for the customer but equally important is the customer’s empathy for support staff and the company. Customer empathy is often the key to controlling the situation when times are rough.