“National Customer Service Week.” It sounds like a made-up holiday that megacorps use to keep their frontline customer service representatives happy.
In reality, National Customer Service Week has been recognized by U.S. Congress since 1992 (the irony is not lost on me).
It’s a no-brainer that a happy customer service team will do a better job of caring about your business’s customers. This year, Nutshell is recognizing National Customer Service Week for the first time, but I firmly believe that every week of the year we need to focus on:
- Recognizing the people who are the actual voice of your company
- Remembering that your customers are literally the lifeblood of your business
- Rising to the challenge of involving every part of your company in the customer experience
If you want to communicate that you genuinely care about the people interacting with your products and services, you need to care about the entire relationship every single day of the year.
How Nutshell keeps our customers in focus 52 weeks a year
Many customer support departments utilize customer satisfaction surveys to measure their rep’s performance. We send a CSAT survey as well, so a day after a customer speaks with a member of our team they get to tell us how it went.
Now, Nutshell isn’t a huge company. Our customer success team is only four amazing humans working with more than ten thousand individuals. So I’m not sending these surveys as a measure of performance, but rather as a learning opportunity for me and my teammates to understand what our customers really need from us, and whether they’re getting it.
Negative replies are few and far between, and most often indicate a misunderstanding about what was being asked that we review together and follow up—we want to get it right. This month, we have 97% positive ratings (I told you, my teammates are amazing).
It’s a nice number to brag about, but metrics are so impersonal! We’d rather see what our customers are actually saying. We installed a bot that shares our positive feedback in our #madprops Slack channel. The best ones even make it to Twitter.
Giving our entire company visibility into how our team interacts with our customers about our product not only underscores the importance of wonderful customer service, but shares our customer’s perspective on the value of Nutshell. See for yourself:
Nutshell has given me insight into exactly how often we win leads. This has helped point us in the right direction to correct any pitfalls we run across when a lead is lost & improve on the process moving forward. It has also helped us streamline processes within various workflows. Tech support is always timely with their response! Can't imagine running my company without it!
- Karl D., Code One CPR
Our #madprops channel is also a place for all of us at Nutshell to recognize one another for the times we’ve contributed something meaningful—and as I scroll back through this channel, it’s hard to find anything that doesn’t benefit our customer in some way.
Customer-oriented feedback loop
Companies have come up with all sorts of cool ways to involve everyone in their customer experience. Some businesses even go as far as requiring all new hires to work in customer service for a time as a part of their training and onboarding–I love that.
Here at Nutshell, we have created processes to fit our needs and we work to involve everyone in the day-to-day experience of our customers.
With the engineering team
To ensure we’re able to provide sufficient technical support to our customers and speedily address issues, our developers participate in a “Support engineer” role rotation.
For two days at a time, we begin the day with a short standup meeting including all our CX team members and the support engineer. We review open issues that require engineering attention and scope and prioritize fixes. Our customer success team returns to their desk equipped to follow up with customers, and the SE on duty has gained valuable insight into how our customers use our product and the issues they encounter. These daily conversations form the backbone of our ability to provide amazing service to our customers.
With the sales team
One of the worst things that can happen to a customer is when they’re sold a product based on expectations that the company cannot meet. It leads to unhappy customers, unhappy customer service teams who can’t help the unhappy customers, and unhappy managers/leadership who–if they care at all–are usually the ones trying to clean up the mess.
At Nutshell, it is so important to us that the people who use our CRM are people who actually need a CRM that does what Nutshell does. Making sure that Nutshell is a good fit for the companies that want to use it is a priority for our sales team. However, your salespeople usually aren’t the same people working with the customer 3, 6, or 10 months down the line when they try to establish a new workflow or need to track a new type of data.
How do we make sure that we don’t fall into the “yes, Nutshell can do that!” trap in our earliest conversations with buyers? We talk! A lot!
Whenever we hire a new salesperson, they go through an in-depth product-oriented training led by the customer experience team. Separately, we train our team on the most common use cases and third-party integrations. New sales team members monitor customer support phone calls for their first couple of weeks. When they’re ready to fly solo and start making their own calls, we make sure that sales and CX stay close by seating everyone together in the office, and using a dedicated Slack channel to make it easy to ask quick questions.
We’ve also integrated our sales tool (Nutshell, obviously) with our primary customer service tool (Zendesk) to make sure that every conversation with a prospect or customer is easily accessible to all teammates.
With our marketing team
Ah, marketing and customer service. Two departments with very distinct missions: Get customers. Keep customers. Marketing defines and creates the brand, setting the stage for what it will be like to work with your company. Customer service then delivers on what it’s actually like to work with your company.
These two teams naturally should have a feedback loop and work closely to make sure messaging is aligned with reality. Here at Nutshell, we encourage participation in both sides of the marketing-customer experience spectrum. Our CX team can share content ideas or write their own, and is often sourced to review content (especially downloadable resources, templates, or “best practice” articles). Our marketing team participates in all-hands support days and replies to the messages we get on Facebook and Twitter.
This exposure to both sides of the coin ensures that we’re all on the same page when taking on new initiatives or refreshing existing ones. Most exciting, we collaborate on BOUNDLESS, our annual free online conference aimed at bringing the best information on sales, marketing, and customer success to our current and future customers!
Our customer experience philosophy
At the end of the day, the people you hire and put in charge of customer service want to do that job well. They want to help your customers. They want them to be successful and to love your product and your company. I interview for this mentality and work to support it every day.
If you give your customer-facing folks the tools and trust they need to give everyone they talk to a personalized, truly helpful experience, they will. We don’t do scripts, we don’t do phone trees. When we do find ourselves in sticky situations, the first question I ask is “What is the right thing to do?” rather than fall back on processes or rules.
We all work side-by-side at Nutshell HQ, and we prioritize caring for ourselves and each other so that each time we pick up the phone or grab an email from our inbox, we’re charged up and ready to give you our full attention. We genuinely care and want to connect with, understand, and support our customers as they work to grow their businesses.
Want to talk? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, give us a call at 888-336-8808, or chat with us from within your Nutshell account. Happy Customer Service Week!
Katherine Mays is the Head of Customer Experience at Nutshell.