TeamSnap has a unique approach to customer support.
- We hire from within our customer base, so the Support Team is familiar with the problems users face, as well as the solutions.
- Every employee at TeamSnap works support, from the CEO to product managers to engineers.
- And many requests are answered within minutes of being sent, often by someone named Jennifer.
We wanted to invite you Behind the Scenes to find out more about TeamSnap’s approach to customer support, including why support is only conducted through email and what’s down the pipeline, so we sat down with Jenn Southan, TeamSnap’s customer experience manager (and the original Jennifer), to get the scoop.
Tell me about your background, Jenn. You were a customer before you were an employee, right?
That’s right. I began using TeamSnap in 2009, when it first launched as a commercial product. I heard about it the way many of our customers hear about it, through word of mouth. My brother-in-law used it for his team and thought it was a great product. I was managing my kid’s soccer team and could see TeamSnap making my life easier; I started using it, and it did!
I had worked as a consultant in the IT field before but had been staying at home with my kids for about eight years when I saw a Facebook ad that TeamSnap was looking for someone to help with customer support. I applied. I did the phone interview while on vacation, sopping wet after a day at the beach (I was really glad they couldn’t see me), and I was hired.
I started just covering part time, but as the company grew, and the team realized I wasn’t nuts, they kept giving me more hours until I was full time. We hired a few more folks and eventually I moved into a supervising role. Now we’re a team of about 10 and growing. The support team has almost doubled in size just since Jan. 1, 2014, and I anticipate more growth this year.
How does TeamSnap’s preference to hire users as support staff affect the kind of support customers receive?
We hire almost exclusively from our user base, and that gives new support staff a solid base to grow on because they’re used to using TeamSnap. We understand the processes coaches and managers go through; we understand sports teams. As a user myself, I understand when team managers are frustrated about features that don’t work as well as they’d like, but I also understand how to get the app to work as well as it can. I think it’s critical that we have folks who are empathetic for those situations and understand what the managers are trying to do.
Other than experience, what else influences your support philosophy?
I spend a lot of time checking out and sharing best practices. Earlier today, I read and sent an article to the team that’s a guide to better email practices and how to be more positive in your email responses. I try to find and share those little golden nuggets that keep us constantly improving.
TeamSnap is consistently recognized by customers for our speedy response time, but like a dog trying to ride a skateboard, there is always room for improvement. What are some areas you’re looking to improve/expand on?
More customers are turning to social media for support requests. We don’t yet have someone dedicated to it because the volume isn’t there, but it is beyond what the marketing team can handle, so we’re looking at how to best handle that. We’re also looking at mobile solutions, since so many of our customers use the mobile app, so customers can contact support directly through the app.
What are some of the most rewarding customer support experiences you’ve had?
Any time a customer comes back and is just genuinely thankful for the support they received just makes me happy. That’s why I enjoy doing it — to help people. They come in frustrated or unsure and just want someone to understand and help them out. If we can do that in a quick and efficient manner and leave them with a smile on their face, we’ve done a good job.
What are you proudest about with Support?
When customers hear we only have email support, they can be worried about the kind of service they will receive. When they give it a go, they’re always pleasantly surprised at the level of service and the speed. We pride ourselves on the timeliness of our service but also on the quality of our service. Our agents are very knowledgeable about the product and often go well above and beyond, even when problems aren’t an issue with TeamSnap itself. For example, I’ve had team members sit on the phone with PayPal for an hour resolving issues that aren’t direct TeamSnap issues, in order to make a customer happy.
We’re obviously here to help, but what should customers do before contacting Support?
Help.teamsnap.com has some great user guides that can help customers easily resolve many issues. When they do contact us, we like to get as much information as possible, including screen shots or any error messages. That really goes a long way. Also, we are getting ready to implement a new technology that will allow customers to show us exactly what happens as they are working via video. We can even record a video answer/explanation in return. We are always looking for new tools that will improve the way in which we interact with our customers on support.
Let’s talk more about the “everyone does support” philosophy.
Everyone in the company works support, including the CEO, who actually implemented this policy to begin with. We rotate through the whole company, about every five weeks or so, with each employee working about a half day’s shift. It allows our whole team to stay in touch with the customers, who are really the ones we’re working for, and understand their needs. Once someone who works on the product side, for example, experiences a customer request or an issue, they start to think about things in a different way.
And finally, just a note about why we conduct support through email.
You may have noticed that we don’t list a customer support phone number for TeamSnap. That’s on purpose. It’s not that we don’t want to know how your day went, it’s just that we’ve found that email support is the most efficient way for us to solve your problems. At least the TeamSnap-related ones. TeamSnapPsych™ is still in beta.
There are several reasons email support is the best option at TeamSnap:
- Email allows you to paste screenshots and detailed information in your support request, which lets us more easily diagnose the situation and provide a resolution to you in the form of written answers and directions that you can follow at your own pace.
- In turn, we are also able to provide you with website links, videos, screenshots and other media to provide visual assistance not available over the phone.
- With email, there’s no waiting for someone to answer a ringing phone, sitting on hold for what seems like forever, being directed to the correct department and then having a back-and-forth with a customer support person. You send an email with your question, you get a response with our answer — often within minutes. This saves your time and our time, so we can all concentrate on what really matters, like turtle racing.
- With email, everything is well documented, not only for your reference but for our own use in case we need to escalate an issue to a developer, technical staff member or even our CEO Dave.
- Conducting customer support by email allows us to provide support to our 6 million-and-growing customers while keeping operating costs low. This helps keep the price you pay for TeamSnap down, and everybody wins.
- We live in the future and are convinced that the more technology methods we adopt, the closer we’ll be to making the hoverboard a reality. Despite our love of technology though, a real human answers every single support email with a personalized response.