Providing excellent customer support has nothing to do with the size of your team or the industry you’re in. It has everything to do with your intentions and attitude.
As a growing team solving big company problems, KinHR uses support as both a first and last line of defense.
KinHR is software that helps growing companies streamline HR for the entire team—onboarding new employees, time-off management, and keeping data and files all in one place.
I spoke to Craig Bryant, founder and product manager, and Lindsay Sanders, head of support, on how they use Help Scout to build relationships and organize feedback.
Using Help Scout + Hipchat for Fast Response Times
“Our team is always in Hipchat,” said Craig. “Hipchat is the first place that we get notified about in-bound support questions.”
This simple system has one defining purpose: to respond to customers as quickly as possible.
What ensues is delighted customers who are surprised that an inquiry could be answered so quickly. If it is well-written, empathetic, and solves the problem, you’ve surely won the attention of your customers and given a great impression.
Going Above and Beyond with Support
Fast response times aren’t common, which is why they’re so valuable.
But Kin takes it even further.
“We try to get people on the phone, too, or on a screen-share so we can review their account together and respond to their questions/issues in real-time,” said Craig. “Additionally, we do between 60 and 80 demos on average per month. They are one-hour screen-shares where we walk them through some slides, show them the tool, and help get them signed up for implementation. Then Lindsay takes the reins.”
This proactive outreach ensures that customers who sign up actually go through the entire onboarding process. Many customers may slip through the cracks, as they forget to fill out forms or simply don’t know what to do next.
This oversight helps Lindsay reach out to customers before it’s too late.
This proactive touch is something that I experienced recently. A few days after I began the process but neglected to complete it, a friendly email arrived telling me that I had some transactions to finish, with a set of simple instructions on how to get them done. It nudged me to take action and to appreciate what one simple, friendly email can do for a potential customer.
How to Record and Process Feedback
As the head of support, Lindsay knows the concerns, frustrations, and desires of the customers.
By looking through responses and tags, she can find patterns in the feedback concerning topics or suggestions that were specifically mentioned and those that weren’t.
“We use Trello,” said Craig. “She's got a few Trello boards up that she manages for customer feedback and requests and shares with the team. When something hits critical mass, like the Time-Off UI revisions we're making right now. These requests get turned into design objectives and we get to working on the improvements.”
Indeed, tagging in Help Scout is like putting Post-its in a book that you’re reading.
“Tags in Help Scout are super-helpful because I don't always have time to get everything into Trello as the requests are coming in,” Lindsay explained. “I'll tag everything up, and when I have a bit of time, I can easily filter those tags and move that info over to Trello.”
The Last Line of Defense
“Kin is not perfect,” Craig humbly said. “It doesn’t do everything for everybody. Sometimes we need to be creative with helping people understand how they can accomplish their goals with a tool that’s not perfect.”
And these creative conversations take place in support.
“When the product fails them, when it doesn't do exactly what they were hoping, we've got to fall back on something else. This is our ability to empathize and our ability to help them see their problem through to a solution, even if that solution may not be ideal for them,” Craig explained.
This happens with many SaaS companies, and I sympathize with customers who may feel frustrated. They land upon a product that makes them wonder why they hadn’t heard of it before. They explore its features and realize the depth and utility. Over time, however, little kinks in the armor are revealed.
Frustration ensues, which is why support is important for this aspect of the relationship. Providing solutions that help the customer adapt to the problem is part of the interaction. Most of the time, customers are willing to listen and take action; other times, it’s just not a fit.
But this is how organizations grow: they listen to customers, build relationships, gather feedback, and are up front about what their product can (and can not) do.
Thank you to Craig and Lindsay for participating in this series and being so generous with their insights.