Today, we are “navigating the surge” with Intercom’s customer support roundtable. Plus, Zapier announces a new tool previously available only to its internal employees—but now, shared with the world.
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Charting the waters of increased support needs
We are navigating the surge of today's customer support needs with Intercom, the customer messaging masters. And when global work moves online essentially overnight, a wave of support tickets inevitably follows.
So the Intercom team hosted a roundtable to hear from experts in their customer support space across the map, on what they’re doing to keep up with demand. During it, we hear from Intercom customer support pros Kaitlin Pettersen (San Fran), Bobby Stapleton (Chicago-based), and Ruth O’Brien over in Dublin.
Here are some takeaways if you’re short on time, but I suggest delving into the full episode, available both in audio version and written transcript.
- Perfection isn’t the goal right now.
If your kids run rampant through the background of your Zoom call or you’re not fully there today, that’s alright. You may need space to take care of yourself before jumping in to take care of your customers, so be communicative with your internal team when you’re due to take it. We’re in an unprecedented time in so, so many ways. Try to let your reactions be your reactions.
- Expectations are the root of all heartache.
“I think expectation setting is key.” Kaitlin knows realistic boundaries with your customers can help avoid frustrations over things like when you’ll respond and how they can speak with a human rep.
- Designate a single source of truth.
“It’s important to designate a single source of truth for your Support teams, which you’re updating on a daily basis. Be concise. You want the need-to-knows in plain sight for folks when they need them.”
- Utilize both automation and human impact.
Bots are no doubt helpful during this time for dealing with simple questions or qualifying customers, but it’s also important to offer a human touch with more complex problems. There are some questions that are simply not suitable to be dealt with through automation.
- Practice compassion.
You never know what your colleagues have going on outside their professional lives. If they’re able to at least come to work and have an environment and a tone of positivity, of purpose, of comfort—where they know that they’re cared about, where they know that they have folks in their corner—they’ll rally behind the mission.
I couldn’t have said that last bit better myself. I am a huge proponent of compassion—during these times and all else—so start there.
But I also want to hear from you. What is it that you’re doing to move the needle in customer support right now? What is it that you’ve done that’s worked, or perhaps has not? If you have input on this one, talk to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And as a heads up to the nonprofit leaders out there, Intercom is now offering its software for free for those fighting against COVID-19.
Experimentation: the good, the bad, the effective
Fareed Mosavat, former Director of Product at Slack and current Exec in Residence at Reforge, wrote as guest author to the Reforge blog on just that: What makes a good experiment? And what makes certain experimentation… bad?
Over the past 10 years as a leader in product, Fareed has shipped hundreds of A/B tests and product experiments to every kind of customer, from social gamers to the most discerning enterprise software buyers. And he’s learned a lot about immersing himself in a culture of experimentation.
Here are my four top takeaways from his latest:
- Good experiments advance product strategy. Bad ones only advance metrics.
- Good experiments are used as a tool of humility, to test something we believe in, but are humble enough to know that we aren’t sure if it will work. Bad experiments are used to defer decision making, settle disagreements, or let the data tell us what the right thing to build is.
- Good experiments drive impact by solving real user problems, to further understand customer behavior around things that actually matter. They have strong, well-reasoned hypotheses grounded in data analysis, customer insights, and market research. Bad experiments move metrics by confusing or tricking users. They actually make things harder for your users, rather than solving underlying problems.
- Good experiments are communicated. They build a narrative around learning. They are written up, shared broadly, discussed in groups, and documented for the company’s future. Bad experiments run a test but never close that loop.
Here's a link to the full list, because this one should be heeded in full.
Zapier, the global masters in integrating web applications, launched early access to something previously only available to its internal team.
It’s called Zappy.
And it’s the speediest, all-in-one screen capture tool, letting you communicate more effectively by sharing what you see. It’s built for speed and makes annotations way more seamless, built and used by the team that understands it most—one that’s fully remote with 300+ team members across 17 time zones.
And if you’re not familiar with Zapier as a whole, you should get on that train too. Zapier connects your apps and automates your workflows. It’s ultimately easy automation for busy people. (And I have a feeling we're all pretty damn busy.)
We’re all for tools that more seamlessly allow us to move through life, so we’re all in on this one.
That’s a wrap on your April 15 Recur Now. If you have news to spread or input on any topic we cover, don't hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com.
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