Lessons learned: everyone on first-line support

Why everyone at Prezly communicates with clients

03/07/2017

If you’re a Prezly customer, you may have noticed that, depending on the day of the week, you’ll get help from a different Prezly team member. That’s because we have a rotation system for first line support.

It doesn’t matter if you work in sales, development, or design. Everyone needs to do their part.

Our daily slack message, announcing who’s on duty.

We call this “Client Day Duty”. For that day, you’re responsible for first-line support. Since its implementation, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve learned some valuable lessons.

Customer issues get fixed, bugs don’t pile up

Each day we’ve got at least one technical team member on call. Problems that are reported during the day get an instant fix.

When they’re not responding to questions, team members work on customer-related tasks: fixing bugs, improving UX, creating and updating our documentation. Things that directly benefit our users and aren’t part of the current product planning.

You can’t help customers if you don’t know the product

Sounds logical, I know. But when onboarding new employees, they’re exposed to hundreds of bits and pieces to process. And you’ll be amazed at how often you forget to brief them on simple software workflows.

Forcing everyone to communicate with clients helps them to get to know the product inside and out.

Ingrain customer centricity in all team members

Whatever your role within a company, you’ll always tend to focus on your core responsibilities. Being confronted with a customer’s view on certain features, can help break away from that.

It helps signal frustrations, confusion, or bugs in Prezly. Things you would never have found on your own. Client Day Duty makes our team empathetic to our customers.

Align priorities

Product team priorities often aren’t aligned with the priorities of the customer success team.

Making everyone responsible for communicating with clients about feature requests and feedback makes it much easier to align priorities across teams.

Everyone wants to make our customers happy.

Push people out of their comfort zone

Not everyone starting at Prezly has experience with communicating with clients. Pushing them to talk with customers challenges them to do stuff they’ve never done before. And while doing first-line support can be daunting the first time, in multiple one-on-one chats with employees I’ve heard that everyone feels Client Duty Day is a good initiative. It’s something they like.

Your Customer Success team has more time for proactive tasks

The initial reason for starting Client Day Duty was to free up time for the customer success team, allowing them to do deep, focused work without the need to constantly keep an eye on support. Reactive support is just one of the many tasks of our CS team. The more time they have to follow up with customers proactively, the happier our customers are.

Client Day Duty is working well for our type and size of organization. But it does require an extra investment: onboarding team members and taking them away from their respective projects one day every week.

We’re evaluating the current implementation, but one thing we know for sure: if you work at Prezly you will communicate with our customers.

About Jailhouse

Personal blog of Jesse Wynants, Founder of Prezly.com