Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

BY Craig Walker, CEO

Let’s face it: sometimes our beloved customers, are a lot of trouble.  And every once while in a while we feel like this:

One of the most important decisions we made leading up to the launch of UberConference was to have live customer service.  If we had service problems (and there is no company on the planet that doesn’t have service problems), then we wanted to make sure that was a live person our customers could talk to.

Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

Actually, for many American businesses, the decision to have live customer service is not obvious.   But it has been for us.   It is in customer support where we differ from other companies.

  • Most startups don’t do much with Customer Support. We have two offices to cover 5am to 6pm PST (both coasts) with live support during business hours.

  • Most companies think of Customer Support as a cost center. We think of it as a marketing opportunity to make our best customers, aka the ones using the product, the happiest.

  • Most companies dread support. We relish it.  Everybody in the company from the CEO to the newly hired intern, spends a week doing CSR and it rotates every week.

One of our company policies with new hires is that each employee at some point in their first month on the job must spend a week working in Customer Support. One week. Everyone. Each new employee working Customer Support has to go to either our San Jose or Raleigh office and spend a couple of days training with our CSRs there. Not only does this help build up the knowledge base about the product for our employees, it gives us all a better sense of what our customers are dealing with, in the field, on a daily basis.

With everybody sitting in a Customer Support Representative (CSR) seat, every employee gets a sense of what our customers are like: how they are using the product and what suggestions, problems and concerns they have. This experience creates a great insight to the product and empathy for our users. We have an entire company of fully trained CSR agents to help out.

We keep and track detailed data on our customer service requests and queries: what kinds of issues come up frequently? Why? What types of complaints do our customers have?

The other fascinating aspect of this system for us has been the number of product features, suggestions and improvements we have received through our customer support system.

Some of our best product insights come from listening to our customers’ requests, and having an attentive, responsive and respectful CSR team makes that a close loop of innovation.