This week I'm excited to welcome Greg Smith (@_its_greg) as a guest poster. Greg was early (like very early) at Gofundme and ran customer operations there. He now helps other businesses get efficient through Wheelhouse Solutions. What strikes me in this piece is just how far we've come since 2012! Zapier was...new! Sending to Google sheets was a game changer!
Hey Everyone, I'm Greg with Wheelhouse Solutions in Encinitas, CA.
In 2012, I joined the GoFundMe founding team as employee #2. Unofficial title was, "VP of let the founders get back to working on the product".
I was in charge of all things customer service, success, and operations. During my time there, a couple certainties stood out to me about customer service. 1. The most important thing is speed and 2. Having the right information in front of your team is where you get your speed.
Customer Service as a Feature
Back in 2012 I had a Gmail inbox with firstname.lastname@example.org. When I got there, we were handling between 100-200 tickets daily and growing fast. I had the freedom to use whatever software I wanted. I hired the people that I needed and had the freedom to build the internal tools I needed.
We had decided early on that we're going to institute and maintain a 5 min first reply time. Crazy right? If people were going through some of their hardest or most emotional times, there should be a human being there. They should be empathetic, responsive, and helpful.
Aside from Customer Service, we were also tasked with:
- Content Moderation
- Trust & Safety
- Quality Assurance
- Product Feedback
At a glance, we needed to know:
- what was going on with that user.
- any issues there may be with the account
- any holds or issues with the payment processor, or their credit card.
- Are they being sincere about how and where they are sharing?
- Are the images and text they’re using suitable for our site?
Our ability to deliver fast and useful responses depended on our ability to bring that information to our agents. We relied heavily on our developers to create the tools that we needed to bring that information inside of Zendesk.
NoCode as it exists today wasn’t really a thing. Though, we were definitely starting to see solutions pop up that connected tools together.
Could we get Zendesk to talk to google sheets?
If a ticket tagged "review" in Zendesk, can it kick off an email between the agent and their manager to discuss on their next 1 on 1?
The ability for us to have a shared database or file was a game-changer. Especially when we're dealing with trying to keep track of campaigns for a natural disaster or very public event. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
Then came Zapier. Zapier made sense to me immediately. A lot of my job was thinking "if I could only get that information to talk to without asking the dev team for any help." The best thing a CEO or Software leadership can hear is:
"Never mind, I got it working". This was always my mindset.
I really started to understand what was possible. Back in those days it was still fairly limited but I knew and understood what my limits were. Tools like Zapier and Airtable have dramatically expanded what is possible. Product builders like Bubble and Webflow allow more "tech timid" companies or departments the ability to create and solve problems more without getting dev involved.
How do I apply it to my department?
When you look at your own department, the biggest challenge can be what to focus on. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1. Start as basic as you can and work up from there. You want eyeballs on the solution and you want to see how it's being used. Too many times I've seen people over automate because the technology allows for it.
2. What is the outcome I'm looking for? Can you track events back to a KPI or a business outcome directly? Are you trying to decrease response time or increase customer satisfaction? If you're not sure what the end result is going to be and how to track it, it's going to be a waste of time and resources.
3. Is it useful and usable? Adoption is massive. You can implement the most elegant internal tool or solution that takes care of your customers, reports back, and gets you a mid day coffee, however if the stakeholders aren't willing to use it, you're stuck again.
I have found my people in the NoCode world. These tools allow people to not only see what’s possible but gives them the ability to start tinkering and getting to work on solutions.
There is no better place for this incredible technology to be, than in the hands of the people interacting with your customers every day.
by Greg Smith