(Visual) Communication — the Secret Sauce to Customer Support at CloudApp
CloudApp is an instant video and image sharing platform that combines screenshots, GIF creation, and screen recording in one easy-to-use app. CloudApp integrates with your existing work habits. It’s easy for users to quickly find their way around the product. Their customers are individuals and teams in design, customer support, software engineering, product management, marketing, and sales.
We got in touch with Piotr and Rahul from CloudApp to find out how they do support.
Let’s start with you telling us a little about your customer support team.
Our support team consists of 3 people and 2 of them are remote including us (Piotr and Rahul). Scott, our Chief Revenue Officer, is the other member and he works from our SF office. We mainly offer email support which is also connected with our website chat. And, we offer phone support only for our larger enterprise customers.
But on your support page, phone support is not displayed. Why? ?
Yes, it is because phone support is only available to our paying enterprise customers. We made this choice for three reasons —
- It is expensive to offer phone support for all customers.
- It is much easier to show (via email and CloudApp visuals) rather than tell (via phone).
- Most paying enterprise phone calls are usually related to enterprise security questions and account management across their entire organization.
CloudApp has a lot of self-explanatory, in-app notices for users to get around the tool. What kind of questions do users usually reach out to you with?
We have fair amount of documentation for self-help. So, most of the times users reach out to us if they find a specific function isn’t working well for them or if they have a feature request.
What’s special about how CloudApp does customer service?Communication is key to great customer support. Click To Tweet
It is possible that most of what we say may be lost in translation. So, we use visuals (annotated screenshots, explainer GIFs, and recorded videos) when answering customer support questions. This irons out any creases in support communications, helps us resolve tickets faster, and delights our customers.
How are your users using knowledge base articles before reaching out to the support team? Does CloudApp see self-service as a vital part of customer support?A self service tool like Knowledge base is your first line of defense against repetitive questions. Click To Tweet
We have a process in place which suggests customers that they read our documentation before they create a ticket. If they don’t find an answer, they can always submit a ticket for us to review and answer. We optimize our knowledge base by constantly identifying the most common questions and creating pages that answer these questions for them. In this way we help customers help themselves.
Supporting customers can be challenging, given the nature of your product. How do you go about collecting the right information to support users?
We automate most of our support process and let users get in touch with the team only where necessary. For example, we have an auto-responder which asks users to provide basic information such as their CloudApp login email address, operating system and CloudApp version, and a short description of their issue. If we need more information, then we will follow up with CloudApp-created screenshots and screen recordings.
The best part is when customers also get visual about the support communication and respond to us with their own screenshots and screen recordings.
Ha! It is so much easier to use visuals. ?
What are some interesting techniques your support team has in place for efficient support?We have a very visual way of communication in support. We are our own customers. — Piotr @cloudapp Click To Tweet
Visuals. We have visual explanations everywhere. Here is an example of sharing a visual in Slack.
How does your support team measure customer happiness?
We promptly ask each of our CloudApp customers to rate their support interaction with us.
We avoid bombarding our customers with too many emails. And there is also a good chance that the feedback email will get lost in their inbox. The customer support system we use asks our customers “How would you rate my reply” where they can respond with Great, Okay, or Not Good. We like this system better because we ask for a rating in the context of the reply and not by following up with a separate email.
We also use the Net Promoter Score product Delighted.com to gather actionable feedback from our customers and measure customer happiness.
What are the top 3 interesting problems you have had when supporting customers, and how have you solved them?
Large enterprise customers require special features. We escalate those requests to our product development team and then we release new features for those customers (and the rest of our customer-base). When a release contains large enhancements or major updates we first ask enterprise users in our trusted user program to try out the beta build
Edge cases are difficult to explain. So, our customers use CloudApp to show the issues they are facing. That’s a big win for us when customers use the product extensively (to demonstrate what’s not working for them in the product)
Personalization is hard to get right. It is easy to appear like a robot but CloudApp really helps us deliver a more personalized support experience to our customer-base. For example, to help a customer understand how a feature works we can quickly record a HD video with audio, personalized to that customer’s use case.
Back to support — how does your support team handle a surge in tickets?
We found the most efficient process is to prioritize and execute the queue. First, we answer business customers with the largest and most active users, then we answer individual plan customers, then free customers. We try to bulk update tickets, if possible and where necessary, to save time.
How does your support team handle repetitive questions?
We use templates to reply to emails. We enhance those templates with CloudApp visuals. We also just released Collections which is an easy way to organize CloudApp videos, screenshots, and GIFs in easy-to-find folders. We use Collections to organize support visuals (e.g., Capture Tool, Org Settings, Login Issues, Upgrades).
How do you deal with unhappy customers? How do you deal with refund requests?
We listen and try to understand what caused the customer’s unhappiness. We also do everything within our power to address the issue that caused the unhappiness. If the issue was caused by something we did, then we offer either a full or partial refund, or extend the customer’s subscription for free. In the case of user-error we help the customer understand what happened.Even if the issue was caused by user-error it is still our fault that we did not provide the most intuitive experience. — Piotr @cloudapp Click To Tweet
How do you handle scenarios when a customer support agent has made a mistake?
We analyze cases were the support agent was at fault and implement countermeasures, if possible, to avoid similar issues in the future.
Do you ever reach out to customer proactively to solve issues?
Absolutely! Especially if we cannot debug the issue or need to better understand the issue. For example, one time we noticed that a customer using our Cap+Do (capture image, share in another workflow) feature for Trello created dozens of share events in a very short period of time. As it turns out, this customer ran into a bug. By being proactive we were able to find the bug and fix it for the customer.
How has support grown since CloudApp was founded?
We started with one customer support agent but our customer-base has grown significantly. As a result we expanded our team and coverage hours, and embedded agents in different time zones across the globe.
What do you look for when hiring for customer support?
One of the competitive advantages that we’ve always had at CloudApp is our broad user base. One way that we’ve “looked” for prospective customer support team members is by talking with CloudApp users who love our product on a free account, and who have contributed feature ideas, or helped other customers in our support community.
What we typically look for are the ability to develop and follow a process, passion and excitement for the product itself, and their ability to patiently answer questions and guide customers to the right solutions.
What is the support team’s goals for 2018?
Our immediate goal is to make some changes in our workflow. The long term goal for 2018 is to make our documentation stronger than before in order to support future product features and platform additions better.
How did you get into support?
I always was a tech-savvy guy and very often people asked me to help them with their computer-related issues. These things helped me getting my first support job as this direction suited me best.
Tell us about the most memorable customer interaction you have had.
Some time ago, our support team received a call from a very frustrated user. She said that her credit card had been charged by CloudApp, and that she never signed up for CloudApp and never authorized the transaction. She did not know what CloudApp was and wanted a full refund. Of course, we worked through the issue; we searched our records, finally finding the user and transaction. As it turns out, her son purchased an annual plan to use CloudApp for a school project! Except he used the mother’s credit card without her consent! We issued the refund and we all had a good laugh.
How do you unwind after a long day of support?
I make sure I don’t miss my workouts. Working remotely requires your body to stay active and that supplies a lot of freshness to the mind as well.
We started the Secret Sauce series to find out more about what makes the customer service of some great companies click. We get in touch with one awesome support rep and pick their brains. We find out all about their support process, what inspires them to go above and beyond the call of duty to make their customers happy. If you know of a customer support rep you’d like to see featured here, drop us a line in the comments or shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org