“Step On the Other Side of the Keyboard”, says Lucas from Swappa!
Swappa is an e-commerce marketplace that helps facilitate the sale of gently used electronic devices. ‘Swappa’s primary function is to serve as a safer, more affordable alternative to other internet-based marketplaces such as Craigslist and eBay.’ This week we got to speak to Lucas F. who is the Director of Support at Swappa, on what makes customer support great and customer experience memorable.
How did you end up in customer support, Lucas?
I’ve been a long time user on Swappa before I was an employee. I wanted to be a part of Swappa’s growth while also bringing my skills from Healthcare/Banking IT support. I enjoy the challenges Support teams face every day — finding that balance between efficiency and satisfaction.
How big is your support team? How do you manage to run the show?
The Swappa support team is currently 22 total team members. I don’t solely run the show — it is very much a team effort. Everyone brings their own unique expertise to the table. We run the show together!
What’s a typical day like at Swappa?
Swappa is a 24/7 and 365 marketplace. We support buyers and sellers for several different product categories, so ‘typical’ is tough to put my finger on. We are also a remotely connected team of 22. So, I start the day by checking in with my team. I want to ensure they have the needed resources to conquer the day. Being a fully remote team brings unique challenges to the table.I've found that communication is the single most important strength of our team. —Lucas @swappa Click To Tweet
How do you motivate yourself (and your team) day in and day out?
A true group approach is far more meaningful than some give it credit. I’m motivated by just that. I ensure my team has a voice and feels heard while we actively bring our best to the table. If my folks are happy, I’m happy. I truly believe this directly leads to happy customers.
Do you think that your support is better than other marketplaces? Why?
I’m a bit biased. I think my support team at Swappa is absolutely better than other marketplaces!
Within the technology community, you tend to hear horror stories about a CSR’s lack of knowledge or understanding of their product or related items. Knowing that lack of knowledge can add to the frustration, we pride ourselves on being well versed on all products and product categories on Swappa. We are a diverse group of experts spread all over with varying talents and know-how. This brings that something extra special to our marketplace.
What are some of the tools that you use to manage customer support at Swappa?
In addition to Freshdesk, we actively use Slack for intercompany communication. This has been a great resource for getting the real-time feedback that our jobs require. For scheduling, we’ve been pleased with WhenIwork. It allows us to keep the schedule tidy and efficient.
Nothing like doing a secret sauce interview with our own customer! What are your favorite Freshdesk features and how do you use Freshdesk?
We use Freshdesk in several ways, some by design, others by our own doings via the great Freshdesk API. All of our email support and almost all of our moderation support communication is piped through Freshdesk. This has allowed us to not only make our moderation of user listings more efficient but also fast-tracked the review process. We also use the private noting system very heavily. This has helped my team and others feel more in the loop when referencing tickets.
What are moderation listing responses? What role do they play in your support process?
When a seller lists a device on Swappa, it is set to a pending status. At that time, my team reviews the listing and makes sure it meets our strict criteria for approval. We use Freshdesk to quickly reach out to the seller if anything is needed before approving the listing. This could include a request for more photos, adjustments needed to the listing criteria, or general user communication with our staff.
What’s your biggest time-saving trick when using Freshdesk?
Scenario Automation and Dispatch’r help a ton. Enabling the support team to hit one button in certain situations or have auto actions setup can really save a significant amount of time.
What’s the most important metric that you aim for at Swappa? Why?
First response time and average response time are the two metrics we keep a close eye on. Our marketplace is a bit different in that we manually check each listing before it is approved. So speed is very important to keeping buyers and sellers happy. This means getting back to the customer with accurate and punctual replies.
Your average first response is 15 minutes. That’s pretty cool. How do you manage to respond that quickly to your customers?
I know this may sound cliché, but teamwork is very important, followed closely by a knowledgeable and well-trained staff. We are all working towards a fast and effective support experience.
Your overall support average response time is 1 hour and 13 minutes. That’s a hard number to crack for most companies. What are some of the support best practices that help you achieve that?
Communication, resources, and happy employees! I ensure that my support team enjoys the work environment but also has the tools to do well are important to hit response time goals. If either fall by the wayside, efficiency tends to suffer.
Do you provide support on social media? If so, how do you manage the channel?
We currently do not use the social tools on Freshdesk, but our social team has guidelines in place for responding and directing support-related messages to our team.
There is no community or online forums that you run for customer support. What are your thoughts on setting up online communities or forums as a support channel?
We feel our email support is quick and knowledgeable. This tends to negate the need for support forums. We also offer an in-depth FAQ and public user communication on listings via Swappa.
What’s your most memorable customer interaction?
We’ve seen a lot of positive interactions with our support team over the years. Although I can’t recall one single situation, however, I always enjoy surprised users by our response time and knowledge. Comments like “ Wow that was quick” or “Thank you so much for providing support so quickly.”
Tell me about a really tough call and how you handled it.
We expect a high caliber of users on Swappa. With this, comes tough calls. We value our fair and friendly marketplace over sales numbers of a user. This has led to a few hard calls on user accounts. In one case, we had to sunset a very active, revenue building user for the betterment of our other users, even though it was not an easy call.
What according to you makes customer support great?
Communication — Nobody enjoys being in the dark. We want to ensure our users are informed and feel welcome to ask for our help.
Tools — Without proper tools, it can be an uphill battle for all involved.
Eager and energized staff — We feel that talking with support shouldn’t be a labored task. Instead, we want to greet them with eagerness to assist and the energy to work towards a solution.
What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received? (with respect to customer support)
“Step on the other side of the keyboard?” Meaning, relate to the customer and their frustrations and adjust your responses accordingly. Empathy is the key.
What do you think is the secret sauce to customer happiness?
Friendly, quick, and knowledgeable support staff. It sounds simple, but those are keys to success in support.
How do you manage taking time off from support?
I have a great set of folks working with me with an open time off policy. This allows everyone on the team to take time off without fear of customer support taking a hit.
If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose to be?
Link, from the Zelda franchise. Always up to a challenge and very resourceful
Just in case you didn’t know who Link is, here’s a picture.
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