Being on top of your customer support requests is mission critical for any company. It's also equally important to keep a strong pulse on what your users are saying about you. One of the challenges of scaling a company is: how do you stay in touch with your users as you grow your user base?
Running an efficient and effective customer support process is vital. At Pragli, we run customer support rotations where each member of our team takes on support for the week. This achieves two things:
- Scalability with support as an early stage startup
- Generating deeper empathy with our customers as a team
I'll walk you through specifically how we run our process today.
Our Support Channels
We have multiple ways to engage with our users.
1. Internal Customer Support
Users can communicate directly with us in-app (built in-house) and expect fast turnaround times ( < 24 hours).
To reach us, click the avatar box that says "Pragli team," and a discussion will pop up to ping us directly. Since we built this system ourselves, we're able to customize the experience and tailor it to our users.
These support messages come through the Pragli website. They are typically not Pragli users and are looking for more information about the product.
In our community page, we have a "Pragli Feedback" discussion that allows members to directly interact with us and give suggestions. Note that this is not a place to report bugs but rather give us direct feedback. If they end up misusing the channel for bug reporting, we ask the person to reach out to us via support chat to not clog up the main chat.
We send monthly company-wide updates to our users via our email newsletter, which includes: feature releases, changelog updates, hiring information, blog posts, and other misc things about Pragli. Users can respond to the newsletter with their thoughts, feedback, and requests.
5. Personal Emails
We've built strong relationships with some of our customers to the point where we communicate directly with them via email and sometimes text. There are also cases where we've recommended Pragli to friends who have ended up using us in their teams. We get a lot of great feedback from both of these types of users.
Types of Support Messages
We tend to get repeating questions every now and then and it's important to know how to categorize these to be as efficient with communications as possible. Asks generally cluster into the following:
1. Social Share Bonuses
Like a video game, we've built in fun missions for our users to complete as a way to get them to engage more with our product. In return, we reward them with special avatar assets. For example, wizard items are unlocked when a user posts about Pragli on their social.
Often times there will be users reporting bugs or errors that they encounter. In these situations, try to get as much information as you can (screenshots are always helpful) and let them know you're on it.
3. Product or Feature Requests
Users often give suggestions on how we can improve certain features or the overall product. Always be courteous even if it's a suggestion we don't want to implement.
4. Avatar Requests
Some of our favorite support messages are requests for new avatar items. This is very unique to Pragli, as we get requests ranging from wanting specific assets, like a summer hat or a pet dragon, to feeling FOMO for missing out on the Chinese New Years sweater drop (only available on CNY, of course). We have a process for logging these in, too.
Furthermore, we've created an internal Notion FAQ page for our team to refer to regarding how to respond to commonly asked support questions. For example:
If it's a good suggestion / something we should look into, we'll respond with something along the lines of:
"Thank you for the suggestion! We've put down a note and will keep this in mind"
"Appreciate you flagging this issue, we'll let our team know about it and get back to you soon."
If it's a bad suggestion or something irrelevant, we'll respond with something along the lines of:
"Thank you for the suggestion, unfortunately we don't intend to add this kind of feature to Pragli. We don't want users to feel ___".
If someone is ever unsure how to answer a support message, we have a "Help" discussion chat in Pragli where the team can collaborate to figure out the best answer / diagnose the issue:
1-week support rotations
One thing we emphasize in our process today is having each member of our team participate in customer support a week at a time, regardless of their role.
As mentioned, this process achieves two things:
Customer support scalability as an early stage startup
- While we don't have a full-time customer support representative, we're able to scale by having everyone share the load. Each week we rotate out the customer support rep, which mitigates distractions to the team's core responsibilities.
- Assuming 10-20 total support tickets max per day and 1-2 min per ticket, you should be spending no more than 70 - 280 minutes per week when on call.
- Because we are currently a team of 7, that means you'll only be spending 70 - 280 minutes on support once every 7 weeks. By doing so, it limits disruption to our team's day-to-day jobs.
Better team understanding of and empathy for our customers
- The faster you grow as a team, the harder it is to feel connected with your users. This approach allows you to be an arms length away from customers and stay in tune with what they're saying.
- You also get the chance to build deeper relationships and bonds with your users. Often times, users who take the time to reach out are power users - we often recognize the the same users in support! Their feedback is incredibly valuable so we want to make sure we develop a personal relationship with them.
- We all know that talking to a real human (instead of a bot like on Amazon) feels a lot better when asking for help 🙂
A few weeks ago, I talked a bit about Our work trial process at Pragli and this week I talked about our customer support process. As an early stage startup we try our best to only build processes when necessary in order to move quickly. Processes should only be in place if it solves a core pain point and need, not just because it should exist.
Doug and Vivek (our co-founders) can no longer double-handedly manage support - their time is better spent building new features or solving bugs. Therefore, it makes sense to distribute this load across the entire team.
Customers are, after all, the lifeblood of a business - without happy customers, you won't generate revenue because no one will be willing to pay. That's why we take customer support seriously - it pays long-term dividends when done right.
We hope this is helpful to you and we look forward to sharing more about how we run things as a startup!
What is Pragli?
Pragli is a team communication platform that makes remote and hybrid work more fast, fun, and inclusive.
Our product is currently completely free - try it out at https://pragli.com/