Why A Great Customer Support Team Generates Successful Customers

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Ricky Raykhenberg, the first hire to do customer support at Optimizely – support that doesn’t suck.

At Optimizely we pride ourselves on quality of support for every customer, no matter the level. We’ve experienced tremendous growth since starting in 2010 and the support we provide all of our clients is a huge part of that. Sometimes our group doesn’t receive the glory that engineering gets when they develop an amazing feature, or the sales team hears when they close a big deal. Our team doesn’t get to ring the gong when we answer a tough question about a customer’s test. Enabling customers to be successful is what drives my group. Every day I see how hard the people around me work to present a positive image of the company to existing and potential clients. It’s our job to delight everyone who interacts with us.

I was the first person hired to do customer support at Optimizely. This was two years ago when the company consisted of two co-founders and two engineers. It’s a good sign that even at the very beginning customer support was a top priority. I came from a technical background and didn’t have too much experience working with customers directly. This gave me an opportunity to approach my position from a new perspective. I hadn’t been indoctrinated in any particular methodology just yet.

I did have a couple experiences that gave me a frame of reference for how I wanted to do support, though. The first was a large airline. I booked a flight with their online system and due to some bug I was double charged. After being re-routed through several call centers, talking with reps who, while generally nice, were unable to give me a refund, I was eventually given a phone number to call. It reached an automated system, taking me further along an infinite loop of frustration. I had to contact my bank and cancel the payment through them. Bad experience.

The other was Groupon. I bought some concert tickets from them. When I realized I couldn’t make the concert, I emailed them and within a few hours they refunded my money. Good experience. Almost the same situation, completely different outcomes. I decided to not fly that airline again, and I haven’t since.

For a year I was the only Account Manager at Optimizely. I handled every single case that came through our various channels – email, phone, live chat and even Twitter. My primary goal was simple: avoid horrible experiences, don’t create detractors. We wanted to have not only the most powerful split testing tool, but also the one with the most enthusiastic customers. Luckily the company enabled me to do this. They gave me full ownership to solve problems on my own without having to send it up the ladder. As we grew the team to two, three and eventually four people, we kept looking for people who would continue this tradition. Now looking to add our 10th, 11th and 12th member to the team, our values of ownership and passion are as relevant as the day I joined. (We’re still hiring!)

Three words describe our approach to support: speed, accuracy, and empathy. We want to get you a response quickly. We want that response to be correct. And we want to put ourselves in your shoes to understand how a problem or question affects your ability to use our platform. We want to give you the answers you need to do your job effectively.

How does this lead to customer success? If you’re trying to setup a test, the last thing you want is a long back and forth with multiple customer support reps trying to resolve your problem. When we give you an answer quickly, you are on your way to successful tests faster. It makes us happy when we help you succeed. Hopefully we can give you insights that enable you to solve future problems, too. Through interacting with you, we get better ourselves. If we find multiple clients asking the same question, then we know that we need better documentation or product enhancements. The people who do support are the ones writing the knowledge base articles and I am personally responsible for communicating with the product team about what features need to be added or improved. Everything we do is rooted in the framework of your success using Optimizely as an AB testing tool. When we actually pay attention and listen we are able to make improvements to the platform and remove potential roadblocks.

Whether you’re an Optimizely client, a potential client, or someone who is just interested in AB testing with Optimizely, we have answers for you. If you have a question that our Knowledge Base doesn’t answer, please contact us at support@optimizely.com.  Also, we love feedback on our interactions with clients. Every email response includes a NiceReply link, please, let us know how we are doing. We love getting 10s when we delight you, but if we don’t deserve them, then please tell us. We need you to help us help you better. Success is a two-way street.

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