Being a one-woman support team at a startup with an exponentially growing user base poses a couple of challenges – mainly the flood of tickets that I receive on a daily basis.
I help manage and run support at SumAll. If you’re getting a response to a support inquiry via e-mail or on social, it’s probably from me.
The Tickets Never Stop
I receive about 70 tickets per day on average. On the weekends, this usually drops to around 30 or 40 a day. The time from when I receive a ticket to when I respond can vary a lot. We typically try to get to a ticket within 24 hours. However, sometimes, it takes a few days, especially if the ticket comes in over the weekend. As a one person team, this is part of the growing pains of being a lean startup and it’s not a unique issue.
We’re really trying to work on this and be more responsive to users. One of the ways we’re hoping to address this is to introduce more automation into our responses and support process. I know that “automatic” feels like a dirty word sometimes. But our messages will be personal, I’ll be reading all tickets, and this will allow us to more quickly respond to issues that don’t require investigation, while simultaneously giving me time to look into and respond to tickets that do involve more work.
While it can stressful to be wholly responsible for addressing the concerns of our users, I really love it when I’ve helped solve someone’s issue. That might sound trite, but I genuinely think of myself as a client advocate. When I’m able to successfully do my job and alleviate a stress on the user’s part, it makes my day. And it especially make my day if they’re super happy about it.
At times, it can be draining to respond to so many tickets, many of which can be negative. However, I don’t take it personally. I know that they’re not directing their issue or concern at me, but rather, at SumAll support. It just so happens that at the moment, I am SumAll support. Also, I’m totally for users airing their grievances to support. I’d rather them do that than close their account without contacting us and trying to get their issue fixed. I’ve often been in these types of support-related situations myself with other companies, so I usually relate to how the user is feeling.
Airing of Grievances
Our two most popular ticket inquiries are 3rd party login and the Performance Tweet issues. A fair amount of users get confused about how to login after they sign up with a 3rd party like Twitter or Facebook. Another big one is the Performance Tweet. We’ve made some errors with this feature in the past and we want to totally own our mistakes. Some users are also unaware of it and opt-in without knowing what it does. However, we’re working to get better every day. As I tell users in my support messages, this is something we’re genuinely sorry about and working to improve. Like all things, it takes time and practice. At the end of the day, we’re people and we make mistakes.
Handling Support on Social Media
Social media plays a huge, gigantic role in customer service. More and more users are flocking to social sharing sites like Twitter to air their grievances and contact companies directly regarding product issues. If anything, social gives a human voice to support and allows us to communicate directly with customers. I think it helps users see that we’re real people, responding to them in real-time, not automatons. It also makes companies more transparent.
We recently created a special Twitter handle @SumAllSupport to handle support questions coming through Twitter. What spawned this? We realized that our brand page, @SumAll, was being bombarded with our support responses. As a result, we wanted to be able to maintain a page where we could communicate our brand and another where we can respond directly to customers, thus, @SumAllSupport was born.
Share your own support stories in the comments below. Have any questions for us? Tweet at @SumAllSupport.
Updated November 20, 2017.