Lesley Yarbrough is head of Customer Success @GrooveHQ, a hassle-free customer support and engagement software for startups gives her personal take on how to optimize customer success balancing a high-volume customer base and limited startup resources. Here’s how it works for Groove and Aircall.
Here are her top 3 actionable tips every startup can learn from:
- Know when and how to say no
- Mix automation with deep, personal attention
- Choose clarity over cleverness
Know when and how to say no
Like many start-ups, GrooveHQ often receives requests for new features from their customers. Despite the tempting idea of “managing expectations” and promising the world in a future roadmap, Lesley takes a very clear stand on these requests:
- Never over-sell about future developments and only mention them if they’re close enough to release. Lesley is now working on a public product roadmap so that customers can have a transparent view of what’s coming and when [Editor’s note: if you like the idea, have a look at Aircall’s public roadmap or Front’s as well!]
- Never try to convince or retain a customer who expects GrooveHQ to do things it’s not designed to do.
For example, Lesley often receives requests to build a customer portal in order to visualize the status of tickets – even if Groove has been designed to indeed work “invisibly” for the customer.
“You have to be honest with your customers and accept that you can’t meet everyone’s specific needs. When you realize it’s just not a good fit, it’s better to say that up front, rather than give people the wrong expectations.”
Likewise, for their FAQs section (https://help.groovehq.com/help_center), Lesley has started to add articles on features GrooveHQ doesn’t have – an uncommon yet interesting idea for any SaaS!
Mix automation with deep, personal attention
How do you handle hundreds of requests with a very limited team?
GrooveHQ is built with an “automated” onboarding and lifecycle nurturing process. Each new customer receives sample tickets showing how the product works and helping him or her with the first steps. GrooveHQ also sends automated messaging triggered by user actions or behavior. These help the vast majority of customers to understand the product and make the most of it.
However, Lesley puts a special emphasis in taking the time to make thorough and personalized answers to any follow-up question after this automated onboarding. As she recalls from her previous experience in a Poker business:
“ We had very different kinds of visitors back then. “Trolls” that got banned from our website for example. Part of my job was to get them back, and when you succeed after direct conversations with them, they become your best advocates.”
What’s actually clearly organized at GrooveHQ, is that you have 2 clear types of messaging: on one hand, the expected, automated helpers (and no one complains about that) and on the other hand, a very human and personal help if required. No half-way process that makes customers always wonder: “Is that a robot?”
When asked: “What is the worst that can happen with your customers?”, Lesley’s answer is straightforward: being too quick to answer and not giving the appropriate advice to the customer to make the best use of the product. Always step back and understand what the customer intends to do before helping him out!
Clarity over cleverness for both Groove and Aircall
When assisting fellow support agents, Lesley is very keen on providing straight to the point help to Groove customers.
Lengthy paragraphs, excessive exclamation marks, and telling people to “have an awesome day!” are not good practice for her.
As she states: “These guys already know all the customer support tricks. We try to be very cordial while providing clear, to-the-point answers — there’s no need for embellishment.”
That’s a practice that can apply to most customer support teams: Leave the nice, marketing-ish formulations to the automated messages, but keep it straight-forward when it comes to a specific problem.
What’s still missing to Lesley is additional time to make more proactive, custom reach-out to larger accounts – but hopefully if you apply her recommendations above, time will free up at some point…