Making the Most of Our Customer Success Team’s Time
Although Float is a fully remote company that works asynchronously, our work hours on the customer success team are structured a little differently than other departments. Being customer-facing means we need to be available for our customers when they need help—and when you have customers all across the world as we do—that means being available almost all the time!
Typically, the day-to-day tasks and efforts to support our customers depend on when they need us. Our sales and account management teams have open working hours that allow customers to book a call directly on their calendars when it's most convenient. While our support is all email and ticket-based, we structure our support team's time around an outline of hours where we see the most requests. On top of our customer-facing hours, there's also a balance of work that includes projects, admin tasks, and collaboration with other teammates or departments.
We also need capacity planning on our team, which typically occurs around the customer-facing aspects of the role. Each team within customer success has its unique balance. Support, for example, usually spends four to five hours responding to tickets and then one to two hours on project work each day. The sales and account management folks spend most of their time on calls and in front of our customers, so their project time is more limited during the week.
The split of time and responsibilities is often adjusted throughout the year, as there are a few factors that influence what makes sense for each team.
Serving customers in 150+ countries with around the clock support
The customer success team was established early on to provide excellent customer service to everyone using Float.
We pride ourselves on having a flexible, helpful, and empathetic team—which starts with responsiveness and availability. We built the team by hiring a sales, account management, and support team member in the regions where most of our customers are (the Americas, EMEA, and APAC), and then an additional person in the Americas and EMA based on customer needs.
For the support team, each member is scheduled specific hours for responding to support tickets, with no more than a two-hour gap between the end of one person's shift and the next person coming online. The rest of the person's time is intended for follow-ups and project work. While we're constantly adjusting the schedule for seasonality or supporting other teammates, this model has helped us maintain an average 30-minute response time!
For sales and account management, this means having availability on their calendars to take calls from prospects or customers at a reasonable time. To help support our APAC customers, we plan on hiring the Americas regional role to work a later time zone so they have a few hours of overlap with APAC mornings.
Planning for spikes in support requests
Many SaaS businesses have seasonality, release cycles, or time off requests from team members to consider when figuring out scheduling and availability for their customer-facing teams.
Across our customer success team, we adjust schedules and hiring potential based on the volume of tickets, calls, and customer demand. For example, if we're running a new promo or deal, we know we'll need more availability from the sales team to offer up calls and demos. Or if we release a new feature in Float, we'll want more hands on deck to handle the increase in questions that come in.
This requires being flexible and focused, and it's why clear communication and problem-solving skills are so highly valued within our team! Our team's dedication to creating great customer experiences has positively impacted our team metrics, as 95% of our customer conversations are rated as positive.
Sometimes the volume changes require hiring additional people to support increased demand, whereas other times, we can temporarily adjust the weekly schedule. We pulse check both by reviewing quantitative metrics like the number of inbound leads or ticket volume and seeing how the team is feeling. Managing workloads and maintaining a work-life balance supporting our team's #bestworklife is one of the most important considerations.
Documentation is critical in a fully remote support team
In addition to the day-to-day tasks of each role (e.g., responding to tickets, running Float demos, etc.), we also dedicate time to projects that help us build out some of our main processes and policies and improve our operations.
When a team is still in its early stages, knowledge and processes exist in the minds of the team members with the most seniority. As the team grows, it becomes more challenging to scale and train new team members without proper procedures. As we've been hiring, training, and onboarding, we've recognized the need to document our knowledge of day-to-day tasks and processes. We're currently overhauling our team manual to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Whenever there's a question on how things work, a team member should be able to reference our internal manual rather than relying on someone else to share their knowledge. As our team matures and our processes are defined, we expect to spend less time building out these manuals and internal documentation and move to just updating and refining them as necessary.
We’re paving the road as we grow
One of our values at Float is to own it, and we do that by embracing our autonomy to lean in and figure things out.
Most folks on our customer success team are first hires in their respective roles (myself included), so we're paving the road as we travel down it. That means some of our work involves taking the initiative and trying new things.
Our sales team is constantly looking for new ways to engage in outreach; our accounts team is exploring how we can create bespoke training sessions for customers with different use cases; and our support team is digging into the feedback that our customers share so that we can advocate their feature requests make it onto our product roadmap. In the early stages of team maturity, it's crucial to dedicate time to these projects, even if it may take away some of the day-to-day responsibilities.
Projects help to create consistency in how our teams work together and set expectations for responsibilities—while also pushing us to continue to improve.
As managing time and schedules is a constant battle, being in tune with the team helps make the workload more palatable. We must strike a balance between focusing on projects that will help the team in the long term and looking after the daily needs of our customers (and prospective customers).
It's helpful to set expectations early on with a team so they understand how much time to dedicate to each responsibility and performance metrics can be established.
Using the appropriate tools to manage time, schedules, and projects makes things easier. Our teams use Float (of course😉) to see everyone's availability and time off, Notion for our project Kanban board, and Google Calendar for scheduling customer and prospect calls. We use our team channel in Slack to communicate what we're working on now and in the future.
This type of transparency within our team helps us hold each other accountable and pick each other up when needed!
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