Speaker 1: Welcome to support up simplified, where we interview thought leaders in the great field of customer support operations to provide you with actionable insights from the brightest minds in the industry. Now, your host, Sid Bambani, CEO of Sumati.
Sid Bambani: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another edition of support operations simplified and today we have with us, Vlad Danilof. Hopefully, I said that right Vlad.
Vlad: That’s right.
Sid: Okay. Welcome, Vlad. Vlad is a customer service rep at ManyChat. Vlad, I’ll turn it over to you to tell us a little bit about yourself and about ManyChat.
Vlad: Yes, Sid, thanks for having me. My name is Vlad and I’m a customer support rep at ManyChat. Our mission is to help businesses to grow by building meaningful relationships with our customers through Messenger marketing. Currently we have a big shift for chat marketing and multi-channel communication.
Sid: Yes, that’s great. Tell us a little bit about what you do over there, your role and maybe a little bit about the types of customers you get to work with at ManyChat.
Vlad: Okay. Currently, we have a team of 12 people working in our team of customer support. Earlier before, we had a separation for first line and second line, but we are having these constant changes as any sales business can have. Now we are working as a team and we have a distributed part of this team. People that are working from Taiwan, Russia, US, some other countries as well. We also have offices in San Francisco and Moscow.
Sid: That’s great. It sounds like a very geographically distributed team. With 12 people, maybe you can give us a little bit of insight into how you guys keep your communication channels open and how do you actually go about with the collaboration aspect, given everyone’s time zones and everything being different?
Vlad: Yes, well, that’s the big challenge as you know, and I believe it’s a big challenge for any distributed team. One thing that is always happening and is that we are constantly doing personal development and development as a team. I should say that the whole team is more than 100 people at the moment and we are growing fast. Communication is the central part of our team as a whole. I feel that working every day for all the team.
We use Slack as a major part of our communication. Of course, writing is the main type of communication that we have. Also, we do weekly stand-ups using Zoom calls. Every room has this option to have our Zoom call anytime. Also, what we do is [inaudible 00:04:00] OKR syncs with the whole team to make sure every part of the team is on the same page and understand how we are moving forward to our goals.
Sid: Okay. That’s an important part of having a distributed team is making sure everyone’s in sync and rowing in the right direction. Other than Slack, what kind of tools and tech stack do you guys use in your day to day operations?
Vlad: I can say from our team’s perspective. If we talk about customer support, then we use the FirstDesk a lot at the moment. It’s the main part of how we cover our everyday communication with our customers. I should say that we don’t have fan support for example, which might be a bit confusing for some companies of that scale, but I’m not sure about that.
I know that people from the US, for example, or UK, they really got used to having the option to talk with the customer support representative. We know that but also, we are caring a lot about our quality of our support, our communication and the value that we share with our customers. That’s why we decided that at the moment, we will concentrate on delivering value using tickets. Also building the [unintelligible 00:05:47] the communication. FirstDesk covers both of these targets.
We have this Help Center, and we work a lot on our documentation and stuff. Also we had an experiment with the chat for a selected number of users but as for now, I’m not sure if we are going to proceed with that [unintelligible 00:06:11]. We are trying to measure everything and we can [unintelligible 00:06:18] the numbers to make sure that we do right decisions.
Sid: Interesting. I find that an interesting decision. Given the fact that your software platform was primarily focused on chat so in a lot of cases you would see a company gravitate towards chat to offer their services as well. If you can share what part of a Chat-based solution was not appealing to your customer base?
Vlad: Can you go deeper in that question to make sure that I can share the best answer for-?
Sid: Sure. What I meant was, as a company that makes a chat platform, generally if you are making a solution or a tool, you end up using it yourself, but in this case, you’re not using a chat channel for support. I was wondering what were some of the learnings or insights that you’ve had which makes Chat not a suitable solution for your customer base?
Vlad: Well, actually it’s not like that. As a chatting platform, we should show the right example of how are we actually are using it for our business. We made a really great work. All the team I know they were working hard to make sure that we have a great solution working for all the groups of our customers and ManyChat is just to share some numbers we are presented in. I had it [unintelligible 00:07:59] in 90 countries for example and we have more than one million customers, one million businesses working with ManyChat.
We have to make sure that all of them can get the right answer using our, for example, Facebook chat. We definitely have a solution there and it’s really complicated in terms of backend, but it really help serve customers. At some point, they are [unintelligible 00:08:31] to the FreshDesk platform sharing a ticket with us if they haven’t got the answer inside Messenger, for example.
Sid: Well, that’s really interesting. How do you go about measuring your metrics and KPIs across these different platforms like Facebook Messenger and FreshDesk and everything else? How do you consolidate them?
Vlad: It’s a good question. Why we are not trying to concentrate everything in Messenger, for example, because it’s really hard to measure something there because consolidating numbers is really a great challenge and what we came to at some point that we started to concentrate all the major points inside FirstDesk because it gives you really great tools for analytics and also measuring your customer feedback. Now we build our numbers using FreshDesk analytics and it [unintelligible 00:09:49].
Sid: Okay, so you consolidate all of your metrics in there regardless of the fact that it’s coming from Facebook or somewhere else?
Vlad: Yes, because as I said, when the customer hasn’t got the answer inside Messenger they’re forwarded to FirstDesk at some point because they have this link to create a ticket over there. This is really helpful but usually, we see that customers, they visit our help center and it’s a great tool as well because if you’re working a lot on your documentation, and it really brings value to your customers, then they will solve a lot of questions there. If they didn’t find the answer there, then they are creating a ticket.
Sid: Interesting. Now that makes sense. In terms of metrics carrying on in that [unintelligible 00:10:44], what do you see today as your conversion rate in terms of people who are coming in and then ending up creating a ticket because they didn’t get an answer the first time round. The second part of that question is what kind of plans do you have in place to improve that?
Vlad: I can say, for the conversion of Facebook, for example, but what I can see and the numbers that we’re really measuring, that are common from all the different parts of ManyChat as an app and FirstDesk as a Help Center solution, as well, that we started this year, for example, with the resolution time of five days, for example and now we have it like two-three days. For example, first response time we made it [unintelligible 00:11:41] from eight minutes to one to three minutes.
We see that there is certain progress in terms of measuring some numbers that we believe that represent the importance for the satisfaction of our customers as well and we manage satisfaction as well which is actually a great problem because we still have some concerns on the right tool for measuring satisfaction. We haven’t found a good one so now we use FirstDesk solution as the most suitable one and because it’s also integrated in a single platform. But in terms of tools, I know that we are using intercom as well and we use Wootric for tracking our impasse.
Sid: Sorry, what was the last name?
Sid: Wootric. Yes, of course, that’s the one that sends out the surveys at the end, right?
Sid: The customer satisfaction aspect of it is the really interesting one for me always because, like you mentioned, there are KPIs that we can hang our hat off of and say that these are closely tied to customer happiness but the only way to validate that is by saying, “Well, are customers very happy?” Because we’re responding to things quicker and solving things quicker.
What kind of customer satisfaction, you mentioned it’s in FreshDesk, what kind of response rates are you seeing from that, is it based on surveys, are you using something else in addition?
Vlad: Well, I can say that we use a number of tools and the product team for example, use some other tools as well. We see the feedback from different channels and different angles as well. That’s why I mentioned Wootric for example, because it also shows us how the customers relate to certain problems or issues or what kind of feedback they’re sharing, and as well we can track the– Well, we have the number for the [unintelligible 00:14:09] score.
Sid: The NPS is what you’re tracking with Wootric, okay.
Vlad: Yes. The one we use on the past mean score.
Sid: The one interesting challenge that the other guests on the show have mentioned with NPS is being able to really get down into the details of why someone has given a good or a bad score because there’s not a whole lot of context over there. In terms of return rates and and being able to tell exactly what those pain points are, how do you guys go about dwelling into that?
Vlad: Well, that’s why I’ve mentioned that we are looking at this situation from different angles. For example, you are totally right that, for example, Wootric doesn’t give you the tool insight on the feedback from customers and some of them share some comments and a lot of them do not.
That’s why we have for example, Facebook community as well, which is 70k plus community that is quite active and people share a lot of information there. They are really engaged with sharing their opinions and bugs issues and that kind of stuff. Also, their personal opinions on how we work as a product and as a team as well. That’s why we see that, in the beginning of the year we had 70% satisfaction rate, and now we have 75 plus stable percentage.
Sid: That’s a really good score. What are some of the things that you guys have on the docket for the future in terms of being able to improve your service delivery?
Vlad: Well, first of all, we’re growing fast. To make sure that we can cover 24/7 support that works outstandingly fast, because at the moment we have quite good NPS which is 8.7, which I believe is quite good. I’m not sure about the average for SAS businesses, but I think it’s really good. We would like to make sure that with that kind of company growth, we can still make sure that our customers are happy.
Also, we see some challenges that we can make. We use OKR system to track our goals and results. We are currently scheduling our next year, next quarter to make sure that we are moving forward constantly. At the moment we are growing our team, first of all, because we see that sometimes we have some all this pressure for a single team member. We have to care about our [unintelligible 00:17:42] work and how they’re comfortable with their feedback to our customers. How they’re making our customers happier, because it always matters what kind of load every customer support rep has.
Sid: Of course. That’s really good insight. It looks like you guys are putting the right pieces in place in order to be able to scale the company from an operations perspective. You know Vlad, as we’re talking through this, there’s obviously a lot of experience you have in terms of looking at the operations from a higher level perspective. Who have been some of the people who’ve influenced the way you’ve come across this?
Vlad: You mean–?
Sid: I mean in terms of mentors?
Vlad: First of all, ManyChat itself inspired me for that because some time ago, we started mentor institution inside of ManyChat. The company started to grow, some of the people that are working in the team that can share their experience and their insights and their view of how we work with our product and our customers because we are a customer-centric company.
Now, we have mentors in every team and in customer support as well. That makes the team grow constantly as well. I mean when you have a mentor, you have not only professional, but also personal support and a person that can help you to grow faster and cut the corners, right?
Sid: Of course. That’s really cool that you have a program like that in place. One last question for us before we wrap this up over here. If there was one thing that you could have on your wish list for next year in terms of being able to change or improve or have a better tool for, what would that be?
Vlad: Well, I personally believe that automation tools can improve customer support work a lot. I’m not sure what kind of tools would be applied at the moment, but we are constantly looking for different solutions, we do inner tests and see how it works with some select customers for example or how it works for our team inside. Not to make sure that we are loaded with all the new tools coming up because you can spend a lot of time learning and reading and testing new tools, but it won’t affect your productivity or customer happiness.
That’s why you should be reasonable with that, but I really believe that automation can solve some of the routine things that we have in our job and improve the productivity as a team.
Sid: Yes, absolutely. No, that’s a really good point that you’ve made over here as we all head into the new year, on how we can keep our eyes peeled for things that can effectively scale organizations and automate maybe perhaps some of the more mundane parts of it. Well, Vlad it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you. Thank you for sharing your insights and thank you for being a part of the show.
Vlad: Thank you, Sid. I hope that people will find some interesting solutions or ideas from what we discussed. Also, we are really open to exchange our experience and we’re working hard to make sure that we are growing as a team and we look forward to meeting other teams to exchange our experience. You can find me on LinkedIn and we can talk about that as well.
Sid: Sounds good. All right, thank you very much.
Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to support up simplified with Sid Bambani of Sumati. Tune in next week for another interview with a customer support operations, thought leaders.
[00:22:36] [END OF AUDIO]