What We’ve Learned from Being Support Heroes for One Day

10 min read
Jul 5, 2017
  • Post on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Post on LinkedIn
  • Post on Reddit
  • Copy link to clipboard
    Link copied to clipboard
Support Heroes

We waited for this moment for quite some time. The excitement was so big that we even made bets on when it would happen. And I’m not talking about reaching 100,000 unique visits per month on our blog – although that caused a lot of stir as well.

I’m talking about a day when our dashboard showed us that LiveChat reached 20k customers! Woohoo!

What do you do when you hear such amazing news? You have no other choice than to plan a team celebration!

That’s exactly what LiveChat did. We organised 4-day trip straight into the nature. Surrounded by woods, fields and lakes we celebrated the round number of our customers and worked on a team building, so we could come back ready for more work.

What about Support Heroes?

Celebration wasn’t the only important thing we were doing on our workation. As you probably all know, we have a 24/7/365 support team, available even when we do team building activities.

As there’s always a customer who needs our help, we have to make sure that we are always online. While chatting with customers, they cannot do anything else. Or let me rephrase it – they can only do things they’re able to do while chatting.

So yes, even when we've reached 20k customers and we were looking forward to celebrate this joyful fact, you guys were still our main focus when it comes to providing you with both, excellent app and excellent Customer Support.

That’s our Support Heroes during a stop on our trip.

Support heroes during a stop trip

But this time we decided that even Support Heroes need some help from their teammates.

Even Support Heroes need a little help sometimes

Teamwork is the core value at LiveChat, so we came up with the idea of helping our Support Heroes for one day. Almost each LiveChat member took up a challenge and logged onto our app to provide our customers with the support that they need. Thanks to that, our real Support Heroes were able to do something as a whole team for once.

It may seem that it was easy but please believe me – there was nothing easy about it. Support Heroes are the people who know all the aspects of our product, including all the settings quirks that may not be so obvious in the beginning. On the other hand, there are we who do not work with our product on a daily basis– and that is why we needed to prepare.

Here’s how the whole preparation process looked like:

1. We've planned our shifts

At LiveChat, we don’t have our working hours scheduled – except for our Customer Support of course. At the beginning, we needed to plan our shifts. The first shift started on Tuesday from 00:00 a.m. and it lasted till 4 a.m. The second shift began at 01:00 a.m. and it lasted until 05:00, and so the schema for our shifts was ready. We have finished chatting on Tuesday midnight.

People from different teams could jump in and book their shifts. Luckily, we had plenty of volunteers, even for a dead–men shift, so everything was covered. After all, what’s a better motivation to watch the sunrise than doing so when chatting with customers?

Here’s how it looked like:

Support heroes chatting sunrise

2. We had to do small onboarding

Each person who comes to LiveChat needs to get to know our product first. It means that, at least one week, you need to spend time chatting among our Support Heroes. We don’t believe people can do amazing work as developers, designers or marketing specialists, if they don’t know the product well.

But you know how it is – along the way, we focus more on our work and usually we cannot find the time to chat with customers. The product evolves quickly, so we needed a quick “catch-up” session, between going on our adventure.

Our support manager provided us with a list of things that we should read and learn, before switching our job positions to Support Hero for one day. We also received all the needed logins and apps that are crucial to provide smooth service over live chat, like very useful Monosnap.

Then we could join our Support Heroes in their room for a small training session with live customers. Login into application and switching our status to Accept chats after such a long break was a little stressful, so having other agents by our side was priceless.

3. We read old chats, FAQ and Knowledge Base

Talking with customers wasn’t the only thing we could do to prepare for our big day. We also read chats in the archives, as they gave us the idea about the way Support Heroes talk with customers and what are the most common issues we can face. I personally also read some parts of our Knowledge Base and FAQ, just to adjust my mindset into LiveChat product in order to provide better customer support.

The big day – rookies on chat

On a daily basis, we’re responsible for publishing features, blog posts, sending newsletters to 300k subscribers and many more. We manage to do that without stressing too much.

Yet, when it came to chatting with customers, many people were somehow nervous. The biggest doubts we had came when we started thinking about our Support Department’s image that they have worked on for so long. We simply didn’t want to shatter it overnight.

Doubts like: “What if we can’t solve a case?” “What if our customer satisfaction will drop?” were rushing through our heads. We knew that we could use canned responses for the most popular cases, or that we could create tickets so our support agents can solve them later, but we felt an enormous responsibility that pushed us to do our best and not to disappoint customers.

That's how we looked like at the beginning:

Support heroes stressed on chat

As it turned out, fear makes things look twice as bad as they really are. Chatting with customers went fine and it was one of the best things we did on our trip (besides kayaking, biking, hiking and dancing together).

For a few hours, some of us even more, we became Support Heroes and did our best to solve your cases. You could meet our Marketing Manager on chat, people from Partner Program, Content team and finally our CEO who got up at 6 a.m. to support our customers, occasionally throwing a joke or two.

A lot of our chats were rated “good” and you won’t believe how motivated we were when seeing that our efforts have resulted in such a nice gesture!

Now, I want to share with you what we’ve learned from being Support Heroes for one day:

#1 Testing the product in the real battlefield

When you create a product and test it inside the company’s environment it may work perfectly. But when you show it to the real world, it may not work just as smooth.

One of the reasons is that, when designing a product, we may sometimes forget about the human factor. People tend to use things in a different ways, plus if they’re in stress or in a rush, some aspects of our product may not be as obvious as we think they are. Testing the product in the real battlefield, outside the company, gives you a better chance to see what needs to be improved.

So far, our developers created new features, made tests within our test environment, published those features and waited for the feedback provided by our customers. During our short chatting venture we realized that we can do much more than this!

Counting on Support Heroes' feedback is an easy way but we can do much more. We believe that developers and UX designers should test the product not only in the safe environment, but also while talking with customers and answering questions stated during a chat. Using the product to its fullest will help us notice what could have been done better. And that’s exactly what happened.

#2 Finding bugs inside the application

The advantage of letting developers and designers chat with customers is that they can find bugs inside the application much quicker than Support Heroes, who might not always know “how it really should look like.”

Our UX designer found a few things that needed some improvements right away. Because of his experience he was able to immediately notice that “this button cannot be situated like this because, while chatting, it makes it hard to notice it.” etc. Our developers were also able to found a few bugs, just because they are able to see a delicate differences in how the application behaves.

Our CEO noticed plenty of LiveChat aspects that he would like to improve, just to make things much smoother for our customers.

#3 Real valuable team building

During our shifts, we sat in the same room and we did our best to help each other out. Some people had shifts over a fancy dinner and during a party. But no worries, we were there to help.

Super heroes at dinner

Our main goal was to solve cases right away. We didn’t want to create tickets or tell customers “can you please hold on a minute while I…”

At most times it was possible to deliver smooth experience because, among us, we had somebody who worked in customer support before or we even had Support Heroes themselves, making sure that everything is in order. Without them we would be confused and we would be forced to create more tickets than we actually did. And that’s not the fastest way to communicate with customers, right?

We have also came up with a new plan, in case that such a venture will happen in the future as well. We are thinking about having at least one Support Hero with us at all times, making sure that the support department is kept on the same high level – and the level of our stress is decreased.

#4 We gathered the feedback and draw conclusions

When we came back from our trip, we shared all of our suggestions after chatting with customers. Many people pointed out 5-6 things they wanted to improve. We gathered the feedback and will work on it to make the application better.

Funny thing is, we’re sometimes sure that the product needs to be “this way, because it’s the only right way.” But it’s only theoretical and once we work with the product for a while, we might change our perspective. Many people learned a lot from working inside the app but also from interacting with customers. The appreciation for our support team has never been higher too!

Being Support Heroes not only for one day

We learned a lot from helping our Support Heroes for one day. It can be helpful not only to improve the application or help support in tough times when they need more people on chats, but it also helps us appreciate their job more.

The experience has bonded us more as well! Maybe it will inspire you to do something similar in your company. We tend to think that other people jobs are easy. Stepping in the shoes of others for just one day can give you insight and a whole different perspective, and I honestly can’t see a reason why we shouldn’t do it more often.

We definitely plan on working as Support Heroes again. Not only during events like workation, but also on a regular basis. Start a chat with us and who knows – maybe next time you will be greeted by our CEO himself!