FreshBooks Hosted by Rackspace – Literally

September 4, 2009

Hi, I’m Tim – the new guy at FreshBooks – and I’d like to tell you about my recent trip to Rackspace.

Where to begin? It was my very first business trip ever, and being the “new guy” around the office, I wasn’t familiar with Rackspace – our Managed Hosting overlord. I admit, that even as we landed in San Antonio, Texas, I still questioned why the rest of my team was so excited to meet the Rackers. Though from the amount of times Grace said “This trip is going to be THE BEST!”, I had a feeling that it was going to be, well, the best.

Rackspace was a term you used around the office if you wanted to get people excited. Though I didn’t know at the time, Rackspace’s approach to customer support, or “Fanatical Support®” – where transparency, expertise, responsiveness and promise keeping reigned — was what inspired FreshBooks to become customer driven from the beginning. These values, as opposed to the slow, unfriendly, and silent treatment you usually get (and sadly, expect) from customer support was the number one reason I decided to come work for FreshBooks.

Despite an exhausting day spent mostly in airports getting delayed and rerouted, we were surprisingly refreshed the next day. Ginger, Jody, Rachel, and Suizo of Rackspace greeted us cheerfully when we arrived at Datapoint, their head office. Throughout the morning, we got a sneak peak of how they operated. It’s amazing really, the efficiency. There were many team matrixes spread across the building, and each matrix is responsible for a number of accounts. Just like FreshBooks, customers get to talk to a person without having to navigate through a maze of automated phone system first.

Duncan from Rackspace also gave us a grand tour, allowing quick glimpses into the natural habitat of a Racker, as in, their office space, featuring décor with fun photos of Rackers, exuberant awards, balloons and your normal cube-toys. We also got to see their extensive new hire training program — the Rackspace University. The favourite part of the whole morning tour has to be the amazing Street Fighter II Champion Edition arcade unit we found. Hadouken!

After a fairly sizeable lunch at Rudy’s, we tried our very best to get over the food-coma induced by yummy cream corn and lots and lots of meat, and drove over to what everyone calls, “The Castle”. It was a castle indeed. What use to be the Windsor Park Mall has now become the future (and current, depending on where you go) office of Rackspace. The completed portion features the windy “Big Ass Fan”, and quite possibly the world largest word search, as well as all sorts of green and sustainable designs that minimizes the environmental impact. Sean from Rackspace also gave us a tour of the incomplete portion of the office. We were floored, the scope of things really don’t hit you until you see it in person.

The next day, while shadowing some of the Rackers, we were pleasantly surprised when we all got a fitted, authentic cow-boy/girl hat from the world famous Paris Hatters! In the evening we were treated to a fantastically delicious dinner at Boudro’s by the Rackers. Great food, greater company, it felt more like a night out with friends than a business dinner.

Back at FreshBooks HQ having lunch, our CEO Mike asked how the trip has opened my eyes. The answer was quite simple: It was very refreshing to see a company of Rackspace’s size care about their customers. From the way they greeted us to the little touches like the cow-boy/girls hat, we felt like true VIPs for the duration of our visit. Despite their crazy busy schedule, everyone on the team – from VP to Reps – took the time to make us feel welcome in a very sincere way, and never rushed anything throughout our visit — All of this on top of the stellar support they provide us on a day-to-day basis. It was around then I understood why the rest of the team was so psyched to visit the Rackers in the first place.

Was it “The Best!”? You bet! The trip was also a great learning experience for me, as well as a reminder of what customer services should be – Working with someone who’s resourceful, transparent, responsive, takes ownership, and most importantly, making the entire process a painless experience. We were truly inspired and refreshed to have experienced the fanatical support, and look forward to “pay-it-forward” and pass on this type of customer support experience onto the FreshBooks community.

Check out the rest of our trip photos at our flickr. Including a very awesome meet-up with FreshBooks’ customers in San Antonio!

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.