Under the Hood: our new support system

March 12, 2008

Our support philosophy involves opening the floodgates via phone, forum and email. We listen to what our users are saying, see their point of view, feel the pain they’re feeling. It’s an essential way of giving us the perspective we need in building two great things: the product itself, and our relationship with the people who use it.

Our new support rotation program

With over 300,000 users and growing, and with new team members on board, our processes needed some attention to make sure we were always on top of providing great service. We wanted to find a way to scale our support efforts as demand continued to grow.

Quick turnaround time in support is a top priority here at FreshBooks, so a rotation program was devised. Each employee does email, phone and forum replies once a week to stay in touch with our users; every one of us becomes what I call a “support lead,” to make sure all queries are taken care of. Two or three leads collaborate to form a support team for the day.

What we’ve seen so far

While some calls take a bit longer as our “new recruits” get familiar with every nook and cranny about FreshBooks, everyone understands the reason we’re doing it and our customers are being super supportive of their obvious efforts. We expect the program to last as we double our user base, and by that time we’ll have weaned a few staff members off support, with the aim of building a dedicated team with the help of the experience we gather from this program.

Since starting over a month ago, we have benefited from the rotation in a few ways:

  • The whole team is more aware of the current set of feature requests and necessary enhancements.
  • Exposure means everyone has a better understanding of our users’ most common issues, and a deeper knowledge of the functionality of the product.
  • Better understanding of the most common questions builds up our collection of workarounds and solutions.
  • Support time allows us to exercise team effectiveness in communication, coordination, and cooperation.
  • The stigma of doing support has vanished because everyone in the company is doing it.
  • The rotation brings structure to our weekly schedule, allowing us to focus on both support and our individual superpowers.

Support builds a humble person

In addition to being current and up-to-date with the rotation program, the team also benefits from this humbling role. As one of our customers, Zane Safrit, says, “putting others’ needs first builds a humble person.”

It takes quite a bit of patience from every single one of us, and creates a staff with rock star skills.

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.