Cards Against Humanity is a party game that claims to be made for horrible people. Behind the awesome card game, that’s creating roars at parties, is an awesome support team led by Jenn Bane. She’s the Community Director at Cards Against Humanity and has a team of 8 helping with customer support. They predominantly offer support through email but also have a fake customer service number that leads nowhere. (Try it out:(312) 756-0834).
Let’s start with the basics. What’s a typical day like in the life of Jenn Bane?
No day looks exactly the same for me, which is great! Generally, in the morning, I drink coffee and glance at our inbox and Twitter to make sure nothing’s on fire. Then I get into the office between 10:00 – 11:00 AM. A few times a week, we have “check in” meetings where we talk about what we’re working on. If someone is blocking on a project, this is where we work to fix it.
I have the inbox open all day, making sure everything’s running smoothly, then I work on other writing projects.
Co-working like there’s no manana!
Sounds like the most fun ever, working next to random people! What do you look for in someone who wants to join the CAH support team?
Our team is made of funny people who enjoy writing, and accept editing advice easily. Cards Against Humanity is a comedy writing company, and there’s creativity in our customer support: our first goal is to make the customer happy by fixing their problem, and our secondary goal is to make them laugh. If there’s a joke to be made, we go for it. We swear in our emails. We’re totally honest if we fuck up. In fact, that’s what we call it: “I’m sorry we f-ed up your order” is a standard reply from us. We’re very lucky that we get to write in the voice of our game.
What would you say is the goal of your support team?
Our goal as a support team is to delight and surprise our customers with a helpful and entertaining email. I think businesses underestimate how well customers can take a joke.
Here’s an example: sometimes customers will email us and say, “I ordered Cards Against Humanity, but I never received my confirmation email, because I mistyped my own email address.”
Our response might be, “Well that was dumb of you, huh?”
And then, obviously, we’ll fix their issue. Customers are so pleasantly surprised to speak with someone who has a sense of humor.
Hear hear! How many questions do you get every day, Jenn?
Totally depends on the time of year. Holiday season, we probably get 2,000 emails a day through our webstore CardsAgainstHumanity.com. In early summer, probably 100-200. Half of our customer service goes through Amazon, because we sell there too.
What about social media support? How do you help people who reach out to you via Twitter or Facebook?
We don’t handle a lot of support over social media — we make it clear that the best way for us to help you is by sending us a short email including your order information. Around the holidays, when we have a huge rush, I’ll help people via Twitter or Facebook.
With such a big customer base and even bigger fan base, how do you manage taking time off from support?
Don’t ask me, I kind of hate missing work. I’m not a place right now where I totally disengage from email. I always have my phone or computer, even if I’m traveling. Right now, that works for me. Maybe in a few years I’ll want to pull myself away from the Internet more, but right now I’m fine with it.
Working from home is a great option for us. I do it about once a week. If we’re feeling stressed, taking a day to work at home is a good way to replenish. I’ve found answering emails from our own couch can be good for us mentally because we’re all anxious introverted nerds.
Anxious introverted nerds
Well, you must have an ace up your sleeve to motivate your team to work like that?
With salary & benefits, and by taking lots of breaks to play Killer Queen, our favorite arcade game.
Haha! So is that the best thing about working for Cards Against Humanity?
There are too many good things to possibly name.
Here are a few:
- Everyone who works out of our office is kind, hilarious, sensitive, and helpful. We have an office policy that if you have the ability to teach someone something — whether it’s coding, or something in Photoshop, how to play a board game, whatever — you do it.
- I have the privilege to be almost totally myself while I’m at work (except I don’t walk around in my underwear like I do at home). It’s part of my job to be funny and weird, and I don’t have to hide that part of myself for the sake of professionalism.
- Lots of women work here. I work with the most amazing badass team of women.
- For no particular reason, we work west coast hours, so I sleep in everyday.
Talk about motivation…
No wonder you hate missing work! What’s your most memorable customer interaction?
One time we sent an unhappy customer a Chicago deep dish pizza. Another time, after a customer told us their puppy ripped up their cards, I mailed over some dog toys with a new copy of the game. We’ll write poems, draw cartoons, good-naturedly tease the customer if they said something dumb. Sometimes, if it’s a non-customer-service email, we’re just plain weird and surreal and dark.
Here are a few of my favorite examples:
You guys are a hoot, Jenn! On a serious note though, how do you handle tough customers?
If the customer is truly impossible, we don’t waste our energy on appeasing them. One time, after several email exchanges in which I worked to fix a problem, someone was livid at me for giving them a full refund. In that case, my response was, “Sorry to lose you as a customer.”
Once time someone emailed us because they were mad that we make fun of Republicans in our game. There’s definitely nothing I can say to that person that will make them happy.
And what do you do when you’ve had a rough customer experience? How do you get back into your happy place?
Our support team communicates via Slack all day, and it acts as our “editing room.” That means we can edit one another’s writing and ask for feedback, but it also acts as a place where you can safely vent about a frustrating customer. Or make fun of them. That helps too.
If someone is being really rude, I take a step back and don’t answer the email right away. Ideally you wait 20 minutes before responding, but sometimes I wait an entire day to totally back away from the issue.
So what would you say is one thing a good customer should know?
I wish all customers on the planet knew how to write a short, efficient email. Include all relevant order information and let us know what your issue is in just two or three sentences. Also, be extra patient around the holidays.
It’s always about patience, isn’t it? What is the most rewarding thing about being a customer support agent?
We have the freedom to give generous refunds, give out free games, and surprise people with weird freebies in the mail. My job is to make people happy and excited, which is really fun.
Fun? Oh, we think so!
And what’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received, with respect to customer support?
Pretend every single email you write will be put all over the Internet. Sometimes it really will!
That’s some excellent advice! Which kind of customer makes your day?
The kind of customer who accidentally emails us, thinking we are their mom or dad.
It seems random, but you’d be amazed at how often this happens. We usually tell them we are now their guardians and they’re grounded. It’s fun and it usually lightens our busy day.
Random question…just to satiate our curiosity! If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?
Hands down, the Deep dish pepperoni from Art of Pizza in Chicago. It’s my #1. I could eat it everyday.
And if you could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
JK Rowling, my best friend Nadija, and my best bro-worker Trin. I’ll be real: this is pretty much my biggest fantasy. Although, we’ll all probably get wine-drunk and cry.
That’s all folks!
We started the Secret Sauce series to find out more about what makes the customer service of some great companies click. We get in touch with one awesome support representative and we pick their brains. We find out what a typical day is like for these support rockstars, their personal work-philosophy, support process and what inspires them to go above and beyond the call of duty to make their customers happy.Know a customer support rep you’d like to see featured here? Drop us a line in the comments or shoot an email to email@example.com with your suggestions.