Daniel Nathan is the Customer Success Manager at PowToon, a company which sells cloud-based software for creating animated presentations and explainer videos. PowToon is headquartered at London, UK and is spread over Philippines and Israel.
They offer support over email, live chat, support portals and have recently started trying out support over the phone. With over five million users all over the world, the PowToon team receives about 200 to 300 support requests every day.
We managed to catch up with Daniel and chat with him about life at PowToon and customer support.
What does your role at PowToon entail?
I lead the team here.
I’m basically responsible for all customer support procedures here. I also launched a sales scheme where reps get incentives for every new subscription and that motivates and encourages my team . There are no targets or any particular deadlines because the only thing that matters is making customers happy.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of a Customer Success Manager at PowToon.
My day starts at about 10 in the morning. I clear up all the tickets that have escalated from the night shift to me. I then contact the users and ask if they need any additional help from my team. This might be anything from refunds to business opportunities and business partnerships that were escalated to us. It usually takes about an hour to go through all of them.
Then, I spend close to two hours with my product team discussing product updates. This involves anything that might affect our customers’ experience of the product like the UI or the pricing. So that takes keeps me occupied till about 12, after which I start working on customer tickets with my team before heading out to lunch.
After lunch, I usually meet senior managers of the company to talk about issues we’re facing and work on projects like re-doing the knowledge base and creating training platforms for all the new recruits.
The Daniels behind customer happiness at PowToon
Sounds exhausting! How do you motivate yourself and your team day-in and day-out?
I try to incorporate bonus schemes for my team so that they are motivated to carry on with better customer service. For example, when a customer requests for information on our pricing and our agent is able to get him on board with a discounted price or an offer, I reward them in the form of some incentives.
I implemented this earlier this year and it’s worked out really well for us.
I also make it a point to highlight and post the top 3 reviews our team receives in our internal community so that there are about 15-20 glowing reviews for all of our employees to see every Monday morning.
It’s nice because everyone usually chips in with the praise and it motivates you when the CEO, COO and other senior officials appreciate your work!
We understand that part of the PowToon team works remotely. What is your biggest challenge in providing great customer support?
The biggest challenge is, obviously, communication. We have a meeting, once a week, over Skype and it’s hard to coordinate our timings. We also use Dapulse to keep everyone up to date on what’s going on and we have an exclusive Skype group for customer support.
Give us some dope on your hiring process. What skills do you look for in your new support reps?
Culture fit. I think fitting in with the culture of the company is very important.
During the interview, we run them through sample scenarios to find out how they’d respond to user emails. We’re not looking for factual correctness because we cannot expect them to be experts with the product even before they join us!
What we really look for is their approach – the way they talk to a customer over the phone, by chat or email and the way they look at a problem.
Another thing, I look for is initiative. Even when I’m not around, I’d like them to motivate themselves and work on their projects.
How do you train new hires?
It’s one of my current projects, actually. I’m developing a training program for all of our new employees as well as putting together training material for my team. Somewhat like a knowledge base that contains information about everything we do.
Let’s talk metrics. What do you think is the most important metric a support rep should keep track of?
We track Response time and Customer satisfaction rating (which is usually around 99 percent, I’m proud to add).
What has been your most memorable customer interaction ever?
We’re lucky to receive incredible feedback from our customers on a daily basis. There was this one user who told us that it’d only be a matter of time before a wax model of our agent, Amir, ended up as a permanent display at Madame Tussauds.
Amir, Customer Rep Fantastico
That’s awesome! What’s your biggest time saving trick when it comes to customer support?
Having a clear, easy-to-read knowledge base saves a lot of time for the customer and the support team as well.
Whenever a customer raises a ticket, we send them an automatic response that leads them to the knowledge base. Even though we respond usually within 2 hours, they can search the knowledge base and get their answers quicker.
How do you keep the PowToon community interesting and engaging for customers all over the world?
We do weekly webinars with our users where we talk about updates and do a Q&A session. This is available for both our paid and free users and I think it’s the best way to find out what our users really want.
What do you think is the biggest challenge ahead in terms of dealing with PowToon’s customer support?
We’re growing at an incredible pace, so I think the biggest challenge would be finding the right staff to deal with the increasing number of tickets. Maintaining that 2 hour response time despite the increasing number of tickets is something we’d have to pay attention to.
PowToon’s Quad Squad
What do you think is the best thing about working for PowToon?
I love the product and I love doing the Monday morning updates! That’s the highlight of my job. I love seeing feedback from users.
The directors have allowed me to build my own department from scratch and given me the freedom to develop the systems and procedures. I think that is the best thing about PowToon.
You use Freshdesk to support your customers and you’ve been using us for quite a while now. What are your favorite features?
The customer satisfaction survey reports. I love them. I also love your integrated phone channel. I think it works really really well. But you know what we like most about Freshdesk? The support.
Awww, thanks Daniel! What’s the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Lead by example. I spend a couple of hours a day working on the tickets to let them know that I’m also aware of the issues they are facing.
In my book, the worst thing a manager can do is learn something valuable and keep it from the staff.
Knowledge and information is important because it is power. Being aware of business direction is key to feeling valued as an employee. I want my guys to be the first to know about what’s happening in the company which is why updating them on a daily basis is so vital.
There is no hierarchy here at PowToon and nobody feels intimidated to talk to the CEO. Yes, we have managers and staff. But one can walk across the cubicle and ask anybody anything.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out with a new customer support team?
Pick the right staff.
Spend time to find the right person. Once that’s done, the rest of it will take care of itself.
You can have all the tools an agent can ever possibly need – a great helpdesk and a fully stocked knowledge base – but it’s worth nothing if you don’t find the right person to work on it. A support rep is the face of the company and it’s absolutely vital that you get the right staff.
What do you think is the secret sauce to PowToon’s awesome support?
We try to go the extra mile for our customers instead of just saying, “Yeah! We fixed it for you.” 50% of our team’s time is spent in watching customers’ PowToon videos so that they can help the user out, even if they haven’t explicitly asked for help.
How do you respond to feature requests that are currently worked upon but not there yet or will never be worked upon and will never reach your product map?
If it’s something that we’re working on, we tell them that. We have weekly meetings with our product developers to find out an ETA. If it’s not feasible, I’ll tell them that and explain why.
We gain credibility and build bonds with our customers by being honest.
False assurances are only going to lead to them leaving us.
How would you react if one of your team member makes a mistake and the customer was annoyed by it?
Unfortunately, because of the sheer number of tickets we get, these things tend to happen.
Giving people the freedom to make mistakes makes them stronger in their role.
I usually let my team member know what happened. We do not believe in reacting to these situations by disciplining our reps like they’re still in kindergarten. I ask my rep what happened and walk them through the whole situation to show them what they could have done differently.
If you could choose any superpowers what would you choose?
Foresight. To be able to see the results of your actions before they happen.
Which company’s customer support are you a great fan of?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions.