Scott Markovits is the Head of Support at InVision, the world’s leading design collaboration platform. Built to foster collaboration and iteration, InVision helps people design, review and user-test a product before writing a single line of code.
Scott is also the founder of the Kosher Projects, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing future generations of Jewish community leaders and philanthropists.
We managed to catch up with Scott and chat with him about life at InVision.
Let’s get the basics out of the way, Scott. How big is your support team?
And where is InVision based?
Remote based (US and Int’l).
How many products do you support?
And how many channels?
2 at the moment (email and phone).
How many queries do you get everyday? A ballpark figure will do.
The InVision team is completely remote. Scott has never met any of his support reps, face to face.
Tell us about how your customer support career came about to be, Scott.
Back in 2002 I graduated with a finance degree to find 0 jobs available. Happened to land in customer support and haven’t looked back since.
Whoa! That’s ten years in customer support. What would you say is the biggest surprise of your support career?
That some users and their clients still use IE8.
Haha! That’s on our list too. What does a typical day look like for you, Scott?
Live and die in the support mailbox. The day is spent responding to user support requests, writing support documentation (internal and external), chatting with the team throughout the day about pending support issues, features coming soon and who’s getting an iWatch. In addition, I share my two and a half years of InVision knowledge and experience with the newer members of the team.
We understand that you guys are a fully distributed team. So, how do you motivate yourself (and your team) day in and day out?
Music and Nespresso coffee help me through the day.
Classical in the morning for a calm start to the day. Trance music around lunch time (our peak hours). Jazz at the end of the day to wind down. As for the team, it’s simply amazing to be a part of the support team. When we’re all shoulder to shoulder, we carry each other other through the day. Whether it’s with a friendly joke, an ear to get out someone’s frustration or a lovely cat animated gif.
Taking time off cannot be easy. How do you manage?
Ongoing training with the team. My team is far more awesome than I am, so I’m more than confident they can hold down the fort.
What was your toughest day at work?
Any day that I get a sad face as user feedback. It simply means I didn’t do my best to help the user as both they and I expect.
Let’s talk numbers. What’s the most important metric you think a support rep should aim for?
First: A happy face via hively. Simply means that our user not only found our response helpful, but enough so to make them spend the 60 seconds telling us about it. Second: a single response that fully answers and closes a ticket.
We measure customer happiness by how many threads there are in the conversation, to completely solve the enquiry, and Hively user feedback.
Couches, coffee shops and everything in between: places that Scott Markovits calls “workspace”.
We’re going to throw some situations at you, Scott. Tell us how you deal with them at InVision.
a)A customer requests a feature that’s in the works but it’s complicated. How do you handle these requests?
We need to show appreciation for the time and effort they spend in giving us suggestions on how to improve our platform. Whether the feature will be built or not, you have to convey that their requests are always shared with the product team. This way they know that the direction of the product is driven by users. When a feature is rolled out, we make every effort to share a short update notifying those users who’ve requested the feature of its availability.
b) A customer asks for a feature that’s not on the plan they’re subscribed to. They’re willing to pay extra but they don’t want to upgrade. How do you usually handle these requests?
If our team has the ability to provide access to the result they need (ex. unarchive a project), we’ll make every effort to do a one-off favor. If impossible, we’ll detail the value added in the upgraded plan and offer a month or so of discounted service to help make the transition a bit easier for them.
c) A customer requests a refund. Do you just issue the refund or do you try to loop in a sales rep, some time down the line, to try to woo the customer back?
We never want to hijack a user’s hard earned money. If the request is justified we refund the charge without question.
d) One of your reps makes a tiny mistake (outdated workaround etc) which really frustrates a customer. They’re doing everything they can to contain the situation but the customer only seems to be getting more and more frustrated with time. Do you step in and apologize? Or do you let the rep handle it himself? How does this translate into feedback for the team?
Everyone makes mistakes, even me 🙂 I’ll sit with the rep to review their full conversation history and find the pivot point where the conversation went awry. Once the issue is found, together, we’ll walk through the proper workaround or resolution path to transfer that knowledge. I always want the rep to own their tickets. So, I have them respond back to the user with an apology for sharing the outdated information. Next, I ask them to confirm whether they have the proper solution in which they provide detailed workflow steps and a video walking the user through the process. Finally, I have the rep CC me on the reply in the event the user has further complaints. If they do, they have direct access to a manager.
With such a beautiful house, no wonder Scott loves working from home.
Give us some dope on your hiring policy.
Some one who answers a question in the same way they’d want an answer. Sounds cliche of course, but that most importantly means being friendly and thorough in their response. I’m not a robot and neither is our user. So I’m all about including a joke, smiley face or my favorite “Dang!” when a user stumbles across a bug. I know I love to read friendly replies to my inquiries. Next, I look for a rep who walks a user through the entire process from step A to step Z.
Extra credit is given to reps that know to include screenshots. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Finally, someone that thinks out of the box and can get creative with a solution. If there’s no direct workflow to complete a desired task, I love to see a rep patch together a usable workaround.
In terms of customer service, which company do you admire a lot?
Beyond the usual answer of Zappos, I’ve had a number of great experiences with the reps at diapers.com. One experience ended up with a handwritten thank you note.
Name another company you’re a big fan of, and would like to hear from.
Buffer – I love their transparency. Whether it’s team blogs or employee payroll, they talk about everything. I love seeing the focus they put on building their team’s relationship. I enjoy their personal life status updates on how many times they went to the gym that week, book recommendations or how training for a marathon is going. It’s crucial for the health of an organization to place significant time, effort and money into nurturing employee happiness, comradery, and growth. Even more so within a remote company.
One more question, Scott. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose to be?
Superman. I’d spend most of the day as the modest Clark Kent, simply doing my job well under the radar. However, when the situation calls for it, I’ll tear off my shirt and get into superhero mode, so I can save the day.
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.