AMA

AMA with Front's Head of Customer Support, Kenji Hayward

  • 12 October 2023
  • 19 replies
  • 1764 views

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We’re back with another exciting AMA, this time with Front’s Head of Customer Support, @Kenji Hayward! We know many of you run your support teams on Front, so we’ve invited Kenji to answer all your questions about how we’re able to run an award-winning, yet very lean, support team fully using the power of Front. You might’ve even written in to our support team yourself and experienced the fantastic service they provide! Fun fact: I was the second hire on our support team years ago, and have worked with every person on the team since then, so I know first-hand how great they are — I will always have a special place in my heart for support 😃

 

But don’t just take my word for it — here are a few stats about our support team (which we also continuously update on our website):

  • We’ve had a 97% CSAT rating over the last 3 months, but this stat has been consistent over time, with many 💯 CSAT months (we wrote all about it here)
  • Our email response time is 2h 9m 18s
  • Our live chat response time is 1m 28s
  • We’ve won multiple industry awards for customer support including Nicereply’s Top 10 Highest CSAT Score Globally and a Stevie Award for Achievement in Customer Satisfaction and Customer Service Department

 

If you’re curious about how Front uses Front for support, you’ve come to the right place. Leave your questions below and Kenji will answer them on Tuesday, October 24, as well as any questions that come in after then. We’ve added some common questions we’ve gotten from customers below as well. We’re looking forward to chatting all about support with you! 🥳

 


19 replies

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What are the top features Front’s Support team uses that really impact your work, efficiency, and CSAT scores? In other words, what are the must-use features of Front you recommend for support teams?

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I’d like to convince my team to switch from ticketing to using Front, but I’m having trouble making the case. Why would a support team use Front instead of a ticketing system? What are the pros and cons of making that switch? 

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What rules does Front’s support team use to automate processes and save time?

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What do you think of AI in support and how it’ll transform (or maybe make obsolete) support work?

Do you have any internal policies for handling customers or managing support that are game changers or different from other companies?

 

What metrics do you watch most besides CSAT?

How do you manage instances whereby the support team need assistance from another team within Front? The @mention only allows the support team member to reach out to a specific person (rather then a team), which means there is no way to manage load balancing for internal enquiries between teams.

Hi, could Front help auto-identify incoming conversations, emails etc. by region? For example, so it helps divvy up triaged workflows. Thanks, Dan.

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dantennantralphs/

We have an online community in our app which requires users to register for the app. We’d love to use Front Community for our clients but don’t want to duplicate. Ideally we’d like to keep the community in our app. Can we achieve this with Front?

Thanks, Nikki

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Not a question, but more of a shoutout. I want to take a moment to shoutout the exceptional customer support provided by Front Support. Time and time again, I've had the pleasure of reaching out to their team, and without fail, they have consistently delivered a level of service that goes above and beyond my expectations.

In a world where customer service can sometimes feel impersonal or lacking, Front Support has truly set themselves apart. Each interaction I've had with their support team has left me impressed and satisfied. What stands out the most is their unwavering commitment to providing detailed and rapid responses to my inquiries. It's clear that they genuinely care about their customers and their needs and know their product well.

Their responsiveness is remarkable. No matter what issue or question I've had, they have been quick to address it, leaving me with a sense of confidence and relief. It's as if they have a magic wand that can instantly resolve any problem.

This exceptional level of customer support is invaluable to me as a customer. It's reassuring to know that whenever I have a concern or require assistance, Front Support is there, ready to provide a helping hand. Their dedication to customer satisfaction is truly commendable and sets a shining example for others in the industry.

In a world where customer service often goes unnoticed or underappreciated, I want to make it clear that Front Support deserves all the recognition they can get. Thank you for your outstanding service and for consistently exceeding my expectations. You've earned a loyal customer in me, and I'll be sure to spread the word about the incredible support (and product) you provide.

Userlevel 1
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I’d like to convince my team to switch from ticketing to using Front, but I’m having trouble making the case. Why would a support team use Front instead of a ticketing system? What are the pros and cons of making that switch? 


That’s great to hear! The good news is that Front can actually do “ticketing” in the way that your team may be used to. Here is an article with more information on how to set that up if they are interested:  https://help.front.com/en/articles/2254

Pros that you’ll gain in moving to Front is centralizing your tools and teams into one collaborative experience that puts the customer first. Customers who use Front have a 9% higher CSAT than the industry average and speaking from personal experience my teammates are working happier and more efficiently.

Userlevel 1
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What are the top features Front’s Support team uses that really impact your work, efficiency, and CSAT scores? In other words, what are the must-use features of Front you recommend for support teams?

 

Thanks for your question! We leverage a majority of Front’s features as a support team using Front that works at Front. 😄  

Here is the greatest hits list of the features I find most impactful to our work:

  1. Assigning conversations via load balancing - we use load balancing to automatically distribute work amongst our team. This ensures customers get the quickest responses, without teammates feeling overwhelmed or burnt out. 
  2. Commenting - our Support agents use commenting to loop in members from our Engineering, Product, Billing, and Account Management teams. This helps them answer questions and fill in the blanks when they don’t know the answer.
  3. Tagging for urgency - when we’re escalating conversations to our Technical Support Engineers, we utilize urgency tags to help them prioritize their work.
  4. Tagging for CSAT - when we receive a CSAT rating, we utilize tags to capture the reason for the rating. We then pull analytics for those reasons to uncover areas of improvement. 
  5. AI summarize - when escalating conversations to our Technical Support Engineers, we use AI summarize to summarize what’s already been discussed in the conversation and what steps our Support agents have already taken in debugging.
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What do you think of AI in support and how it’ll transform (or maybe make obsolete) support work?

AI is here to stay but it’s not as scary as we once thought. Some roles and tasks will certainly be automated but I firmly believe AI will enhance the work we do today by augmenting the support team and customer experience for the better.

If you’re interested I wrote an article  on “5 ways your team to help teams prepare for the transformation” here: https://front.com/blog/support-teams-adapt-to-ai

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Do you have any internal policies for handling customers or managing support that are game changers or different from other companies?

 

What metrics do you watch most besides CSAT?

Hi Adam! 

One policy that is a game changer that I don’t think a lot of other companies do today is something we call “Hop into the Support Queue”. We invite everyone at the company to take part in working with our customers which builds empathy for the Support team as well as the customer experience. 

To answer your second question. Speed and effort.
Response time is king at Front and “Replies to Resolution” measure the amount of effort a customer has to take to get the answer they are looking for. When you can nail all three (Quality, Speed, Effort) that is when you really start to see things take off.

Userlevel 1
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How do you manage instances whereby the support team need assistance from another team within Front? The @mention only allows the support team member to reach out to a specific person (rather then a team), which means there is no way to manage load balancing for internal enquiries between teams.

 

Great question. In your use case where the question now needs to go to another team and get assigned out, we recommend setting up a multiple-inbox workflow where you’d escalate the issue and the other team is responsible from there. That way, the load balancing (or whichever method they’re using to assign) can work for that specific group of people. Here’s a real example of how our own support team works: customer inquiry comes into our support tier 1 inbox and the issue becomes more technical, so tier 1 adds a comment with all the context (and now our AI Summarize feature helps a lot with that), then moves the conversation into the tier 2 inbox. From there, tier 2’s auto-assignment rules kick in to assign out the conversation and keep it moving. You can see that in this workflow, tier 1 doesn’t need to mention any specific person at all. You can do this with any other type of team, as we do something similar when moving the conversation to the marketing inbox, the sales inbox, legal inbox, etc. 

The key considerations here to determine whether multi-inbox setup is best are: 1) does the nature of inquiry make sense to be handed off to a new owner (not your team) and 2) can anyone on the new team answer the question, rather than a specific person? When thinking this way, you can scale your processes rather than manually deciding each time which teammate to loop in. This implies that the new team is also accountable for how they handle the escalated inquiries that you move to them, so make sure you communicate this with them.

If the case is that you do need to only loop in a specific person for a quick question while you still own the answer, then you should continue to do that, but those should be one-off cases. Your scaled processes in Front should be built to cover the majority of your cases. Feel free to let us know your use case and we can help with recommendations!

Userlevel 1
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We have an online community in our app which requires users to register for the app. We’d love to use Front Community for our clients but don’t want to duplicate. Ideally we’d like to keep the community in our app. Can we achieve this with Front?

Thanks, Nikki

Hi Nikki,

Front Community is a public site, so anyone is able to view the content in our community. Are you referring to adding/embedding Front Community specifically to your app, or are you asking whether Front has a community feature that you can use to build a community and add it to your app? We currently don’t have a community product, but we do have a knowledge base product where you can build out articles for your employees (internal) or for your customers (external). Let me know more details about your use case if you’d like and we can give more specific input!

Userlevel 1
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What rules does Front’s support team use to automate processes and save time?

Hi there! Here are the top three that we utilize at Front:

  1. We use a rule to extract Conversation and Message IDs from inbound messages, which allows us to utilize dynamic variables and link directly to our backend system. This saves the Support agent time by eliminating the copy/paste and browser searching. 
  2. We also use load balancing rules to automatically assign conversations. 
  3. We use rules to automatically tag conversations for urgency. Depending on the content of an email, we have rules that add tags to notify our team of urgent emails.
Userlevel 1
Badge +2

Not a question, but more of a shoutout. I want to take a moment to shoutout the exceptional customer support provided by Front Support. Time and time again, I've had the pleasure of reaching out to their team, and without fail, they have consistently delivered a level of service that goes above and beyond my expectations.

In a world where customer service can sometimes feel impersonal or lacking, Front Support has truly set themselves apart. Each interaction I've had with their support team has left me impressed and satisfied. What stands out the most is their unwavering commitment to providing detailed and rapid responses to my inquiries. It's clear that they genuinely care about their customers and their needs and know their product well.

Their responsiveness is remarkable. No matter what issue or question I've had, they have been quick to address it, leaving me with a sense of confidence and relief. It's as if they have a magic wand that can instantly resolve any problem.

This exceptional level of customer support is invaluable to me as a customer. It's reassuring to know that whenever I have a concern or require assistance, Front Support is there, ready to provide a helping hand. Their dedication to customer satisfaction is truly commendable and sets a shining example for others in the industry.

In a world where customer service often goes unnoticed or underappreciated, I want to make it clear that Front Support deserves all the recognition they can get. Thank you for your outstanding service and for consistently exceeding my expectations. You've earned a loyal customer in me, and I'll be sure to spread the word about the incredible support (and product) you provide.

Wow. This is incredible feedback and on behalf of the Support team here at Front wanted to say thank you so much for sharing this. Support teams often don’t get enough credit that they deserve so this means a lot! 💓

Userlevel 1
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Hi, could Front help auto-identify incoming conversations, emails etc. by region? For example, so it helps divvy up triaged workflows. Thanks, Dan.

 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dantennantralphs/

 

Yes! One way to accomplish this is through contact custom fields. You can add a custom field called Location by going to Settings > Company > Custom fields. Then, you’ll want to update the contacts manually or do a mass import to update this field for your contacts. This method is more manual. Another option is to utilize our API to directly set location data on the Contact/Account records (you’ll need to source this location data from a third-party tool). You can use dynamic objects to fetch location data from the message, and apply rules based on that to route conversations.

Userlevel 1
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How do you manage instances whereby the support team need assistance from another team within Front? The @mention only allows the support team member to reach out to a specific person (rather then a team), which means there is no way to manage load balancing for internal enquiries between teams.

An easy workaround for this that we use, is to create a company rule that states: WHEN a new comment is added that contains @team THEN notify that Teammate group. See attached screenshot.

Hope this is helpful!

 

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