Education Roundtable: How do you run a lean team?

11 Comments

  • Chris Robison
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    @Kevin: I couldn't agree with you more. With a smaller team, top level buy-in is critical. We discussed the possibility of having our senior management even take phone calls on our Help Desk once a year. How often would you say they receive tickets? Weekly? Monthly?

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  • Kevin Rocci
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    Thanks @Chris! :D

    The more you can get everyone involved, the better it will be for everyone! :D 

    We have all new hires spend at least a day answering tickets in Zendesk. After that, it really depends on volume. If we have an unexpected spike in tickets, then people will jump in and start answering questions.

    Also, when we have people on vacation, there are other Magooshers who can cover them. For example, our product manager handles specific types of product issues and he was on vacation for a couple of days. Since Bhavin, our CEO has plenty of experience in Zendesk and with our product, he can easily take over the the product managers duties.

    So I guess it is less of scheduling specific times for people to "do support" and more about having people ready to jump in at a moments notice. :D

    Love your points about macros and triggers too! We live and die by both of them.

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  • Wes Drury
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    Great post and tips everyone.

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  • Kevin Rocci
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    @Tzvi, couldn't agree more! :D It's not just about answering tickets or buy in, but really it's about face time with other teams and executives! We have weekly team meetings that any one can attend where we can address issues we've notice. Also we have 1:1s across Magoosh, which means I can sit down with CEO once a week and talk about any issues that might be popping up! :D

    If you don't have buy-in or involvement from senior management, you are in a tough situation! You will obviously wanted to leverage a lot of the tools mentioned in this post, such as triggers, macros, automations, to minimize the manual tasks. The next thing I would do is try to find a way to convince senior management that customer support matters.

    I have a friend leading customer support at a big edtech company, and he had to make a case for investing in customer support. So what he did was track students who interacted with the customer support team and students who did not. Then over a specific amount of time he kept tabs on how much students spent on the website. What he found, to his delight, was that students who sent in questions and talked with customer support agents, purchased more. Then he could go to senior management and point to the numbers and make it clear that customer support is not just a cost—it can also generate revenue as well!

    This example may not work exactly in every one's case, but I there is probably some metric that you care about and if you can tie that to customer support, you might have a great tool for convincing senior management to buy-in. :D

    @Chris, in terms of Zendesk apps, our engineers love using Zendesk API and building apps for it, so we've been really lucky to get some great features built into our Zendesk. We pull a lot of info about students, how they are using Magoosh, the number of practice tests they've taken, percent correct on sections of the test, etc. which gives us a ton of context for helping them.

    Also, the other app that was life changing was getting the ability to process refunds and extension directly in Zendesk. Instead of navigating to our Magoosh admin console and going through the steps, we can now do everything in Zendesk and that's made us super efficient.

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  • Chris Robison
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    Great example Kevin! That is definitely an advantage of a lean team. 

    Does anyone have a good experience to share about an app they've implemented (3rd party or Zendesk built) that has really improved ticket workflow?

     

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  • Tzvi C. Eleff
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    @Kevin: I love that you guys have all your new hires spend at least one day in Zendesk. I see the benefits of that for a variety of reasons, but the one that sticks out is it enables new hires to understand the company's business holistically, in an interactive environment, in a short time-frame. 

    @Chris: One of our keys to success is attributable not only to senior management buy-in, but rather senior management involvement. Although we don't have our senior team answering tickets, we have direct access to them so we can escalate issues or discuss ideas in real-time. We meet weekly with both our cross-functional teams (registrar, bursar, financial aid and admissions) and with our Executive VP, which in turn allows us to discuss various trends, spikes and changes that we notice on a weekly basis. 

    Not only have we been able to resolve inquiries that are in our wheelhouse, but we've actually been able to interface directly with other business units (such as Technology or HR) to resolve non-"student service" related issues. On one occasion, we noted that there was an issue with one of the wireless networks at one of our medical school campuses affecting access to an internal webpage. We immediately contacted our VP of Technology, and a resolution was in place within 2 hours. 

    What advice would you give to folks who don't have buy-in or involvement from senior management? 

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  • Chris Robison
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    @Tzvi: I think it's good to share some of your successes with them. You could start with highlighting the satisfaction surveys. Although brief, those are definitely a powerful tool to showcase your customer service and demonstrate measurable experiences. If your senior team is like mine, data tells the story they want to hear! Sure there will be some "bads" thrown in but no organization is perfect, It just provides an opportunity to improve. 

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  • Wes Drury
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    @Chris - We have several custom apps that have improved our ticket workflow. We currently use SSO and push up important data from AD each time a user logs in.  We push phone number, Title, Department, and the current IP address which allows us to easily remote into a computer without asking our employees for it as most of them have no idea.

    We also have a custom app that integrates with our Cisco Call Manager.  When an employee calls our main support number it prompts them for their employee number and gives them a few categories to choose from.  With their employee number we grab information from our Data Wharehouse and pop up a Zendesk ticket for customer support agents.  When they answer the call they have all the information on the employee and a Zendesk ticket automatically created with the call details.  Our agents fill in additional details and away the ticket goes.  This has streamlined our process for calls.

    Another app which I mentioned above with our post is one where we can automatically route to external vendors.  We have several different interfaces depending on our vendor.  We also have an app when a customer puts in the serial number of the machine it will automatically tell us if the system is in warranty or out of warranty.  If its in warranty then we simply route to our vendor and if its out of warranty we route to our Technical Support Group.  This takes out the guessing game for our agents and ensures we send the ticket to correct area.

    There are a few of our custom apps so it will be interesting to see what other custom apps everyone is using.

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  • Diane Albert
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    @Tzvi - Boy can we relate to the Two Man support desk, but without Zendesk we'd be lost.

    When it was just me and a #support email, that wasn't so bad (okay, yes it was!), but those multi-color tag flags in Microsoft Outlook kept things pretty clean.  (Not really, but I keep telling myself that.)

    When I was able to hire another FTE, email was no longer viable.  We're now running our entire media collection process (for yearbooks) through our enterprise version of Zendesk and we're sharing the media tickets with another starter version of Zendesk in our production facility.

    We have about a thousand tickets a month between January and April - for two of us.  This lets our customers know we received their images and then again when they've been uploaded to their yearbook site for them to work.

    We also use Zendesk for technical support, but the media tickets number about 90%.

    Best of all...we get instant feedback like Kevin describes.  Our office sends out customer satisfaction surveys for the overall satisfaction, but technical support for online issues and media wasn't specifically called out. Now *I* know if I have an issue immediately that I need to address, either for a specific customer, a process that's not working as I think it should, or if I'm seeing trends in the understanding of our help documentation.

    The only place we struggle is keeping our user / org data updated.  Our feeder system isn't the cleanest and we have some fairly complex rules. 

    One of the best features for us is utilizing Light Agents.  That's allowed me to keep 12 sales reps "in the loop" for free while allowing the two of us to have uber bells and whistles that we use a LOT.

    Diane

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  • Kristin Kwasnik
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    Kristin here from the EDU team at Zendesk!  We'll be hosting our first webinar to share the stories of educational organizations. Register to listen in next Thursday!

    https://www.zendesk.com/support/webinar/getting-schooled-with-zendesk

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  • Kristin Kwasnik
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    If you guys enjoyed this post, check out tomorrow's from the EDU/NPO space about managing your ticket volume!

     

    https://support.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/204457457

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