Lessons from WrikeCross-functional collaboration equals happy customers
Wrike is among the best project management tools out there. By managing deadlines, workflow processes, and tasks, it boosts team productivity, collaboration, and cross-department communication. All in real time.
After multiple awards and more than 19,000 happy customers, Wrike has taken all their expertise in collaboration and project management and fused it with their customer support strategy to improve customer service.
Since July 2017, Wrike’s customer service score on Capterra has gone from 4/5 stars to 4.5/5.
It all started with the right project management. Over the past two years, Wrike has rolled out a collaborative process, with customer support managers taking full responsibility of Objectives and Key Results (OKR), identifying timelines, as well as defining clear success criteria.
But the customer support team has taken a more extroverted approach by implementing specific measures that help them work closely together with other departments.
This has enabled them to approach the entire customer journey holistically. And, according to Abhay Rajaram, Wrike Chief Customer Officer, this is the best way to improve customer service.
A three-month onboarding process as part of the customer service strategy
At Wrike, onboarding lasts for 3 months – including several weeks of in-depth product training. After all, support teams must know the product like the back of their hand.
But training doesn’t stop there.
To earn excellent customer service skills, new hires get extensive technical training so they’re prepared to address the most complex technical issues they might encounter.
Then, they start replying to real tickets (yes, sent by real customers), while under the supervision of an experienced support agent who’s in charge of this person’s customer satisfaction training.
By using peer-to-peer training and cutting back on managers’ involvement in processes like onboarding and customer service training, Wrike improved their customer service and collaboration in the team.
“The general trend in learning and development is a shift from isolated learning to a more collaborative and shared learning practice. And we have embraced this enthusiastically — and to great effect.”
– Abhay Rajaram, Wrike Chief Customer Office
The 3 steps to managing negative customer experience
Wrike has found the recipe for maintaining a healthy relationship with the customer: always aim to provide a solution. This is, in fact, their mantra when training their employees on customer service. Their routine is based on principles like empathy, respectful curiosity, patience, and positivity.
Abhay shares Wrike’s customer service training strategy. It can be used for any company, regardless of size, to manage angry customers.
1. Get to the bottom of the issue.
It’s essential to listen carefully to the customer, ask questions proactively, and fully understand their use case before offering any guidance. In many cases, the goal they’re trying to achieve (possibly with a specific feature or product functionality) can be reached with a different feature, or by setting up the solution in a different way.
And what if there isn’t a work-around?
2. Champion the voice of the customer internally.
Wrike has built a dynamic process for channeling the voice of the customer back into the company as part of their customer support strategy.
As a customer-facing group, the support team creates an organized list of user stories with specific use cases, analytics on the number of requests, and potential impact on the business. They then share this with product managers in time for their quarterly roadmap review and planning.
This streamlined process enables Wrike to champion their customer needs, provide valuable input on their product roadmap, find ways to improve customer service, and get solutions to issues without work-arounds sooner.
3. Know exactly what to do when the bad stuff hits the fan.
Don’t rely on your basic customer service skills training. Be sure to have a rock-solid escalation process that takes into consideration the severity of potential issues.
At Wrike, the escalation process enables them to alert operations and the engineering team immediately (if required), so that high-severity problems are fixed as quickly as possible. Their priority is to minimize the impact of issues while maintaining transparent communications with customers throughout the process.
Measuring productivity and motivation
Wrike measures efficiency, both on a team and on an individual level, to come up with ideas to improve customer experience.
As a team, they have internal goals for First Response Rate and Time to Resolution. They also carefully monitor Customer Effort Scores. When coaching individuals, they rate a sample of tickets from each agent based on clear criteria, including product knowledge, problem-solving, and communication style.
Wrike’s goal is not to help their agents become better staff. Rather, it’s to help them evolve as professionals through their customer experience training. In Abhay’s words:
“At the end of the day, it’s all about people. We are very deliberate in our hiring process, and it can often take a while before we fill an open position.”
– Abhay Rajaram, Wrike Chief Customer Office
People, however, have always been among the company’s prime concerns. One of their key priorities is ensuring that the Customer Support team (which is growing rapidly) is much more than an “answering machine.”
Made up of just under 60 talented individuals, who strive to help users and to deliver stellar and outstanding customer service, Wrike appreciates every single representative for their tangible impact on this growing business.
Wrike’s customer support checklist
- Turn collaboration into your first priority
- Encourage cross-department communication
- Take your time when onboarding and training new hires
- Have experienced employees train new hires
- Develop a strategy to manage negative feedback
- Treat employees like real people
- Show your appreciation
Wrike’s top 3 tools: Zendesk, Wrike, and custom-built applications