At Looker, the love is baked in
Feb 14, 2017
When we announced that we were changing the name of the Looker support team to The Department of Customer Love, a few people thought we were pulling their legs. But the truth is, putting customer feedback and relationships first has been key to Looker since day one.
I’ve been with Looker from the start. Right out of the gate, we were a very small, tight-knit group trying to launch and spread the gospel of a new data platform while keeping everything afloat. The few of us sat around a small kitchen table, laptops fired up, and used early chat tools to field customer questions and concerns.
Because the engineers – including Founder, Lloyd Tabb - were sitting around the table with me, a typical chat scenario went something like this:
Customer: We tried to do XYZ but it didn’t work. Can you help?
Margaret: Oh, that sounds like a bug. Hold on for just a moment, please.
Margaret (off-chat): Hey Nate. We have a bug. There’s an error and this is what’s happening. This customer thinks it would be ideal if Looker could do XYZ.
Nate: Hmmm… That’s a good idea. Let me write some code. (Quickly writes and submits new code)
Margaret (back on-chat with customer): I think we have a fix. Let me restart your system. This updated version of Looker should do what you’re hoping to do.
Customer problem: Solved.
Looker functionality: Improved, thanks to direct customer feedback.
This communal style of working not only allowed us to to perform real-time fixes, but the feedback we’d receive over chat helped us to improve the quality of the product, delivering a solution that met the challenges our customers encountered.
Because we were usually sitting around a table with the engineers behind Looker when we took a chat, it was as if the customer was chatting with the whole company!
This intimate setting was lean, agile, and allowed us to be super-responsive to our customers. A formula that was critical to the formation and development of Looker. Full transparency was baked into the Looker ethos from the very start.
“Why do you use chat and not a call center?”
Chat is intimate in more ways than people realize. Because Looker DCL is more than simply “product support” for our customers, chat allows us to be a direct part of their user experience.
Personally, I like that we’re seen as much more than just a “call center” to our customers, who often see our Chat Analysts as an extension of their professional community. We find in many cases that the chat team provides a valuable connection as we are sometimes the only folks customers have to talk about data and Looker.
We build real relationships with our customers this way, and it turns Looker events like Join and Local Meetups into reunions between people who have never spoken in person. We really love that we can build these types of relationships with our customers, and I think chat makes that possible.
The Three T’s
As Looker grew, we knew we needed to find a way to measure this ethos to be sure we provide the consistent, high quality support to our customers at scale. Today, we are not always able to sit around the same kitchen table, so we needed to set a standard to maintain quality. That’s why our chat analysts are always mindful of the Three T’s.
The Three T’s stand for:
- Technically Correct: Looker is a platform, so you can do things more than one way. We want to be certain to give the customer the best answer to their problem.
- Teaching: Are we educating our customers to use Looker to get the most of their data, on their own?
- Tone: With chat, it’s easy to misinterpret someone’s tone. We never lose sight of this and work hard to keep the cadence of our chat conversations appropriate and in rhythm with the customer.
“Great software is an act of empathy.”
It’s true. We hear Lloyd say this a lot, and we like to think of that as the core of this business. We see chat support as the “empathy engine” that transfers the concerns and pain-points of our customers directly through our company and flow it to the right department to fix the problem.
The good news is that use of Looker is growing. It’s now used as the primary data platform for hundreds of the leading data-driven businesses. Staying true to our roots and our intimate approach to chat support means the world us.
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