Looker is very thankful to have won several Best of 2015 Awards from G2 Crowd, a website that aggregates reviews from real business software users. The fact that these rankings come directly from the people we care about most - our customers - really makes us feel proud.
One of the awards we received was "Highest Rated Support". These are the things we strive to do every day to create an experience we hope our customers will love.
It's no surprise that great people should be at the heart of any organization. When we can support customers with people who have a deep knowledge of our product, strong problem solving skills, and articulate communication, customers can have really positive experiences; even in moments when they might be the most frustrated.
While support can feel like a natural place to cut corners, a broader customer success strategy brings a host of benefits to both our customers and ourselves. Great talent can do more than basic support functions, which expands the types of problems they can solve, and helps other parts of the organization. The efficiency with which this type of team works helps to offset any initial investment, so with this strategy, everybody wins.
The vast majority of Looker's support interaction comes through our in-app chat functionality. We don't require anyone to use a ticketing system or fill out a pre-chat questionnaire. Just ask your question and get an answer from a real person, with average response times under 30 seconds. We also have no support tiers or escalation processes; we expect every Analyst to be knowledgeable, and we expect every issue to be brought to some sort of resolution.
These types of policies are another way that everyone can win. The interchangeable nature of our Analysts makes it much easier for Looker to manage capacity, and handle a wide range of challenging questions. It's also great for our customers who can get help at just the moment they need it, really cutting down on delays while they're learning or trying to get something done.
One of the things we preach at Looker is avoiding "vanity metrics", which are the metrics that everyone uses and seem to be relevant, but actually don't measure what you're interested in. Average handle times and customer surveys can be the vanity metrics of support. Handle times alone can't take into account the difficulty of customer problems, while surveys are often biased toward the extremes: customers nice enough or angry enough to fill them out.
When you tie job evaluations to these types of metrics there is at least the potential that your support team will stop focusing on helping, and start focusing on the transaction. Getting close to the maximum allowed handle time? Hurry up customer! Customer seems friendly? Please, please, please, will you fill out a survey! You can see how great support interactions can be sabotaged by inappropriate metrics.
At Looker we measure our chats very directly. Senior members of the team are required to review a portion of chats from newer members each week. They give feedback about technical accuracy, tone, and missed opportunities to call out subtleties to the customer. While resource intensive, it's a much more direct way to evaluate skill, and proactively address issues that customers might not tell us about.
Offering exceptional support has obvious benefits for our customers, but has also had a cascade of benefits within Looker. Customer retention improves because customers don't get stuck. We can quickly identify customers who are struggling and reach out to help them. Product development can be fed information about the places where customers stumble. Documentation and training can focus on areas that need the most improvement. Support is even an excellent training ground to feed other parts of the company with talent.
While being recognized by G2 Crowd is something to celebrate, we want to continue focusing on the things that have helped us to get here. Each time a customer reaches out to us we have another chance to prove that our focus on customer success is real and we are committed to helping you win every day.