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How we Work part 5: Zendesk and the art of customer service

How we Work is an ongoing series where we talk about the software and services we use every day to communicate, collaborate and generally get the job done. In this fifth instalment we’ll take a look at Zendesk, the web service that helps us to deliver the kind of customer service people deserve.

Zendesk-iconHi folks! Ben Lucier here from Ting customer service. As part of our ongoing series about how things work at Ting, I’ve been asked to share a little bit about how we manage our customer service interactions using Zendesk.

Before I talk about Zendesk though, it might be helpful to paint a bit of a picture for you around our support volume and what my team is responsible for.

As our customer base grows, so does our support volume. As I write this, we handle somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1,000 customer interactions per day. These interactions are a mix of phone calls, tweets, online chats, Facebook, discussions in the Ting community forums and yes, even email. Our top three communication channels in order are phone, email, and chat.

How we Work part 4: Sprout Social

How we Work is an ongoing series where we talk about the software and services we use every day to communicate, collaborate and generally get the job done. In this fourth instalment, we’ll take a look at Sprout Social, a single touch point for (almost) all our social media interactions.

Sprout Social logoWe’ll spare you a “the times they are a changin'” introduction here. Suffice it to say, though, that social media is central to how we at Ting communicate.

When we first started out, we had a couple of followers / friends on the various social media networks. Now, a couple of years later, we tweet out to about 5,600 Twitter and 1,800 Google+ followers and over 20,000 Facebook friends.

We’re also on LinkedIn and Instagram. You should totally follow us there. However, they don’t fall under the purview of today’s How we Work service: Sprout Social. More on that in a sec.

Social is about much more than one-way communication. In addition to sharing the stuff we have to say, the team is constantly monitoring the various social channels to answer questions, offer insights and generally have conversations.

Sprout Social gives us one central place to manage (almost) all of our “social interactions.”

Behind the Scenes: Customer service with Siham

Today’s episode of Behind the Scenes features Siham, a Senior Support Advisor here at Ting.

As a Senior Advisor, Siham ensures that Ting Customer Advisors feel capable and confident in helping Ting customers each and every day. From monitoring call volumes to sharing internal resources, she plays an important role in the overall success of our support team.

Learn more about Siham’s responsibilities at Ting, why she enjoys working here and some challenges she’s faced along the way!

How we Work part 3:
Slacking… on?

How we Work is an ongoing series where we talk about the software and services we use every day to communicate, collaborate and generally get the job done. In this third instalment, we’ll take a look at Slack, an online space where everyone in the organization gets together to talk.

Slack-logoCommunicating around the office, across different offices and across continents can get a little challenging. So it is that we’re always on the look-out for tools that make things easier.

We’ve tried a bunch but recently, we’ve settled on Slack.

Settled on Slack doesn’t quite do it justice. We were really happy to find a secure IM and cross-team communication platform that just seems to get it. That’s flexible enough to bend effortlessly to how we work and so well thought out that it makes it look easy. That doesn’t require a lot of training for people to get started. Whose “rules” for use within the team can be created at a high level and / or that can evolve naturally.

Slack’s tagline is “be less busy.” We like that for its simplicity and its ambition.

At its core, Slack is a web and mobile app that lets teams communicate. It’s kind of an instant messenger client, but it goes beyond by being one-to-one, one-to-several and one-to-many. It’s also very flexible, allowing for integrations with a whole host of web apps that teams already use.

When sharing files in Slack (another strength of the platform), you have the option to send to an individual or to a group. Any comments added will be part of the file on Slack and said file can be searched for (and more importantly, found) at any time.

Teams divide up into their own channels to discuss the stuff that relates to said team. Channels each have their own purpose. Some have rules in place to preserve the original intent of the channel. For example, we have an #all-company channel that’s supposed to be used like an all company email list. Which is to say, sparingly and only when it’s something the whole company needs to hear.

Screenshot 2014-07-23 15.43.32We have over 30 of these channels that the company and various teams use. Some are work related, some are social and others are a place to discuss things that are tangentially work related. People join the channels that relate to them, whether personally or professionally.

The basic division we use for channels is this:

Ask an Exec: How does Ting empower the customer support team?

Today’s question comes from Bruce S on Facebook, who asks how we create an empowering culture for our Customer Advisors.

Ross Rader, VP of Customer Experience at Ting, talks about his role in this process, a recent change we made and the importance of putting trust in your team.

Learn more in our video below!


How we Work part 2: Staying on task with Asana

How we Work is an ongoing series where we talk about the software and services we use every day to communicate, collaborate and generally get the job done. In this second instalment, we’ll take a look at Asana, the one app that keeps us all on track.

AsanaIn the previous instalment of How we Work, we discussed development on Ting happening in two week “sprints.”

In these sprints, the product, design, user experience, customer service, front and back end development, marketing, content and other teams all contribute to get features that are planned for Ting off the drawing board and onto the live site / service.

Asana, which operates with the tagline “teamwork without email,” is what keeps us all on the same page.

Asana gives the various teams working on Ting a place to communicate and stay organized. In addition to being a handy personal task and to-do list, Asana gives us one centralized place to get together online.

The key benefit of Asana is that everything is kept in one place and every comment and discussion that’s relevant to a specific project remains tied to that project. Compare that with email where different people get cc’d at different points along the way. Late additions miss out on all the context unless they take the time to read through a wall of email replies and forwarded messages.