Head of SafeDNS’s Customer Support: “People lack a human touch - SafeDNS still provides it”

Head of SafeDNS’s Customer Support: “People lack a human touch - SafeDNS still provides it”

Today effective customer support is the backbone of any successful tech company. Joining us today is Leo Nagano, the Head of Customer Support at SafeDNS, who has climbed the ranks from a technical support agent to one of the key leaders in the company. He shares insights on his career path, team dynamics, and the unique approaches that set SafeDNS apart in the realm of customer service.

Background

Leo, I know that you have had quite an interesting journey in the world of customer support, starting as a technical support agent. Can you share with our followers how you transitioned from that role to your current position?

Absolutely. My journey began in a local telecom company, where my passion for technology propelled me rapidly from a regular technical support agent to a senior engineer. In this role, I juggled numerous responsibilities, including managing departmental tasks. My curiosity did not stop there. After mastering the telecom sector, I explored various IT niches in different companies, progressing through roles like team lead and senior engineer. This exploration led me to network operation companies and, eventually, to my current role at SafeDNS.

That is quite a trajectory! And speaking of your current role, could you give us a glimpse into the structure of your support team?

Certainly. Our team at SafeDNS consists of highly qualified technical support agents, operating around the clock. The majority are seasoned professionals, having been with us for over two years. This experience has fostered a robust technical team.

Support Philosophy & Strategy

What is the core philosophy that drives your approach to customer support?

Our ethos is simple yet powerful: do everything possible to aid our customers. We aim for a support process that is not just high-quality but also fast, accurate, and courteous. There is no room for irrelevant responses in our playbook.

How do you balance efficiency with the need for a personal touch in customer interactions?

It all boils down to passion. Loving your job naturally leads to a balance between efficiency and personal care in handling customer needs.

Challenges & Solutions

Every team faces challenges. What are the most common ones for your team, and how do you tackle them?

Our primary challenges include managing a seamless ticket workflow and providing dual support – both to end users and internally. The key is our team’s professionalism, which allows us to navigate these challenges effectively.

How do you handle situations where a customer might not be right?

These situations are less about proving someone wrong and more about guidance. We rely on our technical documentation to provide clear, standardized solutions.

And in moments of high pressure, like peak times, how do you prioritize issues?

Prioritizing critical issues swiftly is essential. When a major issue arises, we quickly assess and focus our collective efforts on resolving it.

Training & Development

Could you walk us through how you onboard new members into your support team?

Onboarding at SafeDNS is a meticulous process. We only seek candidates who excel in both customer service and technical skills. Effective communication with customers is sometimes even more crucial than technical expertise, yet we are dedicated to excelling in both areas. As a result, only a select few candidates can begin their probationary period. Once onboard, new agents are supported by a comprehensive knowledge base, senior agents, and a collaborative work environment, ensuring a smooth transition into their roles.

Tools & Technology

What tools does your team rely on, and why?

Our toolkit includes platforms like Freshworks, Intercom, Whatsapp Business, and an internal CRM manager, alongside various minor integrations. For example, Freshworks gives us extensive support solutions, and Intercom allows for smooth communication with our clients. WhatsApp Business offers an easy-to-use interface for quick and cost-effective interactions. Our internal CRM helps keep customer data organized, and other small integrations we use to make our processes more efficient. These tools are chosen for their convenience, reliability, and comprehensive features, enhancing our team's productivity and support quality.

How do you incorporate technology, like AI or chatbots, into enhancing support experiences?

AI and chatbots are invaluable in improving our support services. This technology quickly handles simple, frequent questions, freeing our agents to deal with more intricate and tailored customer needs. It makes our support process more efficient and ensures prompt, precise help for our customers. AI and chatbots can also provide round-the-clock support for complex issues. Blending AI and chatbot capabilities with our skilled support team, we offer comprehensive support that caters to our customers' varied needs.

Metrics & Feedback

What key metrics do you track and how do they guide your decision-making?

We monitor customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), first response and resolution times, and customer effort scores (CES). Reviewing CSAT scores helps us pinpoint where we can improve our services. Tracking how quickly we respond and resolve issues allows us to gauge our efficiency and manage our resources better, leading to a smoother support experience. Additionally, the customer effort score helps us assess how easily our customers can use our support and interact with our products or services.

How do you integrate customer feedback into improving your services?

We collect feedback through surveys, our website, social media, and emails. This data managed via our CRM and sentiment analysis tools, informs product and service enhancements through regular cross-functional reviews and agile methodologies.

What would you say about negative feedback? How do you turn it into an opportunity for improvement?

This may sound cliché but we do view it constructively. Our approach involves acknowledging the feedback, investigating the issue, and communicating transparently with the customer. I would like to underline that transparent communication is a key element, where we keep the customer informed about the steps, we are taking to address their concerns. Long story short, we always use negative feedback as a learning tool for internal improvements and to enhance our support services.

Employee Wellbeing

Given the demanding nature of support roles, how do you ensure the well-being and morale of your team members?

Our focus is on creating a positive work environment. For example, we conduct regular team building activities, organized both online and offline, with the aim of enhancing camaraderie among team members and getting rid of the tedious daily routine. Flexible working hours, remote work options, and accommodating special personal needs are some of the ways we ensure a good work-life balance. We also maintain open lines of communication by ensuring that all team members are free to voice their views, concerns, or positive feedback, ensuring that every opinion matters. Our team members set goals together, discussing career opportunities so that everybody can clearly see relevant growth opportunities within the company. What I am listing now is not just about our department, it is SafeDNS' philosophy on how to interact with employees.

How do you address burnout within the team?

We actively monitor for signs of burnout. Flexible scheduling, workload rotation, emphasis on breaks, recognition, well-being programs, and vacation usage are among our key strategies to combat burnout. But I guess the main thing that helps prevent burnout is to discuss concerns. At SafeDNS every single person is open to discussing any problems.

Unique Approach at SafeDNS:

We have already talked about the technical aspects and philosophy behind SafeDNS support. Can you tell me what makes SafeDNS customer support different from other companies?

I would say it is our proactive approach and personalized support with human touch. For sure we are proud of our truly rapid response times, dedicated account management, and customer feedback integration but in the era of bots and artificial intelligence, people lack a human touch - SafeDNS still provides it. This sets us apart in the industry.

How is this unique approach developed and maintained?

Developing and maintaining our unique approach involves analyzing customer expectations, investing in team training, and establishing a customer-centric company culture. We try to combine a conservative but much-desired human approach with adaptation to technological trends in the industry.

Looking Ahead

Let’s look into the future. How do you envision the future of customer support with evolving technology? What emerging trends are you noticing in tech support, and how are you preparing for them?

Obviously the future of customer support lies in the seamless use of AI. I would add that sophisticated omnichannel experiences, advanced analytics for personalized support, and the use of AR and VR technologies will be an integral part of quality customer support as well. I personally believe that proactive communication and environmental sustainability will also be key aspects.

Since I have been asked about new trends, well, I can say that we are seeing the ubiquitous integration of artificial intelligence, an attempt to strengthen cyber defenses, and a remote work trend, which increases the volume of work. We do our best to keep up with trends and educate our staff, reinforce cybersecurity, leverage collaboration tools, and adopt eco-friendly practices.

What are your future plans?

We do plan to grow as professionals. The sky is the limit, you know. To put it into practice, we are going to develop our mentorship programs which will include more cross-trainings. And, of course, we are embracing the industry advancements to stay at the forefront.

Tips & Recommendations

Leo, could you share your top three tips for enhancing customer support?

Absolutely. First, prioritize clear customer communication. Second, invest in the training and development of your team. And third, wisely embrace technology to streamline processes and improve customer experiences.

And last but not least: are there any resources that have significantly influenced your approach to customer support?

Well, there are a few of them. I would list the following ones: "Delivering Happiness" by Tony Hsieh, "The Customer Support Handbook" by Sarah Hatter, a must-read no matter what sector you work in, and probably the courses on customer support from HubSpot Academy and Coursera. Blogs like Help Scout and Zendesk also provide regular industry insights.

Thanks a lot for your detailed answers and useful tips. Good luck to you and your team!

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