How do you describe a day in the life of the Customer Happiness team? You come into work, sit in your spot, put your headphones on, and steel yourself for a deluge of emails? Finally, you call it a day, ready for it all to start again tomorrow?
In fact, as corny as it may sound, there really is no “standard” day in this team. It’s just that that makes the job so engaging, and frankly so different to what you might expect from a customer support role.
This work is shift-based, with the different working hours addressing different areas of need. Not only that – charter fishing has a high and a low season, with work dynamics and focus areas that vary accordingly. But when I sat down to talk about the job with Mina Kujundzić, who’s been in the team for about a year now, she told me that it’s the variety within these shifts and seasons that makes “typical” extremely hard to define.
So instead of trying to package all that variety into one fictitious “day,” this post is about the fundamental things that make the Customers Happiness team work. While the team is getting bigger every year and the challenges they face are always changing, these are the things that are here to stay.
Knowledge that everything can be faster, easier, and better quality – if you figure out how to make it that way
What do you do when a customer leaves a 1 star review for their trip but doesn’t give any details?
You follow up, right? If you’re a conscientious company that cares about providing a quality service, surely you should find out why the customer was unhappy.
And if they don’t respond? Follow up again?
This is what we did up until recently. But Mina was convinced that this was not a good customer experience, despite our best intentions. Not only that, but this manual work was stopping the team from helping the people who really needed it.
Pairing up with our product researcher and an engineer, she tracked the responses to these follow ups. It turned out that actually they weren’t giving us any real insight into the customer’s experience. A lot of people didn’t respond – then we’d follow up again, and still we’d hear nothing. All the while, customers were being inundated with “spammy” emails that they didn’t want to respond to.
So, after talking to the team, she proposed a new approach. In general, the captains we work with are highly engaged. Why not reach out to them first to find out what happened? After all, we would have done this after hearing back from the customer, anyway.
Now, we immediately know whether there’s something we can do to help the customer. We can say “we’re aware of what went wrong” and offer a solution, which they really appreciate.
Is there repetitive work sometimes? Of course. But one thing you won’t face is a deluge of unnecessary requests. Whenever the team identifies something that can be solved through the product or by following a different procedure, they’ll work out how this can be done and communicate it with the people who can make that change. Just like what Mina did with review responses.
The pursuit of happiness
A couple of years ago, our customer support team had a turning point. This was when FishingBooker was expanding fast and was suddenly facing a lot of new questions. One of these was: now that the Customer Service team (as it was then known) was made up of more than a couple of people, how should their success be measured?
Was it the number of tickets they solved? The number of phone calls they answered? Or was it something else? How could we translate their work into showing us whether we’re on the right track as a company?
Through all of this, one thing was a constant. Yes, we wanted to provide a way for people to book their fishing trips. But we also wanted them to enjoy their experience. And if they were having problems for any reason, we wanted to help solve that problem and for them to feel good after interacting with us.
Changing the name of the team was a sign of our commitment to happiness all round. We wanted to make our customers and captains happy. And we knew that in order for this to happen, it was critical that the team members were enjoying themselves, too. In the words of Lena Milić, the team lead, “This is when I realized that my role, amongst other responsibilities, was always about making employees satisfied and happy at their work.”
It also helped shape the way the team would develop, dictating the way we solve problems and approach day to day work. Yes, we do track the answer rate of calls. But we also track how successfully we help customers find good alternatives if their trip can’t go ahead for any reason. And, of course, we pay a lot of attention to their overall satisfaction ratings.
The team is structured so that they can be there for the people who need a personal approach – either because they’re not tech savvy or because the issue is too complex to be solved through help center articles. Rather than resolving an endless number of repetitive simple questions, the focus is on giving a quality response to the people who need help.
“There’s more responsibility here but it also makes things much more fun. That’s why we’re Customer Happiness. Customer service agents do things to this line, but we do our best to offer the best service we can. Even if there’s not a set procedure we try to come up with a solution, and I think that’s the great thing about this job. It’s a breath of fresh air.”
No one is an island
All this can be hard to pull off. As Mina mentioned to me, “You’re the front line of the company. You have to be ready to pick up a call and expect it to last for 40 minutes.” Customers and captains contact the support line to offload their problems. And sometimes there simply isn’t one straight-forward way of dealing with whatever they’re having trouble with.
That’s why the team is one of the most important aspects of the Customer Happiness role. In fact, the only “typical” thing that came to Mina’s mind when I asked her about her day to day job was the fact that they order food together and joke around. “We’re a group of very different people but for some crazy reason we click so well together,” she said.
This didn’t happen by accident. During the work day, everyone is invited to share their opinions about particular cases and to work together to solve them. This can be done through trainings or informal chats. The group is always involved: how can something like this be handled better next time?
At the same time, everyone in the team is actively involved in structuring it. Rather than supervisors setting and enforcing a work schedule, this is put together by the team itself, with 2 people being accountable. So while there is shift work and certain rules around that, it’s the people within the team who think up the best way that they themselves can contribute.
Of course, though, people don’t only get on because of work. They often have informal get-togethers – team members are welcome to attend, but there’s no pressure if they don’t. They’re encouraged to talk openly to each other, and also to relax together.
“We’re surrounded by ambitious and motivated people who are very happy to be where they are. This is lovely because when I speak to people who work in an office environment they’re kinda bored. I feel like when I talk to other people about work, they’re like, “Wow, you have a spark in your eye!” It’s so rare!…Being surrounded by people like this is motivating for me. It makes me come in every day and do everything I can to help the team and the company. Everything’s fun, work-wise and play-wise.”
Using and developing your individual strengths – whatever your background
Before starting at FishingBooker, Mina trained to be a pastry chef. But she realized that this wasn’t the work atmosphere she was aiming for and took the leap to a completely different career. “I was frightened because I thought I didn’t like calls,” she explained, “but the idea sounded amazing. I didn’t know how I was going to handle it because I was generally quiet. Not any more! Don’t let the thought that you don’t know how to do something stop you.”
This team is strong exactly because it’s made up of people from all sorts of different backgrounds. And each of these backgrounds brings something unique. For instance, Mina’s experience at culinary school made her absolutely committed to quality even though she now works in a completely different setting.
Regardless of where you come from, the first couple of months in Customer Happiness is highly focused on learning the job. That means picking up everything from how fishing works (no, you don’t need to have ever caught a fish before you start), to learning how we respond to various types of requests. You’ll spend a lot of time answering calls from customers – this is the best way to learn what they’re looking for, after all!
Once you’ve covered these foundations, you’ll start to specialize. If you’re better with captains you’ll focus on that, if you have good sales skills you’ll work more with customers. Then, when the high season dies down, you’ll get the chance to work on different projects. Last year, different people in the team were focusing on things as diverse as finances, content writing, and technical fixes. Who knows what it will be next year! It all depends on you being curious and willing to learn new things.
That’s why typical days are all but non-existent in this team. There’s no single, constricting pathway. Both in terms of the types of issues you’ll be solving in your job, and in terms of what you’ll become as you progress. And that’s what makes this job exciting.
Want to know more? Our careers page is full of new information about what you can expect from working in Customer Happiness. Take a look!