How HubSpot Customer Service Makes the Super Technical Insanely Easy
January 24, 2019
When Language I/O first started using HubSpot, it was a little mind-blowing. Not because the marketing and sales software is difficult to use—it isn’t—but because HubSpot does so much it’s often challenging to wrap your arms around all of its functionalities.
That being said, the HubSpot support team might be one of the best customer support teams this marketing manager has encountered. No matter how many times I’ve contacted them (it’s often, trust me), they are patient, quick to respond and very thorough.
Curious as to how HubSpot developed such an all-star customer service cast, we sat down with Ben Horner, customer support specialist for HubSpot, for a few minutes to get the scoop on HubSpot’s keys to providing outstanding customer support. This is what Horner said.
Q. How big is your customer support team?
A. We have offices across the globe, but the majority of our customer support team is based in our Cambridge, Mass. headquarters. Our team is staffed around the clock, because as I like to say, “when our customers are working, we’re working!”
Q. How does your team approach customer service?
A. Our corporate culture is based around the acronym HEART – Humble, Empathetic, Adaptable, Remarkable, Transparent. To me, the most important part of that for our support team is being empathetic. We need to understand where a customer is coming from to connect with them and create a collaborative experience.
Everyone has been on the customer side of a support interaction at one time or another, whether it’s a bank, utility provider, retail location—whatever—and everyone knows what a poor customer support experience feels like. By empathizing and aligning with our customers, it helps us create a collaborative interaction while we work with them to move past whatever roadblock they are experiencing.
Q. Any tips for maintaining that empathy when customers might make it challenge?
A. Sometimes it is easier said than done, but I always try to put myself in the customer’s shoes in those moments. I try to remember that the customer isn’t mad at me, they’re frustrated by the situation. If we’re mindful of where they are coming from, it makes it easier to empathize and make that connection with them, and hopefully shift the interaction from adversarial to collaborative.
Q. One thing I love about HubSpot support is the omnichannel approach to customer support. Depending on my question, where I am in my day, or the immediacy of my needs, I’ll email, chat, call, or head to the community forum. What is your approach to omnichannel customer support?
A. I think our approach comes from recognizing that everyone has a different preferred way to communicate with support, and we need to meet them where they are. Some people may prefer the immediacy of calling in, others may prefer to submit a web ticket and work through their issue via email on their timeline, and then there are those who prefer the simplicity and convenience of chat.
Each of these channels has been in place since I started at HubSpot and comes with its own advantages, but one thing I’ve noticed since I’ve been here has been an emphasis on chat support. Nowadays, it’s important to capture your customer’s question in the moment the frustration happens; if you’re not doing that, it can engender more frustration. For example, if a customer needs assistance resetting a password, say, but they don’t want to wait for a response on a web ticket and don’t have time to get on the phone, they can quickly get assistance by chatting in. We always want to help our customers get back to their days as quickly as possible, and chat plays a key role in that.
Q. The amount of technical knowledge your team has is incredible. What’s your approach to training?
A. Every single representative on our floor is fully trained to support every aspect of our platform, but our approach to training is that it never stops!
Many team members come into HubSpot Support with previous customer support experience. I personally have worked in both restaurant and retail settings, and I have colleagues with similar backgrounds. Both of those things are customer service at their very essence. So, many team members will have experiencing interacting with customers or working through tough situations, but supporting and troubleshooting a SaaS product like HubSpot is a lot different, and we recognize that.
With that in mind, HubSpot has an entire team dedicated to providing in-depth training resources to help our specialists provide the stellar support experience our customers expect from us. Each new specialist goes through extensive training before ever taking their first case, and then even after that, there are ongoing trainings that are introduced to specialists of all tenures. For example, if HubSpot is preparing to introduce a new feature or product to our tool, we will be given training materials well before that launch so we can be prepared to answer customer questions when the product goes live. On that front, full credit goes to HubSpot’s learning and development team and support leadership who collaborate daily to make sure we are provided with the resources we need to support our customers.
Q. Several times when I’ve looked for a functionality that doesn’t exist in Hubspot, I’ve had a customer support representative send me a link to a community board for product suggestions. Why do you do that?
A. HubSpot support specialists will do this because our Ideas Forum is a great opportunity for our customers to communicate product feedback and suggestions directly to our product and development teams. If customers were only able to submit feedback through individual support cases, it sort of becomes like raindrops into the ocean; sure, it’s there and we’re glad to have received it, but how impactful is it?
Since the Ideas Forum lets other HubSpot users chime in in support of an idea and add in their use-case, it really amplifies that feedback. Our product and development teams actively monitor that forum, so when they see a post getting a lot of “UpVotes” and comments, it raises a flag for our team and let’s them know, ‘hey, this is something that would benefit a lot of our customers, let’s take a closer look here.’
It lets HubSpot continue solving for our customers in a larger sense in a more interactive way.
Thank you Ben for the valuable information! If you're a customer service expert or have some advice to share with our clients, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact us here.
Photo: Ben Horner, customer support specialist for HubSpot