Support Around the Clock — Solving for a 24/7 Support Model

Written by Ben Jeffery

Categories: What's New

4 minute read time

Email issues don’t wait for you to be ready for them; they just happen sometimes. To ensure we’re providing prompt support whenever it’s needed, we have 24/7 coverage to address any urgent issues that arise.

Plus, Mailgun has customers around the globe. Someone’s 9 AM problem could be our 3 AM problem, but that doesn’t mean they should pay the price of slow service due to their location. Developers work at all hours, which makes having a support staff on hand imperative for SaaS businesses.

At Mailgun, we believe that any business or developer could take our model and use it to create something similar. But first let’s ask this, how do you solve for a constant support need?

It’s simple, you have to have nonstop customer care.

How do you solve for that?

As we think through our overall support structure, it’s essential to look at the following factors: when are tickets submitted, which customers, what issues, and how can we help?

Do we get more tickets in the morning or in the afternoon?  What customer bases are most in need of support, and what types of issues are causing them to reach out?  How can we prepare to handle all the incoming support requests daily, across shifts, while maintaining a responsibly-sized staff within our budget?

Mailgun answers a few of these questions by looking at the data that we track regarding all incoming requests. Customer tickets are tagged based on account type, age, issue type, and other factors; all of which allow us to identify trends within the business that can be solved. Possible solutions might include adding documentation to enable customers to self-serve, acquiring feedback for product improvements based on everyday issues, or coaching opportunities for the support staff to increase efficiency when responding to requests.

Responding everywhere

Ticket requests and responses can come from anywhere, and you have to adapt to them rather than around them. If you’ve ever checked out our Twitter, you may have noticed that we get loads of support requests through there. They look a lot like someone asking for an update on a ticket, or someone reaching out for the first time with a question about their account, or if you’re lucky — they’re spicy.

We’ll wait.

Regardless of what people tweet at us, we aim to respond to every person that comes through looking for a ticket. When applicable, we aim to move the conversation over to a more private channel of communication for their privacy and data protection. Still, updating them via Twitter is usually the easiest and fastest way to let a customer know that they are heard.

Staffing for all hours

Our team is staffed across all shifts and monitor the ticket queues 24/7/365 to provide consistent support for all requests, regardless of customer’s location or the time the request is received. To accomplish this, we use analytics to determine how to staff most appropriately based on the hours and days when we’re the busiest.

Which if you’re wondering, it looks exactly like you think it does. Mailgun sees the highest volume during the early morning through early afternoon hours, with the start of the work week being busier than the end of the week or weekend.

In staffing our teams, we hire individuals that not only have a technical background and email knowledge but fit out team dynamic as well. In establishing a good fit, our brand voice can stay consistent across all hours, which builds a standard of conduct that customers come to expect from us. We’re able to add a human element into all of our customer interactions, which is imperative across industries when it comes to support.

A niche individual for a niche industry

When interviewing for open positions on our support staff, we also look at potential candidates based on their technical aptitude and their ability to learn. Our goal is to identify self-motivated and technically-minded individuals to bring onto the team; because of this, many of our support staff have development/coding experience, while others come from a background specializing in email support. This gives us the tools necessary to approach any customer request with the ability to drive towards quick, practical solutions.

Our customers also come to us from all sorts of technical backgrounds, and our support team needs to be able to compensate for any skill level. To solve for this, we aim to staff ourselves with a group that can ramp up quickly, troubleshoot effectively, and provides concise, understandable responses to technical inquiries regardless of the customer’s experience level.

Also, if you think that the structure sounds a little dull and robotic, we promise that it isn’t. However, it does mean that we all laugh at the same memes.

This one was a hit this week.
Prioritization is key

As our team works through the ticket volume, they are tasked with focusing on three areas to drive success:  quality, quantity, and efficiency. These goals are measured by tracking the customer satisfaction score (which is a 95-97% on weekly transactional scores on average here at Mailgun) for all tickets worked, the number of tickets worked, and the number of tickets closed after the first response from Support.

When the team meets these goals individually, the whole team can meet and exceed the expectations given to them. Delivering quality results on all fronts like that allows us to deliver the best Support product possible.

Rolling it all together

In succeeding our goals, we can see consistent success through our customer satisfaction scores, along with noticeably shorter wait times. Doing things like keeping the easy-to-solve ticket volume low or increasing internal efficiencies lets us get info to our customers quickly and accurately — regardless of the time or day.

We’re committed to making sure that you get a great solution fast so you can get back to sending. And remember, if you ever run into an issue with your account, you can always reach out to us.

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Modified on: May 28, 2019

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