Last week, I attended the mind-blowingly huge Web Summit conference in Lisbon. What an awesome and inspiring experience this was – hosted in such a beautiful city, too. It was incredible to feel part of something so large and informative, listening to some of the tech industry’s greatest minds share their thoughts on diverse topics.
With more than 60,000 attendees (from 170+ countries) and 1,200 speakers, I knew Web Summit was going to be big but nothing prepared me for just HOW big: it was epic! As there were so many fantastic sessions to tap into, planning was essential and I still feel I only got to scratch the surface. But what I did cram in was useful, informative and, most importantly, inspiring.
As SMTP2GO’s Chief Happiness Officer (this is, to be fair, a job title I’ve just made up for myself!), a large part of my role focusses on ensuring that our customers are happy and find our website and tools useful and accessible. We take our customer support and, ultimately, customer experience and satisfaction, really seriously. I spend time testing our tools and website to see how we can improve. If we can reduce clicks, make something more straightforward or clearer, we’re on it.
As customer happiness is such a large part of my role here at SMTP2GO, I was really interested in the sessions that focussed on CX, UX and customer support. I have some valuable takeaways from Web Summit and I will consider these when thinking about how we can make our customers even happier (it means a lot to us).
Creativity, love and happiness
This session saw Pamela Pavliscak,(Founder, Change Sciences), Jacob Greenshpan (UX Strategy Consultant, Google), Ethan Imboden (Head of Venture Design, frog) and Martin Swant (Writer, Adweek) discussing how design affects us fundamentally. With regard to UX design, the panel agreed that it’s important not to push users to feel a certain way: instead of pigeonholing them let them participate instead. This struck a chord with me as I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to make assumptions about what users want – it’s better to ask the users directly and use specialist tools and software to discover how they use the website, which can show us ways to improve. We also invite feedback from our users – and act on it!
How brands can build customer trust with social
Sprinklr CEO Ragy Thomas shared his insights into how brands can build trust with social and discussed how ‘customer care is the new marketing’. Explaining how important it is to nurture existing customers, Thomas revealed that, 9 times out of 10, what an existing customer says about a product or service impacts another’s purchase decision. We’ve always believed this here at SMTP2GO and we take time and effort to support our customers. For us, it’s more than a marketing strategy, though – we really do want our users to find our service useful and beneficial.
The Future of Work: Enabling Human Connection
This was possibly the most ‘light-bulb moment’ session for me. Stewart Butterfield, Co-Founder & CEO of Slack, was talking about how key customer support is in helping spot developmental errors. Instead of seeing the departments as two separate entities, it’s hugely beneficial to use customer support as a means of identifying what’s working for the customer and what isn’t. The customer support team are on the front-line, and can feed back valuable insight from the users/customers. This is key in successful CX. At Slack, the customer support team alerts the development team of any issues the users might be having. I was excited to discover that a company as large and successful as Slack is employing these strategies, as this is something we’ve done for a long time here at SMTP2GO. Our customer support team and development team openly communicate (using Slack, of course!) to iron out kinks.
It really is worth investing in a great customer support team and this is something we’re super proud of at SMTP2GO. We have customer support agents spotted around the globe, ensuring round the clock support, and they’re so good at what they do they even win awards! We’re really proud of the support we offer our customers, making no distinction in the quality of the support offered to customers with a free plan, or a paid one. Also, 50% of our customer support team are women (they’re really smart!) and this is something that we like to shout about, too!
I treasure what I’ve learnt at Web Summit, as well as the wonderful experience in general. As a remote team, that’s totally nailed the working-from-home dynamic, it was fantastic to spend time with colleagues from various countries and communicate face-to-face over a beer (or two)! Sign me up for next year already!
If there’s something you feel we could be doing better, or would make you happier, drop me a line. Your happiness is my job: firstname.lastname@example.org.