Who's Supporting Support?

How Support impacts our bottom line, and all the lines above it

In our all-hands support framework, employees at every level talk to customers on a weekly basis. Preparing for all-hands support is a key part of our employee onboarding process, it serves to connect new hires with our users, and teaches them about our product. Customer feedback influences product decisions during each development cycle, helps engage and retain users, and is essential to maintaining growth.

When we first started doing it, all-hands support was not a choice, but a necessity. To be honest, we simply needed more people online to answer questions in a timely manner. But now that we've had it in place for years, all-hands support has become a pillar of our business - and we think all global, remote teams should implement it. The thing is, customer support isn't about just putting out fires - it's about going above and beyond to solve problems, set people up for success, anticipate their needs, and build trust. It's about nurturing relationships, and creating a positive feedback loop to keep customers at the center of what we're building.

Support is a key sales channel

70% of customers who purchased Slite in the last month had contact with the Support team before paying for our product. Coincidentally, ~75% of our team provided support in that same period.

While we have sales specialists now to welcome qualified leads, run product demos, and build quality pipelines, some of the most authentic connections with customers spring out of conversations with people in Product, Marketing, and HR. Giving everyone across departments face time with the people for whom we're building it reminds us of our Why, and allows us to sell based on who we are and what we care about.

Support is company 101 for new hires

Introducing all-hands support as part of onboarding lets new hires make a connection right away. For new employees, diving right into talking to customers helps them understand how people use Slite, and encourages them to start building relationships within the community.

We say guided because Support onboarding is very hands-on, though it's also mostly async. Alexandria, our Support Lead, ramps up new hires using a series of Slite documents, live Zoom meetings, and async Loom videos to help them get started.

My personalized Support onboarding doc. Thanks Alexandria!

Customer feedback influences product decisions

Together with Sales, Alexandria regularly updates the rest of our team in a doc called "Customer Voice." This bi-weekly update includes video summaries and notes about common queries, feature requests, bugs, and shoutouts.

How our support lead, Alexandria, shares what's going on in Support with the whole team.

Less frequently, Brieuc, our head of Sales and Customer Success shares a doc called "Radio feedback." This report is more of a high-level view of how our customers are responding to recent releases, the weighted importance of various feature requests, and the areas of concern that matter most to the teams who entrust their workflow to us.

Together, Customer Voice and Radio Feedback have a dramatic impact on the product pitches we propose, and the Builds we pursue. Feature requests don't just live forever at the bottom of a backlog.

The ups and downs of all-hands support

All-hands support in remote has many benefits, including increased response times, coverage across timezones, better technical support, and localization of languages.

All-hands support also comes with unique complexity. In the beginning, support was everyone and no one's responsibility. Without someone to take ownership, we found our responsiveness slipping.

This led us to hire a dedicated support lead in 2020. Alexandria has scaled the all-hands practice as we've grown.

Some of the actions we've implemented over the last few years include:

  • Delayed start of support shifts- New hires don't start support until a month or two after they start. This gives new folks time to get comfortable in their core roles.
  • Async onboarding - to let new hires work at their own pace
  • Reduced support frequency for certain roles - Support shifts are optional for the CEO, CTO, Head of Product, and employees who've been at Slite the longest
  • Half day instead of full day shifts- Shorter shifts give more time for full-time roles
  • Planning well in advance- Support shifts are planned out and shared via Slite doc, of course!
  • Deploying specialists in their areas of expertise - Marketers and designers answer customer satisfaction surveys, mobile engineers tackle mobile bugs, and the product team receives feature requests.

These simple actions make our Support system more successful overall.

Final thoughts

Word of mouth is our #1 channel of acquisition, accounting for 60% of new business. We're confident our approach to support contributes to positive feedback loops in our immediate community, and beyond.

So for now, all-hands support works for us. About 69% of Sliters are in favor of keeping the practice in its current form, and nearly everyone wants to keep the practice for new employee onboarding. Not to mention a customer satisfaction (CSAT) score hovering between 96-97%.

But as with all things, we'll let our customers, and our team, tell us when it no longer serves them.

Like the docs in this post? Email us at marketing@slite.com and we'd be happy to share our templates with you.

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