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FreshBooks Management Team

How to EnterCompany: FreshBooks, Toronto, ON, Canada
Company Description: FreshBooks is the #1 Cloud Accounting Specialist for small business owners that always aims to Execute on Extraordinary Experiences Everyday. Based in Toronto and founded in 2003, our aim is to allow small business owners to save time on paperwork so they can spend that time on doing things they love with their family and friends.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Management Team of the Year

Nomination Title: FreshBooks Management Team

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2012 (up to 525 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

FreshBooks’ customer service management team consists of Senior Support Manager, Steve Bujouves and Support Managers, Grace Antonio and Tim Chan (lovingly known 'round these parts as Chim).

This past year presented a difficult challenge for the team. To meet the needs of a growing user base, the Support Team needed to double (yes, double!) its size this year to 22 people. The hardest thing to keep intact when growing the team so quickly is ensuring customers *consistently* receive extraordinary experiences every time they contact FreshBooks. The focus for 2013 was consistency.

To accomplish this, they focussed on ambitious service standards in 2013. They presented these goals to the team and it was met with enthusiam. Since then, they’ve managed the team to :

- pick up the phone within an average of 7 seconds (try calling us! 1-866-303-6061),
- reply to emails in an average of <1 hour and
- keep customer satisfaction ratings over 95%!

They now keep stats projected on the wall for continued motivation throughout the day.

Also, prior to 2013, the management team trusted that hiring the right people with the right skills and training ensured customers would receive great service. This year, to ensure consistency, Grace and Chim started reading and giving regular feedback on support replies. These feedback sessions proved to be great learning experiences for everyone involved. They've now integrated this practice into their bi-weekly 1:1 meetings.

One last idea to support consistency and quality of FreshBooks' Support was creating a "Support Cookbook". This cookbook, written by Grace, contains outlines of how to handle calls and emails, upset customers, and other FreshBooks-related situations. During the beginning stages, the entire Support Team was engaged to help brainstorm the best practices. Because of their participation, it was adopted without hesitation and is now commonly used as a team resource.

Not only has the team size grown, so have the people they manage. Steve, Grace and Chim take great pride in helping employees they manage find their passions and develop their career paths. This past year, there have been promotions from Support Specialists into:

- 2 Senior Support Specialist roles
- a Support Manager role
- a Training and Junior Training Specialist
- a new career in HR as an HR Services specialist
- a new career in product management as a Junior Product Manager

FreshBooks' Support Team is *extraordinarily* close-knit. Steve, Grace and Chim always believed this has been key to the team's success. To foster this culture, they plan offsites where the entire team goes somewhere together with the goal of working and playing together as a team. Offsites strengthen relationships, motivate the team and are extremely fun. In the past year, we’ve had three offsites:

- overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge working on the Support vision, brainstorming solutions and playing games. There's also a water park there ;)
- day trip to Canada’s Wonderland
- art studio to paint giant murals about what Support means to us

Additionally, this past May, Chim started monthly team get-togethers outside work hours hosted by a different team member every month. Examples include a park picnic, pub trivia, hiking trail, and BBQs.

 

Provide a brief (up to 125 words) biography about the leader(s) of the nominated team:

Steve Bujouves is the senior manager of the support team here at FreshBooks. He is extremely passionate about providing extraordinary experiences for customers and also championing the positive and fun support team culture at the company. Steve’s known for being a strategic and innovative thinker—someone you can count on to be decisive and focused when making tough calls. Outside of work, Steve’s a bit of a movie-buff and a Toronto International Film Festival regular. He thrives on the city life and during the summer plays in not one, but two softball leagues.