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FreshBooks - Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year


Gold Stevie Award Winner 2019, Click to Enter The 2020 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Company: FreshBooks, Toronto, ON, Canada
Company Description: FreshBooks is the #1 Cloud Accounting program for small business owners. We always aims to Execute on Extraordinary Experiences Everyday for our customers. 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: Front-Line Customer Service Team of the Year - Business Services Industries

Nomination Title: FreshBooks Support Short Stories: How we rocked 2018!

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2017 (up to 650 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:

In 2018, FreshBooks’ Support Team helped 220,000+ customers:

-133K phones calls picked up within 5 seconds and zero hold time,
-108K emails responded to in less than 2 hours on average,
-2K social media support,
-Added a chat channel (new this year!) and
-Maintained 95% customer satisfaction!

Amazing accomplishments, for sure!

For this application, I’m excited to share three stories that showcase different ways our team is extraordinary:

The first focuses on technological improvements and its impact on efficiency.
The second outlines a controversial change the team handled successfully and gracefully.
And the last spotlights new strategies we employed to keep our front-line team (we call them Support Rockstars) happy and healthy.

1. Support tool improvements

There’s an improvement we made in November 2017 so impactful to customers and Rockstars, I can not NOT include it in this essay. Bigger companies may have this already, but it was the first time we implemented it: Phone routing.

Sounds simple, but boy, did it make a difference! Before the change, for every customer call, ALL Rockstar phones would ring. All 50 of them. Imagine that… 50 phones ringing… 500 times per day. Yes, it was THAT loud. If no one answered after 4 rings, phones would “overflow” to the entire Support organization. Our goal was to keep overflow calls to <=2%, but this goal was getting harder to maintain. We needed a change.

After months of researching and conducting Rockstar interviews, we launched phone routing. Having only one phone ring at a time, we immediately noticed the physical improvements: a less stressful and much quieter environment the entire department loved.

As for the numbers, they speak for themselves. Overflow decreased from 2.2% in 2017 to, a previously unfathomable, 0.2% in 2018!

2. FreshBooks Price Increase

In 2018, FreshBooks announced our first-ever forced price increase to customers. Suffice it to say, our Support leadership team was apprehensive about how Rockstars and customers would react to this controversial news.

Turns out, we had nothing to worry about. We were so impressed how the team rallied around the program, understanding the value proposition and working with Marketing by suggesting improvements to the messaging and timing of announcements.

Rockstars lived up to our high standards and were able to retain most customers and our 95% customer satisfaction rating. When reporting afterwards, we found customers that talked to Support churned at 54% below the company’s expectations! A huge feat for Rockstars and an overall great example of business maturity.

3. Work-life balance

Another major focus in 2018 was work-life balance and wellness. We wanted to focus on our team’s happiness to ensure firstly, that Rockstars are doing their best possible work and, secondly, to stay competitive in the tech industry.

-10% initiative: Rockstars were given 10% of their time for personal development. It was up to them how to use it. Examples include: learning French, SQL, video/photo editing, helping with projects, social media, etc. The feedback has been outstanding and Rockstars feel they are being actively supported in their career growth.

-Reduced hours: FreshBooks had a policy of 9-hour workdays. However, this was higher than average. So, we bit the bullet, went rogue and announced a new test: 8-hour days! Though it started as a test, it had such a positive effect, we made it permanent. We did not lower case expectations at all, we didn’t need to. This change cost $0 and Rockstars were happy to work harder to get extra time off.

-Remote work: We mainlined work from home as an option. Previously, we weren’t technologically set-up to offer this, but these days, Rockstars can choose this option at their convenience. Rockstars no longer have to schedule time off if waiting on repair-people or feeling slightly sickly.

The results are clear: Rockstars are happier, experience less burnout and the number of unplanned absences in 2018 decreased 20% from the year before! BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!