People of WePay: Andrea Corley, Senior Manager of Customer Delight
Why WePay? What led you here and why did you choose WePay?
When I came to WePay, we had just rolled out our API product and wanted someone outside of engineering to help support it with our new partners. We needed someone to bridge the gap between engineers and prospects about our API.
For me, it sounded like an interesting challenge and I wanted to try something new. And then I was really impressed with WePay and how much everyone cared about what we were building. And no matter who you were or what role you filled, you had a voice and you could contribute. I fell in love with the company right away and have been committed ever since.
When you transitioned to our Providence office, why did you take on that role?
Well, we wanted to open an office out here and we felt that it was very important that it wasn’t just an offshoot satellite office, we wanted it to be a real arm of WePay and I felt that it was really important that someone came out to really help set that culture and build out the team instead of just hiring in brand new and hoping that they could figure it out. So I figured I’d come over and start it. Which was a fun project. A lot of sleepless nights but a really cool project.
What aspect of your role really impacts how we are able to delight our customers?
Everything in our role impacts how we delight customers. It’s literally our name. For me specifically, since I manage the overall customer delight team, I’m always trying to make sure that we are rethinking and challenging ourselves to do better at what we do and to find more creative ways to really give good support and really meet our partners’ needs as their needs change. So that could be things like changing how we do our channels or changing how available we are or opening a new office. Our biggest recent change was changing our structure from a regular flat support structure over to support pods and really targeted partner teams.
What was the reason we opened an office in Providence?
So we cover a really wide range of time zones. We cover 6AM to 10PM. We originally thought about Providence when we expanded to the UK because we thought we’d need to do really early morning coverage for the UK and we thought an East Coast office would help with that. We have a lot of East Coast partners, like FreshBooks, who open really early so having an East Coast office was important to fill that.
How do you approach making an impact at WePay and for our partners?
Personally, I try to listen. I listen to our partners and our team. In almost any org if you want to know where the issues and the problems really are, talk to the front line, because they are going to pick up on that and they are going to know. In a lot of ways, issues that bubble up are going to hit us first, we are the canaries in the coal mine, and we try to listen and I really focus on taking that valuable customer and partner insight and translating that into solutions. Not just for us but within the rest of WePay and helping to bring that insight that we wouldn’t otherwise get.
What are some metrics you look at in your role?
I look at a bunch of metrics. I’m a data nerd so I always want numbers for everything. So I look a lot at a standard range of productivity metrics like the volume of tickets that we are solving each day, how long we are taking to solve those tickets, which types of issues are driving tickets, how chunky are they, how difficult are they to solve? And we also look at a customer pain index. We try to figure out not justs the cost of supporting some of these tickets from a volume standpoint but really just what is the emotional impact to a customer, helping to build metrics around that which we can use to color some of our broader decisions.
What advice can you offer startups and SaaS businesses about being effective in customer service programs?
For customer service I think it comes back to listening. You can’t always assume that the solution you came up with is the right one. You can’t assume that because it’s been working for six months that it’s still working. You have to always be sourcing feedback from your customers and partners and be sure that you are adapting. Also, hire really passionate people. If you want to have good support you have to have people that really believe in it. With our team we focused on a small team of very skilled agents versus just a large team of mediocre agents and that has paid dividends in the absolute quality of support that we are able to deliver. [NOTE – WePay’s Customer Delight team has won Stevie awards for customer service every year for the past three years including this year’s Gold Award for Customer Service Department of the Year in Financial Services, 100 or more employees.]
What tool helps you most in getting your job done?
For me, Zendesk is our tool. We use it for all our communication with our customers and we would be dead in the water without it. I’ve spent the past four years breaking and unbreaking it many times.
What’s your worst customer service story?
A few years back we had some bugs in the system that caused huge outages and impacts for our customers and the queue exploded. So we had over 2000 tickets in the queue and we were five days behind on replies. So it was everything on fire. All of our agents were doing twelve hour days trying to work through it and it was just insane. That was a really tough time for us because we were so out of our depth in being able to handle that. So what ended up happening is that the whole company came and trained with support for a few hours. Enough to be able to handle some of those basic, first level questions. We called it ‘conquer the queue’ and over the next couple of weeks all the execs, the directors and managers would come in and spend time and do tickets with us and help us get through it as a company. It was an awful experience because it was extremely stressful but it was also good because it was a nice moment for the company and there were a lot of insights that the other departments took away from that because they heard the customer voice and the impact of those mistakes.
What are the top two things that make the Customer Delight team special?
I can’t emphasize enough how unique our team is in the way we do support. It is unlike anything our competitors do. The relationship that we build with our partners is awesome. The Customer Delight team are a really fun group of people, We hire for a real diversity, people from all sorts of different walks of life with a bunch of different interests and we really celebrate those differences in the team and we find ways for people to bring their own flair in the culture but also in the work that we do. We encourage personal connections and personalization so people can come in and be themselves. The culture is huge.
We set up our support in support pods where small groups of agents dedicate to certain partners. Those agents really care about their partners. They research them, get to know them, find out who they are, what they like, how they want to work. They talk to them and really build that support relationship out. It really is a partnership, not just that they are taking in problems and handing out solutions. They view it on a higher level – as helping our partners to be successful. As a result the partners really notice. We had one of our agents out sick with the flu and the partner noticed and sent her a get well package.