Social media has transformed the way we all live and work – slowly, then suddenly.
And, as social media emerged as a new channel for brands to connect with their customers, bottlenecks appeared.
How can I be active on my social accounts and post daily to build a brand? It slips my mind, then it’s 7 p.m., I’m eating dinner, reflecting on the day, realizing I missed my window to ship my message off into the world.
And, when I do remember to post on LinkedIn, I forget about Twitter. Then, when I get a mention on Twitter, it sits untouched for days.
*cue the overwhelm*
Two smart leaders saw these bottlenecks piling up for the busy entrepreneur all the way to the enterprise-class teams. And, they built Buffer to fix the problem.
This month, we’re crushing on the social media scheduling company, Buffer.
Buffer bootstrapped a profitable business and has now scaled to more than $20 million in revenue with 80+ employees. And throughout the last nine years, they’ve built one of the best company cultures around. People sit on waitlists to learn about job openings at Buffer.
Oh, and they’ve built this insanely successful product and organizational culture as a fully distributed team.
Learn four (of the many) reasons we think Buffer sets an outstanding example for how to build the best customer service experience.
1. They tout a customer-centric vision and values (and they have the action to back it up).
Buffer’s Cofounders, Joel Gascoigne and Leo Widrich, created the company back in 2011 with a clear mission and vision in mind – to help their customers use social media for greater connection and to offer top-tier support to everyone who touches the brand.
They put the best customer service experience at the core of their business model from day one.
“Right from the beginning, we decided that great customer service would be our vision – or at least half of our vision – for Buffer… The vision is to set the bar for great customer support.”– Buffer CoFounders, Joel Gascoigne and Leo Widrich
And to live out their mission and vision, they created a set of clearly defined values that all employees know and live by. Even better, they tapped into their teams to create these values.
The exec team didn’t sit in a board room and think them up in a vacuum. They worked with their team leaders, asked for employee input and did internal research to meticulously narrow down what matters most to the soul of their organization. What’s more? They’ll keep iterating on these values as they change and grow – putting a “gut check” reminder on the calendar once a year.
It’s like they knew that employees are 4.6x more empowered to do better work when you give them a voice at the company.
2. Customer transparency.
As a private company, Buffer doesn’t have to disclose much about the inner workings of their business to the public. But they choose to do so anyway, living out their core value of transparency.
Their take on transparency is incredibly refreshing. They publish everything from their salaries (and salary formula) all the way to their code and product roadmap. You won’t find any smoke and mirrors with this team.
And, they often dive deeper to give more explanation about their “why,” too.
From “why” they call customer service agents Happiness Heroes, to why they plan to reassess their core values, we found article after article defining their thought process. Even on tough topics, like why a co-founder decided to leave. They give customers and prospects a crystal-clear view of what’s happening at the company and how they make important decisions – building trust from the get-go.
3. They eat their own dog food.
The team at Buffer is incredibly active on social media, using it as a platform to build their brand AND to help customers.
When companies use their own products and play in the market sandbox every day, they build better solutions for their customers. They learn what works and what doesn’t when scheduling posts, and they get ideas for what features will make workflows more efficient.
Buffer offers up a ton of self-help resources to customers who need support. But when they do have to reach out to a live human, they make it easy. The team’s social media support, much like their other channels, is fast and helpful. You’re never left (publicly) talking to yourself with an unanswered mention. Their agents offer savvy advice to deliver the best customer service experience when a customer Tweets in, no matter the question.
4. They understand the value of their support agents.
Buffer understands the influence customer support agents have on creating the best customer service experience. And because of the massive positive impact their support reps have on the Buffer community, they pay these team members well above the typical market rate for their roles.
They approach customer support differently, even down to the names of their agents: Happiness Heroes, Weekend Warriors and Community Champions.
From the early stages of building Buffer, the founders felt it was important to give customer support agents better benefits, but also to name them appropriately for their roles. With 92% of customers admitting your agents’ mood impacts satisfaction, agents are in the driver seat of customer happiness. It’s pretty cool to see a company that acts like it.
The founders weren’t shy about talking about the impact their service team has had on peers and company morale, either. The Happiness Heroes bring high spirits and a contagious energy to the Buffer community (and beyond). From early company stages until now, company leaders pride themselves on the level of service their team delivers and the impact they make.
Watch this 5-minute video to learn why Buffer’s approach to customer support is so unique (and how it pays off).