Carolyn Kopprasch

Carolyn Kopprasch

Chief of Staff @ Buffer

Twitter

A collection of 37 posts

OpenAug 10, 2023
How We Run Performance Reviews At Buffer And Why I Have Mixed Feelings About Them

For many years, as a small startup, we did not do any sort of formal performance reviews. Instead, we did regular one-to-one meetings between managers and teammates, usually on a weekly basis. We also gave feedback to each other openly and regularly. (We even experimented with doing feedback transparently, but we went away from that practice — one of the few times we’ve scaled back a transparency experiment!) And lastly, every teammate had a regular mastermind with another team member, which oft

OpenAug 3, 2023
We’re Opening A Talent Pool — Here’s What To Do If You’re Interested

We’re opening up a Talent Pool! In this post, we outline why and what you'll need to know to join.

OpenMay 1, 2023
We Pay Out Unused Sabbaticals When Someone Leaves Buffer, Here’s Why

In 2019, we introduced sabbaticals at Buffer. The concept is to reward long-tenured teammates and invite them to take a well-earned break from work. Most professionals have to leave their jobs to take a break longer than a typical one- or two-week vacation. Sabbaticals allow teammates to take that break and return to Buffer, refreshed and recharged. This is one of our most cherished benefits for this reason. When a teammate reaches five years with us, they are eligible to take this fully-paid s

OpenApr 25, 2023
How We Handle Severance In Cases Of Mutual Separation

We’ve always aimed to chart our own course at Buffer for how we approach traditional business practices, and severance is no different. Recently, we’ve adjusted our severance policy to apply in more situations. We’ve introduced the concept of “mutual separations” for the cases when a teammate and their manager both feel that the teammate’s chapter at Buffer has come to an end. We strive to be generous to these teammates who have spent a portion of their careers and lives with us at Buffer. In t

OpenJul 30, 2020
When We Need to Move Quickly We Work in Task Forces. Here’s How We Set Them Up

Making and communicating decisions across an organization can be a challenge anytime. Making decisions during a pandemic is a whole new level of challenge. When the impact of COVID-19 started to grow, we at Buffer, like many others, needed to move as quickly as possible, gather a lot of information, and make big decisions that would ultimately impact our team, our customers, and our business. This presented a unique challenge. A lot of the decisions spanned the entire company and needed to be

10 Reflections on Buffer’s 10th Team Retreat

It’s hard to believe that the Buffer team has been on 10 team retreats already, in locations all around the world. I was lucky enough to start at Buffer in 2012, back before our first retreat, so I’ve attended all 10! These gatherings have taken many different shapes since our first back in 2013 , where a handful of us went to Lake Tahoe. Up until 2016, we had retreats twice a year. But our team grew so large over time that it made a lot more sense to

The 6 Exercises We’re Doing to Help With Artificial Harmony

Have you ever walked out of a meeting and messaged someone who had been in that very meeting to say something that you didn’t feel you could say in front of the group? I know I have. A while back, we came across the concept of “Artificial Harmony” which is one way to describe that feeling I just mentioned. In Patrick M. Lencioni’s The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team , Artificial Harmony refers to a team of people who don’t

On Empathy: A Letter We Shared with Our Happiness Heroes

(Our Chief Happiness Officer, Carolyn, shared this note with our Happiness team after some deep auditing and reflection on our communications with our customers. If Carolyn’s note inspires or resonates with you, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!) Hey Heroes. :) I need to start this note with an apology. Instead of creating an environment where you’ve felt entirely free to speak and write and care for customers in your own unique and special way, I fear that we’ve created some misconc

What Happened When We Cut Back on Refunds: A Customer Service Experiment

In Buffer’s history we’ve tried many different experiments that have soared – or flopped. Some with our culture . Some with our management structure (or lack thereof!) . Some with launching products . If a belief or philosophy hasn’t been examined recently, we like to take a closer look and perhaps try something new. We feel that one of our biggest

Self-ImprovementJan 29, 2015
My 30-Day Challenge of Ten Thousand Steps (Or Why I Jogged in Place at a Bar)

It started out innocently enough. A busy week of errands and a particularly fun weekend filled with dancing, and there it was: A 7 day “streak” of hitting my goal of taking 10,000 steps per day, according to my Jawbone Up. (The Buffer team + family members all get a Jawbone Up as a gift, and we share our steps and sleep stats with each other. I love this because I think it is an amazing way to be super transparent and share our self-improvement efforts with each other. These are two of Buffer’s

ReportsNov 25, 2014
What Happened When We Prioritized Live Chat: Buffer’s October Happiness Report

We had fun getting back to our customers faster in October due to a renewed focus on our goals. As we were all back in our respective timezones, this was a bit easier than September. October is usually the last “normal” month before the holidays kick off, so it felt great to focus fully on continuing to improve the customer experience during this time. We also questioned some of our processes and put an experiment into place to learn a bit about how all of our support channels interact. Let’s

Good Things Happen When Developers Work with Customers

At Buffer and many other customer-centric startups, the product, marketing, and engineering teams all listen to customer questions and answer them directly. I’ve often been floored by how much of their personal time our customers will take to help us think through challenges, suggest improvements, and share ideas. Our Uservoice page is regularly updated with votes and comments. It’s incredibly fun to watch. How all our Buffer team members work with customers has changed through the years as th

ReportsOct 9, 2014
How a 10-Person Team Gives Voice to 1.8 Million Customers: Buffer’s September Happiness Report

Happy October! In September, our entire team traveled to New York, NY, to work and play all together for our semi-annual company retreat. (Retreats occur every 5 months, so that they fall on a different month each time. This alleviates one of the challenges of scheduling everyone to travel. This way, if retreat falls over an important personal date or event like a family member birthday, it will change the next year.) Similarly to April, this put a big dent on our customer service numbers. We f

Self-ImprovementAug 27, 2014
The Hard Things Are Worth It: Why to Keep Going Even When Change isn’t Easy

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the time I learned to tie my shoes. It came up because of a tweet from my friend Jeff. I thought of a study that I remembered from college; kids who were told that it’s hard to learn to tie shoes persisted longer than the ones who were told it was easy. Jeff’s point, of course, directly relates to customer service , which is where I spend a lot of

ReportsAug 13, 2014
How We’re Moving from Emails to Conversations: Buffer’s July Happiness Report

July was a month filled with sunshine, life changes, vacations, and yes, Inbox Zeroes, too! Most of the Heroes took a few days here and there to welcome family, rest and recharge, or travel. Their well-deserved days off did have an impact on the stats, but they scheduled around each other and worked extra hard to hit zero in the inbox every day. As of this writing, we’ve hit 10 straight weeks of zeroes, at least one per day. I’m super proud of them for achieving this milestone, especially whil

ReportsJul 8, 2014
Is This Urgent? What Happened When We Let Buffer Customers Prioritize Themselves: June Happiness Report

June was a fantastic, fascinating month for customer happiness at Buffer as we made great strides toward meeting goals, expanded our awesome team, and pushed forward in a number of new, exciting areas. Stats June 2014 is the first month that I know of where we hit “inbox zero” at least once per day in both email and twitter. (We use Help Scout and Sparkcentral , respectively.) It feels great to be getting closer to the point where our customers do

#wpJul 1, 2014
Octavio Aburto is Buffer’s Newest Happiness Hero

I’m thrilled to announce that Octavio Aburto has completed his 45-day Buffer Bootcamp and is joining us full-time as Buffer’s newest Happiness Hero! Hailing from Mexico, Octavio supports both our English- and Spanish-speaking customers. Adding another language to the list at Buffer has been a huge benefit, especially for the Happiness Team. Octa is our first Spanish-speaking hero, and he is also much more than that. :) Everything is a bit brighter with Octavio ref

#wpJul 1, 2014
Nicole Miller is Buffer’s First Community Champion

I’m so pleased to announce that Nicole Miller has completed her 45-day Buffer Bootcamp and is joining us full-time as Buffer’s first Community Champion! When Nicole joined Buffer, a few things immediately changed. First, she started taking amazing care of our community, and Buffer stickers have now gone to all corners of the world. Second, the pet-to-human ratio at Buffer increased significantly. And third, she took Buffer’s handwriting-legibility average to n

ReportsJun 17, 2014
One Daily Team Meeting, Across 5 Time Zones: Buffer’s May Happiness Report

May was a huge month for the Happiness Team at Buffer. We began the month answering 50% of emails within 1 hour and finished it answering 80% of emails within 1 hour. This results in a palpable difference in the happiness of our customers. Huge congratulations to the Happiness Team! How we keep in touch as a distributed team (meaning: no all-hands meeting) We each enjoy the luxury of living in the place that makes us the happiest , and we u

#wpMay 28, 2014
When to Teach and When to Fish: 3 Times We Skip the How-Tos in Customer Support

Anne Isabelle Ritchie coined a concept in the 1880s that we still use today. Modernized, it is: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” The conventional wisdom is that it’s always preferable to teach someone how to fish. However, the Buffer support team has been thinking about this concept a lot lately. We’re learning that often there is a huge market for skipping the lesson completely. This can be a stretch for tech supp

#wpMay 19, 2014
Warm Fuzzies: The Best Kept Secret of Customer Service

In most industries, including the tech world, “support” is a piteous word. Posts like this one , while written in jest, enforce the stereotype that working in support essentially sucks. We are known for getting abused by ranting, angry customers. We can’t take a day off, because the emails never stop flowing in. We must just be doing this to get trained with the company, right? Well, I’d like to offer a slightly different view

ReportsMay 12, 2014
How Buffer’s Happiness Team Translates Customer Emails Into Engineering Team To-dos: The April Happiness Report

Picture this: It’s your first month on the job as a Customer Happiness Hero. A core piece of your company’s app stops working. And 16 of the 20 team members of the team are on flights across the world. That’s exactly what happened to our newest two sweet, unsuspecting Happiness Heroes when Buffer stopped shortening links for a few days in April. (Both new heroes have since completed Buffer Bootcamp and come on board despite this. :) Sorry about that, Patrik and Dave! Lesson learned about all tr

#wpMay 9, 2014
Patrik Ward is Buffer’s Newest Happiness Hero

I’m thrilled to announce that Patrik Ward has completed his 45-day Buffer Bootcamp and is joining us full-time as Buffer’s newest Happiness Hero! One of the most immediately noticeable qualities about Patrik is that he seems to exist with a laugh always just under the surface. Even when focusing, he is one conversational shift away from splitting into a huge, encouraging grin that spreads to every face and lifts every nearby spirit. It has an ef

#wpMay 7, 2014
Dave Chapman is Buffer’s Newest Weekend Warrior

I’m thrilled to announce that Dave Chapman has completed his 45-day Buffer Bootcamp and is joining us full-time as Buffer’s newest Weekend Warrior! Chats with Dave are one of the things I look forward to all week. He approaches his work, his teammates, and his self-improvement efforts with a level of passion that is simply inspiring. Since he has come on board for Buffer Bootcamp, he has read several books, run more every week than the last, se