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Warm Fuzzies: The Best Kept Secret of Customer Service

May 19, 2014 2 min readOpen
Photo of Carolyn Kopprasch
Carolyn Kopprasch

Chief of Staff @ Buffer

Dog lick

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 into the world of customer service.

While we do occasionally bear the brunt of unhappy customers and receive unkind words, those experiences are overwhelmingly outnumbered by the patient, smart, grateful and human emails that usually flow in. I recognize that I’m spoiled by my Buffer users, but I’ve experienced this same trend in all previous customer service jobs.

Engineers may get a lot of the glory in the industry. But they also spend most of their customer interactions on the hardest, fringe, or bug-related cases. Our chief hackers often help the Happiness team figure out the trickiest ones, and sometimes they speak  with the most irate customers who have been passed around a few times without an answer. The Happiness team, on the other hand, is spoiled by spending every day teaching our awesome users how to use Buffer in the best way possible.

The best kept secret in support is that we actually get all of the glory. Each time one of those “Thank you so much!” emails comes in, the Warm Fuzzies swarm.

At Buffer, we use Hively to invite customers to share how we’re doing. They can leave comments and rate us using faces ranging from happy to unhappy. (For more on the customer service efforts at Buffer, including our Hively stats, check out a recent Happiness Report.)

Admittedly, the “unhappies” sting a lot. Joel, the founder of Buffer, recently likened the feeling to “being punched in the gut.” It feels a bit like being told “you are bad at your job.” That hurts.

However, Hively also encourages people to give kind and honest feedback that they might not otherwise have shared.

Here’s a recent comment left for me by Mike Gilroy (@mike_gilroy), re-printed with his permission:

“Carolyn was brilliant! She answered my questions and gave me all the information I needed in a polite and friendly manner. It’s not often you come across an excellent product combined with excellent customer service, but Buffer provides exactly that. Credit to Carolyn and the entire Buffer team. Keep it up!”

Did I mention the Warm Fuzzies part of the job?

So the next time you’re feeling sorry for those whose job titles include the word support, customer service, or even “Happiness Hero,” take a second look at the pep in our step. We may have received an email like that today. Or 10.

(Disclaimer: It’s my personal opinion that the customers of Buffer are tremendous. This may not be the case for all customer service reps; do still be kind to them and bring them cupcakes and stuff.)

Have you experienced these Warm Fuzzies before in your customer interactions? Have you ever sent positive feedback to a support hero who made your day? I’d love to hear your happy customer service stories.

Image credit: mikebaird

This post originally appeared on my personal website, Feel free to browse the archives for even more insight into customer service and support.

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