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Meet The Familiar Face Handling Buffer’s Trickiest Support Tickets

Oct 6, 2016 5 min readReports
Photo of Åsa Nyström
Åsa Nyström

VP of Customer Advocacy @ Buffer

Buffer Happiness Report

September 2016

Key stats in September

Responses within 1 hour

36% -24.7%

Customer satisfaction score


Email conversations

11,698 +39.5%

Twitter conversations

5,956 -29.9%

Hour avg. Twitter response time

4.2 +27.2%

Onboarding Webinars hosted


September and in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn has begun.

This means people are back from vacation and school holidays – both our teammates at Buffer and our customers. Things have definitely picked up a bit and we’re seeing more emails come in, more active customers and more demo requests. It’s been a fast-moving final few weeks of Q3.

Let’s have a closer look…

Adam has become a Tier 2 Hero

Some of our Happiness tickets can get really tricky. They may require extra investigation or perhaps (in the case of some bugs and workflow errors) escalation to our engineers.

For a while now we’ve been looking for someone who could handle these tough tickets. Internally, we call this role a “Tier 2 Hero.”

After two unsuccessful boot camps for the role, we decided it felt more appropriate to promote someone within our team rather than hire from outside, because of the knowledge and history necessary to excel in this role.

Now we’re happy to share that this person is Adam! Adam started at Buffer as a Happiness Hero in November of 2013 and has taken on a variety of roles within the Happiness team including Customer Success and more.


As we figured out this role, Adam stepped up for the challenge, taking on a huge amount of responsibility while keeping his current accountabilities as Account Manager for our Buffer for Business customers.

We’ve been crazy impressed with what Adam has contributed to the team and our customers in this role. It felt more than appropriate to ask Adam if he wanted to step in as a full time Tier 2 Hero (new title to come soon) after such success filling in!

We’re excited to keep working on this new role within Happiness. In the future, we hope to be able to expand the number of Tier 2 Heroes and hire internally for any new openings.

Closing the loop between customers and product

In early September, I talked with our CEO, Joel, about areas where the Happiness team spots the most confusion from customers and where the most support questions come from.

For Product, it is essential to have a deeper insight into these in order to focus on the core experience at Buffer. To provide some insights, I worked with Kelly, who puts together a Product update each week for the Happiness team, and Ross, who leads Buffer for Business support, to gather this qualitative data.

A few of the most important points from our report:

  • We’re seeing some confusion for customers around getting Instagram set up and it’s important to keep iterating here.
  • There is a lot of room for improvement in the wording of the error messages we show our customers.
  • We see a high number of questions and uncertainty around upgrading, downgrading and billing.

We’re excited to keep putting these reports together for our Engineering and Product teams and closing the loop between customers and product.

Optimizing our tags to get more information to the whole team

Every day we have hundreds of conversations flowing into our inbox, each of them filled with information.

This information tells our Heroes how our product is working, what issues customers are facing, and what problems we can solve for them. While having this information in our brains is helpful, tagging and categorizing it allows us to make this wealth of data more accessible for other teams.

We’ve been pushing hard for the best tagging process over the last few months, and it feels like there have been some key challenges:

  1. The process feels clunky, and it’s tricky to remember all the tags and actively add them to tickets.
  2. There isn’t clear ownership over the current list of tags and what happens to them.
  3. The Heroes are receiving limited feedback on the outcome of the tagging process.

After some research, we have decided to move to a higher plan within Helpscout that offers more features to help with tagging/categorizing.

We are also optimizing our guidelines around tagging and auditing lists of tags and other Paper docs to increase clarity and communication around tagging and signals.

We want to make sure Happiness (heroes and customers) feels heard in the Product team and that the Product Managers can more easily get information from our customers using tags. These changes are just launched this week and we’re pumped to see the results in the upcoming months.

Looking for new Heroes and updating our training guide


We are now looking to hire again! To help us provide the best possible support experience at Buffer, we’re looking to hire experienced people who have worked in support in SaaS for at least two years.

Quite a few things have evolved on the hiring side at Buffer, and we’re super grateful for the help our People team offers to get a new role listing out.

There’s a great new emphasis on making sure our team is ready to have someone start bootcamp with us as seamlessly as possible. One of the key factors here is our training guide.

Looking through our old training guide for Happiness Heroes was a real eye opener. We needed to improve and update this one immediately. During the last couple of weeks of September, Caro, Åsa, Ross and Todd have been working on an updated version.

A few changes we noted:

  • We need a new tone guide.
  • We need to be more explicit throughout the entire 6-week bootcamp with daily goals, resources and syncs.
  • We need to set clear expectations throughout bootcamp to reduce uncertainty for a bootcamper.

We’re looking forward to working on even more ongoing Happiness training in the next quarter.

Supporting our customers via Facebook Messaging


In September, we began offering customer support through Buffer’s Facebook page’s Messaging capability (through our handy tool, Respond!). This meant a whole new channel where we can step in and offer customers support!

In the past, we’d responded to anyone who messaged us on Facebook to email us for support. However, we felt it would be a much better experience for our customers to respond in the same method. So far this is a small channel that involves a relatively low number of conversations.

Our Twitter team lead, Darcy, has taken on covering this inbox as we measure the volume and customer response!

Our numbers for this month are:

  • 50 total message threads
  • 40 support-related
  • 10 non-support (swag, social media advice or spam)
  • 9-hour average response time

Over to you!

Are things gearing up for you as fall comes into full swing? Were there any areas in the report that stood out to you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Check out other reports from September:

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