Austin Anderson is the Vice President of Training and Support at Fishbowl.
Fishbowl has experienced a lot of innovative changes and growth over the last 4-5 years, and Anderson is excited to tell you about how they’ve happened.
Most of a Fishbowl customer’s lifecycle is spent with the Support team. They spend 45 days with the Sales team and 60-90 days with their Implementer. The rest of their time is with Fishbowl Support. It’s important to help them with their ongoing concerns and challenges to keep that relationship strong.
The Old Model
Fishbowl used to follow most software companies’ standard practices when it came to customer service. A customer would call and leave a message. Then a Support rep would respond as soon as possible. That might work for other companies, but Fishbowl wanted to be better.
It creates frustration and a barrier when customers don’t receive help right when they’re seeking it.
This question is one you should ask yourself. And it applies not only to support, but sales, implementation, and every other part of the customer journey. The question is: Have you ever been a customer? It’s a variation on the Golden Rule. At Fishbowl, we want to treat our customers the same way we would want to be treated as customers.
As a result of this positive approach to customer service, 80 percent of Fishbowl customers have renewed their Support and Maintenance contracts in the last two years. Almost all of those customers have added more users, products, and/or hardware during their renewals. That’s because they’re growing.
The Most Important Thing We Give Customers
Time is the most important thing Fishbowl gives to its customers. The reason people call Fishbowl Support is because they’ve already lost time on an issue. Something isn’t working right, or they need guidance to learn a new feature. And they don’t want to lose any more time waiting for us to respond.
Every moment spent working with Fishbowl is time well spent.
What Our Customers Want from Support
A few years ago, Fishbowl reached out to its customers with two questions. And here’s what we learned:
- How would you like to interact with Fishbowl Support? They want to talk with a representative on the phone.
- What do you want from Fishbowl Support? They want to receive live help from someone who can solve their problem fast.
Investing in Customer Service
Instead of a bot pulling generic information from a wiki, Fishbowl invests time in its customers by making sure they receive answers from a real person in real time.
It’s tempting to go the route of cutting costs by pushing customers into email or chat so one Support rep can handle multiple requests at the same time. But that’s not what most customers want. It’s wise to put time and money into improving customer service in order to retain more of them and give them a better experience.
If you have a complicated phone tree that makes it difficult to reach a customer service rep, once they get on the phone with someone at your company they’ll already be frustrated. It’s best to simplify the process.
Fishbowl’s Unique Support Structure
Most companies emphasize specialization in their Support teams. One person for one type of job. That’s certainly important, but if all you have is specialists, then you’re missing out on the benefits of having well-rounded Support reps.
Fishbowl is unique in that it gives its experts the title of Support Technician and Trainer. They have a dual role of training new customers and consulting with them on phone calls and in emails.
Virtual trainings have gone through the roof since COVID-19 shut down travel and in-person meetings. And it’s been to the benefit of Fishbowl customers. Instead of waiting for Support Technicians and Trainers to fly out to their facilities, they get to receive virtual training that they record and can share with other employees as they come onboard.
Fishbowl learns from each training session, too. We update parts of the training format when we find ways to improve the way we share information. Even the most-experienced trainers learn new things about Fishbowl when they see how companies in a variety of industries use the software.
When you call Fishbowl Support, you receive expert help to fix the problem and educate yourself to prevent future ones.
Fishbowl’s Hiring Process
The way Fishbowl maintains a high level of customer service is by hiring great people. The hiring process is different than most businesses’. Most require college degrees and experience, leaving out a lot of potential employees who could prove invaluable. Quite a few Fishbowl employees do meet those requirements, but they’re not absolutely necessary to get your foot in the door.
Most of Fishbowl’s employees are hired through internal employee referrals. Anderson was referred to Fishbowl by a family member, and he has lots of other family and friends who now work in the company. With more than 200 employees, nearly everyone knew at least one person in the company before getting hired.
It’s easy to cry nepotism. But the accountability comes into place in new hires’ performance record. If a referred individual performs badly, that reflects poorly on the person who referred them. And referred individuals want to reward their referrers’ faith in them by doing a good job. So there’s a big incentive to do well on both sides of the equation.
This has created a close-knit corporate culture. A lot of promotion takes place within, thanks to employee development.
Three Pillars to Hire by
Anderson has successfully hired numerous individuals over the years. Fishbowl’s low turnover rate in its workforce is a testament to that fact. And he has three pillars he follows to hire employees for new jobs:
- Work ethic – Being willing to work hard and go above and beyond expectations.
- Personality – Someone who’s happy and enjoyable to be around.
- Skill – As long as they’re teachable, they can pick up new skills fast.
The customer experience is everything to Fishbowl. If you’d like to see us in action, try giving us a call. And prepare to be amazed.
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Robert Lockard is a copywriter with Fishbowl. He writes for several blogs about inventory management, manufacturing, QuickBooks, and small business. Fishbowl is the #1-requested manufacturing and warehouse management software for QuickBooks users. Robert enjoys running, reading, writing, spending time with his wife and children, and watching movies.