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Managing rapid growth during a pandemic: A CX Moment with Snap

Zendesk chatted with Snap’s Technical Program Manager, Robert Siniscalchi, about best practices for keeping customers happy during periods of rapid growth.

By Denise Lomele, Staff Writer

Published July 16, 2021
Last updated September 1, 2021

Preparing for growth during times of normalcy is a major task in itself. Growing rapidly and avoiding customer churn during a global pandemic is an entirely different undertaking. Founded over 10 years ago, Snap Inc. (formerly known as Snapchat) is a camera company focused on improving the way people live and communicate.

A Zendesk customer since 2015, Snap is well versed in rapid growth and success. In the last year alone, Snap saw daily active users grow 22 percent.

As part of Zendesk’s CX Moment virtual event series, we spoke with Snap's Technical Program Manager Robert Siniscalchi about how Snap is doing business in this new reality and adapting its customer experience to support rapid growth. Here are some key takeaways.

Improve retention by aligning to the business strategy

Successful CX strategies lean on the company mission; using the mission to inspire the guiding principles for a customer experience team. Siniscalchi says his team's mission centers around ensuring privacy, safety, and a frictionless experience for customers. "We want [Snap] to be the fastest way to communicate with your friends, so we've taken that ethos and applied it to our customer support strategy."

While customer retention remains a key initiative for many product teams, it also informs the customer experience strategy. When reaching out to support, customers expect an intuitive flow from start to finish. Creating a consistent experience within the product and content can be a simple way to keep customers engaged. At the same time, establishing an asynchronous support center allows customers to easily find answers to questions.

Creating a consistent experience within the product and content can be a simple way to keep customers engaged.

Snap uses Zendesk to create a smooth experience from product to support center. Siniscalchi says, "the customizability and theming for the [Zendesk] Guide help centers is key for us to code experiences that our design teams have envisioned."

Beyond the look and feel of a support experience, carefully tailoring content to the audience and channel helps create an uninterrupted flow. For example, a deliberate approach to language ensures a customer can transition from a support channel back to the product without disrupting their experience. Snap relies on a seamless experience to keep customers in the app and drive user engagement, ultimately attracting advertisers and driving revenue. As reported, advertising accounted for 99 percent of Snap’s total $2.5 billion in revenue in 2020.

Determining channel strategy

When deciding which support channels are suitable for your customer base, consider where users are currently living digitally and using your product or service. As product offerings change, or as your demographics evolve, be prepared to shift these offerings.

Snap's customer experience strategy initially began as email support and an FAQ page and grew as the company expanded. Today, Snap takes an omnichannel approach after progressively adding new support channels to accommodate growth.

"Now we're taking a more holistic approach [to support]. It's a key focus area for us to look across the touchpoints in our customer journey and develop an omnichannel strategy," Siniscalchi says. By refining how customers experience the app and web experience, Snap keeps its customers engaged on the platform longer, preventing unforeseen churn and increasing ad revenues.

Improving operational efficiency

Knowledge sharing is a critical component for an efficient, productive support organization serving a highly engaged and rapidly growing audience.

Companies that rank high on the CX maturity scale leverage prepared responses, also known as a macro, and internal help desks. When creating or updating tickets, macros are hugely beneficial for keeping teams aligned and distributing knowledge. Siniscalchi agrees, saying, "Macros [are] a huge benefit for us as we onboard new team members while creating consistency in the support experience."

By leveraging macros and internal knowledge bases, both senior and junior team members see quick time to value and agents can onboard quickly and work efficiently alongside an engaged customer base.

Listening to customers’ needs and wants

A data-driven customer experience strategy can improve engagement and better align the product to the customers' needs. Siniscalchi explains, "We rely on our customers to provide feedback so we can make sure we're delivering a top-notch experience." With real-time insights, Snap's team can quickly address any concerns that affect customers' immediate experiences and mitigate potential customer churn.

Additionally, tracking long-term feedback (such as feature requests) better informs the product roadmap, ensuring the team is working on features customers want. Siniscalchi adds, "[Snap has] robust internal programs among Support, Product, and Engineering that hold us accountable to our customers...and [help us] understand what they're asking to see come to market."

Setting up your organization for success

High ticket volume or activity may point to an opportunity for organizations to automate workflows. Providing additional automation can help support many individuals with less human effort, cost, and time. Siniscalchi says, "We're looking at the support channels that prompt the most automation, and finding opportunities to help customers self-serve more proactively."

Self-service means customers get answers without waiting and agents don't answer the same question hundreds of times a day. A strong self-service strategy means ticket influxes don't overwhelm a growing support team and lead to wasted hours, ensuring a win-win for both customers and businesses.

Good support is integral to a company’s growth strategy, just as establishing an alignment between help and product is crucial to meeting strategic business goals. Fluid synergy between support and the rest of the organization's goals mitigates churn, improves customer engagement, to drive app engagement and directly impacts the bottom line.

Miss our chat? Watch the on-demand event with Snap’s Robert Siniscalchi.”

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