Software Executive Magazine

August/September 2017

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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PRACTICE THE TRANSPARENCY YOU PREACH Click on just about any company's web page listing cor- porate values, and there's a good chance "transparency" or "honesty" makes the list. At Front Rush, this isn't just a customer-facing belief. Cook says, "One of the ways we ensure the quality of our responses stays high is to make sure our team is sending good emails. I'll go through emails and tickets randomly to make sure the level of expectation and transparency is clear across everyone on the support team." There's a fine line between micro- managing and empowering a support team, but Front Rush employees expect these unannounced checkups and have even embraced the concept, often joking with Cook that he is the office creep. Cook doesn't view this practice as overbearing, rather as a way to give the man- agement team more insights into their customers. "As you continue to grow the support team, you are one step further away from the actual customer. So you want to stay as close as possible and make sure your team is bet- ter than you are at handling support." Cook also admits the support team isn't afraid to let customers know when something isn't working. "It might not be the best thing, but it's the right thing. In- stead of waiting for people to contact us, we reach out to them. Maybe only 5 percent of customers are report- ing an issue, but many of the other 95 percent are ex- periencing it, too, and just haven't bothered to contact support. We'll preemptively push out an email to make coaches aware of the issue." hen Neal Cook's unpaid summer in- ternship ended at Front Rush, he kept showing up to work. Brad Downs and Sean Devlin, the company's cofound- ers, decided to extend the internship for class credit during his fall semester. Then, when Cook's semester ended, he still kept showing up to work, still not on the payroll. Finally, after a month of working for free, Downs and Devlin started questioning if he had anything better to do with his time. He didn't, so the cofounders finally relented and gave him the open position on the support team. Today, Cook claims to know upward of 300 customers by their first names. He's grown from a tenacious intern to the director of support at Front Rush, a college ath- letics software suite that offers recruiting, compliance, admissions, and administrative solutions. Founded in 2006, Front Rush is currently used by 9,500+ college teams across 950 colleges and universities. When he talks about the support team, it's with the kind of excite- ment you might expect from an engineer who has just fixed an important bug or from an account rep who just closed a major sale. Why does an intern-turned-sup- port-specialist get so excited about a less than glamor- ous role at a software company? Cook firmly believes Front Rush's support team is viewed as the most import- ant aspect at the company. Front Rush keeps its support team, and therefore its customers, happy by preaching and practicing transparency, relying and acting on Net Promoter Score (NPS) data, and proactively finding ways to get customers to contact them more frequently. 3 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR CUSTOMER SUPPORT TEAM (AND CUSTOMERS) HAPPY A B B Y S O R E N S E N Executive Editor @AbbySorensen_ W 23 SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

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