For the past ten years, Kevin Gibson has been a general manager with Toronto-based Cloud 9 AV, where he oversees the business’ day-to-day operations. The company designs, installs, and maintains audiovisual solutions for homes and businesses, with long-term customer support. The support team first helps its customers troubleshoot remotely, which allows much of their team to work from anywhere.
Cloud 9 AV opened for business in 2002, and since then they have been steadily growing. Kevin credits the company’s growth to word of mouth and attention to detail. As the company expands, Kevin makes sure everything is running smoothly-- good customer service management is the backbone of the business since it leads to more customer referrals.
What does Cloud9 AV offer its customers?
We are a small-ish custom audiovisual integration company, and there are 10 of us. We specialize in custom systems integration--anything you can see or hear in your home or office, that’s what we do. TVs, audio systems, automated lighting, automated shades, surveillance, alarm, and whole-home control.
Once a new contract is finalized and everything is installed, the client moves over to our support team.
What does an average day look like for support issues?
Over the last few months, we had about 104 new support tickets. The average is 6 or 7 a week, and some weeks it goes to 10 or 11. Not all of them are billable, like if they don’t become service calls--it’s often just a quick email and call.
What were you doing to manage customer support before SupportBee?
Before SupportBee, it was just regular email. I was using spreadsheets and entered everything manually, and would try and maintain its status. We always knew that the way we were managing it wasn’t sustainable and that things would slip through the cracks.
We did try a couple of other systems, but we stuck with SupportBee.
How are you using SupportBee?
We have a designated person who looks after the support tickets. Once a customer opens a ticket, they get an automated response from us (through SupportBee) saying we’ll get back to them within a given amount of time. From there, the support overseer assesses it. If he can help them remotely, we’ll do that through SupportBee. If not, and it can be quickly dealt with, we’ll tell them we need to send a technician on to the site and orchestrate availability.
At that point, a ticket on SupportBee goes from unanswered to answered, and stays in the core feed until the technician is on the site, claims the ticket and it gets retired. Anything still opened, unbilled, or unclear remains in SupportBee until we have a definitive closure.
What features do you like best about SupportBee and what issues do they solve for you?
We have been using SupportBee for about five years, and something we’ve used a lot that’s helpful is the labels. We can divide tickets into billable and not billable, flag the ones that are open, and identify jobs that need to be invoiced.
We also use the notes feature. Internally we’ll write comments--for example, where the technician details what he did on the site, if he needs to return, etc.
We can definitely utilize it as we grow. We know we will need more people to manage the support, but SupportBee is very usable for that.
What is your customer service philosophy?
We take our work very seriously our clients are extremely important. We want to be considered a resource who is here to help. We don’t want it to be hard to contact us, we want to deal with things as quickly as possible. A lot of times support doesn’t get paid for, and trying to manage that is part of the process too.
We go above and beyond to help clients remotely without having to roll in a truck and bill them for it. We want to start by sending them an email and having them try stuff at home.
Our clients would say our support is better than most. When we sign up a client, it’s a lifetime deal.
If you met someone who was just entering their career as an AV customer support manager, what advice would you give them?
Be patient. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes. People get frustrated when things don’t work---everyone knows how it feels when they can’t get online or their movie won’t stream. They want somebody to talk to.
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