Squarespace builds a stellar customer journey for millions
Building a homegrown help center is risky, so Squarespace rolled out Zendesk’s robust self-service and support tools instead. Smart thinking: 95% of visitors to the branded help center get answers without using an assisted channel. Those that do are welcomed by a team of Squarespace advisors that has remained stable in size since the Zendesk launch.
“Zendesk has been a phenomenal partner and very responsive to our needs. It’s been a fantastic journey—growing together, scaling, and figuring out how to provide the best customer experience”
Vice President of Customer Operations at Squarespace
“We spend a lot of time trying to gain efficiencies and improve our self-help. We want to eliminate the unnecessary questions and field the basic ones that don’t need a human interaction, so we can put in the time to provide a personalized and high-touch experience to customers, wherever they are in their journey.”
Vice President of Customer Operations at Squarespace
Increase in Help Center Use
Self-service success rate
It’s difficult to imagine life pre-Internet, before the web so closely threaded together individuals around the world. But even though technology has made connection much easier, it remains a challenge for fledgling businesses, entrepreneurs, and artisans to establish a brand presence online.
It takes work to stand out from the pack—work that Squarespace is proud to make much easier. Founded in 2003, the company provides people with the tools and templates to build, host, and promote their online brand. Even Squarespace is built on Squarespace.
“The key thing we try to do every day is give people a place on the Internet to call home, to say, ‘This is a place I manage, and this is how I want to present myself online to my customers,’ or to anyone else they want to touch,” explained Vice President of Customer Operations Raphael Fontes.
Naturally, Squarespace wants its customers to feel at ease in their digital home and works hard behind the scenes to create a customer experience that is easy and intuitive, turning even the least Internet-savvy among us into designers of beautiful spaces. To cultivate a support atmosphere that’s inviting, Squarespace’s customer service team has implemented a full suite of integrated support channels through Zendesk Support, Guide, Chat, and Talk.
Before switching to Zendesk in 2015, Squarespace used a few different platforms for support, but felt they needed a single omnichannel solution to provide a more fluid customer experience and to keep pace with the company’s growth. Fontes’ Customer Operations organization, comprised of 340 people in leadership, operations, product solutions, content and community, and quality assurance, also needed a more efficient way to manage email and help articles.
“I don’t think there was even anyone else that we considered,” he said. “Zendesk was like a no brainer—instead, we spent our time thinking through our support configuration.”
Supporting the success of your customers
Squarespace’s overall strategy focuses on three areas, Fontes explained, noting that what the team offers is, in fact, another Squarespace product. “It’s not just that we have a help center or live chat,” he said, “but that we’re offering coaching and mentorship and helping our customers to become brand advocates. We’re here to help our customers succeed online, and that’s something we hear back from our customers. They just love our support channels.”
From a strategy perspective, Squarespace is thinking about how to evolve and enhance customer education so that conversations along the customer journey are fluid and proactive. The team is also keeping a pulse on channel usage by customer segment, to understand what works for customers and to ensure they’re meeting customers in the most relevant channels, including emerging messaging apps. The third area of focus is on the advisor experience, to provide a great interface and as much information as advisors need to be successful in their role.
“It’s not about navigating workflows and telling them where to find things,” Fontes said. “It’s about simplifying the experience and enabling advisors to be their best, to really spend time helping customers and understanding the customer’s business. We want advisors to be personable and to feel great about the websites they’re helping to build.”
To measure these efforts, Fontes considers customer satisfaction and wait times to be the team’s most vital success metrics. Squarespace offers 24/7 support and strives to reply to customers in a few minutes via chat and within a few hours on email. The team earns an impressive 95 percent customer satisfaction rating on average.
Among the company’s greatest challenges is addressing questions of scale, crucial given Squarespace’s millions of customers, which are supported by a team of 190 support advisors worldwide. The team offers multilingual email support in English, Spanish, French, and German (with more languages on the way), and live chat support in English on weekdays. Most frontline advisors handle customer questions, but smaller teams within the larger organization also interact with engineers, test new features, monitor industry trends, provide systems maintenance, and write content.
The benefits of a best-in-class solution
Creating a great customer experience while scaling has been largely achievable through enhancing self-service practices and content. Fontes noted that building out a help site is something Squarespace could have done in house, but didn’t because Zendesk Guide met its needs. With Guide, the process for connecting email tickets to help articles became far more manageable than with Squarespace’s prior solution. This is because everyone now uses Zendesk, including the content team, which operates independently of support, explained Technical Content Manager Jessie Carroll.
The cohesion between teams is partly a product change, but also a human-led effort, as some of the content writers are former support advisors. Carroll explained that “the technical writers who used to be advisors feel a sense of duty to support our advisors and ensure that we keep a pulse on the voice of the customer.”
Fontes added, “We spend a lot of time trying to gain efficiencies and improve our self-help. We want to eliminate the unnecessary questions and field the basic ones that don’t need a human interaction, so we can put in the time to provide a personalized and high-touch experience to customers, wherever they are in their journey.”
Help Center success with Zendesk Guide
That effort shows, as the team has created 900 help center articles and claims a 95 percent success rate through its investment in self-service, meaning that help center visitors are served without needing to switch to an assisted channel. The number of tickets not created, as a result, is significant, especially considering that Squarespace’s help center has bypassed 15.5 million visits and now averages two million visits each month. Fontes quantified a 27 percent increase in knowledge usage and noted that headcount on the Customer Operations team has remained relatively stable since the end of 2015 through mid-2018.
Zendesk Guide’s Team Publishing feature enables the writing team to produce and maintain the right help center content, Carroll said, because the writers and advisors can collaborate across teams through seamless workflows and can preview articles before they’re published. The article revisions tool, which allows content managers to see who made updates to an article and restore previous versions, also makes refining a piece much easier.
“Just knowing we don’t have to worry about copying and pasting from one place to another for a product release is like, ‘Forget about the number of minutes saved, it makes my writers happy,’ and that’s important to me,” Carroll said.
Supporting customers in any channel
Emails make up the majority of the overall customer contacts that do reach advisors, although live chat isn’t far behind—with approximately 200,000 tickets received through each channel per quarter. Squarespace is also experimenting with scheduled callbacks, in which some select customers can choose to receive a call or screen sharing session. The program is in its early days, but has potential for a future expansion. “An omnichannel approach is best for the customer because they can choose how they want to reach out,” Fontes said. “We can flex to their needs. We try and create the frame, and then the customer can select the channel they prefer.”
Omnichannel support extends beyond Squarespace’s core channels and includes contacts from Twitter and reviews through an integration with Google Play. Squarespace also built its own tools to help with customer segmentation and monitoring of customer logins using the Zendesk API. The team uses the Zendesk Mobile SDK to bring support directly into the Squarespace mobile apps.
Partnering with Zendesk
Director of Product Solutions, Eric Clay, shared an anecdote about Squarespace’s relationship with the Zendesk’s support team. A member of the team recently visited Squarespace’s Portland office to help investigate a mysterious issue that was impacting Squarespace’s customer and agent experiences. Advisors were being bumped offline and colliding on tickets—caused by moving between floors and running into different router access points. “It ended up being an internal IT issue, but he figured it out,” Clay said. “Thank you for sending a senior support samurai!”
Squarespace is happy to have a partner they can trust as an expert in customer service. Fontes explained, “We want to focus on what we’re good at, and where we can leverage Zendesk for what you guys are best at. If there’s something Zendesk can do better, and maintain and evolve, why would we spend the resources on it? That’s what we want to continue to do.”