Nowadays, customer support is often considered a mystery, a ghost email. You’ll write a message, send it into the abyss, and pray to receive a response in a timely manner, if at all. Note to all Aereo members: We’ll respond. Yes, we exist. We are local. We live here. Most of us are actually from here. We contend with no time change and operate solely out of the NYC Aereo office. And as much as we believe in tech, we refuse to let computers and the Internet untether our personal connection to consumers. We assure you that all customer support responses come from living, breathing human beings.
Building our customer support division has been crucial to Aereo’s success and our team has done an amazing job. I sat down with Chris McKay and Jeremy MacKechnie, two of our customer support “humans,” to figure out how they were able to create a team and relate to consumers so well. These are the 5 things they think you should know about customer support:
- We are consumers. We understand your needs because we have them, too!
- We need you. Your feedback helps us improve what we’re all striving to perfect. Be it good or bad, we want to hear from you all the time. With your feedback, we make Aereo better. When Aereo is better, we enjoy our television experience more. So, we want to help you but we can’t lie… this is mutually advantageous!
- You don’t need us. Even though we need you, you don’t have to speak to us. Our ideal relationship is one where you won’t ever need us. Our support desk is meant to give you a tool so you can help yourself.
- We’re always here. You can tweet us or email us anytime. We’ve been known to respond quickly and outside of business hours!
Chris, you’ve overseen Aereo’s customer support from the ground up. What was your strategy?
How you build a team is done the same way you build a company; everything starts with an idea. In this case, we want Aereo to be a customer service company as well as a tech company. It then became my goal to build a team that shared this vision.
So how did you start?
I had to educate myself, so I immersed myself in Aereo. I worked to learn all facets of the company, spent hours on the platform and spent as much time as possible with our engineers while building a staffing model and figuring out what we would need to best service customers. Once I better understood the platform and the company, I knew what our team would need to look like.
What kind of people were you looking to hire?
I looked for smart, personable, flexible people who could think quickly on their feet. I needed team members who could empathize and were familiar with tech and social media. When you find people with these interests and qualities, the rest is easy.
Once you had your team, what followed?
We had to pick a tool to allow us to track and respond quickly to customers. We wanted to create a single platform to communicate with people on Twitter and email, as well as chat and phone in the future. We also built our support desk. The framework was already set up but to implement it took some time. We filled it with articles that we felt would be relevant. Now, we constantly review it to ensure that the articles are up-to-date. Ultimately, we wanted to create a portal where we could educate people on the Aereo experience and give them everything they need in one place.
So your tools were in place, giving you the opportunity to communicate with consumers?
Yes, we started using our support email and twitter account to respond to Aereo members. Since so many people use Twitter and expect to reach companies that are on twitter, we felt it was necessary to be there. And people are very comfortable asking and receiving questions… almost too comfortable! We love kudos on tweets, though!
And your response time?
The goal is within an hour, seven days a week.
What do you see for the future?
We want to continue to add members to our team and add additional ways for customers to reach out to us. We want to grow, just like Aereo!
Jeremy, any interesting questions you’ve received since launching?
Yes, people have asked if Aereo would work in space. We’ve also been told that people would like to implant their antenna in their brain. We think they were just kidding.
I’ll test you. I’m a Caveman. Can I get Aereo in my cave?
Aereo is perfect for a cave – as long as it’s NYC. If you have a strong Wi-Fi signal, you’re all set. Aereo takes care of the rest for you.
I’m in a hot air balloon using Aereo and it’s spiraling towards earth. What do I do?!
Check your Internet connection. If you have good speed, Aereo will make it. Not sure if you will, though.