What does it take for a three-person team to serve large enterprise clients?
According to HelpDocs Co-founder Jarratt Isted, the key is efficient communication, internally and with customers.
HelpDocs is a support documentation solution that powers knowledge bases for thousands of companies, from startups to Fortune 500 companies like Walmart. Their small-but-mighty remote team of three depends on Front to serve more than 20 million support articles every month.
We spoke with Co-founder Jarratt Isted to learn how the HelpDocs team uses Front to collaborate on customer messages, so they can give a personal experience and easily serve enterprise-level clients.
ABOUT THE TEAM
What inspired your business?
Isted: We founded HelpDocs after running into a problem with our own previous startup. After building our product, we worked hard to educate users about how to succeed with it. Nothing out there fit our needs. The knowledge base platforms we tried felt clunky, confusing, and didn’t fit our brand. After building an in-house solution, we mentioned it to other founders. It turned out to be a bigger problem, so we knew we had to solve it.
A few years later, we're powering knowledge bases for Fortune 500 companies, startups, and charities around the world. We serve over 20 million articles every month, which is pretty mind-boggling.
Why do companies use HelpDocs?
I: We make it painless for companies to create a knowledge base to educate customers. They can then add multiple languages, connect it to other support tools (like Front!), and customize pretty much everything on their support pages. This gives customers a great self-service experience and helps support teams spend time solving unique customer problems rather than the same stuff repeatedly.
What challenges did your team run into before using Front?
I: We're a remote, bootstrapped team of three, which seems to surprise a lot of prospects and customers. We’re profitable just two years after starting up in mid 2016.
We've been able to stay small and focus on shipping product by optimizing our customer support. While our knowledge base helps answer hundreds of questions a month, we get a lot of unique questions to our team inbox.
Before Front, it was painfully difficult to collaborate on these emails. Was my co-founder answering them? Did anyone else on the team have tips on how to solve it? Was there an article about this somewhere on our knowledge base?
It was pretty much a guessing game, and the person who lost out was the customer, who tended to get multiple replies with differing opinions.
”Before Front, it was painfully difficult to collaborate on these emails. It was pretty much a guessing game, and the person who lost out was the customer, who tended to get multiple replies with differing opinions.” - Jarratt Isted, Co-founder, HelpDocs
Why did you decide to use Front?
I: We wanted a way to ensure customers got a fluid, helpful experience, even with just the two of us on the team at the time. That just wasn't happening with the stock apps we were using, so we went on the hunt for something better.
That's when we stumbled upon Front, and we haven't looked back since. All three of us use Front to manage our personal inboxes as well as answer emails in our email@example.com team inbox.
We almost never have to leave our inboxes to answer customer questions. We've connected our own HelpDocs plugin to Front to quickly point customers to useful articles and create draft articles based on queries on-the-fly. We've also got Intercom and Twitter connected, so we can answer tickets and tweets in Front too. It's awesome to have everything support-related in one place.
What are your favorite Front features?
I: It's the little touches in Front you don't find in other software that make all the difference. Like when you mention you'll attach something in an email, and Front kindly reminds you that you in fact haven't attached anything at all.
We also love snoozing, the Front feature where you can set a time for a message to come back to your inbox later. It helps us follow up on issues or customer stories so people always get a reply, even if it's months later.
How has Front changed the way your team works?
I: Email support used to be a solo experience. In hindsight, it seems like an odd way to approach something that requires so much teamwork behind the scenes.
With Front, we can help each other answer tickets, chime in with our unique advice and expertise, and keep the support experience consistent across email, live chat, and social media. Using Front has allowed us to consistently keep fantastic support in an ever-changing company, across channels, and across time zones.
" Using Front has allowed us to consistently keep fantastic support in an ever-changing company, across channels, and across time zones." - Jarratt Isted, Co-founder, HelpDocs
What are you and your team working on next?
I: We're always working to make it simple for support teams to share and create articles, no matter what their support tech stack looks like. For that reason, we're constantly re-evaluating our integrations and introducing improvements. Last month, we upgraded our native Front plugin so customers could read articles inside their inbox, create draft articles, and insert short versions of articles into their emails to customers in just a few clicks.
When you're releasing an update or adding a new feature, keeping knowledge base articles up to date can become super tricky. Right now, we’re building something that’ll make it easy to keep your support documentation up-to-date, even as your product changes. I'm super excited to release it because I know how painful the problem is, and we're looking forward to providing an easy solution.