HubSpot is a popular growth platform for small and medium businesses, specializing in inbound marketing and sales. Founded and headquartered in Cambridge, MA in 2006, today the company helps more than 34,000 customers in 90 countries drive demand with marketing tools, regulate pipelines and workflows for outbound sales efforts, and manage customer records and contacts.
The Customer Success Team manages onboarding and ongoing success for 4,000 customers, including some of HubSpot’s longest tenured accounts. This 6-person team, managed by Lock Whitney, employs a shared responsibility model rather than a 1:1 relationship with each customer.
This collaborative model allows them to develop specific areas of expertise, divide work efficiently between more and less experienced members of the team, and avoid the “single point of failure” issues of the dedicated CSM model, like transitioning work or handling urgent issues when someone is out of the office. Though customers give up the familiarity of a 1:1 relationship, Lock believes they gain more out of the responsiveness a team-based model.
“Front enabled us to leverage subject matter expertise, group similar conversations together, and have more insight into where our team was spending our time. We saw immediate benefits and efficiency gains that we could then reinvest in more impactful work for our customers.” - Lock Whitney, Manager of Customer Success, HubSpot
Lock’s team was using Google Groups to manage their emails. Without clear structure, or built-in accountability, it was hard to track who was working on what, resulting in either double replies to the same email or missed messages and a messy customer experience. This lack of accountability was problematic for the collaborative model they wanted to use.
“We experienced a lot of stress and uncertainty in Google Groups and struggled to deliver the customer experience we wanted. I knew there had to be a better way for teams like ours to manage email,” Lock said. He began Google searching for terms like “shared inboxes” and “shared email,” which is when he came across Front, and decided to give the free trial a go.
Using Front, the HubSpot team saw immediate benefits. Front enabled HubSpot to route conversations efficiently with rules and categorize them with tags, rather than randomly assigning emails through Google Groups.
“With Front, nothing has to go to the general inbox — everything is routed to the right person using keyword tags, and then they can work together on replies in comments and shared drafts or re-assign the message if needed.” - Lock Whitney, Manager of Customer Success, HubSpot
Email insights allow for better business processes
Using using Front Analytics and the Nicereply integration, the HubSpot team tracked their messages, response time, and other success metrics for customer interactions. While they frequently missed messages using Google Group, Front kept them completely on top of their communications.
“We missed zero messages,” Lock said. Email was no longer a bottleneck, freeing up more time to spend on special projects and processes to bring value to HubSpot long-term.
Transparency and automony enables everyone to do better work
Beyond efficiency and productivity, Front also fostered a culture of transparency and accountability for the team. “Everyone has autonomy and ownership over the messages they’re assigned to but can easily get feedback through comments and shared drafts,” Lock says.
Each member of the team feels a sense of ownership over their area of expertise and builds confidence by handling messages in that topic area. But they can also delegate the right work to the right people, assigning requests and conversations that are appropriate to every employee’s skill level — essential for nurturing more junior team members.
“Front has enabled us to create a really strong culture of collaboration, where we’re constantly exchanging ideas and feedback through a supportive, transparent tool. People know they are expected to contribute from day 1, give each other feedback, and work together.” - Lock Whitney, Manager of Customer Success, HubSpot
Flexibility to make their inbox fit their team's workflows
Front has allowed their team to prove that the shared CSM methodology is truly the best fit for their business. Today, HubSpot’s CSM team uses 6 shared inboxes to manage inbound customer inquiries. Their entire team has also connected their individual email inboxes to Front to manage their own work. “Front is mission-critical to HubSpot’s customer communication strategy,” Lock says. “We couldn’t go back to life before Front. If we didn’t have it, I’d propose to HubSpot that we build a homegrown version ourselves.”
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