May was a huge month for the Happiness Team at Buffer. We began the month answering 50% of emails within 1 hour and finished it answering 80% of emails within 1 hour. This results in a palpable difference in the happiness of our customers. Huge congratulations to the Happiness Team!

How we keep in touch as a distributed team (meaning: no all-hands meeting)

We each enjoy the luxury of living in the place that makes us the happiest, and we use the geographic distribution to answer our customers’ questions quickly, during our local daylight hours.

There is one hitch to this. When we’re properly distributed, there is no reasonable time for a weekly meeting. It took us a few months to settle into just the right tools to stay in close touch, and it works well for us now. And no one wakes up at 2 a.m. for a meeting, which is a plus. :)

Our daily and weekly schedule

Daily

The Happiness team meets daily, just not all at once. The awake Heroes spend 5 or 10 minutes meeting on a Google+ Hangout, discussing the day’s goals and any issues (and, of course, socializing a bit). :)

6:30am PST: Europe and the East U.S. Coast
11:30am PST: East U.S. Coast and the West U.S. Coast
Afternoon PST: West U.S. Coast and Australia / Asia*
Nighttime PST: Australia / Asia and Europe*
*Currently unscheduled since our hero in Australia moved to Europe :)

This means, if all goes according to plan, each Happiness team member has 2 quick syncs per day. The timezone that has been online longer “passes the baton” to the next group in the syncs.

Even when there’s nothing dire to discuss, it’s nice to get to smile and say “good morning/good afternoon/good evening” to coworkers around the globe.

Weekly

We also track goals, new bugs and bug fixes, new features, feedback, and “love” on a weekly basis. This used to take place in our weekly meeting. Now, we do it on Hackpad.

Hackpad

Once you’ve commented in a hackpad, you’ll receive email updates for everyone else’s comments, which is a lovely feature of theirs. We all keep a very close eye on this hackpad. This has replaced our weekly meeting, with the added benefit of being somewhat real-time and still timezone-flexible.

Stats for May

Email numbers

Here are our stats from email support, courtesy of Help Scout, as displayed on Happiness Dashboard!

We broke 10,000 replies in May, reaching the goal of answering 60% within 1 hour. We missed our goal of answering 90% of emails within 6 hours. A good goal for June. :)

May Happiness email stats

Twitter numbers

These are our Twitter stats, displayed on Happiness Dashboard! Sparkcentral helps us reply to tweets that contain our handle, as well as the ones that might be for us, even without the @mention.

We generally send roughly half the number of tweets as we do emails. This month, that was about 5,000 tweets. :) Similarly, we hit our 15-minute goal but not the goal for 1 hour.

Sparkcentral Happiness numbers May

Live chat numbers

We use Olark for Live Chat. :) As we move into the second half of 2014, we’re putting more focus on Live Chat. We feel that this “conversation” type of support leads to happier customers, so we’ll try to bring this number up over the next few months!

We had 413 chats in May.

New time for side projects

For the first time in many months (or ever?), our Happiness Heroes have some “slack time.” That is, we are able to give prompt replies to customers, and still have a few moments to work on other projects. Joel and I have always imagined how much amazing work they could get done in addition to support emails and tweets if they had some time to reflect on customer needs, create, and find new ways to “deliver wows.”

They’ve each been scheduling some time into their weeks to tackle these side projects, and the results have been so fun. As a few examples, Dave imagined and then began planning a Buffer meeting up Manchester, Patrik left the inbox and experimented with full days in Live Chat, and Mary has been recording videos to give customers some visuals about common topics.

Great job, guys!

Community efforts

Our Community Champion Nicole has been adding a new depth to the Buffer Happiness Team. It’s been so fun to see how she’s been able to connect with some of the people who use Buffer to simplify their work, schedules, and lives. If you’d like a Buffer sticker for your laptop, drop us a line!

In May, we had a meetup in Chicago, and had so much fun meeting some folks who love Buffer. We handed out stickers and tshirts, drank some caffeinated drinks, and learned all about Star Wars Day. :)

We’ve been sharing a lot about social media, our culture, and other fun stuff to our Pinterest page. Feel free to drop by if you’re looking to learn some social media management tips or even see what the Buffer team is reading.

Happiness Hacking

We’re so lucky to have a senior engineer, Colin, who devotes part of his week to helping customers and building tools for the Happiness Team!

In May, he added some fun new tools to the Happiness Dashboard.

We can now see the new and trending bugs from our Trello board where we keep track of all of those. This is really helpful for prioritizing.

We can also see how many emails each inbox received within certain time periods, and even track the inbox levels over time. This helps us identify the busiest times and arrange schedules accordingly. :)

Inbox zero Happiness May

Over to you!

We’re always keen to learn how other happiness teams, remote or not, tackle some of these same questions, how you’re innovating, and how you measure success! Would love to hear from you on Twitter at @buffer or in the comments below. :)

P.S. If you liked this post, you might enjoy our Buffer Blog newsletter. Receive each new post delivered right to your inbox, plus our can’t-miss weekly email of the Internet’s best reads. Sign up here.

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Written by Carolyn Kopprasch

Chief Customer Officer at Buffer. Tea, country music and happy customers make my world turn.

  • Hi Carolyn! Great post. Was wondering – What tool do you use for compiling customer feedback to prioritize engineering projects? I remember seeing a post a while back that discussed a tool used at Buffer for Happiness Heroes to submit customer feedback / requests / errors / etc, which a team member oversees and manages duplicate submissions so that your engineers can prioritize fixes. We are currently looking for a tool to help us with this exact scenario. Thanks for your help!

  • Jordan Sellers

    This is awesome! Wish everyone would work this way.

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