“Customer support” is something of a magic phrase at Buffer.

Say it to anyone—from Happiness Heroes to Hackers and beyond—and watch eyes light up.

Simply put, it’s one of our very favorite things to talk about and improve upon every day. Customer support is baked into everything we do—Buffer’s vision is to build a super-useful social media management tool with amazing support for everyone we come into contact with.

So what does Buffer’s Happiness team do, exactly? And how do we keep customer happiness front and center on a day-to-day basis? These are common questions, and ones we’d love to answer as we tell you more about how we approach customer support.

Why we call it “happiness”

We view every interaction that comes our way—every email, tweet, question, review, mention and more—as a true privilege. We know that it means someone took special time out of their day to think about us or get in touch with us. It’s a chance for us to have a conversation, to learn something we didn’t know before, to think about what we could do differently or better.

With that in mind, our goal is to make sure each of these interactions is special, unique and as happy as possible.

Our whole Happiness team (including Happiness Heroes, Weekend Warriors and Community Champion) is focused exclusively on this. While the Heroes and Warriors are mostly reactive, part of every Happiness role is to be proactive and find ways to surprise and delight even beyond the moments when people have already contacted us. Adding our Community Champion really helped us on that front!

Buffer co-founders Joel and Leo shed a little more light on the Happiness team and how they got their name in this Founder Chat video:

How customer support works at Buffer

For the best, most detailed look at customer support at Buffer on a day-to-day basis, check out our most recent Happiness report—you can see all the goals and benchmarks our Happiness Heroes set for themselves each month.

It’s also worth mentioning that every team member at Buffer is at least an occasional “happiness deliverer.” Each of us takes on a day each month and sets aside a few hours to answer emails, reply to tweets or help out in another capacity.

Here’s an email Joel wrote a while back that does a great job of explaining why this is important to us:

Now that the Happiness team is so well established, it becomes less about necessity and more about us all making a choice that we want to have a culture of customer support at Buffer. Here’s why I think that will be great:

  • Customer support has always been half of our overall vision (To be the simplest and most powerful social media tool, and to set the bar for great customer support), and this helps us live up to that and push ourselves to find just how far we can go with customer support.
  • We all benefit from being in touch with customers. For example, as an engineer it can be very powerful to see first-hand a customer struggling with a bug. On the other side of the spectrum, we have so many happy customers and blog readers, and everyone should see the fruits of their work and hear what a difference their efforts make for our community.
  • It will keep us all living up to “doing the right thing,” which I think we all believe is important. When we’re making decisions on product or engineering or growth or marketing, it’ll be easier to think, “how would a customer feel?”

A future vision of Buffer happiness

Our Happiness team has grown by leaps and bounds this year, and each member is innovating new ways to create a better experience for our customers every day.

For a look into what the future of Buffer’s Happiness Heroes might be, here’s a vision that Carolyn, our Chief Happiness Officer, recently shared with the team via email:

Here’s how the story unfolds in my head: It’s 2016. Joel is on stage giving a talk about Transparency and Happiness in the workplace at Tedx San Francisco. He mentions that one of the key parts of his company is the customer service. After a moment’s pause, he says, “Actually, I’d love for you guys to experience it yourself. Everyone, if you feel like participating, please take out your cell phone and fire off an email to hello@bufferapp.com.”

The audience scrambles to do it. (They already have their phones in their hands from tweeting all of Joel’s wisdom, of course.) Within 2 minutes, we have about 500 emails in the inbox. They test us by asking non-robot questions, telling jokes, and asking for chocolate chip cookie recipes.

The 50 Buffer Happiness Heroes online around the world take a sip of their coffees and teas, stretch out their legs in their homes, local coffee shops or parks, or coworking spaces, and jump on the emails.

On stage, Joel waits. Soon, the hands in the audience start going up as they receive their replies. Within a few minutes, everyone in the audience has their hands up, and smiles on their faces. Some people are laughing to themselves and looking up their Hero on twitter to send a shout out. The guy who wrote in Portuguese thinks to himself how he can’t believe he heard back so quickly, and in his native tongue!

More Buffer Happiness resources

Want a deeper dive into our customer support process and thoughts? Carolyn has written some thoughtful and fascinating articles worth checking out:

More customer support resources

We’ve written lots about creating a great customer experience on the blog, and have heard from a lot of really smart guest writers who are leaders in the field. Here are a few more resources for creating a happier customer experience:

Have you had a happy customer support experience (with Buffer or any other product) that you’d like to share? Do you have any customer support secrets that have made your support process happier? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

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Written by Courtney Seiter

Courtney writes about social media, diversity and workplace culture at Buffer. She runs Girls to the Moon on the side and pets every dog she sees.

  • Carolyn’s vision of the future made me smile. I have never been a company care so much about its customers and it is amazing to witness. You guys are great!

    • Courtney Seiter

      Isn’t it amazing? I was quite inspired by it as well. :)

  • ImAndreaGlass

    I’ve had awesome service from the Buffer team the few times I’ve contacted them for assistance. The response times were quick and the people that answered my emails came across as very genuine and helpful, along with pleasant attitudes. Then yesterday, I received a personal, thoughtful, and handwritten card from Nicole (along with some Buffer stickers) thanking me for attending & contributing to last week’s #bufferchat – that definitely made me smile! Buffer surely knows how to add those little, personal touches to make the customer experience unforgettable. Little things DO mean a lot! :-)

    There’s a company called Yabbly that used to provide an app and website for social product recommendations. I guess they weren’t getting enough traction, so they ended up pivoting to a different format similar to AMAs (ask me anything) geared towards startups where founders can host Q&A’s for the public. It’s actually turned into a great resource chock full’o info for startups, entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in the startup scene.

    Anyway, before their pivot, I visited the site almost every day because 1) I love to help people, so I would participate and offer my recommendations and 2) the Yabbly team was SUPER responsive to their users. They asked users to provide suggestions for improvements and features, many of which were implemented; They held a few video chats and invited their users; They also always responded very quickly to questions and/or site glitches, so they truly wanted their users to be happy; They started testing AMAs right before their pivot and invited some of their most active users to host their own AMAs about products they owned and even asked me, so I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, they made it a point to reach out to their community and actively involve them, which made for a great customer experience. BTW – their team is still awesome, so I don’t want anyone to think otherwise. :-)

    So sorry for the book, I’ll stop now, LOL, but I think great experiences should be shared as much or more than bad experiences.

    • Courtney Seiter

      Totally agree; it’s so instructive to share great experiences as well and yours are perfect examples. We’re so happy to have you in the Buffer community!

  • Avadhoot Kulkarni

    Hey Courtney,

    Awesome article! Loved it.

    A small thing I noticed. In the letter written by Carolyn:

    “Everyone, if you feel like participating, please take out your cell phone and fire off an email to hello@buffer.com.”

    Shouldn’t it be hello@bufferapp.com?

    Ignore if I’m wrong and thanks for the insights about customer happiness. :)

    Regards,
    -Avadhoot

    • Courtney Seiter

      Great catch, Avadhoot! I have fixed that right up. Thanks for the eagle eye! Glad you enjoyed the piece. :)

      • Ryan Bruce

        Ha! 2 years later and the irony is that the proper email address now actually *is* hello@buffer.com

        No TEDx yet, but Joel did SXSW! Perhaps TEDx next year :)

  • Katya Pavlopoulos

    Aw, when I read the section with Carolyn’s email about 2016, I caught myself smiling EVEN THOUGH I WAS JUST READING about other people in the future getting good customer service! haha now that’s why she’s the chief happiness officer! thanks for that little boost of happiness :)

    • Courtney Seiter

      Haha! Pretty amazing, huh? Carolyn is quite an inspiring teammate :) Thanks for reading, Katya!

  • Michal

    Hi guys, what app do you use for customer support? We currently use
    LiveAgent and are very satisfied with it, but I am curious if there is anything else out there.

  • Sylvia

    Grazie for the resources! I’m always hungry to learn how to be more empathetic when helping our customers have a positive experience :) Is there a CRM your team uses?

  • Charlotte Osborn Wood

    When I use my buffer it is only posting the pic I have posted & not the written words. Is there a problem with your app?

  • Natalie Friedrich

    I want to share a post from another page i manage with buffer on my page. How can i do that best? I want the original post to appear on the shared one too, just like it would appear if I’d do it with Facebook. Is there an option?

  • Demetrius

    Hey Courtney, Recently I’ve been noticing that the ‘Help & Feedback’ menu option on the android app switches between a form and live chat at different times of the day. Very interesting! Is this something buffer is experimenting with in customer support?

  • Nuru Renee

    YIKES!! It seems there is no way to get in immediate touch with support– you have to send them an email and hope for a reply. I have heard nothing… I feel like my 2 requests have gone into a bottomless black hole. There is no time frame given for a reply. Suggestion: Provide an option to receive a call back from a support agent within a given time frame, or at least give an indication of how or when the inquiry will be received and resolved. Getting in touch with an associate should not take days and days, especially with a paid subscription.

  • I’d like to be able to directly contact someone for support. Having major bugs and issues. I really want this service to work for me, I am so close to upgrading to awesome, but not if I’m going to be dealing with these bugs on my own…

    • Hi @saratos:disqus! So sorry to hear about the trouble. If you’re up for emailing hello@buffer.com that will connect you with our customer happiness team and they would love to help sort things out! :)

  • Susan

    Since 29 April 2017 when anyone clicks on a shortened link (example http://buff.ly/2q2xa7o) in any of our posts, they are re-directed to this link:
    https://bitly.com/a/warning?hash=2q28ig5&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.p4p.uk.com%2Fgdpr-will-impact-business%2F%3Futm_content%3Dbuffer4ef0f%26utm_medium%3Dsocial%26utm_source%3Dfacebook.com%26utm_campaign%3Dbuffe
    This is happening to new posts and when checking on previous post / links that worked fine, are now also going to the above link.
    Anyone got any advise how I resolve this?

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