Hi everyone! We are here today to discover the secrets of a great customer service with Francesca Balestra. Hi Francesca!

– Hi Beatrice, thank you for inviting me here.
I’m Francesca, I’m 32 and I’m Italian as you can hear from my accent. I live in Bergamo. If you’re wondering where it   is, it is near Milan, so in the north part of Italy.
I’m married I have 3 completely crazy cats. And last but not least I’m one of the two leaders of customer success in Fatture in Cloud.

I do a lot of things in my work as a coordinating the customer success team, analyzing the customer journey, participating in the product development with feedback, user experience feedback up most of all, sales strategies and so on but actually everything which is connected with the the customer journey, so customer support.

– Okay, and can you explain to us what is Fatture in Cloud?

– Oh, yes. I think the young company which provides a software as a service to help, we can say: freelancers, small businesses,  companies to deal with everything that is connected with accounting, cash flow and of course invoicing, because in Italy the electronic invoice is mandatory. So it is the main part of our business, and we try to make life easier for small companies that usually don’t have all the skills or all the resources to deal with everything that is connected to their business.

– That’s great. And how many people do you have for the customer service team?

– We are 40 people totally, and 17 of them are working in my team.

– And also I would like to ask you: how do you onboard a new employee?

– We have a specific process. First of all, we provide them with our welcome kit, which is like: branded hoodie, cup, mugs…

– I like it! Hire me too!

We will send one to you too. This is just for fun and for of course new employees and just to make them feel

like they’re part of something young, fresh, new and so on. Then arrive the most important part during the first week usually, we just take lectures like in school. This is the part more boring. Then in the second and third week, they start to work with an experienced colleague to learn on the job.
But at this part, they are not able to answer to the customer request because of course, it is too soon.So we provide them with fake requests and they to answer.
Then they experienced colleagues/tutors, start to check them and to understand which level everyone reaches.

– Like a roleplay!

– Yeah, exactly because of course sometimes we are very young people like, just out of school. But sometimes we are people that maybe have many years of experience. So, of course the level it’s different also at the beginning. After a few weeks, maybe a few months in some cases, they can start to do the real job, but only the chat and email part. Only after one year, they start to run and prepare webinars or things more complicated.

– Okay, so this process is not so long for everyone…it’s tailored to the single person.

 -Yeah, it depends!

– That’s very cool. And now a tough question for you: According to your experience, what’s the best practice to handle a difficult customer?

– Of course, we have difficult customers we have to deal with difficult customers like every day as we have 350,000 customers. So I mean they’re a lot!  The main part is to become kind  and of course to be willing to understand customer needs. Then if we understand that maybe the need, the request, is not executable you have to make see if the customers that we are taking care of it.  Maybe we already spoke with the tech team or the developers and so on and we keep him updated. The key is not the to make him understand that hIs requested is nonsense sometimes…

– Yeah, I can feel you.

– Yeah, so the answer can be like “We really appreciate, feedback is very important for us because our business is you,

but – of course –  we will keep you updated about it”. In the meantime, we try to give him promotions, or to ask him to join the community on Facebook or maybe to participate at webinars. Just to make him feel that is part of something. It is the most important thing he has not to think that the he is one among others.
Okay, of course before it was easier because we had much less customers to deal with with.

Now it’s more difficult, but this is the key in my opinion. I don’t like that they think about us as a huge company with thousands of clients and so on. I prefer that they think of us like this as the small business we were 5 years ago.

– So: never lose contact with the customer.

– No, never. And try to pass the thought that his ideas are important to us, always. Good and not good of course.

– I totally agree with you. And so, the customer support team… how do you collaborate with all the other teams?

– Okay. This is the hard part. 

– Okay we are ready!

– Of course the problem is, I think that in every team the perception of what is more urgent is different.

So for us is the customer and maybe some features. For the development team usually the product.

Okay, of course that the two teams are completely related so the most difficult part is actually to communicate.

Okay, just to make them understand which are our needs, as our relationship with customers, it’s is the same.

The only way for us is to have a clear and efficient processes so we have to know how to do things how to communicate with them how to, everything, give them feedback and so on. That’s the key I think and when it doesn’t work we go there and trash everything.

– I think that’s fair! 
And so how do you manage such a large team and be sure that everyone is performing great?

– Of course you have always to think about the team and not only about the single person. So about the performance we measure almost everything, like number of closed tickets, feedbacks of webinars, quality of replies, and so on.

And we have a performance review sessions like every two months with the all of them with the team and also with the single person. We try to understand also which is the part of the job that the employee

prefers just to understand maybe which is the more willing to do.

Then of course, there are some tasks that everyone has to do.  So we try to make it for him easier to do this time this type of stuff and also to make him understand in  his way if this is the right job for him.

– Yeah, and when you feel the something, maybe it’s not so right for a someone, or also when it is, what’s the the main thing that motivate people to work better at customer service?

I think that the most important thing is sharing. As usual: “sharing is caring”. So I usually share all the goals that company reaches so not only the revenues of course,  but in particularly the NPS, the Customer satisfaction.

When it improves it’s better of course, and then there is a little thing that I usually do and they push them to do and it is to share all the cool feedbacks that we received from customers.

Our business is related to everything, so maybe you can think of that is not so exciting, but it’s very important for our customers. So it’s a vital part of their business, so when we solve a problem there like: “You saved my life” ”Now it can go on vacation”, “ You are my hero” and things like this.

I’m not joking, really! And there are some customers that want to send us food, give stuff.

– Okay. That’s great motivation!

And yeah, so I’m like, if I receive great feedback I use my group or my chat, or whatever to share it with the rest of the group.
It’s just a little thing but it improves a lot of the mood of the team and for now, it works.

– I really like your point of view. Thank you, for all of your secrets and these hacks for customer service.

– Thanks to you!



– Maria Beatrice Pavanello