When it comes to content on the web, most of us forget far more than we remember.
Sorting through bookmarks often resembles finding a paperclip in a city landfill. It’s just plain tough to keep track of it all.
This year, the Help Scout blog ramped up our editorial calendar to two original posts per week; that’s 50+ articles published in the last six months. Quite a lot of writing to discover.
With that in mind, we’ve curated an abridged list of our greatest hits this year. The result? You can browse and revisit any posts you may have missed. Enjoy!
Providing outstanding support
This is our bread-and-butter and far and away our favorite topic to cover. We built a helpdesk and a knowledge base to help you get the job done. We hope our writing has served as useful guidance along the way.
From talking directly to customers, to building an incredible support team, to learning from some of the best companies in the business, here are some reader favorites from this year on taking care of your customers.
Talking to your customers
- 1. Phrases to Improve Every Support Interaction
- Mindless scripts are a no-go, but having a few helpful phrases in your playbook will ensure you can approach any support scenario.
- 2. How to Talk to Your Angriest Customers
- You’ll never be able to make everyone happy all the time. That’s okay; support isn’t about always being right—it’s about always being willing to make it right. Here are a few principles for doing just that.
- 3. Overcoming Common Customer Objections
- Every team that practices Whole Company Support should have an Objections Doc—a list made to understand and address the common objections customers have about your product.
- 4. The Empathetic Path to Inbox Zero
- While “inbox zero” causes us to envision an assembly line environment, a cluttered support queue results in mistakes, low morale, and perceived unprofessionalism. There’s a better way.
- 5. The Email Support Style Guide You Didn’t Know You Needed
- The goal of every email is to communicate information. Faulty styling impedes on this. Here’s a brief guide on ensuring every email you send is heard loud and clear.
- 6. Hiring Your Picture-Perfect Support Team
- Your support team carries a lot of responsibility. To succeed, you need to distinguish between the would-be’s and the must-hires. Cassie Marketos shares which traits to look out for.
- 7. 15 Traits of Top-Tier Support Departments
- Over my years at Help Scout, I’ve had myriad conversations with talented support managers. Here are the recurring traits that all of the best support teams have in common.
- 8. Using Data to Manage a Happy, High-Performance Support Team
- While data doesn’t deliver qualitative judgments, it can help you make reasonable deductions with context and common themes. Here are a few key metrics to keep your eye on.
- 9. How Customer.io Built a Whole Company Support Culture
- Diana Potter came to Customer.io with ten years of experience in support. Her mission? Build out the support team and turn the inbox into a linchpin for the company.
- 10. How Tuft and Needle Invests in What Can’t Be Bought
- At Tuft and Needle, quality is fractal—everyone does support, everyone on the team learns how their award-winning mattresses are made. Why? Facing an industry of Goliaths, they had to build their business on what couldn’t be bought.
- 11. How Modify Watches WOWs with Proactive Support
- Building a great business is about the relationships with customers. The team at Modify Watches shares why empathy is their core value and how they stay proactive with support.
- 12. How Omada Health Provides Personal Support at Scale
- We sat down with Christine and Alycia from Omada in order to get an inside look at how a healthcare company provides outstanding customer support.
Running a support department
How great companies do support
Teamwork, culture, and leadership
With a growing team of twenty-eight special snowflakes, we’ve spent a fair bit of time figuring out how to develop and keep a feeling of connectedness and camaraderie at Help Scout.
Leadership takes point, but everyone in the company contributes to a feeling of togetherness and building something bigger than our selves. Here are some of our essays on building the culture we want to work in.
Building a team of overachievers
- 13. Keeping Our Overachiever Culture
- One of the most powerful things you can do as a manager is to force constraints. Self-imposed limitations can unlock magic when applied properly to a team, a product, or the business as a whole.
- 14. What We’ve Learned Building a Remote Team
- While the benefits of building a remote team are tremendous, being successful requires radical commitment from your company’s leadership.
- 15. Growing the Future Perfect Team
- When hiring, it’s easy to pass over what could be for what you need right now. Talent is a necessity, but attitude and personality are malleable traits that denote “the person they’ll become.”
- 16. 20 Ideas for Building a Thriving Team
- There is nothing more invigorating than working toward a common goal with like-minded folks who are equally dogged and passionate.
- 17. Silence is a Noxious Gas
- Silence can seep throughout an organization, sabotaging motivation, enthusiasm, and comradery. Here’s why you shouldn’t let things get too quiet on your team.
- 18. When Contempt Masquerades as Feedback, Nobody Wins
- Feedback is instructive language that aims to positively influence future behavior. Without a proposed solution, a critique can come off as hurtful contempt.
- 19. 24 Ideas that Will Change the Way Your Remote Team Works
- Does your company operate without borders? Check out this collection of insights on better communication and productivity for those living the remote life.
Working with your teammates
Growth and marketing
Marketing isn’t something you do to people, it’s something you do for people. Done well, it serves as a transfer of enthusiasm, because expecting customers to get excited about your product without your help is expecting too much.
We’ve covered a wide variety of topics this year, not only on communicating to prospects, but on helping customers get acquainted with your product and set up for success. Here are a few of our favorite essays on doing just that.
Growing a product people depend on
- 20. What You Gain With a Growth Team
- As the VP of Growth at HubSpot and co-founder of four companies, Brian Balfour knows how to grow companies. We talked to him about the true value of having a team dedicated to growth.
- 21. Lifecycle Emails: Magic Pixie Dust for User Onboarding
- There's a very good chance that a new user won't get to experience all the value you have to offer in the very first sitting. Smart lifecycle emails are how you get them back.
- 22. User Onboarding Isn’t a Feature
- Treating onboarding as a shippable feature is the same as saying, “We’re finally going to ship Support in Q2!” It’s an ongoing process and one that requires constant improvement.
- 23. Writing Value Propositions that Work
- As the saying goes, price is what you pay and value is what you get. Communicating value means clearly defining why prospective customers should buy. Here’s a guide to doing just that.
- 24. Your World Before Our Product
- Staying static will always be more appealing than making a change. Helping prospective customers make the switch requires explaining how much better their situation will be after using your product.
- 25. Letting a Great Product Sell Itself
- Craftsmanship reflects a creator’s precision, understanding, and vigilance to detail. When you show your work to your customers, you’re giving your product a chance to be judged on its merits.
- 26. Let Your Customers Speak for You
- Success stories serve as helpful guidance for holdouts. Seeing how another customer found the perfect fix with your product instills incredible confidence. Here’s our guide to making these stories memorable.
- 27. The 25 Principles that Power Our Company Blog
- We’ve always viewed “content” as customer success. With 2 million visitors last year, we thought it might be helpful to draw back the curtains on how we run the Help Scout blog.