Senior Customer Support Specialist at HqO
As a Senior Customer Support Specialist, Jen works closely with HqO’s technical and customer-facing teams to help address customer concerns and optimize their user experience. She came to HqO in March 2021 and grew the team of 1 (herself!) to a team of 15. She previously worked in a similar role as a Customer Relations Associate at Tripadvisor. She has a degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Thanks for joining us, Jen! Could you start by telling us a little bit about your background? What were you doing before you joined the company?
Of course! Before coming to HqO, I was at Tripadvisor for 5 years working for their customer support teams. I started out as a Customer Support Agent under the vacation rentals business before I moved up to a Customer Relations Associate for their core business, which included hotels, restaurants, and flights.
Customer Support involves handling Tier 1 issues (like logging into an account, for example), which is what I handled initially. But later on in my time there, when I was a Customer Relations Associate, I started handling more sensitive customer issues and escalations. The upshot of all of that is that I have a lot of experience working with various customers. I know how to interact with them and listen to them, and I know how to guide them through challenging conversations.
I didn’t have experience in real estate or proptech when I joined, so it was fun and hard to be learning both at the same time. Now, I’m hooked — I can’t stop looking up at the buildings when I’m walking down the street.
That’s so interesting! It sounds like you use a lot of that customer-facing experience in your current role. Could you tell us a little bit about your day-to-day? What does that look like?
Definitely! As a Senior Customer Support Specialist at HqO, I provide support for several of our key accounts; review technical issues reported by customers; create knowledge content; deliver training and coaching; develop new processes with other teams; and, one of my favorite tasks, review customer feedback. I like to work on different tasks and projects.
My role is situated between our customer teams and Engineering, Product, and Design (EPD), and I communicate with both on a regular basis. I need to be close to EPD and our customer teams so I’m able to take feedback from customers and funnel it over to Engineering, and vice versa. In addition to that customer-facing work, I also help with our Delivery team in creating bug and product request tickets. When users report issues about our site or our app, I’m usually the first person to investigate the issue and try to reproduce it, before I decide it needs Engineering’s assistance.
It’s really interesting to work with our customer teams and EPD simultaneously, because these two groups have their own language, communication style, and workflows. And that’s where my role comes in: a big responsibility of mine is to be the translator between those two groups. Engineers often use very technical language that a less technical person, like you or I, may not understand. So part of my job is to take the language that they give me, translate it, and pass it over to a customer in a digestible way. Likewise, if there’s a customer issue, part of my job is to help Engineering understand the impact and urgency.
What’s it like to work with both of these teams simultaneously? Do you collaborate with one more than the other?
I think it’s divided pretty evenly between the two teams. Customer Support really communicates and collaborates with both on a daily basis.
That said, a lot of our work begins with the customer teams, especially when a customer comes to us asking for help. When that happens, we’ll have to check with the Customer Success team right away, and if it seems like there might be a technical issue, we’ll forward that to Engineering to see if there are any issues to resolve. So there’s a lot of cross-communication that happens daily, which is great because that’s how we stay in line with each other and make sure that everything’s working smoothly to give the customer an effortless experience. Sometimes there are a lot of moving parts to juggle, and we can even run into some unexpected bumps. But it’s always exciting when we work together as an integrated team and I think we have a lot of success in that.
And, again, I think what’s awesome about my role is that I get to sit at that intersection between the product side and the customer side. I get to navigate and sway people on important issues. It’s an exciting position to be in.
Absolutely. And have you been able to work on anything exciting recently? That could apply either to the customer or the product side of things.
Right now, I’m working with a teammate from Customer Success to rework the way that we announce app launches internally, which has been really interesting.
Long story short, we used to announce app launches through big internal emails. The issue there, of course, is that everyone gets way too many emails, and stuff inevitably gets lost. In order to streamline that whole process, I ended up solving this by playing around in Confluence — a collaborative web-based tool for corporate teams — and creating a custom template that has all the necessary information. This means that we now have one common source of truth document to keep track of important information. My passion really has to do with process improvement. I like to engineer smoother workflows that streamline everything, so even though this was an internal process, and we were dealing with internal employees, I enjoyed making these changes.
Another similar project, which is ongoing and much broader in scope, has to do with revising the way we deal with customer feedback. Right now, customer feedback comes in directly to the customer teams, and then gets dealt with at that level. Otherwise, it’s routed to Engineering for a technical fix (often via me or my team). The nitty gritty of this workflow is a little too dense to explain here, but right now we’re essentially in the process of improving the feedback loops in this area so that customer feedback is dealt with as quickly and succinctly as possible. Obviously, customer feedback is incredibly important to us, so we’re always trying to improve and streamline our processes there. We think that these improvements are going to help bring us to an even higher level.
That’s great to hear! Thinking again about our product and the future more generally, how do you see technology influencing the future of work?
Some of the most popular features of our product are its open-ended feedback and survey capabilities. This explanation oversimplifies it a bit, but essentially these features allow landlords and employers to solicit feedback from their tenants and employees, which helps them figure out what is (or maybe isn’t) working well in the office. Our customers gather this information, tailor it to fit their needs, and then use it to make improvements to their space that add value to the building, or to the company.
My experience at HqO has shown me that this kind of feedback — that is, detailed feedback from customers and users — is an incredibly valuable and important asset for companies in a bunch of different industries. So, if I had to guess, I think I’d probably say that we’re going to see even more of this kind of feedback out there in the coming years. It’s just so important to know your customers and their interests at the time. Particularly in an uncertain economic environment like the one we’re in now.
What’s your favorite part about working at HqO?
Honestly, the people. I always say that, too, because I feel like we have such a strong crew of smart and empathetic people here who care about building community and want to make sure that we achieve that with technology.
We have great designers. We have great product people. We have a phenomenal Customer Success and Services team that really dedicate themselves to providing a concierge experience to our clients. It’s important for the success of the company that all of these teams be able to work together seamlessly, and that’s exactly what we do here. A lot of our business is about creating and maintaining positive relationships, and that’s so much easier when you have a great cast of people like we have at HqO. One of my favorite things about returning to the office is being able to say hello to everyone.
Inside HqO pulls back the curtain and introduces you to the people who make HqO the undisputed leader in workplace experience technology. For more information on HqO, click here. If you’re interested in joining Jen and the HqO team, check out all of our current openings here.