Support is at the very heart of Marvel. We're the pulse that can be checked with every business decision and the gateway to creating a great product.
If you were to look at our team today you'd see a full team, with iterative processes, measurable objectives and key results. A team with goals and the resources to focus and achieve them. That's not to say we didn't have this back in 2013 when we had just 1,000 users to support, but rather we didn't have a team. So to speak.
The importance of friendly, personable customer support for a new business is indispensable, luckily our CEO, Murat Mutlu, recognised this and along with his co-founding duties, being a top designer and fundraiser - he also became Marvel's first unofficial Support Manager. Some early Marvel users, might even remember Murat from his Support side hustle!
Fast forward two years to 2015, Marvel has 250,000 users to support, tickets are pouring in and Murat needs some help.
The beginnings of a Support Team at Marvel
It seems appropriate to be sharing this story as I was the first customer facing hire at Marvel, almost 4 years ago. I began with a steep learning curve in the product and our users but ultimately I was able to own Support and free up Murat's days to focus on the business as a whole and it's successful trajectory.
Of the customer roles Support is often the first area to hire in. It's possibly the most impactful to the business at that stage, but does not undervalue the need for a Sales and Customer Experience team. These areas were still being maintained and organically grown by Murat.
In Spring 2016, we hired our second member of Support, Marilyn. With Marilyn's help, we were able to keep on top of the ever growing number of Support tickets and begin to take Experience and Sales away from Murat. I also completed a GA Data Analytics course to help with number crunching and we were heavily involved in QA testing new releases and feeding back into the product, ideas.
At this point in Support's history, Marilyn and I hit an equilibrium where we were maintaining too many different areas of the business to a high standard but not really growing any of them. Something needed to change.
Marvel welcomes a COO
In Autumn 2016, Marvel welcomed COO Kelsey, to the business! Part of Kelsey's role was to add structure to the existing Support team and grow out independent Customer Experience and Sales teams. She did a wonderful job, and swiftly created the space for Marilyn and I to begin to grow the Support team, it's processes and it's goals to be thought leaders in Customer Support.
First on the agenda was expanding the in-house team. In Spring 2017, in quick succession we hired Rachel in Support and Aisling as Technical Support. Whilst the team ramped up, Marilyn and I were able to focus on cleaning up some of our existing processes and train new recruits in Customer Experience and Sales.
With a team of 4, we were able to start addressing some of the things on our Support wish list, including ripping out the old Help Centre and building a shiny new accessible one, setting up C-Sat to more reliably see how we interact with our users as a Support Team, building out dashboards to track key metrics such as FRT (First Response Time), building tray.io integrations to better track platform trends in bugs, reliability and feature requests as well as creating a new process for how the team handles bugs which you can read about here.
Lastly, we had some breathing room to think about ways Marvel could be exemplary of great Support to other startups in London. We set up, ran and held events for a community group of like-minded Support professionals called Support Stories (a child project of COO Stories, of which Kelsey is a co-founder).
With Support in top shape, we were ready for a new challenge!
UK Out of Hours Support
In Summer 2017, we endeavoured to hire two out-of-hours members to the Support team. They would be UK based and cover evening hours and early morning. They would also work remotely. We found two wonderful people, Lydia and Kate! Delivering training materials and getting Lydia and Kate up to scratch was a new venture for Marvel, and paved the way for a more global Support team expansion in late 2018.
Marvel Support 2019
Now at 2 million users, our team is at its most established yet.
Lydia became a full time in-house member of the Support team and Beth joined in the Summer of 2018. Not long after, two global remote members joined the team! Lydia K (a different Lydia!) and Alaina, based respectively in Minnesota, USA and Singapore. Together, they ensure all Support tickets are answered in double quick time, whilst the rest of the team in the UK are asleep!
As for the earlier team members, new career paths have opened up to us all through engaging with our customers in the Support environment and working closely with our Product and Engineering teams in a problem solving capacity.
Marilyn moved on to a new career as a Front-end Developer, Rachel became a full time Web Developer at Marvel with the hopes of becoming a Jnr Front-end Engineer soon, Aisling is paving the way for Quality Assurance at Marvel, a really exciting new direction and I'm working towards becoming a Jnr Backend Engineer, also with Marvel.
As a team we keep pushing forward to find new ways to inspire, educate and keep our User's happy and having the best Marvel experience day in day out.
We'd love to hear any feedback you may have about the product or our Support, simply email in to firstname.lastname@example.org and Beth, Lydia, Lydia K or Alaina will be happy to help!
As for the future of the team, watch this space.