For the tens of thousands of customers around the world and the millions visiting the MarineTraffic website each month, their first point of contact is usually someone from our Customer Success Team.
Having to deal with customers from different countries and time zones and assist them with a variety of inquiries, makes the task both challenging and extremely rewarding. It also means very busy days for Katerina, the Head of Customer Success, and the rest of her team.
“On any given day I could expect to have 50-70 new emails when I arrive to the office. I will read through them and just as the rest of the team begins to arrive, I delegate customer cases to each of the team members, both here in Athens and also in Manilla, where we have another Customer Success team member,” Katerina explains.
First to arrive after Katerina, are the always smiling Chris and Thalia, closely followed by the two newest members of the team, Thanos and Iliana. Together with Riza, who works remotely from the Philippines, they make up the Customer Success Team.
Each morning at 10am local time (UTC+2), the live chat goes online, offering customers the opportunity to speak directly with a MarineTraffic representative about any queries they might have.
“Our Customer Support Team uses Zendesk, a web-based help desk software used by 200000+ organisations worldwide and on average we deal with approximately 2,000 new tickets per month, recording a 95 percent satisfaction rate. We also handle approximately 650 Live Chat sessions per month, registering a 99 percent satisfaction rating,” boasts Katerina. “Nevertheless there is always room for improvement,” she adds.
“I think it’s important that people understand that the Customer Success team is responsible for more than just responding to people’s queries. We do a whole lot more,” says Thalia. In addition to the customer support, we also deal with issues such as customer retention, where the aim is to ensure value realisation and product adoption by the customer.”
Chris says the department is also responsible for Customers Onboarding, which helps users find their way within the product. “It describes the entire process that customers go through when they start the journey as a customer. It also defines the ongoing relationship that a customer has with the product.”
He says onboarding is all about getting the product up and running for the users. “It is really essential if we take into consideration that most of the customers leave just because they don’t understand how the product works or how it benefits them.”
As the Head of Customer Success, Katerina says training is also a key part of the departments job.
“Educating the customer is vital. Training is the primary method for driving product adoption, which is widely believed as we said to be the key to high renewal rates. With training we save our customers time and resources, we show them the optimal ways to derive value from our product, and we facilitate the integration of our product into their internal processes,” Katerina explains.
Sounds serious, and it is, but the team still finds time to smile and enjoy their work.
“Working with this crew and dealing with our customers is fantastic,” says Iliana, who is the newbie in the team, having just been with MarineTraffic a few weeks. “It’s a pleasure to work alongside people that are not only very good at what they do, but they also have such a positive outlook,” she adds.
Thanos, who is also relatively new to the team, believes one of the reason the team is always upbeat, is because of the interaction with a diverse group of people across the globe. “MarineTraffic has a truly global customer base, on any given day we could be interacting with people from Australia, the US, Singapore, Russia, Norway or South Africa. This keeps us on our toes, but it’s also fascinating to hear their stories.”
With so many requests coming in daily, it’s inevitable that the team would have come across a lot of fascinating stories. So what has been a story that stands out in their memory?
“We have one user from Italy that sends us photos and songs as a thank you for the good service,” reveals Thalia.
Chris says one of his favourite stories is when the Customer Success team helped a customer from Canada connect with the Greek captain of a vessel the Canadian would travel on, more than two decades earlier.
“Our Canadian customer told us the name of the captain and chief engineer of a vessel he used to travel on in the St. Lawrence Seaway, that connects Lakes Erie and Ontario. After a bit of investigative work we managed to find the Greek gentleman and put them in touch, it was a very moving and rewarding moment.”
For Katerina, one case that stands out more than others is of Belgian gentleman that has been a customer since 2013. “What has really impressed me by this customer is not just the relationship we have developed over the years, or that he has been a paid user for so long, it’s more the fact that he genuinely appreciates the work we do and he always wants to help us improve.”
Katerina claims the Belgian customer has raised 1334 tickets offering suggestions for improvements, while also making more than 2,250 comments in the Community Space. “He truly exemplifies the MarineTraffic global community, all of us coming together to contribute and create an important service that is used by millions around the world.”