We Follow the GOAT Standard for Customer Support

Written by Mick Shanaghy

July 13, 2021

Very early on at Cribl, our Founders and early employees decided that “Customers First, Always” would be a core value of our company, and we have built our business based on that value. If you ask any employee on any team – from Sales to Engineering to Marketing – they will tell you that their role, goals, or metrics involve some element of making customers successful – that is to say that their individual success is bound to the success of our customers.

We are not just here to create unique technology solutions; we’re also here to ensure that customers can get real value from their investment in our products. So how do we do that?

Proactive Customer Support

The traditional approach to customer support is a reactive model – wait for customers to encounter a problem and then engage us to ask for help. We want to move towards a proactive model, where we guide users to avoid issues altogether. Then, when they encounter something unexpected, they should have access to information that will help them solve it. Enabling a customer on how to solve a problem is far better than simply doing it for them. To that end, we don’t restrict access to any of our online educational information, and we are building a free and open online community where users can openly share their experiences and knowledge.

We Want to Solve Problems, Not Symptoms

When customers are in the throes of solving a complex problem, it’s easy to get tunnel vision. When you have tunnel vision, you focus on working through a symptom instead of the core problem. By identifying the core problem and leveraging our knowledge and expertise in the solution, we become a trusted partner for our customers. Sharing that knowledge openly is another key to enabling our customers to be successful too. When we learn something new, we want to publish it for all to see.

We Aren’t Perfect

We know our software isn’t perfect. However, we don’t downplay it. When issues come up, we want to gather diagnostic info & reproduction instructions, document it, and convey a sense of ownership and urgency about it. We believe a strong response and ownership of a problem is one of the best opportunities to show customers how much we value their trust and investment.

Some bugs can take a while to resolve, and multiple rounds of troubleshooting, data-gathering, analysis, and changes may be required before a resolution is complete. When such a situation arises, it’s our job to ensure communication is clear and frequent as we drive towards a solution.

We Listen to Feature Requests

Customers will often request a feature that they perceive to be missing in the platform. When we hear them, we will take some time to gather some context and an actual use case. Our products are here to solve real-world problems, so tell us when you encounter something that we can help you with.

Golden rule: Effective communication

Top-notch communication is the #1 requirement for our company, and that’s not always straightforward when you’re not talking face-to-face with customers. We like to take a moment to understand what a customer is asking. If it seems like we ask many questions, it’s because nobody appreciates being given a solution to a problem that isn’t relevant.

We Will Follow Up Often

Regular follow-up, setting expectations, and clearly laying out the plan of the next steps are all requirements for a great customer experience. Before we set those expectations, we try to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and ask if what we’re proposing is frequent/soon enough. Then we put that into practice.

We Communicate in Your Preferred Way

We want to communicate however works best for you. Email works well in some cases, but not all. If you prefer Slack, we have a community for that. If you prefer Zoom so we can do a screen-share, let’s set up a call. Remote work is how business is done these days, so we’re here to help in whatever way works for you.
We document everything

If it’s not written down, it never happened. Documentation is critical to follow up on this problem, but it’ll help others solve it faster in the future. We always record a summary of the problem, the troubleshooting steps we took, the findings, and the resolution activities.

We Want to Be Known for Being a Company That’s FOR Our Customers

Your success will drive our success, so we understand that every decision we make has to be made with the best interests of our customers in mind. We believe that our customers are paramount to our success, but it’s one thing to say it’s another to put it into action.

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