Webinar: Doing Customer Service Online: Tips & Best Practices for eCommerce

GiveWP’s Head of Customer Success Michelle Frechette and Cory Miller will share tips and best practices for offering great customer service and support.

GiveWP’s Head of Customer Success Michelle Frechette and Cory Miller share tips and best practices for offering great support and customer service online.

If you’re transitioning your historically offline business to the web, this is for you! Learn how to make your customer service shine online.

Machine Transcript: Online Customer Care Tips and Best Practices for eCommerce

Cory Miller  00:02

Everybody welcome back to another Commerce Journey webinar. I’m excited to have Michelle, my friend Michelle Frechette, head of customer success at GiveWP and podcaster extraordinaire at WP coffee talk on for another webinar this time. Michelle, thank you again for being here. By the way.

Michelle Frechette  00:22

Why it’s my pleasure? Thanks for having me back.

Cory Miller  00:25

This… absolutely, we had so much fun. It’s like, let’s go party and share some good stuff. Mainly.

Michelle Frechette  00:30

I was like, when are we doing it again?

Cory Miller  00:34

Yeah, we gotta have fun. Yeah. So it’s always exciting. And here’s so I’m gonna tell everybody where we came back to this. One is that Michelle and I were talking about nonprofits e commerce, you can find that at commerce, the replay. But we we were talking about this phenomenon that’s happened, particularly in the pay pandemic. If there is a positive, I’ll say this is that all of the offline traditionally, offline businesses that didn’t care much about the web, they did. Everything, you know, in person at a brick and mortar type establishment, like restaurants, for instance, are converting to art are rushing to the web. And I’m thankful for that on a positive note, because the web is a tool, digital marketing is a tool for them to grow their business. And I wanted to talk to you today, Michelle, because you own customer success. And I love the term, it’s not support service, it’s customer success. I’m gonna ask you about that in a minute. But this is the phenomenon and I thought, who better to ask than you about how these kind of maybe traditional offline businesses, maybe they had a brochure site or business card site, you know, can start to do customer service support that we’ve tradition known as those things in GiveWP in your title is Customer Success terminology. And the example I want to give real quick, Michelle was with a pandemic kit, it was, you know, March 2020, gosh, I forget what year it is. This lawn and garden place where you get, you know, plants and all that kind of stuff. They shifted to do like online ordering. And it was awesome, because it was text messages, I much prefer doing text message. And I was like, Okay, this is a phenomenon. And they cut it off for like, a couple months, because things started opening back up. And I was like, dang, I wish they would keep this because this is a way to serve a crowd like me, who doesn’t like to go in places? I’d much rather just pick it up. Okay, so, first and foremost, thank you and your thoughts? And all, all I said about the ends and our hopes and desires for these businesses to really do customer service, like, like you do in the world?

Michelle Frechette  02:47

Yeah. So that’s a lot to unpack.

Cory Miller  02:50

No, no kidding.

Michelle Frechette  02:52

I might go by my notes more than your question because I kind of have thought about this a lot. And, and what it means to be Customer Success oriented versus customer service oriented, or customer support oriented, that customer service, customer support, absolutely have a place in the world, customer success is not you serve either one of those things. Can you have a hybrid? Absolutely. And, you know, companies that are bootstrapping? Absolutely, they’re going to take on, you know, maybe have one or two people that are going to start to wear different hats. So you know, for the VP, for example, we have always had priority support for our customers. And that hasn’t changed. You know, instead, we’ve added customer success. So in 2017 Oh, gosh, yeah, cuz I just finished my third year here at GiveWP 2017. I talked to Jason Knill and he had a vision for adding somebody to the team. And he had a terrible title for me. It was the partner implementation partner, implementation partner management coordinator, something like that. And I said, Exactly. And so after working here, about a month, month and a half, I said, you know, this, this, it’s not that the title isn’t working for me personally. It’s that it doesn’t mean anything to anybody else. What is the purpose of our team? At the time, it was a team of one I now have a team of four people. That’s how important customer success has become to this company is we have four people who are managing this for GiveWP. And it was the idea of we really want our customers to be successful. So what does that mean for them to be successful? When you have a customer support team, like I said, absolutely necessary, but that’s a reactionary, team. If there’s a problem, you reach out to support the idea behind customer successes, you make a purchase, we reach out to you as the customer, we’re not upselling because you’ve already bought it. Right. So we’re not trying to upsell you on anything. We reach out to you to make sure that you understand how to use the software, that we can do some onboarding with you, if you have questions. Now 100%, there are absolutely agencies and designers who never need to talk to us. And that’s fine. We leave voicemails we get hung up on sometimes, because people think that I’m trying to upsell or sell them something more, that’s fine, you can hang up on us, that’s not a problem. The people that we talked to who say, wow, I was just struggling with this, maybe you can walk me through XYZ. And so we get on a Zoom call, you know, we have a phone number you can call us. And I always say I challenge you to find that model within WordPress, anywhere else, you know, it’s starting to come there are other companies that are seeing our success and starting to model after us love it. But the whole idea is that you have to, if you’re going to have a customer success department, they have to be filled with people who are passionate about the success of the customers. So if you’re passionate about your project, about your product that you that you’re that you’re selling, so good.

Cory Miller  06:00

Okay, can I, I think there’s gonna be a question. Because this is a this is a new kind of concept to me. And I’ve met a bunch of others can, okay, so Give in Gives model, service support success? There is service and support. It’s a question about it. There is service and support. But there’s another layer, which is called success. Is this.

Michelle Frechette  06:23


Cory Miller  06:24

Okay. Could you tell me the difference? Maybe using GiveWP as an example?

Michelle Frechette  06:30

Yes. Yep. So for, for example, customer customer support we call priority support. Those are the people if you have a problem with your software, let’s say there’s a plugin conflict, or you don’t understand how to, you know, to do something that’s a little more PHP, you’re looking for a snippet, something like that. Our customer support our priority support are the people who are going to be able to respond in a technical way. It’s not that Amanda and Amy and I don’t have some technical skills, we’re not developers, you know, we don’t have that background, to be able to replicate, you know, major issues and things like that. And that’s not what we were hired to do. We know how to use WordPress, and we know how to help people understand how to use the product. So we are a different layer, we are onboarding, we’re doing demonstrations. So if you want to see how GiveWP works, before you buy it, make sure that we’re a good fit, we’ll hop on a Zoom call, we’ll do a demo, we have a demo site that will walk you through will show you what it looks like from the donor perspective. And we’ll show you what it looks like from the management perspective in the dashboard. I was trying not to say the back end, because it just looks terrible when you talk about the WordPress back end. But

Cory Miller  07:38

Michelle, you never had developers coin. Never have saw I love software developers. so phenomenally talented. Never let them do terms. That’s why you get child themes in WordPress. And then people are like, so for my new baby like this is my, my new baby.

Michelle Frechette  07:56

Now what can I have a grandchild theme to that, right?

Cory Miller  08:00

Yes, exactly. as developers

Michelle Frechette  08:02

know that when we call the dashboard experience. So when you’re looking at what you’re seeing from the dashboard of the management side of things, yeah. So it will show you those things before you make a purchase so that you know that you’re making the right decision. That’s not to say that some people don’t come back later and say, this really doesn’t fit what we need. And I’d like my money back. And we do have a 30 day refund period as well.

Cory Miller  08:23

But I love By the way, so if I could, so you’ve got support that and I don’t want to over generalize, but is I’ve got a problem. I need help. Someone helped me fix, and your success as cut you off. But it seems more outcome. What are you trying to do? You have bought this piece of software called GiveWP you’re trying to do in a WordPress site. But that there’s technical stuff, and that’s your support. But success is to me seems like outcome. What are you trying to achieve in this and for your help? Get the help them see that road to it and I cut you off. So I’ll let you finish?

Michelle Frechette  09:06

That’s no, but you’re absolutely right. That is exactly what it’s about. And so we really want to jump in there and make sure that people are using the product using it right, properly. When I first started here, and I worked here about almost three months and I hired Amanda to work with me. And we’re actually all you can see behind me if you’re watching. We’re all the same office here in Hilton New York. The rest of the team is scattered to the winds, right? But the customer success team is here. There’s four of us and we all work in the space. Amanda’s over there. Amy’s right behind me. And you can see Jeff behind me too. And the idea is that we are all talking about our customers working on customer issues together all day every day. And so the synergy that happens by being in the same space Do we have to be no but is it awesome? Absolutely. So but what we do all day is make sure that our customers are understanding the software and using it The worst thing that happened when I first started was, after a year, that subscription would renew. And people would say, I never even used it, can you refund my money? Yeah, well, you don’t want to spend $300 $360 a year, but back then it was $300. And not use that software. So why aren’t you using the software? Why didn’t you implement it. And so you know, once somebody makes a purchase, Amy calls them if we get a phone number for them, if not, she sends out an email, but she calls a person and she says, Hi, just wanted to make sure that you understand how you know what you’ve purchased. Congratulations on purchasing Gift. We’re here to support you through that if you need to set up a time for us to do like walk you through building your first form, or the thing that really trips people up a lot is setting up webhooks for stripe webhooks and understanding what a PayPal IPN is. And so we can help you with those kinds of things. Because that’s, although it’s a little technical, it isn’t like I have a problem. It’s I don’t understand how to. And so that’s what the customer success team can do is support people through that. And then we call again, at six months. And we call again, right before renewal so we can say how’s it working for you? Do you have any questions? And Amanda will call somebody at six months? And they’ll say, you know, actually, I do have a question. I’m so glad you called. And so just doing those connections and really kind of, you know, talking to people, we’ve made over 4,000 phone calls in 2020.

Cory Miller  11:23

So I want to say, I want to say this is definitely if you’re not a hosting company unprecedented in WordPress. And I’ve been around for a very long time. So in person we I would often say we don’t we have a phone, but nobody knows it, you know, except for our fax because we did this straight and itharks back to there was a story. And I don’t know if that’s, you know, outside of the canon of truth here, but Infusionsoft back in the day, you know, Infusionsoft is a marketing bundle of software. You know, it’s email software, it’s all kinds of stuff. But back in the day that I heard, I went to a sudden I was like, Oh, my gosh, this is expensive. And their monthly was expensive. But you had to get through a barrier, which they actually charged for what I kind of see is similar to what you’re talking about. And it was onboarding, it was like, let’s show you how and I thought that how brilliant one as a business model, because you teach your customer how to use software, or whatever product you have. You get loyalty, like, you know, people don’t like to change software. But you could apply this to a lot of products that have more expensive prospects to like, what good is it for me to buy, you know, a $5,000 generator? For instance, for my home, if I don’t know how to use it, you know? Exactly. And they got their customer attention. So there’s definitely a business ball on this. But also it’s people centered too. Now my question. It sounds like you do this before the sell to like customer successes even before the sell. Like it’s okay.

Michelle Frechette  12:59

Yeah, so we don’t have a sales team. We don’t have, you know, we have marketing. Of course, everybody has marketing. We don’t have a sales team. We’re not out there trying to make hard sales, we’re not doing cold calls. But on our website, we do offer the opportunity to see a demo before you buy. So that’s our team as well. So like if you do a demo with me, you have somebody that you can talk to. And you know that after you make that purchase, if you have any problems, you’ve seen my face, you’ve heard my voice. And if I’m not available, you trust that the other two people that are working with me doing those things, also can answer those questions. Because we’re all working together. We do have four people, the fourth person doesn’t do the demos. My fourth person is Jeff behind me there. Jeff completely manages subscriptions. So he works with payments and subscriptions and refunds, things like that. And I do want to bring up one number. So I actually have a lot of numbers. But one number right now is renewal rates, right? So renewal rates is a huge thing when you’re in a subscription business. And we’re at about 84 to 85% renewal every year, which is like ridiculously high in our industry. The second thing is credit card failure is a huge, huge burden on organizations. And you can use online subscriptions like Churn Buster and things like that, and they do have some success. But with Jeff actually reaching out to people whose credit cards fail, and reaching out to people whose PayPal accounts are having issues, we are recovering over 50% of that lost revenue every single year and that’s in the six figures.

Cory Miller  14:28

If you need a business justification. Michelle just gave it to you if you need it. Okay, so I really love this because what I hear in all of this is I know your founders I know you Michelle, I know many on your team. And I love it. You’re going to be talking about being human and how you do this and I love the principles and values. But I want to say as a sidebar. I just want to stop and apply this for those that are listening now and will be listening to the recording later is what you’re hearing, dripping out of Michelle’s words, is empathy.

Michelle Frechette  15:06


Cory Miller  15:06

You said several times, not sales. This is education, this is showing you the because, and it’s embedded in the title and what you all do, we want you to succeed. And so if I can apply that to other businesses, thinking through the empathic equation, thinking through what is your customer, by the way, this is a brilliant, I know, it’s not the intention, but brilliant way to stay as close as possible to your customers. So you can turn and adapt and adjust. And you’ve given a business case, by the way, if anybody needs a justification, you just given it, you know, as reduce churn is always a business case, you know, increase renewal, all of that is a business case. But this is thinking about the experience and not the sell. What I think of this, Michelle is there’s transactional businesses, I want to do whatever I can to make the sale support them that’s transactional. Transformational is I’m thinking about what you’re trying to accomplish in your life. And you all are doing this up, you know, specifically through what the work you do to say, I want you to get your outcome. And that’s pretty amazing. So okay, I wanted to get that sidebar to apply what you’re saying. And really, really, even if it feels pedantic, but connect the dots and say, any business can do this, and think empathetically about the customer and what outcome they’re trying to achieve, and then wire your online processes and flow to help that customer.

Michelle Frechette  15:16

And you know, if I could apply it a little bit more generally to so like Amazon, for example, I order off Amazon, right? I think we’ve all ordered a lot more off Amazon this year, with a pandemic and everything else, I often will get the request to rate the product afterwards, I often skip that I’m like, I don’t really care to rate your product. But I also get sellers through Amazon, who will reach out to me via email, and suggest how to use their product. So for example, last year, I bought a French press coffee pot, and the seller of the French press coffee pot sent me a note automated, right, I get that I noticed that somebody’s picking up the phone. And quite honestly, if they did for a coffee pot, I would think that was a little odd. But they sent me an email with the suggested best uses for their product, and the best ways to take care of it. Because you know what I did when I opened up their products, I threw all that stuff away.

Cory Miller  17:21

Right, exactly.

Michelle Frechette  17:23

But to have somebody care enough to follow up with me and say, you know, let’s make sure that you’re making your coffee the best way. And let’s make sure that you’re taking care of your product, so that it’ll help it you’ll have it for years to come. I rated that product, you know, so I went in and I went ahead and read it because that that was to me spoke volumes, which comes back to my number one point that I wanted to make. And I do have some quotes here. So the first one is have a product that’s worth paying for, and paying for again, especially if you’re a subscription model. So everything that we do in customer success would fail if GiveWP wasn’t a good product. But because GiveWP is a great product. We can do what we do and be successful with it right. So I once was a marketer befor I was a freelance marketer, I did marketing for the local, old folks home like the assisted living, and that place was atrocious. I wouldn’t put my own mother in there, right? How could I not only with good conscience, but how could it be successful in marketing a place that nobody wants to go to? So it wasn’t a product that was worth having and worth having again. So that’s the first thing is really make sure that what you’re selling is worth supporting, and that your customers really find the value in it.

Cory Miller  18:32

Okay, I can give you a business case if people need it. Even if they don’t have a subscription model business model somewhat similar to GiveWP but you still want customers likely, like I am a partner in a business that has organic shampoo and conditioners, and we talk about this a lot on the Commerce Journey webinars, the Vida Bars, and but so we sell we ship it out. But what do we want, we want them to come back and buy again later on down the road. We don’t yet have subscription. So like, if you think through those questions, and I’ve seen it time and time again, in my past software business is if you can help answer their key objections and get them using the product, they will more likely come back and buy again. So even if you don’t have subscription product, it’s customer insight, it’s the come back and buy again if you don’t have a subscription process. So think of this cost in your first principle here. Michelle, I love this is like think of if you need a business case just fine. What we’re saying now to be human in the world is delivered this gets loyalty, which is so key for any business.

Michelle Frechette  19:39

Absolutely. And you did just mention my second point, which is be human. Right. So that’s to be so important. I was one of the people that submitted a question to Matt Mullenweg for the state of the word. Yeah. And my question was in their head, they put all of them and that was great. I got an email within an hour from one of the GiveWP customers saying oh my gosh, I saw you on the stage. The word that was so cool. And do you think that customer would have cared if they if I had made that connection with them by being human showing who I am, and having empathy for helping them get up and running with GiveWP. For somebody to take the time out and make that connection afterwards, you know, that shows that there’s that human connection that happens. And it’s so so important. If you’re going to have customer success, you have to have people that aren’t just doing lip service, that they’re actually human, and that you support that which is part three, which is invest in the tools and the people you have, so that you can support your customers and your clients in a very human way. So if you’re just hiring out to a call center, it’s not going to happen. It has to be people who are invested. And you have to give them the tools to be successful. So like we have phones, we have an app that we can make phone calls out. So we’re not using our private phone numbers to do that kind of thing. We invest in Active Campaign to be able to reach out to customers, we use Helpscout for ticketing, so we have the tools to be successful.

Cory Miller  20:59

What’s the software just real quick for phones that you all use?

Michelle Frechette  21:02

We’re using Aircall Okay, there’s a lot that you could do, but that’s the one we’re using. And that works pretty well for us.

Cory Miller  21:08

By the way, we just started using the Active Campaign, we’ve been MailChimp users Brian and I at Post Status and Commerce Journey for years. And on a couple more projects are using Active Campaign. So that’s good to hear, and Helpscout on one of my projects as well. But that’s so interesting about Aircall I’ll be looking it up afterwards. is what she said.

Michelle Frechette  21:27

Yep. That’s the one Yeah, absolutely. My last two points if you’re ready…

Cory Miller  21:32

Can I, I love to riff

Michelle Frechette  21:34


Cory Miller  21:35

And forgive me for stealing that.

Michelle Frechette  21:37

No, go for it.

Cory Miller  21:38

The being human part for us, Michelle and I love we’re so synced on these things, is I looked at some of the big companies I was going against that would be competitors in the space. And  what can we do differently as a small company, we can be human, we can lean into the things that a big company just simply can’t. It’s near impossible. I don’t think it’s impossible. I think it’s near impossible for big companies to do that. Motivation was I don’t want to get on my soapbox. But being human, I think that human tests specifically if you’re trying to convert, you know, if you’re trying to move or expand your business into web, eCommerce order, you know, orders for a restaurant, or another place, you know, I’ve thought about cars, you know, in the age of Godzilla type thing. But being human that personal touch, I would I want to just emphasize, I want to put like a, what’s the two exclamation pointsi fhis was a text message. Love that be human. So thank you for that

Michelle Frechette  22:38

Oh, of course. Absolutely. I think it’s one of them. I mean, it is, to me the most important part. And I think it’s what, what allows us to be successful as we’re human beings. And we’re equipped to bring our humanity into the jobs that we do.

Cory Miller  22:51

Why not? I think so. So often strip that. And a lot of entrepreneurs over the years go Why are you so out there and visible with your company? And I said, Well, as I go, the company goes as the company goes, I go. And if people like my personality, then I’m gonna lean into it, you know, if I could do it, I’m probably nine times out of 10, can I go do it for free? On my own dime, in fact, because that personal touch you can. So I could give a business case for this too, by the way, but Okay, number three, I love it.

Michelle Frechette  23:25

So that was number three was invest in the tools. Number four is, and this is actually something that I wrote in my book that you can get for free with the donation to the Grand chart, by the way,

Cory Miller  23:35

Oh my blessing.

Michelle Frechette  23:36

Yeah, called a good firm handshake. Sorry, I titled it before COVID. But a good business tip is that we shouldn’t say thank you, unless there’s a reason to say thank you. So for example, you know, if somebody purchases it, it isn’t thank you for buying my widget, or Thank you for subscribing, because you’re that it’s a transaction, right? So they made a purchase, not to benefit you. They made a purchase to benefit them. They wanted something they needed something. And so getting that in there their purpose and making that wasn’t to line your pockets, and wasn’t to help your business or your organization grow. So saying thank you for making a purchase is the wrong message to send. And quite honestly, it’s lost. People are so used to hearing thank you that it doesn’t mean anything anymore. So use it sparingly. You know, instead, when somebody makes a purchase, congratulations for making this purchase, you have just made a decision that’s going to make a difference to how you do fundraising. You’ve just made a difference, you know, made a purchase that’s going to allow you to have that generator that’s going to power your house better. Not Thank you for helping us survive, because that’s not what it’s about. So let’s use Thank you sparingly.

Cory Miller  24:50

That’s that’s good as a principle of going it’s about them and their journey, not necessarily about your journey. I still can’t help myself. I want to say Thank you appreciate what we would say, was thank you for supporting us as we support you, you know, connecting the journey, but I love your thought about that as it’s not saying don’t be ungrateful.

Michelle Frechette  25:14

I always say use empowerment language instead of language that makes us sound like they owe you or that they did you a favor, right? So, so use thank you in a way that doesn’t say like, you just did us a favor and help us keep our lights on, because that’s really not what their purchase was for, you know, at the end, you can say, you know, with gratitude, thank you, whatever, but start with something that’s truly empowering, and makes them feel really good about the fact that they made that purchase with you.

Cory Miller  25:38

Well, and also, it seems to me, just by hearing you talk about this, that it could also signal, this is the end of our conversation. If you said that, you know what I mean? Like, hey, thanks. Yeah, you know, hey, thanks. And maybe indirectly, unintentionally, it went before you go on to your next point, I want to go back to the tools when you’re ready.

Michelle Frechette  26:01

Good, the only thing I was gonna say about Thank you Is there are times when it’s appropriate. Absolutely. If a customer says that if I say oh, I need you know, this information to help you. And they send that I say thank you for sending it right, because they actually did something I asked them to do. So it’s not that thank you is never appropriate. It’s that think about when you use it and use it appropriately.

Cory Miller  26:19

Well empower. It’s an ongoing, you know, I love your word empower. It’s an ongoing conversation, to help them get their outcomes and their goals and what they’re trying to do. Okay, so, but back to number three, I wanted to just make a comment, and then just make sure we don’t, I don’t want to gloss over it. We didn’t gloss over it. But I just want to make sure we camp out enough to say to me when you said invest in the tools that your team need to support your customers, like you talked about all these software tools, this has a bottom line, cost forgive, you know, but they’ve seen a vision of something, you know, you all have seen this vision of something bigger and better. What I call do good and do well. Do good in the world, help your people and you should do well, you should do well, financially, you should feel good about yourself what you’re doing in the world. And if you do the good. Or if you do the good, right, I think she’d be really, really paid well, you know, and aside, and that’s exemplary, give us an exemplary part of that. But the tools to me is make sure if you’re going to throw somebody out into the pond of service support or success that you’ve talked about Michelle, is that make sure you empower them, give them all of the tools to be successful and help your customers, you could be tempted to just say it’s a contact form or a phone number. And it’s also training. I think, if I could add this, it’s like, I actually, I’ll just say an independent professional. I engaged in a pendant professional last week, that person called me on the phone and I thought if you’re if you’re It was a therapist, I’ll just say it. If you’re if your bedside manner is this kind, of course, and blunt and direct, then I’m one worried about that particular relationship, like not being you know, if you’re not, if you’re just like, What’s your goal? Oh, okay, maybe we don’t all have our goal in mind, you know. And so I think training like, you know, we’ve all experienced this, you get somebody on the phone, I know, you all probably do this, but in you know, get somebody on the phone, it’s like, hold on, you didn’t have all the empathy we got leading up to this just got done the phone call, let’s say also empower people with the tools, give them the right tools to be able to do that, you know?

Michelle Frechette  28:36

Yes, absolutely. Sometimes that’s scripts, right in the right script, right. So not that we’ve read a script, but it gives you an idea, it gives you a roadmap of how you should approach a conversation, when you’re first starting out of the position. So you don’t want you don’t want to hire people and then just kind of like, fly before you figure it out as you go, right. So you give you give scripts that they can riff off of, and have an understanding of what that roadmap looks like for that conversation. So scripting, the scripting, that is an art form as well, right? Because you really want to give them the right tools to be successful.

Cory Miller  29:06

I like that you said roadmap, you know, because it’s like, we’re gonna go here. And generally, there’s principles along the way that you embed into the whole process. But for those that might be starting here is maybe a script to start with, while we model and share a long way. So that’s awesome. Okay, thank you for letting me come back to number three, talking about delaying training for your team specifically. And just kind of camp out on that a minute. Yeah.

Michelle Frechette  29:32

And number five is very controversial, until you actually hear me out most of the time. It but it’s we don’t apologize for things that aren’t our fault. So sometimes we have people request a refund, because it didn’t, this isn’t the software for them. They needed to do something and it doesn’t do that. And you know, as somebody who tries to show empathy, and somebody especially I mean in the Western world anyway, I can’t speak for the whole world, but what we do is really I’m sorry, it didn’t work out. But are we really sorry? It didn’t work out? Wouldn’t we rather keep that money and have that relationship ongoing? So my response usually is, it’s unfortunate that it didn’t work for you. Yes, we’ll be happy to provide that refund, maybe not happy, but you will still use language that is, you know, leaves the relationship open, right. But we don’t apologize for things we didn’t do wrong. Conversely, we do apologize if we did something wrong. Like if I’m, if I’m five minutes late to a zoom call, and I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I missed the time. I’ll apologize. The person. I’m like, I’m so sorry. I was late. Thank you for hanging in there. You know what, whatever it is. And usually people are appreciative of that. But we don’t apologize for things that we didn’t do. So if somebody says, I really needed to do this, and it doesn’t, I’m not sorry that it doesn’t, it’s gonna do something wrong. It’s you’re looking for a product that isn’t our product. It’s really unfortunate that we’re not a good fit for you.

Cory Miller  30:58

yeah, again, I think there’s, there’s principles in there, and I totally see it. And I see how it could be controversial. But I do see it as like, we tend to, it was so interesting, the dynamic between, particularly in software is between support and development. And support had to try to help people, hey, this is broke. I’ve shared it with our team, it’s gonna take some time, they’re always on the frontlines, like to totally get it. But the owning personal responsibility for only the things I can totally see that too, with, like you said, there’s a strong caveat to that, which is the flip side that you mentioned on the coin? is right, I’ll just look see

Michelle Frechette  31:44

if you did some right. Absolutely on it. Absolutely. Because you want to be authentic. And so that’s the whole idea is you’re human and you’re authentic, in your relationships, and in the communications that you have with your customer base. Yeah, I mean, if I could just share some numbers real quick. So 2020, for us. So there’s, there’s four of us in this team, we made over 4,000 phone calls, between the four of us last year, in Word to WordPress people to people using WordPress, we did almost 1,000 Zzoom calls with our customers, pre customer, customer, you know, that whole that whole experience that way, we got over 565, great ratings through through what we do. And I’ll tell you what, what’s really interesting to me is do you know, the person who gets the most great ratings on my team is the person who’s calling and asking for money. The person that gets the most gratitude from our customers, the person that gets the most great ratings is the one that says, I’d like It’s Jeff, it’s like, I’d help I’d like to help you keep your subscription going so that you don’t have any interruption in your service. And they’re like, Oh, I’m so glad you were able to do that for me. So it’s like, Who would have thought, right? That the guy who’s saying, hey, pay up is the guy that they’re that’s getting the most gratitude.

Cory Miller  32:58

So this is really interesting. Let me just pause for a sec. I don’t want to skip over this. So good. 4,000 calls, but ,1000 I guess hours of or whatever. I don’t know if it translates to hours, but 1,000 Zoom meetings. That I mean, that’s pretty dang incredible. That shows that people took you up on. I mean, I know it’s probably not a one to one to calls to zoom, but still 4,000 calls. That’s you, you all initiated it. But the zoom calls me and they need to book with it. That’s that’s pretty incredible. To me.

Michelle Frechette  33:33

It is to me as well. So we were a little surprised by by how much I mean, that’s a small percentage, we have over 100,000 active installs. So you know, 1,000 people wanting to be on a screen share with us is still a small percentage. But it’s a huge percentage of the people that we communicate with on a regular basis. It’s a huge percentage of our new customers. And so that people want to have that connection and learn more. I think it’s just really that’s wonderful.

Cory Miller  34:01

Oh, yeah. Okay. And in the ratings. Sorry. That’s right about the time I think I paused you for a second just so we didn’t go. But the ratings i think is particularly in it. And I’d say to everybody to if you need to make a business case, just look at those numbers. Again. Great ratings. Okay. ratings, not good ratings. Would you share those numbers again?

Michelle Frechette  34:23

Yeah, so we had 565, great ratings. 12 Okay, ratings and 20 not good ratings now and I’ll tell you one thing, that the not good ratings are the ones where it’s like, I’m sorry, the software doesn’t do that. Or it’s unfortunate the software doesn’t do that. You know, it does it can’t do what you’re asking it to do. I get it I get a horrible rating every time and it’s it really isn’t a reflection on the service that they got from us. It’s really a reflection on their frustration with the fact that the product doesn’t do what

Cory Miller  34:52

they want it to be all do all and everything and for free. Yes,

Michelle Frechette  34:56

exactly. Exactly. Are they asked me for a refund. Nine months after purchasing, and I say no. And then they they, you know, slam me about that. But

Cory Miller  35:05

could you give me the context for that those numbers? Is that like, the email box? Whereas happy not neutral? No. Okay.

Michelle Frechette  35:14

Yep, those are specifically in relation to the fourth, or the 20,000 emails that we did

Cory Miller  35:19

For your team. Yeah. So and then, I don’t know if you shared the number of emails. But that’s, that’s pretty, that’s a good benchmark for the people that are doing online. Online, e commerce to know is like, not everyone, you’re always going to get trolls no matter what you can’t please 100% of people, if you try, you’re getting data on it. But number two is not everybody that interacts and interface with the team is going to click the little happy stuff, too. But that’s such a good reflection on your team.

Michelle Frechette  35:53

And that 21,000 doesn’t have anything to do with pre sales. That’s literally just the people that customer success is talking to, it’s astronomically higher if we put the pre sales emails in there as well.

Cory Miller  36:03

And your team does the pre sales too

Michelle Frechette  36:06

we do. So Jason Knill is my boss, right? So he’s over all the finance and things like that. And then Customer Success sits under him. And so some of those are his emails and and i also help when he’s helped pick up the slack when he’s on vacation or out of town, that kind of thing. Or if, if I’m up in the middle of the night, and I just decide to check Slack, what you shouldn’t do what I do, I’ll let you know, I might take a look at some of those as well. So yeah, but yeah, it’s it’s, you know, we love what we do. It’s, we’re passionate about it. I think that that’s, you know, part of the success as well as finding people who really like I said, Love the product, love the team.

Cory Miller  36:42

Okay, I’m so glad you didn’t want to stop yet. But I’m so glad you mentioned Nexus bradby been here on the tip of my tongue is I see you as passionate about who you’re serving, and what you do. Because this software helps people it makes people’s lives better, makes people’s lives awesome. How do you How would a entrepreneur business owner go about finding someone to do customer service and or even extend it to support and if I get all the SS

Michelle Frechette  37:15


Cory Miller  37:17

what are the key characteristics you see, and people that make good interfacing with customers time.

Michelle Frechette  37:23

So so for support, I’m going to set that one to the side for a second. Because for customer success, it isn’t necessarily that they understand how WordPress works. They have to understand like how to install things, they have to understand your software. And of course that comes with training. But they don’t have to be a WordPress developer, if they’re going to be a customer success manager because it isn’t about showing them PHP, it isn’t about understanding JavaScript, it’s really about understanding the ecosystem it’s about for us, it’s about understanding the nonprofit sector and fundraising sector and and having a passion for that more than it is even you know, you would you don’t want it to vet most developers would not fill a customer success role and feel happy in that role. Because it’s not doing what they really want to do, which is get into the into the code. And so it’s finding the person who’s passionate about people, and can be passionate about your product. And like I said, sometimes it’s at the product part comes with training, but being passionate about how to how to work with other people and showing people how to how to do things and having those connections building that those relationships, I think is how you really find those people and and you know, I’ve interviewed people over the years and not everybody has that. So you want to really it’s sometimes it’s hard to find that spark of somebody that looks like they would click and fit in well. But we’ve done a pretty well here because I don’t have any turnover in this department. People love their jobs. And we love what we do so

Cory Miller  38:56

well, if you connect to me, it seems if you in the support people over the years we heard is if you connect to a bigger story, hey, somebody comes in, they’re mad, they’re angry and frustrated. It’s likely because they hit a wall in the outcome of what they’re trying to reach. And understanding that again, using the word empathetically. You know, is is so key. But if they and I came here what book I read this and but the term psychic income, you know when we’re talking about support service or success, hiring, hiring those team member roles, psychic income, and it was related to Dell computers. And there was a support on their forum, a person things. Man and I want to say California, he had like his karma ratings were off the chart. He was not paid a dime by Dell over a set period of time. They quantified it and it was like they saved this one person. Save Dell a million dollars in service and support time. He loved it. And his car was off the roof. And when they started digging down and what why did you do this? Cuz psychic income, it was a sense of, he did it for the karma. He did it for the karma points. And I think they actually had a karma rating where people could say, well back to your, your ratings here. I’m sure it’s a high five, when you get your team gets a great rating, you know,

Michelle Frechette  40:22

oh, yeah, you should see the emotions with Roger this.

Cory Miller  40:26

And, and that kind of stuff takes people boxes, too often, sadly, support service. Team members are often the lowest paid denominator. And, and, but, but tying it also to what’s in it for that team member, you know, and to us greater arc, which is what you’ve been doing consistently through this conversation is, is saying that you’re about the outcome of the customer and helping them win or achieve their goal or outcome. And when you can do that, and someone goes, thank you with the good, you know, the little happy face icon or whatever it is, y’all get to high five, and that feels good. And that’s that tournament like that psyche cam. So I love the passion passion with. I think what I hear is passion for helping people solve something, get something do something in their lives, business work, whatever that is. That’s a great word.

Michelle Frechette  41:21

Yeah, absolutely. So everybody who’s looking to make a purchase has a pain point. Right? So they are trying to solve an issue, whether they need a generator, like you mentioned, or they need software that does something on their website, it doesn’t matter if it’s a physical product, if it’s a service, there’s a pain point there. And so how do you solve that pain point for the person and not just by having the right product, but by building the relationship that helps them understand it?

Cory Miller  41:47

Okay, don’t let me hog Michelle, Michelle Frechette, head of customer success, important distinction. For an amazing online software platform for WordPress websites that help organizations take donations online. If you have questions for Michelle, please hit the Q&A button. And I’ll lift those up. If not, I’m gonna hog her time because I love it. I love a loved one your enthusiasm, because I mean, that’s infectious. That’s another thing, you know, you left a business to join the team in order to help make people’s lives awesome, which is really, really cool to hear in the world. Yeah.

Michelle Frechette  42:26

And you know, there was there was a lot of passion about having my own freelance agency working with people directly on marketing and all those things. But I was also working 80 to 90 hours a week for a lot less money than working for somebody else and still having ownership of their success. So although it felt like a difficult decision at the beginning, as soon as I started, I was like, Oh, this is where I belong. Yeah, this is absolutely where I belong. This is my niche.

Cory Miller  42:55

For those of you out there questioning right now, okay, how do I find people like this to help in my business? It’s for me, Michelle, and I’d love your thoughts on this. It’s connecting that connecting talents and skills and experiences, to a passion, a purpose. You know, like, I know, you’re brimming with enthusiasm, I take it, you’re like that in most areas of life. But particularly, you’re passionate about what good does, because you know, the effect you’re having on people’s lives. And from the title that’s under this card, if you have one to how you do the work in the world, you’re helping people move forward. And that’s such a great, you know, empowering, inspiring place to be that you don’t have to just throw money at people, if you inspire them with a cool cause that connects what I can do my time talent, you know, with helping people take steps forward. That’s so key. And it looks like a question just came in. Taco, our friend taco from Yoast SEO, what’s the worst? What’s the worst quote, rookie mistake one can make when starting with customer success in one’s company? Love that?

Michelle Frechette  44:04

That’s a great question. And I think it’s not not giving your team the amount of time that they need to feel comfortable on their own. So when I hire somebody, if I’m really want them to be successful, I’m going to take the time to train them. I’m going to let them observe me making phone calls, let them observe me doing demonstrations, or one of the other team members. Yep. And then when it comes time for them to start to do that on their own, I’m going to be sitting right beside them so that they feel supported so that if they have a question that comes up that they’re like, ah, I don’t know the answer to that they could just look to me and I’m going to jump in and help so that they it works them through that and that’s, I think what builds that confidence that comes with understanding the product. So you could have the passion, that’s great, but and hiring people who are passionate, that’s great, but you also have to train them on how to do the job that you want done. So you know, I mean, Amy is phenomenal and what she does She worked selling flooring for a big box company prior to this, and she was really good and passionate about connecting with people there. So that transferred easily. But then she had to learn how gift works. And she had to learn how we do demos and how we do those phone calls, and build that confidence in her so that she, you know, she knows she knows how to look at a room and know the square footage of it. She needed to feel just as comfortable with how do I empower people to use GiftWP. And so once you know, and once she like, all of a sudden it was like, boom, okay, I don’t need you anymore. Michelle, I got this, you know, and so it was fun to just kind of watch your wigs develop and be able to do that.

Cory Miller  45:40

We, we what you’re saying I put it into the categories are modeling and mentoring, you know, we would take our best and say, Okay, sit and soak and watch for the most part. But there’s a mentoring side to this is how I do it. Because they line with values, I think too much we can kind of shove. Sometimes it’s it’s not intentional, but need shove them into a role, don’t give them proper modeling and mentoring to help them so successful and also embed imbibe the like, values of that organization. I love your answer there.

Michelle Frechette  46:14

I also try to support people in their other passions. So you know, Amanda loves to be able to take leadership roles. And so you know, we do a monthly call with our whole team. And I present what’s going on over the last month for the customer success team. And every couple of months, Amanda does it, she’ll stop that and she’ll present it, I don’t need to do that she can be empowered to do that, and, and grow. And I can help her grow into leadership as well. Like I said, mentoring, but mostly just kind of like standing back and let her go. But the other thing I never do, and I think this is also the other part of a good answer for taco is I don’t micromanage people. So, you know, micromanagement is the death to any employee, nobody likes to have somebody breathing down their neck, and looking over their shoulder. So there’s a fine line when you’re training somebody, and you’re helping them become independent between micromanaging and empowering and so you really have to be careful how you’re doing that.

Cory Miller  47:08

A broad experienc is as a manager like you is if you have to micromanage someone, you’ve probably you’ve likely got either not fit on the team member or some mis-expectation over here on the other role. It it’s a two it’s a two way street, but I think first looking back at ourselves and going okay, why am I not macro managing? What’s the essence of this, so many entrepreneurs I know, cannot release certain things because they think no one will do this, because you likely that’s probably right. You know, but starting for me is starting with good people, people that just like they’re good, they’re good people in the world, they just want it like I’ve been, when I’ve invested in good people, first quality people, just good human spektr be human part. If you have good humans, they’re gonna be human in the world, let set them free. Give them enough of those bumper rails, you know, to succeed

Michelle Frechette  48:04

you’ll end up finding out that they can exceed your expectations and do better than you, you know, I trained Jeff, how to use stripe, I trained up how to use PayPal, he has an accounting background, but he hadn’t used those tools before. He didn’t know how to plug into, you know, the odd part of WordPress, you know, to manage subscriptions and things like that. I showed him those things. And now I’m like, Wait, how do you do this? And he teaches me those things, you know, so it’s like, oh, you can change the end date of a subscription really how Show me. And so you know, that the teacher has surpassed or the student has surpassed the teacher. And a lot of ways if you do empower your people to really own what they do.

Cory Miller  48:42

Okay, now I want to share a principle for you, and I want you to refer me Okay, so there is one side so it’s when Taka presents the question about the Ricky, the first person start to me, it’s that person needs to know and understand it’s about the other person. Now, but I do not lead like this where it’s always the customer. First, I said, customers and first teams first. Because if I’ve seen organization, an organization over and over and over, multiplied and fit infinitely almost that insist on excellent customer community, or customer service, but treat their team like crap. And so for us, we just switch it teams first. If the team if it’s my relationship to the team is going to be should be is my expectation By the way, reflective of their relationship to the customer. And I took this so far that when I would never tolerate putting the team first in play, if a customer it was well known and our team if a customer custom. You can be frustrated and angry all day. But don’t take it out on the person on the other side. That’s where I drew the line and especially if someone customer So what this one time I said, customer, customer, this person and it was known. I am your protector. And I think this that’s symbolic of caring for the team caring for customers, why would you do that? Like right now most of the message I hear Michelle is take care of the customer first. But there’s new short afternoons worried about these workers being these team members and team members, employees, team members being abused by both both sides. And you want to riff on that?

Michelle Frechette  50:35

Absolutely. So I am the mama bear of my group here, it’s like this, if this is our den, either mama bear. And if somebody is coming after you, and you’re showing me that there’s frustration or whatever, I will take that ticket on, I will make that next phone call because I’ll take the bad rating. But I’m going to protect you and I’m going to empower you to stand up for yourself. Nobody gets walked all over by our customers. Now. Similarly, there are times when I need somebody to do that for me, and Amanda is my partner in crime. I’m like, I have like, I’ve reached my limit of how to work with this customer. And still be pleasant, because I’m not all Mary sunshine all the time. And I’ll say, Would you mind responding and see if your response to them is received differently? Maybe they don’t understand that the way I’m saying it, and I don’t know how to keep going back and forth. And she’ll step in and take take on that. So we actually cover for each other all the time that way, so that it is about the team. And we do you support one another through those kinds of events.

Cory Miller  51:32

All right. Thank you, Michelle. Well, okay. Hey, earlier you mentioned about your book, firm handshake. I love it. You put the caveat This is done before Covid. I think that when you said it, or was it a firm handshake, gentlemen, what was it?

Michelle Frechette  51:46

That’s a good firm handshake and other essential business tips. I’ve got it right here.

Cory Miller  51:52

Okay, while I awesome, okay, and you said, We’re both involved in an organization called a Big Orange Heart that helps remote workers not feel so alone in the world. It does such great work in this category of mental health. And this time, I mean, if you have team members that are remote, you should send them over to Big Orange Heart. But while I say that in wind this down Michelle, would you mind giving us a link to where they can buy that book and do the donation to Big Orange Heart.

Michelle Frechette  52:27

Absolutely. So they got a So make any donation through At donate, and you can opt to enter see the PDF copy of the book. And that will be emailed to you and also right now we have it set up to that you can opt in to 52 weeks of health and wellness tips every Wednesday you’ll receive an email with just a few sentences it isn’t a sale it isn’t a plea for money. All it is is tips to get you through a whole year of making your space and and yourself either more productive or healthier and move forward in a positive way.

Cory Miller  53:03

I’ve been talking to my friend Michelle Frechette, head of customer service at GiveWP and also podcaster extraordinaire at WP Coffee Talk. Thank you, Michelle, for being on the webinar today. So much appreciated all this wealth of wisdom that you shared with us.  it’s my pleasure.  About how to do this thing your calling customer success.

Michelle Frechette  53:25

I love it. And I love sharing about it. And as I said I think last week we talked about other things. I am on twitter at Michelle Ames. And my DM’s are always open. So if people do have questions, and they want to follow up about anything we talked about today, I’m always happy to respond to be a resource for people.

Cory Miller  53:42

Awesome. Thank you everybody for being here today. And thank you I missed saying it earlier, thank you for awesome sponsor, GoDaddy And actually, if you go to you can learn about an awesome deal that GoDaddy has our awesome sponsor here. Thank you so much, Michelle, and GiveWP for giving some of your time today to share these tips and philosophies.

Michelle Frechette  54:05

Thank you so much. It’s great to see you again.

Cory Miller  54:07

All right. See you all.

Michelle Frechette  54:09


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