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Joan

About Joan

Like a sage, trickster or saint, Joan was a hero who knew secrets and saw forbidden places, who could even speak of the time before the Flood because she lived long, learned much, and spoke her life to those who first cut into clay her bird-like words.

Welcome, Natalie!

Joan
Joan wrote this on 10 comments

Remember when I said we hired Chris after advertising for a GMT position a few months ago? That was a bit of a fib. We were actually blown away by two applications during that go-round and decided to hire both of the candidates we liked. Natalie Keshlear joins us from the venerable community team at SoundCloud. She’ll be working with us from Berlin, Germany.

Natalie is originally from Southern California, but moved to Berlin about 2 years ago to work for SoundCloud. She loves it there, but decided she couldn’t pass up an opportunity to stay in a place she loved and work with we happy-makers. While we were originally looking for only one more European support team member, we decided to treat Chris and Natalie like Pokémon and caught ‘em all.

If you’re playing along at home, you’ll have counted 10 Supportketeers, but this isn’t entirely accurate. You may have noticed a picture of Michael’s new working environment a few months ago. We recently integrated QA testing into our development process, with Michael taking the lead. His effort has prevented potential problems and bugs in every new feature in Basecamp. Look for more details about this in the future.

Please join us in welcoming our 35th Signal, Natalie Keshlear and congratulating Michael on his new role.

The British are coming!

Joan
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To help expand support hours and keep an eye on Will, we hired a few fellows from Manchester, UK to join the support team at 37signals. They’re not invading, but they do work whilst the US-based team slumbers.
You might have already noticed Jim Mackenzie’s picture on Smiley, because he joined us this past July, when we first advertised for a GMT-based support position. He impressed us with his application and has been an excellent addition to the team. He’s been a great help to us as we’ve been expanding our support hours.
Jim gave us such a favorable impression of Manchester that we had no qualms about picking another Mancunian when we went looking for a second European support teamer. Chris Joyce started a few weeks ago, and he’s been a great fit. He has a similar background to Jim and sent us a super application and writing samples. Chris has spent the past two weeks training in Chicago with the team and is already doing a cracking job.
Please help us welcome Jim Mackenzie and Chris Joyce to the team!

Across the pond? Join the 37signals Customer Support team!

Joan
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We’re looking for one or two more folks to join our support team. Specifically, we’re after some great people in the UK time zone (or close to it) to cover business hours in that part of the world. Launching the all-new Basecamp got a lot of people excited and we want to expand our team to cover business hours in more time zones.

You’ll be responsible for providing tremendous customer service via email for Basecamp, Basecamp Classic, Highrise, Backpack, and Campfire. You’ll also help us answer questions via Twitter, create and edit help documentation, and maybe run some online classes.

You’ll be expected to answer about 75 emails per day once you’re fully up to speed (2-3 months on-ramp). This is a significant volume, so be sure that you’re ready and able to deal with that kind of daily load.

We’re looking for some great writers who love helping our customers, so you should enjoy making complicated situations simple and painless and have a passion for our products.

If you live in the UK (or thereabouts) and want to join Ann, Chase, Emily, Kristin, Merissa, Michael and me in making our customers happy, please apply!

How to apply

Please submit a cover letter explaining:

  1. Why you want to work in customer support.
  2. Why you want to work at 37signals and not somewhere else.
  3. A description of a great customer service/support experience you had recently, and what made it great.

Also, attach the following writing samples:

  1. Explain in 3 paragraphs or less why a customer would pick Basecamp vs Highrise.
  2. Respond to a customer asking for project categories in Basecamp that it’s not something we offer, and suggest she work with the project titles and stars to add organization.
  3. A company using our job board failed to find to find a suitable candidate and wants a refund. Respond that we don’t offer refunds for job postings.

We offer heaps of lovely benefits, plus a progressive work environment. Starting salary is $45k USD, depending on experience.

Email everything to jointheteam@37signals.com. Include “Customer Support” in the subject line. If you’re attaching a resume, please send it as a PDF. Note: We look favorably on people who get creative with their applications.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Customer support beyond email

Joan
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We’re seven members strong now and we’re able to add a lot of things our customers have been seeking. The bigger team also lets each of us work on support projects other than answering emails lightning fast. Since our sysops, developers and designers have been rightly bragging about the great things they’re doing, I thought I’d take the opportunity to tell you about what our amazing team has been doing to improve customer happiness.

Basecamp 101
The mere whisper of the word ‘webinar’ used to make my blood run cold. The library and academic worlds (my old stomping grounds) are lousy with them. I found them to be time sinks where people who didn’t have a full grasp of a topic held their attendees virtually hostage as we endured technical difficulties and dry Powerpoint presentations. My bias came with me when I got to 37signals, so I was surprised to see the number of customers who really wanted a webinar.

After a bit of research in the Fall, Merissa and Chase started a “Basecamp 101” online class that now runs almost every week. I have to say, it’s really terrific. If other webinars had butts, Chase and Merissa’s would be kicking them. Their class is fun and it gives space for potential customers to ask questions of Merissa, Chase and Michael at the end.

It’s exciting tell our customers that we can offer them a demonstration of setting up a project before they even sign up for Basecamp. If you want to check it out sometime, the next one is always listed on our Help page.

Help Videos
There’s plenty of research demonstrating different learning styles, and the support team can definitely attest to the fact that not everyone learns best by reading help documentation. We have some pretty great help pages, but sometimes words and screenshots can’t do justice to some of the features and functions of Basecamp or Highrise. Chase made it his mission to create some really great screencasts for many of our frequently asked questions. You can see the ones he’s created for Basecamp and Highrise. They’ve been a great asset for the support team and have helped our customers in a big way.

Live Chat
Through the Summer and Fall of 2011, we ran live help chat (thanks to our pals at Olark) on highrisehq.com to assist potential customers who had a few questions before signing up for a plan. The whole support team spent a few hours on live chat each day and we noticed that a lot of current customers were using the service to get help. We decided to give it a shot in Basecamp accounts as a premium support feature. If you’re an admin on a Max Basecamp plan or any Suite, you’ll see this friendly little box at the bottom of your Basecamp dashboard:

Of course, we did endure some “Who the heck is this?”s and “Are you a robot?”s the first few weeks, but we’re almost two months into offering the feature and it’s been a great experience. The team can answer questions faster and it’s a true pleasure to interact with our customers in a new way.

Faster Common Requests
Resident support whiz kid Ann is not just great at helping us answer support questions, she’s also quite handy with the console as well. Every day we see some common requests that involve some On Call programmer work and Ann’s been taking on a lot of the common tasks that we used to send to the programming team, including things like:

  • Un-sticking Highrise exports/imports
  • Finding out who deleted/moved something or changed permissions in an app (known in the support team as an “Ooooh, girl, who…” question )
  • Creating file archives

It’s been a huge load off our On Call team and it helps us take care of our customers much faster than they expect.

These are all things we’ve been able to add to support in the past five months, and Basecamp Next isn’t even out yet. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited to see what the rest of 2012 holds.

Welcome Shaun and Emily!

Joan
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A couple terrific people have joined our team recently: Shaun Hildner and Emily Wilder.

Jason wrote a little bit about him in Inc., so you might already know that Shaun joined us a little over a month ago as our new videographer. He made both the great logo animation and customer appreciation party video. Shaun is originally from Montana (also known in my area of the country as Western Real America) and now lives in Chicago. His application and demo reel really impressed everyone at 37signals and we’re very pleased to have him aboard.

If you’ve sent in a support ticket or checked out our Smiley ratings in the past few weeks, you might have noticed a new face. Emily Wilder has joined our Customer Support team, which means we are seven members strong and finally able to compete in water polo.

Emily was hired in an effort to replicate qualities from existing support team members: a redhead like Ann, a Northern California transplant to Austin like Merissa, and a passion for helping people like all of us. Emily told me her heroes are people she knows who manage to be brilliant while unfailingly kind, and her superpowers include the ability summon bagpipes with her mind and bake bread without a recipe.

You can follow Emily and Shaun on Twitter or help us welcome them here!