Companies are swimming in data that they need to organise and analyse. That’s where Qumulo comes in: its cloud-native data storage platform offers what it calls ‘radically simple’ management of unstructured data to enterprise customers. As part of the radically simple experience, Qumulo empowers its customers to quickly and easily get their questions answered, so they can confidently master the data platform.
But as Qumulo grew, its mission to provide customer support with a human touch came up against the wish to scale that support, rapidly respond to support tickets, and improve inefficient workflows for customer success managers (CSMs) as well as customer success engineers (CSEs). By enlisting the help of consulting firm Traction on Demand, Qumulo found a way to integrate MuleSoft APIs and Slack in order to:
- Tie service activities to support tickets, helping agents and engineers to tap into previous customer conversations or aggregated account information
- Allow CSMs and CSEs to pull up customer data from Salesforce, Zendesk and PagerDuty in seconds with a single view in Slack
- Easily identify on-call customer success team members during out-of-hours periods
Generate automated responses in Slack to customers when live agents aren’t available, while triggering an alert to on-call support teams
‘Qumulo operates within the boundaries of multiple SaaS platforms, and each application serves the customer differently,’ says Erik Chaffins, Traction on Demand’s integration practice lead. ‘Qumulo came up with the brilliant idea of centralising the request for specific customer details in Slack – in real time. Traction on Demand was the chosen partner to be able to assist in bringing this vision to life.’
‘Customers have a dedicated Slack channel where they say, “I need help.” That’s all it takes to start interacting with our support teams. It’s revolutionised our support workflows and customer experiences.’
Crafting a friendlier customer support experience
Several years ago, Qumulo adopted Salesforce, and the customer success team began the process of improving its customer support experience. The success of Salesforce led Qumulo to seek out more solutions for placing customer data at the fingertips of agents and engineers.
For Traction on Demand, the directive was to partner with Qumulo and help to design modern solutions through Slack. The solution had to work as promised in order to help enhance the radically simple support model that Qumulo’s customer success organisation created to help ensure customers’ success. ‘For a project that goes in multiple phases, our role is managing change – and some risk mitigation,’ says Dane Peterson, Traction on Demand’s Slack practice lead.
The founding members of Qumulo’s customer success team – Joe Costa, Chris Lisica, Anh Quach and Dave Kaminsky – wanted to remove the first barrier to support, which is making contact with someone at Qumulo who can assist. The team chose Slack Connect to offer personalised, conversational support to external customers and partners through the use of private Slack channels – digital spaces for collaborating – as well as to troubleshoot issues. And with Slack huddles, Qumulo’s customers can have quick, meaningful conversations with customer success managers and customer support engineers.
‘Customers have a dedicated Slack channel where they say, “I need help”,’ says Kaminsky, a business systems engineer at Qumulo. ‘That’s all it takes to start interacting with our support teams. It’s revolutionised our support workflows and customer experiences.’
Slack integrations have also helped to shorten the time to onboard customers. ‘With a Slack-first approach and an API-led design, we’re able to reduce efforts for customer onboarding significantly while filling the gaps our turnkey solutions may have,’ Kaminsky says. ‘It used to take two hours to onboard a new customer. Now, it’s only about 15 minutes. That number keeps going down as we improve and introduce new integrations and automations in Slack.’
‘It used to take two hours to onboard a new customer. Now, it’s only about 15 minutes. That number keeps going down as we improve and introduce new integrations and automations in Slack.’
Reducing search times for support teams by centralising and consolidating data
The key to offering helpful and personalised support was to use Slack as the unified place for customer engagement. ‘Customers don’t necessarily like to go through 80 different channels for support, without anything that feels like a true interaction,’ says Peterson. ‘That’s why we centralised customer support in a Slack channel.’
Using a MuleSoft API-led approach, Traction on Demand created a simple slash command for Qumulo’s customer support Slack channels to allow the support teams to access support history and customer data within Salesforce, Zendesk and PagerDuty. This way, conversations with customers don’t get stalled while support teams log in to and search other systems, and customers don’t have to recount prior issues or specifics about their Qumulo installation.
As a result, Qumulo success managers and engineers have reduced account search time from 2.5 minutes per case to just seven seconds. And they’re saving over 140 hours annually by eliminating the need to look up customer account details in other systems. New Qumulo CSMs and CSEs are given access to Slack channels that are the live and historic feed of account ticketing and alert activity for customers, so they can get up to speed more quickly on specific account information with less training time.
‘One Slack command built by Traction on Demand reduces agent search time from 2.5 minutes to seven seconds. That’s phenomenal.’
Providing automated responses for friendly service around the clock
Responsive customer support also means helping customers even at moments when there are no CSMs or CSEs available. Traction on Demand created a microservice in MuleSoft that monitors activity during customers’ specified out-of-hours periods, as pulled from Zendesk.
The MuleSoft microservice detects the need for an automated response and sends it to the channel. If a customer calls in for support, a page goes out to the on-call team and a ticket is generated and posted to the Slack ticket notification channel for the first responders to pick up. Customers benefit from a quick reply that lets them know that their problem will be addressed, and the customer success team shortens the timeline for live responses from agents and engineers. The process has eliminated thousands of out-of-hours calls from customers.
Automated responses also come into play with alerts from Qumulo’s cloud-based monitoring system, part of Qumulo’s data storage solution. Traction on Demand and Qumulo use MuleSoft and Slack to generate Zendesk cases automatically from cloud-based monitoring alerts, as well as fulfilment cases in Salesforce when necessary.
‘One of the first things we built with Traction on Demand’s assistance was an on-call command that lists all of our first responders who are on schedule for the day,’ Kaminsky says. ‘The command eliminated the need to log in to our alerting system and identify who’s on call for which service. It changed the game.’
Continuing to transform customer experiences with seamless support
The work of using Slack to simplify Qumulo’s customer support continues. ‘We’re still looking for ways to make service seamless, internally as well as externally,’ Peterson says. ‘Anything we build has to be trackable, auditable and visible across the board.’
Slack integrations built by Traction on Demand contribute to Qumulo’s time savings for cases, account look-ups and out-of-hours customer calls. ‘The reason I got into support was a passion for helping people understand and work with technology,’ Kaminsky says. ‘Our integrations with Slack are enabling us to follow that passion and stay focused on the customer’s needs.’
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