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Experimentation weeks: How serving our support team leads to a better customer experience

About once a year, the Postmark team runs what we call “experimentation weeks”. Experimentation weeks are our twist on internal hackathons or hack weeks, which are usually limited to engineering and/or product. Experimentation weeks are open to everyone on the Postmark team: the more cross-functional, the better. It’s an invitation to spend time away from day-to-day project work, trying out new things, exploring new technologies, or scratching a creative itch.

This year there was one requirement: Every project needed to serve our support team.

Great support is a core feature for Postmark #

Too many companies view their support teams as a cost center that handles issues and complaints, or as an expensive add-on to drive revenue. We feel the opposite: We know that great support is a core part of what makes Postmark valuable—and it’s a major reason why people love Postmark so much. And because our team of email experts are talking to customers every day, they have the deepest insights about how we can improve the Postmark experience.

They’re also the humans behind our complete, up-to-date, easy to read documentation, educational guides, and manuals for getting started with Postmark. They also manage our approvals process that keeps deliverability high (and spammers out of our pristine shared IPs) along with reviewing suspicious sending activity that’s flagged by our systems. So when you hear customers rave about Postmark’s great delivery rates, our incredible customer support team are the folks that make it all happen.

Power to the people who are the closest to our customers #

Our support team always has a seat at the table when we set goals and priorities for Postmark because of their incredible insights, email expertise, and product knowledge. After all, they’re the most familiar with feature requests and ideas for improvements—from little annoyances that customers occasionally complain about to manual tasks we can automate to help free up their time for more impactful projects.

So when our focus for this year’s Experimentation Weeks turned to serving our support team, we put all our time and energy into addressing their ideas and issues.

Adding PDFs to invoice emails #

All Postmark customers receive a monthly receipt for the cost of their subscription. But if they needed a PDF for bookkeeping or accounting purposes, they had to log in to their Postmark account, navigate to the billing section, find the right invoice, and go through an awkward print-to-PDF dance 😅

Many of our customers pointed out that this process is painful (which is true) and that we should follow the advice in our own guides (also very true). Over time, questions and requests for PDFs piled up, which was distracting our support team from providing more valuable support elsewhere while also frustrating our customers. It was finally time to address this mutual annoyance!

So the next time you receive a Postmark invoice email in your inbox, you’ll find a PDF receipt attached 💌

“Little annoyances like the missing PDF receipts are frustrating for our customers and cause additional work for our support team. It’s fun to work on tasks that mean improvement for everyone involved.”

Jens Balvig, Full-Stack Developer at Postmark

Introducing a data deletion request API #

Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives people the right to manage any personal data collected by a business, including the right to delete that data. Today, when we receive a data deletion request, our support team processes that request within a few days. But that process is a manual task for our team and many of our customers would prefer a way to programmatically handle this process themselves—especially when they are handling hundreds of data deletion requests on behalf of their customers every week.

Mariuzs from our backend team dedicated his experimentation week to tackling this challenge and created a new API endpoint for managing data deletion requests. We’re still giving it the finishing touches, but if you’d like to be notified when it becomes available, just let us know.

Countless improvements to our internal tools and processes #

Our team also did an incredible amount of work to the internal tools we use behind the scenes.

“Yes, it’s fun to ship customer-facing features but working on internal tooling is incredibly rewarding, too. I implemented changes that help our team review and approve new customer accounts and it’s exciting to see that the changes I’ve made have an immediate, visible impact on our teams’ day-to-day work.”

—Igor Balos, QA Engineer

We put clever systems in place to optimize manual processes. We made it easier for Anna, our Head of Deliverability, to control email volume for IPs in warmup mode. Crucial tools our CS team relies on the most are now loading faster.

These kind of changes might seem invisible to Postmark customers, but they make a huge difference to our team—and to our customers:

“Tweaking processes that previously took a lot of time (and nerves) makes our team happier and more productive. It also means that customers who were before having to contact us for support aren't contacting us anymore. And we can spend more time helping educate our customers to be the best senders possible.”

—Brian Kerr, Manager Customer Success

Postmark is hiring!

If you’re looking to join a team who believes that happy and empowered teams are the secret to building great products, consider joining us.

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Bettina Specht

Bettina Specht

Product Lead at Postmark. Likes squirrels. 🐿