Interview with Unit4 Business World On! Customer Support Manager Ware Hartwell
Posted by Jessica Tatlow
Meet Ware Hartwell, the Customer Support Manager for Unit4 Business World On! in North America.
- What is your role and experience at Unit4?
I've been with Unit4 for 5 years and am the manager of customer support for Unit4 Business World On! in North America. I also work with our global support management team. Before coming to Unit4 I was an ERP customer and spent several years managing the ERP portfolio which gives me a "walking in your shoes" perspective – I'm not just a vendor! Our customers put their business success, to some extent, in our hands – and I take that very much to heart. It's a sacred trust.
- I hear you are an avid knitter and squash player. What personal projects are you working on at the moment?
My two main projects, currently, are a pair of socks – I'm a sock-a-holic – for my daughter (my wife hijacked the last pair), and I'm also making a chemo-cap for a friend. Knitting allows me to sit still and calm my type-A personality. Squash, on the other hand, allows me to be a little boy in the 6th grade again! Squash is also something I do with my colleagues; it's a nice bonding activity.
- Last year there were a lot of changes to the customer support model at Unit4. What were some of the highlights?
The biggest thing was the replacement of our support case management tool with the new customer portal – salesforce service cloud. What that has allowed us to do is generate thousands of knowledge articles that customers can access 24 hours a day and resolve issues on their own, sometimes without logging a ticket. New customers also love it as a training tool. Service Cloud is a really great management tool as I can see when a customer has escalated an issue or when an agent isn't responding fast enough. I can also easily respond to less than perfect satisfaction surveys quickly.
Another big thing is that we are now a global support organization - delivering a lot of great features like follow-the-sun support (rotating, always-on support around the world), which allows us to leverage the capacity of our global organization.
- How is the new support portal helping your team?
The new portal isn't making us any smarter – we're not necessarily closing more tickets, but we are closing more complex tickets faster. Working with Cloud and other subject matter experts in various Unit4 locations allows us to be more collaborative in our issue resolution. Our customers really like the portal and the knowledge articles, and we've been getting great feedback on it.
- What's next on the support transformation roadmap?
What's actively in play right now is our unified global terms and conditions – they are in the final steps of completion – so that support and maintenance is consistent for all customers. I'm looking forward to establishing more expert teams and continuing the excellent level of collaboration between support teams.
A longer-term goal is implementing customer communities so that our customers can discuss issues between them and share knowledge outside the support model.
- Do you have a favorite customer support quote or mantra?
Yes, it goes something like "log files don't lie." A "log file" captures transactions when a batch process is run. Occasionally a customer will say "I didn't do that," on a support call. A newer support agent recently made the mistake of replying that "log files don't lie." Customers don't often like to be told that. We thought it was pretty funny and, most importantly, we were able to resolve the situation successfully.
Some of the customers in our mutual admiration society like to say "You guys are the best," which we really like! We think our customers are the best and we get very excited when our work helps them deliver on their missions – everything from a major municipality to an NGO doing important work for the planet.
- Tell us a bit about your team.
We have 6 analysts in Canada and 4 in the United States. The one thing they have in common is that they really like helping our customers. Some are quiet and analytic, some are chatty and loud; but they are all very curious – our product is huge and complex and we are always learning new things, so I really appreciate that about our team.