Q&A with the Human Heroes Behind Our User Support Team
Have you ever wondered what it’d be like to work in User Support for a day? While most people may think our job entails being on the receiving end of irate phone calls, this doesn’t accurately describe the reality of our work. We take pride in building relationships with each one of our users and fostering relationships with our partner advertisers. We’ve even inspired someone to apply to trivago after receiving support from one of our agents!
Some even say that the best part of being a trivago User Support agent is having a direct connection to the users that no other team has. Some days may be crazier than others, especially this past year. Still, one thing remains a constant: we are devoted to supporting our users through even the most challenging times.
What is the team’s vision?
Our vision is to be the most reliable and trustworthy User Support team in the meta search industry.
We believe it’s important to be able to understand our users’ perspective, something we like to call “user-centricity”. We often learn from our own customer service experiences outside of work. For instance, someone in the team once mentioned that she always appreciates when a customer service representative carries out a thorough investigation of her issue and takes the time to listen to her concerns. It makes her feel that she’s in good hands and that her money and time were well spent on the service. We strive to take these personal experiences as learnings and apply them in our own work to give each trivago user the same feeling.
On top of building a trusting relationship and supporting or guiding users, we also strive to channel direct feedback and trends to our product teams. Through this, we give our users a voice within trivago and enable them to indirectly influence and improve the product itself.
What does User Support get up to on a day-to-day basis?
Users reach out to us through multiple channels from which we collect all these inquiries and respond to users accordingly.
Throughout this process, we fix errors found on the website, channel feedback to different teams and put users into contact with the booking sites they found on trivago, should their inquiry be related to them. We continually strive to go above and beyond by maintaining partnerships with the booking sites and also following up with their customer support when the user is unable to reach out to them quickly.
Moreover, we continuously monitor any operational issues that might affect a large number of users to provide all possible support (e.g. online travel agencies (OTA) ceasing operations). All this work is reflected through the data we capture and store in Zendesk, our CRM tool, as well as the many processes we follow.
How is the User Support team setup?
User Support is not just formed by agents, we have a few more functions contributing behind the scenes.
- The Project Management function helps to improve the workflow and processes inside the team.
- The Product Management function is focused on maximizing user satisfaction and team efficiency by maintaining our customer relationship management tool and developing tech-based solutions for agents and users.
- Our OTA Support team is the direct point of contact with OTAs for trivago-related errors. They collaborate with their customer support teams to assist users affected while escalating problems and gathering data for account managers to improve the overall trivago product.
- We also have an Incidents & Operations Specialist that investigates, diagnoses, and provides resolutions for complex user issues.
- Our Organizational Support Agents assist all the functions inside the team with any requests.
- And we also have one Data Analyst to support our team on data topics.
What are the strangest/funniest user requests US gets?
No two days in User Support are ever the same, and the same goes for our user requests.
On a daily basis we receive inquiries about booking cancellations, errors on our website or someone looking for their holiday accommodation. From time to time we also receive some funny requests that makes for a good laugh. For example when a user requested us to give him/her “mom” (aka “money”) back or when a user asked us if we knew a hotel in Kenya where the staff work in the nude. Never a dull moment!
What is your favourite thing about working in User Support?
We support each other no matter what, and that is what makes this team the most incredible team to work for.
It’s a fun gang. Each team member comes from a distinct background, creating an atmosphere of both cultural and business diversity. Every day is a learning experience that our team thrives on. As the main point of contact for our users, we always try to stay updated on the latest trends in the hospitality industry. Furthermore, we have internal training sessions and channels that help us staying informed regarding new product releases and booking site campaigns.
Working in user support also means that you’ll need to monitor your sugar consumption. We always have a bowl of chocolate in our section for anyone passing by! There is cake every other day, sometimes without anything to celebrate. What can we say, we just have excellent bakers in the team!
Despite going through significant challenges like booking sites discontinuing operations or dealing with complicated requests during this year, you can see and feel how the team spirit never dies down. We always make sure to celebrate even the small things together.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in 2020 as an agent in User Support?
COVID-19 started and the number of user requests increased to a level that we’ve never experienced before.
This year we were focused on increasing users’ trust in our competencies, increasing expertise of our service, increasing confidence in our affiliates and increasing brand trust in our markets. But then COVID-19 started and the number of user requests increased to a level that we’ve never experienced before.
Something that our team does well is adapt to changes quickly, and that’s precisely what we did to best handle the crisis in a remote setup. As a team, we were always communicating and helping each other to offer our users the best support with their requests.
As we can not provide direct support on cancellation or modification requests, we needed to increase the level of empathy and personalisation in our answers. This helped to give our responses a human touch during these times of crisis. This year has taught us to not get too comfortable and always be ready to adapt to new challenges.
It’s been quite an unpredictable year for all of us, but we’re more committed than ever to our vision of being the most dependable team in the industry. From all of us at User Support: stay safe and stay healthy!