Meet the Customer Success Team: Matt van Winkle

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If you’ve been following us, you’ll know that us ShopPadders are so proud of our customer success team. They work very hard to make sure our merchants are successful in their Shopify endeavors. And because we’re so proud, we wanted to introduce each of the team members to you so you can know more about who you’re talking to. You can read our first two interviews with Alan and Anh here. Now, we’d like to introduce you to Matt Van Winkle, customer success expert extraordinaire.

Let’s Chat!

Cara: “I like to start these interviews out with a fun fact. What’s something about yourself you’d like to share with our merchants?”

Matt: “In my free time, I like to play Spikeball. Spikeball has a Shopify store and I’m waiting for the day I can help them. So if you’re reading this, Spikeball, please download a ShopPad app so we can talk! But yeah, in my free time, you can find me outside in a field playing yard games.”

Cara: “That’s so funny! What brought you here to ShopPad?”

Matt: “I moved to Oakland from Michigan. I started looking for a job in tech in Oakland. I was hoping to work for a small company, too. So when I came across the job opening here at ShopPad, it couldn’t have been more perfect.”

Cara: “How long have you been in the customer success/service industry?”

Matt: “This is my first official customer success job, but I’ve been customer-facing since high school. I would run kayak tours in high school. Then in college, I did community building for a civil engineering firm.”

Cara: “That’s some good experience there. What do you think makes for a great customer success representative?”

Matt: “Empathy is the big thing in my opinion. Understanding people’s frustrations with something that I’m really familiar with, but that they’re brand new to is key. Being able to put myself in their shoes is the foundation of my work. The rest - wording, solution, everything - comes from that base of empathy.”

Cara: “Empathy as a foundation is a fantastic way to phrase that. What’s the toughest case you’ve had to handle?”

Matt: “I’ve been working with one merchant for a number of months now and he is really particular about his store. He’s in a very different part of the world, though, so we have a time zone and language barrier. It can be difficult to overcome those barriers and make his pages match his vision.”

Cara: “How do you overcome those barriers?”

Matt: “I’ve found the most effective way for me to help him is to break things down to the root of the issue. I ask him what he wants to happen rather than just asking him what the problem appears to be. When I know what exactly he wants, I can solve the issue he’s having in a way that works for him rather than in the way I think it should be fixed.”

Cara: “Ok - what’s your best experience with a merchant?”

Matt: “This is hard. I’ve had so many. I think I’d have to say it goes to a merchant in Australia. Let’s call her Nicole. I feel like Nicole and I are almost partners at this point. She chats in at least once a week about our app, Blog Studio, (she runs a number of blogs). We’ve just really gotten to know each other and have a great rapport. I know she’s really appreciative of our help and it’s gratifying for me to see how much my help is actually making an impact on her business.”

Cara: “That’s really awesome to hear. What’s a typical day look like for you?”

Matt: “Well, I show up, get a good cup of coffee and some snacks from the office kitchen. Then I sit down and debrief with whichever members of my team are already in. We come up with an “inbox theme” because even though we come in to 150 or more emails in the morning, there tends to be a defined theme in the help people need. After that, we jump right in. We try to plow through as many of the emails as we can first before people start chatting in. But throughout the day we juggle emails, chats, and phone calls. The nice thing is that if one of us ever gets too swamped, we can collaborate with our team members. And our daily goal is inbox 0. Sometimes that goal is easier said than done, but it’s always so rewarding to get around to helping everyone who needs us in a day.”

Cara: “What’s the difference between customer service and customers success?”

Matt: “With customer success, we’re not just here to serve people. We’re here to help them succeed. We often try to fix problems that people don’t even see yet. It’s all about going above and beyond just what the customer is telling you and doing what it takes to make them succeed in the long term.”

Cara: “So how do you measure your own success?”

Matt: “I would say that success for me is when a merchant leaves their time with me with a website that is better than what they came to me with. And not just better, but that the merchant understands what that problem really was and how to move forward now. I guess you could say that visible change in a merchant’s business is how I measure success.

Cara: “What’s your favorite thing about this job?”

Matt: “OK I’m gonna cop out on this one and give you two. First, I love problem-solving and even though we only have the 10 apps, people have new challenges every day. I get to feel like a detective! And second, figuring out all these problems would be no fun if we didn’t have a fantastic team. We trust each other and communicate so well. It’s just a blast to work with people who are so committed to supporting each other.”

Cara: “Well I was going to ask you what makes the ShopPad team so special, but I think you just answered that.”

Matt: *laughs* “Yeah, yeah I did.”

Cara: “To wrap it up, why don’t you tell me about the best customer service/success that you’ve ever received?”

Matt: “Recently I had an issue where my Lime scooter stopped working during the ride. Which was disappointing. I emailed the customer service team there and within 15 minutes they had issued me a refund. That turnaround was able to make a less-than-awesome experience into a pretty good experience.”

Need to talk to Matt?

Matt’s a customer success star. Take it from Frost Gem, who said, “Customer service is awesome! Matt gave an extra mile to help me.”

Want Matt to solve one of your problems? Give him a shout out on our customer success email, contact@theshoppad.com. He’d love to help you out.

Cara Wood

Cara is the digital marketing manager here at ShopPad. She's passionate about eCommerce, marketing automation, and great wine. When she's not hard at work innoventing new marketing automation techniques, you can find her trying to stop her beagle from getting into the trash.