Marketing Genius: Startup Customer Service Done Right at HipChat


Marketing Genius is a series created by BuzzFarmers to give virtual high fives to anyone who develops a unique (and brilliant) marketing idea worth talking about.


If communication leads to community, then BuzzFarmers has the strongest community known to man. We’re storytellers, so we have a lot to say (some more than others). Good discussion is at the core of the BuzzFarmers culture, and no topic is off limits.

We facilitate that discussion with one of the most popular apps in the BuzzFarmers office: the instant messenger tool HipChat. HipChat is a startup that offers free and paid private chat services for internal communication and collaboration. Unlike AIM, Google Talk, and Skype, HipChat was built for businesses.

We use a private room every day dubbed “The Water Cooler” to communicate with our out-of-the-office colleagues, as well as the ones sitting right next to us. We can quickly bounce ideas off of each other and offer instant feedback, as well as trade links and files in real time. What’s best is that all conversations are archived, and you can use HipChat on any device, so you never miss a thing. And, yes, there’s a video chat feature.

It has made work email nearly obsolete, and no one is complaining. And sometimes you just need a place to share photos of baby pigs and stuff.

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Why We Think HipChat Is Rocking It

In addition to our personal love for HipChat, we think they do something pretty cool, too.

Communication is the best way to create strong relationships with your colleagues and, most importantly, with your customers. The people over at HipChat pride themselves in their ability to provide a great communication program, as well as to listen to their customers’ wants and needs.

Thus, they’ve incorporated social listening and customer service into their marketing strategy, and that’s why we think they’re marketing geniuses.


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Customer service isn’t always considered a “marketing” role, but there’s no word of mouth like that which comes from great customer service. In fact, customer service is often overlooked until it’s too late. No matter how much goodwill you create with expensive advertising, bad customer service – or even worse, no customer service – can hurt your reputation quickly.

They even devote a section of their Facebook to consumer feedback using UserVoice, where fans can suggest ideas for HipChat’s R&D.

On Facebook, HipChat has a tab called “Feedback” where they actively seek out feedback from their users. Users can then vote on the different “ideas” that users pitch so that the folks at HipChat can determine which bugs should get fixed first, or which features are most aggressively requested.

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HipChat moderators can respond to suggestions and mark them as “under consideration,” while other users can comment and weigh in .

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This is certainly more than just customer service, and it’s not limited to Facebook. They answer questions and respond to their Twitter followers within a matter of minutes. HipChat doesn’t offer phone support, but instead leverages their online community support center to both solve problems and keep track of bugs.

Don’t get us wrong – we loved the Y U No Use HipChat billboards from a few years ago, but nothing’s better than a good, longstanding reputation.

For a startup, customer service has never been more important. How’s your company incorporating social listening into their marketing strategy?

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  • Erin

    Oh my goodness. The second sentence kills me. :)

  • http://www.HipChat.com Wesley Faulkner

    We are honored to be highlighted on you blog. Thank you Erin for telling us about it. We take pride in the way we communicate and cater to our users. We love them and they are what our company was build on.

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