Customer Service Evangelist, Help Scout
We can all remember a bad customer support experience. But what about a good one? Good customer service is often invisible, but can mean the difference between a one-time buyer and a loyal fan. In people-first companies, customer support professionals are the front-line workers who manage everything from polite questions to emotional outbursts from frustrated customers. Mat Patterson recognizes the critical importance of people who form a kind of bridge between what the customer truly needs, and what the company has offered.
If you ask his colleagues to describe Mat, you’ll hear phrases like, “does right by the customer,” “customer-centric,” and “cares as much about the customer as he does the people providing support.” He started his career leading a small tech support team, before becoming a web designer and running his own business. Later, he returned to his support roots, joining Campaign Monitor and growing their customer service team from one person to 26.
Bringing this depth of experience to Help Scout, a platform for customer support professionals, Mat has been able to level up his own customer success skills, shining a light on customer service teams and their work, and helping to provide them with the tools they need to do their best work. Through his writing, speaking, and work in the community, Mat is constantly sharing ideas, strategies, and tools to change the perception of customer service.
Besides collecting nice notepads he may never write in (we can relate!), Mat loves non-fiction books and stories about “boringly competent customer service.” He’s also a pro at making educational materials fun: you’ll find lots of pop culture references and storytelling woven into his articles and videos.
🤓 I geek out about…
Mars robots, people who can make amazing scale models of buildings, and the live shows of Finnish symphonic metal superstars Nightwish.
🎒 I collect…
Non-fiction books, stories about boringly competent customer service, and nice notepads that I’m too afraid to actually write in.
💬 My friends ask my advice about…
How to avoid deadly Australian animals. I think I might be the only Australian they know.
🧰 How my weird obsessions show up in my work…
I enjoy sneaking character and business names from favourite books and shows into my articles and videos.
🌱 What form(s) of growth is/are most important for your company?
For me, what I’m trying to grow at Help Scout is a group of people. Specifically, people who believe, like I do, that customer service is undervalued, under-resourced and under-utilised in business, and who want to see that change. The greatest value I can create is to help those people connect with each other, and share with them some ideas, strategies, motivation to make that change happen.
Many of them will never pay for our products, but everyone benefits (including our companies and our customers) if we can shift that mindset together.
🌤️ A thing that makes me hopeful about the future of business:
More companies are admitting (whether by choice or otherwise) what has always been true - there is no “keeping politics out of business”. There is only “we do not acknowledge the politics inherent in every business”. I am hopeful we will hear from a wider range of voices.
💛 How can companies and industries take better care of people?
An enormous number of customer service issues could be resolved just by being a better listener. Companies can build better listeners by training, and by giving people the time and the authority to listen first and not rush to respond.
❓ A question I love:
“What have you been excited about lately?” - It lets people choose any number of directions
🚶 I would walk/drive/travel 500 miles to…
Meet with other people who love what I love. I really miss the hallway-track element of real-world conferences and I am looking forward to their return.
You can learn more about Mat at mrpatto.com.