Celebrating Surfboard’s 1st Birthday

Surfboard's 1st Birthday social event image
Written by:
Picture of Natasha Ratanshi-Stein

Natasha Ratanshi-Stein , Founder & CEO

One year ago Surfboard was a nascent idea, we’re now a team of seven serving incredible companies to make planning their customer service teams simple, accurate and fair. And we’ve moved extremely quickly – we have a product that integrates into five different contact platforms, our accurate forecasting and staffing models give our customers the right number of people to cover their channels at all times, and our schedule generation is already fully automated with enough flexibility so our customers can make any last minute changes they need to.

Read more about what we’ve been up to and what excites us about what’s next for Team Surfboard.

Building software to improve culture

Surfboard isn’t just building a faster or better designed scheduling platform. We’re using accurate forecasting and fair scheduling to fundamentally make customer service work for everyone. For too long, software in our industry was built to have the right number of “bums on seats” to pick up phones quickly, but with no regard for the impact on team members by having them take calls for five or six hours consecutively or have shift patterns unevenly distributed, shafting those who don’t speak out.

We’ve been really lucky to get the opportunity to work with incredible brands and companies that agree with our mission of happy team, happy customers and have provided us with invaluable feedback to shape our product.

Some of our customers had no scheduling prior to using Surfboard and gave full autonomy to their surfers. We’ve worked with them to build a system from scratch that still empowers team members and gives surfers time to work on other important and exciting projects but in a more structured way so that they know when to dedicate themselves to serving customers.

Other customers have crafted how we think about shift planning. In the UK, 40% of shift workers are given less than one week’s notice of when they are working. We’re fortunate to be working with companies that know their teams deserve better. For companies without accurate ticket forecasting in place, planning in advance was difficult until Surfboard came along. Our minimum shift notice is four weeks because we know people need to plan their lives and we want to facilitate a change away from one-way flexibility.

Being international from day one

The problem we are solving is a global one, and with customer service teams distributed across different geographies we knew we had to be international from day one. Within our early set of customers, we are already covering the UK, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal. This has meant we have had to adapt our product to account for time zone differences, varying bank holidays and local labour laws. This means we also benefit from diverse perspectives on what good customer service looks like and approaches to managing teams.

Building a team and culture

We’re lucky to be working with incredible customers and creating an impact in an enormous industry. Despite that already being enough to be excited about, what I am personally most grateful for is the brilliant team that I learn from everyday. We work hard, but laugh lots while doing it.

Early on in the Surfboard journey, we created a set of values to guide our decision making, hiring and how we communicate. These don’t just cover how we want to build a great product but also how we work together. We started Surfboard to avoid customer service teams from burning out, and we can’t do that if we don’t have balance ourselves.