Remote work team structure, Ben Congleton, CEO of Olark

Ben Congleton, CEO of Olark, discusses the team structure at his software company in this insightful interview. Olark, being a standard software company, encompasses various departments, including marketing, engineering, product, and design teams. 

Interestingly, Ben highlights that they didn’t extensively build out a sales team due to their product’s turnkey nature and pricing. Instead, Olark heavily invested in building a robust customer service team, considering it a pivotal aspect of the company. 

According to Ben, the belief at Olark is that customer service plays a dual role, encompassing both sales and customer success. He emphasizes the importance of finding exceptional individuals for these roles, as they are the ones who embody the company’s passion consistently.

 Ben reflects on the early days when he ran a web hosting company and had faced issues due to underinvesting in customer service. Learning from this experience, Olark prioritized customer service from the start. Even before having a dedicated customer service team, every team member, including Ben, took turns handling customer service responsibilities. 

This practice continued even after hiring a customer service team, with everyone participating in All Hands support rotations. However, after a couple of years, they strategically transitioned to a model where the customer service team could handle the load independently. 

Ben shares that this shift was operational and aimed to make it a bonus rather than a requirement for team members to engage in customer service. This proactive approach to team structure and customer service underscores Olark’s commitment to delivering exceptional service to its customers. 

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