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Aircall knows the importance of effective conversations. The cloud call center solution has helped 8,500+ customers across 84 countries stay in touch with customers and their teams. They take pride in fostering transparency and collaboration without the extra headache. Their passion for communication has heavily influenced their culture, aligning 450 Aircallees across 32 countries.
That’s why Antoine Moreau, Director of Partnerships North America, immediately sought out the best tools to enable effective communication when the pandemic first broke out. His tenure as Director started the day lockdowns shook the country, fragmenting his New York-based team before they could even get to know one another. Placed in charge of aligning Aircall’s mission with its 50+ integrations and partners, Antoine knew alignment ultimately started with his eight-person team.
Even after a few months of remote work, Antoine missed the context clues and casual conversation he would’ve had in-person, “My teammates were tight-knit with one another, but remote work really took out our spontaneous touchpoints and check-ins. We needed more structure around getting visibility and socializing. I looked for solutions because I knew we’d need as much help as possible.
Antoine immediately liked Kona’s easy check-ins and wondered how they’d improve their team conversations with added context. In March 2021, his team started using Kona.
Every morning, Antoine’s team shares their Red Yellow Green with Kona. They add an emoji to name their mood for the moment and write a line of added context about their personal lives or what’s making them excited. Antoine noticed an immediate change in the team’s mood once folks began to share, “Kona’s check-ins felt like walking into the office and feeling good vibes. Whenever we see a Green, we feel Green.” He also noticed his team reaching out to one another with Yellows and Reds. For Antoine, this support was what made teams effective.
When Antoine’s team could finally meet up for a company offsite, he noticed an immediate proximity over dinner. This was the first time they had met up in person, many teammates had onboarded remotely, and yet they were having real conversations like old friends. Months of updating each other on team moods had enabled deeper conversations and relationships. This trust enabled some of their best work, and other teams started to notice.
Robert Statsky, Aircall’s Director of Customer Success, started to use Kona after Antoine recommended it to their Go-To-Market manager cohort. Robert had noticed a disconnect after almost a year of forced work-from-home; virtual events and happy hours simply couldn’t recreate the camaraderie they had while in the office. Robert was immediately surprised at how quickly his team built the habit of checking in, “In a short period we went from ‘Why is this weird dog messaging me?’ to ‘Kona better prompt us. It’s how I start my day.’ People like the interaction, it’s like the digital version of sparking an organic conversation.”
“We’ve hired teammates while remote and many of us haven't met up face-to-face. Kona creates a sense of proximity and we’re tighter because of it.”
— Antoine Moreau, Director of Partnerships, North America
Antoine realized that Kona’s check-ins freed him up to solve problems more effectively. Before Kona, Antoine would have to ask about blockers or read into teammate behavior for signals. Now, his team opens up and takes the initiative to unblock one another. “Kona has replaced me in some ways. I call it my little sidekick. It’s like having an extra person on the team, a mini People Ops team within Partnerships, that reports to me about the team’s problems. It helps me be a better manager and support my team in the moment.”
Four teams are already using Kona, growing organically from when Antoine's team started in March 2021. In only three months, Aircallers have built a habit of checking in every morning! Check-in engagement is 4 out of 5 workdays per week.
For Robert, Kona helps him keep a pulse on a much larger team. With ten people to check-in on, Robert previously relied on two team-wide meetings a day to bond and announce blockers. Now, his team has eliminated those meetings and maintained their alignment through Kona. Visibility on everyone’s lives also made for higher quality, less frequent 1:1s that spent less time catching up, and more time on tactical strategy and growth. These changes saved Robert’s team 5 hours in meetings per week!
Kona’s benefit went beyond saving Robert time, however. Kona freed him up to be there for his teammates. At one point, one of Robert’s Customer Success Managers shared that she was Yellow and Nervous. Robert immediately checked in and learned that she had four difficult customer calls that day. This context helped him offer constructive coaching that helped his teammate get through the day easier and preserve customer relationships. Robert shared, “I’m the kind of manager who leads from the floor. I talk to everyone every day. COVID-19 made this nearly impossible with a larger team. But with Kona, I’m able to do that again.
“Kona has replaced me in some ways. I call it my little sidekick. It’s like having an extra person on the team, a mini People Ops team within Partnerships."
— Antoine Moreau, Director of Partnerships, North America
By making it okay to share struggles and blockers, Antoine’s team also made it okay to not be okay. This vulnerability helped with issues like burnout, which has hit record levels through the pandemic. His team was comfortable sharing how they actually felt and Antoine had faith that his long-term Kona data provided an accurate snapshot of his team’s health. When Antoine noticed a particular teammate trending upwards on Yellows and Reds, Antoine could start a conversation and assign time off to proactively address burnout. The habit of sharing moods helped Antoine protect his team’s wellness overall.
Antoine measures the success of his support with team engagement. Engagement helps him understand his team’s performance and how he can better support them as a leader. However, getting his team’s engagement score was often delayed by long surveys and incomplete response rates. Aircall’s People Ops team released a company-wide engagement survey across its almost 500 employees once every six months, making it difficult to iterate on his team culture with speed.
This year, Antoine’s engagement score was expected. By the time results for Aircall’s biannual engagement survey came back, Antoine already had metrics of his own. His team engagement lined up with the long-term Red Yellow Green data Kona provided in its dashboard. This proved Antoine’s theory on the importance of mood for team engagement and performance. Kona’s data had also helped Antoine iterate on engagement in the moment, improving his engagement score overall.
Despite the unknowns that many companies face, and regardless of where employees work from, Kona plays an important role helping them stay connected.