Andy Pape

Andy Pape on customer service culture and social media response at Rackspace

Andy Pape joined Rackspace when it was still a startup. member Andy started with the company over ten years ago in an entry-level customer support role. At the time, Rackspace was the hot new place to work in San Antonio, Texas. “Everyone wanted a job at Rackspace. All of my friends were telling me how fun it was to work there and how smart everyone was,” Andy says.

A pro with the customers, Any was hired right away and moved his way up in the company through Account Manager positions. He earned his technical chops and “learned how the sausage is made” as the day-to-day contact for whatever customers needed. As the Manager of Fanatical Support, he led a team of Account Managers and Deployment Engineers in the extreme customer service Rackspace is known for.

In 2009, Rackspace built a social presence, essentially around one customer.

Fanatical support is in everything we do.

One particular customer was influential in the tech industry, vocal on social media, and had a lot to say about Rackspace. So they built a team to deal with the backlash. “Fanatical support is in everything we do,” says Andy. “So building a social team was just going above and beyond for our customer.”

Eventually that team expanded to become a social force, and in 2013, Andy joined them. Then, the social team was built like a customer care function. They built a tool in-house to aggregate their Twitter and Facebook feeds, created a workflow that allowed them to collect metadata and tagged and identified customers using the platform.

Andy says that even today connecting customers on social with their Rackspace accounts is his team's strength.

“We excel at social forensics,” Andy says.

“We're good at pegging a random handle back to an actual customer in our system, and we're looking to expand that.” He says they're getting creative with social listening and targeted campaigns for sales prospecting.

But, Andy admits, he's not a marketer by nature. After all, his role has focused mainly on the customer support side of social media for four years. Now, with changes happening inside the organization, Andy leads the marketing functions as well.

“Rackspace takes a unique stance on what we think is success. For most marketers, success can be defined on likes, and retweets, and reach. We're a BtoB. So we define our success by how many people signed up for a webinar, filled out a form for getting more information, or registered for a huge Rackspace event.”

“When you're pumping out content on hosting, it can be stuffy,” says Andy.

He says one challenge for his team is showcasing the Rackspace culture that brought him to the company in the first place. For example, when a Racker receives praise from a customer on social media, Dave's team will use their social forensics skills to figure out which Racker helped them and find a way to recognize them internally.

One customer thanked a Racker on Twitter for helping her out with her stationery site where Dave's team discovered that she sold a “Certificate of Awesomeness.” They bought the Racker a customized Certificate of Awesomeness, filmed themselves presenting it to him, and posted it to YouTube.

“One thing about this company that's made me want to stay here so long is the people get more incredible every day,” Andy says. “Everyone is unified on one thing: the customers. I haven't met a Racker yet that doesn't have that mentality.”

Andy's been a member of since 2016. Follow him on Twitter here.