Experience has it: 10 best practices for outstanding customer support services

Outsourced customer support is the future. Whether you’re a startup or a company with more than 100 employees, the need for customer support is rising due to the fact that products aren’t perfect, yet we aim for perfection when it comes to our services. “How can you remain on top of the game in the field of customer support?” is a question we hear a lot lately and we wanted to share with you 10 best practices that we learned in 7 years of experience with partners such as SendGrid and Cloud Elements.

Before we start, let us underline once again the idea of a customer support department. Whether it’s in-house or outsourced, the customer support department of a SaaS company should reduce customer churn. The product or service can be outstanding, yet the technical support that you are offering is crucial in your relationship with your customers. After more than 7 years of work with SendGrid and Cloud Elements, we gathered 10 best practices that will set you ahead of your competitors.

 

1. Hire the best people to represent your service/ product.

We can all agree that your agents are your brand’s diplomats. You form and maintain connections through them with the customers that will keep you in business. Hire and retain experienced people and exceptional outsourced customer support will follow.

2. Offer customer support on more than one channel, including live chat.

Instant communication channels can save or ruin the image that a client has about your product/service. When it all comes to customer’s expectations, the best way to offer a quick and helpful answer is through chat. Make it easy for customers to interact with you and don’t keep them waiting.

3. Encourage self-service.

More than 67% users prefer a self-service support over speaking to a company representative. It’s a fact that can be turned around in your favor once you create a FAQs page with content that answers common questions that customers usually come up with. From a FAQs page to regularly posting basic troubleshooting articles on your website, encourage self-service and you will receive a better feedback for product or service enhancements.

4. Attitude is everything.

When working on a customer support service, your positive attitude can turn a problem into a solution in no time. You know that in business, you never get a second chance for making a first good impression. Have the customer in mind and deliver responsive and personalized support.

5. Listen to customers.

The key to effective communication is active listening. Even when the customer is upset or angry, your customer support agent should treat him cordially, eager to give advice and to find a real-time solution. If you’re active listening to your customers, not only you will find more about the issue encountered and you will give better advice, but you will leave an imprint in your customer’s mind.

6. Ownership can change an issue into a solution.

Empower your representatives to make decisions in real time and to act upon customer’s best interest. If the issue needs more information in order to be classified as resolved, your customer support agents should follow up and address the issue further on until it’s resolved.

7. Honor your commitments.

Do what you say you will do. Earning trust and respect are key-points in the relationship between a company and its customers. Tell your customers exactly what they can expect from you and then go hard to exceed those expectations. That way, your customers will see that you’re willing to go the extra mile.

8. Set KPIs.

It’s important to always measure the success of a customer support team. For that, use KPIs and metrics that should be defined as parameters in judging the performance of a customer support agent or a technical support team.

9. Regularly train your agents.

Properly training your representatives can give them the power to make on-the-spot decisions that can change an issue into a solution. Ensure that they completely understand the product and the process and conduct refresher training sessions when there are any product enhancements. A well prepared customer support agent is a key point in maintaining your customers happy.

10. Ask for feedback.

A feedback at its time can change the path of your company. A study by The George Washington University from Washington, DC, shows that users will share their experiences with 8 out of 10 persons they meet. Ask customers to review your service after each session in order to find out if it was helpful or what aspects you should change.

Customer support in this century is the secret weapon of every business that respects itself. Without a customer support department, you can’t have a business that it’s focused on the customer, therefore you can’t really grow. For an outstanding customer support service, follow these best practices that we gathered in 7 years of experience.

We would love to hear about your experience and how they worked for your business.


differences-customer-support-customer-success

The Difference Between Customer Support and Customer Success Teams

When we talk about your business product or service, there is no doubt that both support and success teams are considered as essential assets for the entire customer lifecycle. Since customer support and customer success are often intertwined, we think that is critical to define and understand their differences and roles, especially when your company’s output is based on a certain tech infrastructure.

Customer support – A necessary way to be there for your customers.

Dedicated support teams pursue to ensure customer satisfaction through ongoing technical support for a certain product or service. These kinds of teams solve customer’s challenges, questions and concerns regarding individual issues and provide technical guidance. For a better understanding, we should define a couple of specific traits.

Removes obstacles

Regardless of the customer support channel – email, chat or call – the team in charge solves their problems as soon as customers submit a ticket or send an email, not before. Thus, the role of customer support is to meet their needs in a reactive manner, meaning that whenever an issue emerges they take care of it. In this way, a support team removes any kind of obstacles when it emerges in customer’s direct interaction path by providing necessary resources such as documentation or self-service portals.

Focuses on cost

The number of favorable customer experiences is inversely proportional to financial losses. In other words, based on Nicereply point of view, if a support team provide efficient solutions for customer’s problems, the churn rate, which means here the annual percentage at which customers stop subscribing to a service, will be reduced. However, support teams aren’t strictly a centered-cost department, as originally built, they can also impact revenue by advising on common reasons for churn or identify upsell and cross self-opportunities in their conversations with your business customers.

Has short-term objectives

According to Hubspot, support interactions are transactional which means when a customer submits a certain issue or question, those are solved by a support assistant – and may have in view immediate technical or usage issues. After all, the main purpose of support teams is to solve specific issues as quickly as possible in order to drive customer satisfaction, which is the main baseline for success teams.

Customer success – The next step in scaling customer experience.

From Gainsight perspective, customer success manages company-customer interactions and aligns client and vendor goals for mutually beneficial outcomes. Success teams influence revenue through their proactive actions in order to accomplish long-term objectives, but we will talk about all of these attributes below:

Uses proactive strategies

The main objective of a success team consists in initiating conversations with your customers before they contact you. Therefore, they have to be proactive, meet their needs, anticipate them and identify opportunities to solve problems that they are not yet confronted with, but they might be. Identifying these solutions in advance must be based on the company’s long-term objectives. Their job is to make sure that customers understand the full potential and value they can achieve from your product/service. In other words, success teams ensure insights-access for users regarding the most efficient way to use your solution and adopt it on a long-term.

Focuses on revenue

In this context, when we talk about scaling your business, customer success teams play their main role. They focus less on technical issues and more on the aspects that are directly related to business development. So they drive expansion via churn-reduction as in decreasing the number of unsubscribed customers and up-selling, cross-selling, referrals techniques in order to promote your business solutions.

Customer Success provides a whole mechanism not only for uncovering upsell and cross-sell opportunities but also for gaining advantage from them. Besides that, it’s the most desirable way to initiate reduction, helping subscription growth for a certain product or service.

Has long-term objectives

Success team’s interactions don’t have an end-point. As we mentioned earlier, they look at the entire customer’s process lifecycle in order to solve universal adoption issues and other common narrows that prevent users from achieving their goals. Moreover, as Gainsight believes, ensuring customer success brings about a significant positive impact on businesses as they focused on increasing retention, repeated purchases or lifetime value.

Different roles, same team

To conclude, support and success teams provide services for customers and help them generate value for your company. Both of them focus on successfully integrate the product or service in your users’ lifecycle with each aid, improving retention, boosting value, and increasing advocacy. The best businesses succeed in bringing support and success together, leveraging their differences to consolidate this entire process of removing obstacles that prevent your business customers from achieving their goals.