Guest Post by Shalin Jain, Founder, CEO of HappyFox
It will surprise you to know what surprises customers these days – Good customer service. No, really. When was the last time, you as a customer, were completely confident that the support person on the other end will be able to solve your problem instantly?
Customers have little or no expectation that their issues will be taken up and resolved immediately, while on the other end of the spectrum, the companies that do take effort are thriving with excellent customer loyalty, advocacy and retention.
I belong to the niche group of entrepreneurs who stood by good customer support over a good product. The first five years of my business were spent building very little on the product, while we left no stone unturned in delivering great support. I directed my company to not just respond quickly to customers, but went a step ahead to help them with issues beyond the stated ones.
This experience ignited a spark in me. If customer service is all I want to do, why not build a robust product for it? Thus was born HappyFox, the customer support software. Our growth was not due to a viral video or an expensive marketing campaign, but the amazing retention and the effective word of mouth that our satisfied customers created for us.
Pick the right software
Customer service products are dime-a-dozen, and each software site has hundreds of features to boast of. The trick is to concentrate on comparing the finer details – the ones that change the way you do customer support, than sit and compare the regular features every software offers.
The parameters that make a help desk
Here’s a quick way to look beyond the obvious. There are five simple areas you need to target to see if this is the support solution that your company really needs.
1. Not all customers are on the same boat
You have different types of customers. For instance, your customer segmentation can be based on the size of your customer – prospective customers, premium customers, high-value customers etc.
If all of them raise an issue simultaneously, the escalation matrix for example, cannot be the same for all three. A tool should allow you to automate workflows, make it flexible and let you decide how you want to cater to each customer. Say, a prospective customer can have a response time of 12 hours, while a high-value customer would have 3 hours.
2. Measure your support
Every software provides reports. Does your tool let you track the customer support metrics that matters most to your company’s goals? If you are a logistics company, it will be your first response time, whereas if you are a consulting company, it is about the quality of the response.
It should allow you to gather metrics on critical areas. Report should not be just at a summary level, but also at a customer level. Imagine a tool that lets you easily see the list of customers having the most support queries, and also the response time amongst each customer. Such a tool will let you properly assess your support and enhance it.
3. Support without agents
Customers love instant gratification. If you have a thorough self-help knowledge base, it reduces support time from hours to seconds for the customer.
4. Break the routine
Tickets need to go to the right team/person immediately after it comes to the ticketing system. It cannot require manual intervention. The tool should have a framework to decide at its source where the issue belongs, based on the channel and the email ID it is directed to. For ex: Mails to email@example.com should directly go to the billing team, instead of landing up with your generic support team.
Categorization of issues needs to be automatic. It cannot ask for your manual intervention.
5. Motivate and encourage support
Reports can state facts, but a company needs goals. The tool should provide the utility to set service level goals. These are the goals that chart your company’s customer growth. Above and beyond all this, lies a core parameter.
Before the advent of help desks, most support queries were just Excel sheets. So, when you pick a help desk, it cannot be just a fancier Excel sheet. Customer support is a task with a goal to reduce chaos and complications. It requires something basic – Simplicity. Your agents should be able to calmly focus on content and bring answers to the fore, rather than have volumes of uncategorized content thrown at them.
Remember, it is not just your customer’s delight, but also your customer service representative’s delight that matters.
The long story short
Basically, a tool that you pick should not keep you from customers, but in turn get you closer to them. So, forget the fancy jazz and look at the finer details of the product. Pick the one that lets you chase your customer support dreams.
With over 8 years of experience in this field, I am open to helping you with your customer support process and metrics. Check out happyfox.com, or feel free to contact me for more insight at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @shalin10.