How to Improve Customer Support?

Starting a company is not easy.

What’s harder is hiring good people who buy-in into your vision.

And what’s even harder than that? — It’s keeping your customers happy.

Traditionally, the way to do this would be to hire enough manpower to cater to all the customers.

A rather simple solution!

Though it is not something that I would recommend if you are running a startup.

The fact is, we live in a service economy and human interaction would always be the key to it. But nobody said we couldn’t find ways to optimize how and when this interaction takes place.

The answer to the question How to optimize your support team can be the difference between a successful company and a failed one.

Steps to improve customer support

We are not going into details of why you should automate. That would be a discussion for another day. Let’s discuss how you can automate customer support?

Let’s begin with the one that’s being used by most companies out there.

Automating Email

Email is a widely used channel for customers to raise their queries to a company. There are plenty of tools including Zendesk, Freshdesk, and Zoho which come with the capabilities to automate your email support. Actually, these have been so successful that companies like Freshdesk and Zoho are on the verge of IPO.

But the problem lies not in the tool, but how you use them.

For example; have you ever sent a request to a support team before?

If you have, this is what you would usually receive in return

This is an automated response, very impersonal and cold. I ignore this as do most people.

On the contrary, the following is a sales email:

Both mails are automated, but the support mail is non-human and impersonal. While the sales mail is personalized. One, everyone ignores and the other, people tend to respond to.

One is SPAM and the other is the first step towards a relationship.

Support needs to be more personal and should make, like sales —

Because your goal is a happy Customer

Categorise your Tickets

Almost all email-based support tools use tickets for managing the customer queries.

This is how it’s usually used:

  1. Every ticket is categorized into a primary category which may or may not have a sub-category.
  2. Based on this category a ticket is assigned to a specific team
    – Tech-related issues go to tech support
    – Non-tech issues remain with customer support
    – Enterprise issues might also be sent to the account manager

How sales does it?
Similar categorization happens with SaaS sales teams, at least the teams I’ve worked with. At Kommunicate and Applozic, we use Pipedrive, a sales CRM for sales teams.

Here,

Tickets = Deals

And deals are placed in a pipeline. The pipeline is a visual representation of the current status of your lead. Each deal is prioritized based on the sale value, expected closure timeline, the next step in the process.

Hell! Now even hiring teams also use this. Following is a sample:

Source:- https://blog.pipedrive.com/

Learning from it, this is what you should do

  1. Create categories and sub-categories for issues. Create the type of customers and the type of support that has been promised
  2. List these categories and sub-categories in the order of priority. For example; a server issue affecting all customers should have a higher priority than a UI issue that doesn’t affect any core capabilities
  3. List your customer types in order of priority. For example, a customer with a revenue value X and standard support package will have a lower priority than a customer with a revenue number X and a premium support package
  4. Now, Type of issue is > Type of customer. All customer issues tagged with a category and within this category, the type of customer is used to prioritize for resolution
  5. Based on the category, assign tickets to the entitled teams and to a particular individual or a persona within the team.
  6. Now send an automated but personalized email for the issue from the individual/persona assigned. Don’t forget to mention the timeline expected for that particular category within the email.

This is something that is happening within most teams, except that prioritization is usually ad-hoc and personalization is non-existent.

Automating Chat

With the popularity of messaging apps increasing exponentially (think, Whatsapp and Snapchat) companies have been trying to adopt the technology to improve their support, sales, and marketing performance.

This one is straightforward — Get a chatbot.

But not like the one below:

This works brilliant for sales, though when it comes to customer support, you need something smarter.

Avoid linear bots, get something that learns or the very least is connected to your FAQs.

So the two types of bots you should consider for support:

  1. FAQ bot
  2. AI-driven FAQ/Linear bot

The Chat Flow

Getting a bot doesn’t mean you don’t need people to answer customer queries — Unless you want to avoid building relationships.

A bot can answer the routine queries including,

  • Where is my order?
  • Where can find my bill/Invoice/Receipt?
  • I forgot my password, how do I reset?

The bot will transfer critical one to your team.

In case a non-essential query passes through, the bot updates itself with this new query which then can be resolved by the bot later.

Want to use bots for customer support. Check out Kommunicate.

Where should you put the chatbot?

Put it within your product, in your app, on the web.

Were you expecting a detailed answer? Well, there isn’t one.

The Ultimate Solution

You should have noticed by now we didn’t mention calls here. Well, I think calls should be reserved for enterprise customers only as it seems to be overrated.

Now, let’s move on to what I consider an ultimate solution for highly optimized support teams.

An email-based support system and chatbot powered live chat is what a killer customer support solution looks like

Combine tools like Zendesk, Zoho with a Chatbot + Live Chat systems like Kommunicate or Drift.

Just make sure,

All tickets are answered from a single window apart from the ones that need to be answered by a secondary team ( tech support, sales, account managers)

And believe me, you would say at least 30% improvement in your support numbers and if you are a call-based support team you would see at least a 20% decrease in call volume.

Customers prefer calls over emails because they assume they would get a faster resolution. And by all means, this is the truth. But as the matter of fact, call based support teams are expensive to scale and maintain.

As a customer IVR is irritating at best, as a company it is expensive to set up a call center and pay bills.

A combination of email, chat, and calls will help to minimize the cost of manpower as far as it is concerned.

Though ultimately it is up to you to decide what matters — Happy customers and faster response times — or the effort setting up a system that works.

At Kommunicate, we are envisioning a world-beating customer support solution to empower the new era of customer support. We would love to have you on board to have a first-hand experience of Kommunicate. You can signup here and start delighting your customers right away.

 

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