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Photography by: Michael Drahms

For any business, supporting your customer is the single most important, highest priority item imaginable post-product launch. Bringing your customer to success requires dedication, expertise and compassion.

Customer support is a lifestyle choice

Many customers will agree; not all “customer support” initiatives are created equal.

Customers experience everything from unintelligible phone support to half-baked help center documentation. They experience frustration when there is no clear way to contact the support team or report a bug. These things have a huge negative impact on a business and its brand.

If customers can’t trust you to be present for them when they need you, they’ll be gone in an instant.

That’s why it’s essential that we make the conscious choice to truly support our customers for the health of our business.

Just like we make decisions about working out and eating right for our personal health, customer support is a lifestyle choice.

Reviews weigh heavy on a business because they hold so much weight for our customers.

The public record

Reviews weigh heavy on a business because they hold so much weight for our customers.

Online reviews are what shepherds our business to growth. After the first group of early adopters take a risk and sign up with a new business, it’s up to the public record to lend credibility and help to bring in new customers.

And nothing is worse than a bad review because your business didn’t support the customer properly.

Many customers will forgive a small shipping error. Most, however, will run in fear at the sight of a poor customer support review.

No one has time to be treated poorly.

Invest like the life of your business depends on it.

What can my business do to implement good customer support?

Invest.

Invest like the life of your business depends on it.

Here’s a list of things to consider:

  • Trained, competent tiered support staff
    • Lower level handles triage
    • Mid level handles user-experience related support, non-technical
    • Upper level are experts, ideally developers, architects, sales directors – technical experts
    • Pro tip: In the beginning, all three of these responsibilities belong to you.
  • Comprehensive support documentation
    • Just because you think something is straight forward doesn’t mean that it is. Explain it in detail, don’t skimp.
  • A ticketing system embedded in your product
    • The same ticketing system should be clearly available through all of your public facing products
    • Tickets should be segmented at a minimum:
      • Report bugs
      • Report abuse
      • Make a suggestion
      • General support
    • Automatically capture device information if possible
      • Most customers have no idea about the technical specifications of their device. And it’s usually the first piece of information you’ll need to troubleshoot a problem, so being proactive is useful here.
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Excitement is a short game. Dedication is a long game.

Customer success

Bringing your customer to success requires dedication, expertise and compassion.

You have to want to be there

It’s easy to get excited during product launch and make all kinds of promises to be there for your customer when it counts.

But it’s going to get hard. It’s going to get complicated, and it’s going to be frustrating. And it’s up to the business to get the customer over those hurdles, not the other way around.

Excitement is a short game. Dedication is a long game.

You have to know what you’re doing

Training support staff on the product they’ll be supporting is essential. Answering a phone or an email without understanding how the product works is going to result in a bad experience for your customer.

And training shouldn’t happen once while onboarding and then never happen again. Support staff training should, at a minimum, coincide with your product release cycle.

Yardaroo - Build bridges, strengthen relationships

Build bridges, strengthen relationships.

When we live to serve others, we find meaning and purpose.

In business and in life, our compassion for one another is what brings us to what we truly desire; happiness and fulfillment.

You have to care

Caring is a soft skill that cannot be taught. It can’t be coerced. And there is surprisingly little gray area between caring and not caring these days.

Caring about a customer (that you’ve never met and may never interact with again) requires high emotional IQ. Because you can’t train for that, you have to hire for it.

Your talent acquisition and onboarding processes need to be tuned to detect candidates who show the ability to care for other human beings. Once they’re trained on your product, put them in front of your customers and watch the magic happen!

Other options

Automated systems are another possible opportunity for investment and deserves its own post. AI driven automation and chat bots are getting better all of the time and will eventually become standard, at a minimum for free-tier customers.

Customer support is an investment. Customer success is the ROI.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, customer support is essential. Consequences for bad or non-existent initiatives will have devastating effects on your business in the form of bad online reviews and attrition.

The term “customer success” is not a replacement for “customer support.” The two responsibilities need each other to survive.

Customer support is an investment. Customer success is the ROI.

Andrew Mitchell – Founder & CEO at Yardaroo

Twitter: @yardaroodude

Instagram: @yardaroodude

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