Recurring Revenue Is Changing How Companies See and Invest in Customer Support

Businesses are evolving and becoming more challenging every day, but so is their competition. Customer support is one of the key factors determining a company’s success. So, providing your customers with valuable information that is responsive and relevant is more than ever.

Customer support has always been an important notion that dictated how companies operate, but it was always deemed an additional expense.

However, it has now become a key factor that differentiates companies. Increased customer support also encourages retention and increases sales among your existing customers.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how recurring revenue has changed the narrative for customer support, how customer service is now seen as an investment and the benefits of investing in good customer service.

What Is a Recurring Revenue Business Model?

In simple terms, recurring revenue is a section of the company’s total revenue that will continue in the future. Unlike other sales parameters, recurring revenue can be foreseen and is stable. It has a relatively high degree of certainty.

So, the recurring revenue business model is now the choice for many industries in contrast to the one-time sales model. This model allows businesses to generate consistent profit by giving constant access to their services or products in exchange for regularly scheduled payments.

Moreover, business workflows for this framework are no longer limited to movies, magazines, or music subscriptions. It now spreads across different automobiles, groceries, furniture, and clothing.

Since customers regularly make monthly purchases, the incoming cash flow ensures a sustainable profit margin for the company. As a result, the recurring revenue model encourages a deeper relationship with customers, leading to higher customer retention.

How Can Businesses Use Retention Revenue to Improve Customer Service?

Introducing ticketing and aligning with product/service management departments can help you focus on persistent problems and streamline your goals and agendas for a more mutual workflow understanding.

Plus, knowing where your product/service management is lacking can introduce you to issues you never knew existed — which you can now solve — and working on the same page with all the departments is easier.

Benefits of Investing in Customer Service

The days of providing good customer support at the purchase and forgetting about the customer are long gone. So, here are some benefits businesses can get by investing in a recurring revenue model:

Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is a huge virtue. In fact, 91% of customers agree that a positive customer service experience influences their future purchase choices.

However, investing in new customers is more complex and expensive. It’s actually 5x more expensive to get customers than it is to retain them. And even a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profit by 25 to 95%.

So, creating loyal customers through effective customer service — usually through a helpdesk — ensures lucrative long-term relationships that lead to stable revenue.

Increased Profits

Long-term relationships derived from customer service help businesses drive more profit, and loyal customers are 5x more likely to repurchase, 4x as likely to refer, and 7x more likely to try new products or services, increasing return on investment (ROI) or overall revenue.

So, companies can grow their revenue based on the support they offer to customers. Thus, building a better customer support system than your competitors allows you to stand out and generate more sales.

Customer Recommendations

Maintaining your existing customers through customer support allows them to recommend your business to others. This is a handy tool as most customers are influenced by others when a product.

So, create loyal and long-term relationships with your customers by listening to them and catering to their needs. You’ll get back referrals for your effort, which can be worth more than your entire marketing and sales budget.

Increase Public Standing

Public perception of the brand depends greatly on the customer support you provide. According to statistics, 78% percent of customers are likely to forgive a brand after receiving excellent customer service. So, giving a positive experience to your customers is crucial in gaining their trust.

How Do Personalized Relationships Help in Customer Retention?

Customer retention is an often-used metric that shows customer loyalty and the ability of a business to retain its customers over time, but it’s affected to a great extent by personalized relationships.

Personalized relationships help predict customer satisfaction, purchase trends, purchase behavior, emotional ties with the business, and customer engagement. They help improve the customers’ experience, transitioning them into repetitive customers, which leads to the greatest profits, as we’ve seen above.

Data gathered through campaigns, and different platforms can help organizations in deriving customer preferences to give more personalized service. Social media is another excellent tool that helps establish lucrative customer relationships by reaching out and providing instant responses to customer support queries.

Become a Partner, Not a Vendor

We live in a world of ever-growing competition in the marketplace, which is one of the reasons why customers expect so highly of businesses. They want quality service and products at an affordable price and delivered with exceptional customer service.

A long-term strategy will help you, but you can only implement that by becoming a partner for your customer instead of trying to sell your service or product like a vendor. This strategy helps to build strong relationships with your existing customers.

So, how can you become a partner?

· Offer Value-Added Products – These encourage your existing customers to return to your products and tell their friends and family about your services. In a nutshell, your customers become some of your best (and free) salespeople.

· Communication with Customers – Communication is vital in any domain. For establishing strong relationships with your customers, it is imperative to have frequent interactions to build trust and keep your customers satisfied.

· Provide Positive Interaction – The last thing you want is to provide bad customer service. Speaking to customers without showing genuine concern for their problems will likely throw them off. So, aim to be genuinely interested in customer issues and invest in automation to assist them with whatever they’re struggling with.

The Bottom Line

Good customer service opens up pathways for new revenue streams to upsell to. It increases profits, decreases customer churn, and leads to long-term relationships that ensure recurring revenue.

So, educating your existing customers on your products/services is vital, as there is no one better positioned to teach about your products to potential customers.

Phone Support: Dated, yet still in its prime

Phone support is still considered one of the best ways to get help

In today’s world, when things go awry, it’s like a wreck on the highway in the fast lane. Everything comes to a crashing halt, people trip over each other to figure out what’s happening, and it takes what feels like forever to even start working on a solution. The first thing most company management personnel do is pick up the phone to contact whoever is in charge of the problematic cog in the wheel.

Pro: People want their problems worked on as they’re talking about them

Talking on the phone gets you in contact with someone you can have real-time interaction with, and gives everyone peace of mind when needing an issue fixed. As the support personnel are working on the solution, they can talk to you about exactly what they’re doing, and you can see the results near-instantly in most cases. Being able to detail your issue out and have a live person on the other end to react and work on a solution then and there is an invaluable trait when it comes to requiring assistance.

Pro: Complex issues are easier to work with when you have a live person on the other end

Your issue might have seemed simpler before you called, but the support personnel have informed you that the cause is much deeper. Having another voice available to brainstorm solutions quickly is not only faster than relying on typing and text, it eliminates a lot of the confusion that can be caused by reading text versus vocal inflections.

While text chat carries a lot of the instant-connection benefits of phone support, nothing quite compares to the level of communication that vocal exchanges carry, and everything feels like it’s simply conveyed better.

Pro: The ability to reconnect instantly with a direct-line extension or phone number

By having these sorts of contact options, when your problem needs a little extra tweak, or the solution just didn’t quite happen the way you wanted it to, you can reconnect with the same person who already knows what’s going on, and they can start from where they left off to further troubleshoot the issue.

Having to start over explaining your issue from square one to a new tech support person is frustrating for many, as a lot of personnel have a list of options they are required to check before they can actually get to where you are in the process. Being able to get right back to the person who’s already at the same point in the list that you are saves you anywhere from minutes to hours, and even minutes can be the difference between recovery and catastrophe in today’s business world.

Con: However, there are queue times

One detriment that prevents people from reaching for the phone is the amount of time they might have to spend waiting to get in contact with someone, depending on the company and the number of employees and phone lines they have available to receive incoming calls.

You might need the problem fixed right now, like right now, as you have an important client on the line that could slip away at any moment. Some will turn to more instantaneous options, such as chat support, in these particular moments.

Con: Phone support isn’t usually available 24/7

When your issue happens outside of normal business hours, it can be disastrous for requiring some assistance. Phone support is almost never available during these hours, with the exception of larger companies that can afford to keep that level of coverage for staff. Voicemail is an option, though it will have to wait to be addressed until the office opens the next day.

In these instances, chat outshines the phone, as an automated chatbot, or even outsourced chat support working 24 hours, can sometimes help solve smaller issues without the need for phone interaction.

Con: Language barriers

Talking on the phone to someone who doesn’t speak the same language well is nearly as frustrating as not being able to reach someone at all. English, for all its widespread use, is unfortunately an incredibly difficult language to learn, and nowhere is this more obvious than in the world of support desks and help technicians.

Many companies will not hire personnel who are not proficient in the primary language of their customer base, but in some cases, there is simply a major failure to communicate, which will often cause more problems than it solves.

Phone support is still rated the highest for customer satisfaction[1]

91% of customers in a recent Zendesk study reported satisfaction with phone support, compared to chat support at 85%. While chat has grown more intuitive and helpful in the past decade, it still lacks the benefits of interaction that phone support provides.

Some think it will surpass the phone, eliminating the need to talk to a person entirely, but the data shows that the phone has no sign of being superseded anytime soon, and still reigns supreme.

[1] According to a Zendesk research study, link here: https://www.helpscout.com/blog/live-chat-statistics/#:~:text=According%20to%20data%20from%20Zendesk,and%20Facebook%20support%20(74%25).

Chat and Email Support: Improving as fast as their response times

Chat support has grown immensely with no sign of stopping

Over the last decade, the technology surrounding chat support has become incredibly widespread. Companies all over the world are using some form of chat program to assist customers on their websites, be it for helping customers get information on their products, asking about policies, receiving support, or even placing orders. Chat has grown and evolved as fast as the coding and software technology surrounding it, and the people who have grown up in a world filled with chat have become quite accustomed to its presence, as well.

Pro: Instantaneous connection

When a problem arises in today’s incredibly dynamic society, being able to get in touch with someone within 5 minutes – versus potentially waiting in a phone queue for 35 minutes – is usually all the difference in the world. Chat support provides an undeniably fast connection, paired with an adaptable human response from a live agent, that other support platforms can’t compete with. Your problem is getting addressed, and it’s getting addressed right now.

Pro: Chatbots allow support to reach out to customers to ask if they need help

Customers hop onto the website to browse support articles, but perhaps they’re having trouble finding what they need, or one solution doesn’t quite fit their problem. Perhaps they’re browsing products and want to know one small detail, perhaps about shipping estimates for time or cost.

When the notification of the chatbot appears in the corner of their screen, they know they have the option to ask for help if they need it. It’s the virtual equivalent of having an associate in the department store approach you to ask if you need help after you’ve been browsing without success for some time.

Pro: Language barriers are easier to overcome, thanks to translation apps

Companies have been able to hire help from all walks of life, and with the growing attention to diversity in the workforce, this has become all the more prominent, especially in the world of tech support, where outsourced chat support often comes from foreign countries. Not all of the employees hired will have the best proficiency in the language of their customer base, but this is where apps such as Google Translate can step in and fill in the gaps. Using copy/paste, customers and their support technicians can gain a lot more traction in understanding each other and surpassing those otherwise daunting barriers.

Pro: 24/7 chat support

Thanks to automated chatbots and outsourced chat support, it’s possible to have coverage to help customers even outside of normal business hours. A chatbot can be present at all hours of the day to answer simple questions for customers in different time zones, or if the problem requires some human help, the bot can gather information from the customer into a nice little ticket that will be waiting on the support desk as soon as someone clocks in the next business day.

Pro: Chat support appeals to the more introverted souls in today’s society

Most customers nowadays have grown up using and operating chat platforms, and find them the most comfortable form of communication. There may not really be room for introversion in the business world, as making deals and partnerships and working with customers will always require interaction in some form or another, but those who are more comfortable working with text rather than another voice will always prefer to rely upon this method, and it opens up a wider base of customers to work with.

Con: Lack of clarity in communication

Perhaps your problem is more complex than you think. You might have explained it five times or more to the technician, who just really isn’t understanding what it is you’re saying. This can very well be chalked up to the quality of training provided, but it also presents a very real hurdle that people still encounter in text-based support overall.

Whether it be through language barriers, or simply the complexity of the issue, sometimes text just doesn’t convey the same thing that vocal interaction does, and the meaning of what needs to happen can easily get lost in translation. This wastes valuable time in getting a problem addressed and a solution figured out.

Con: Waiting for responses

Chat might have you connected to someone, which gives you peace of mind, but sometimes it can be several minutes or longer between responses from the support personnel. Being able to hear someone over the phone as they’re working on your problem is often a bit more of a comfort than waiting for what feels like hours for a response from a chat support tech.

Not to mention, there’s always the threat of getting disconnected due to a software glitch while you’re waiting. Perhaps you’ve gone idle while waiting for an answer, and the software catastrophically drops you, thinking that you’re no longer active in the conversation. When this happens, you’re often not reconnected to the same person you were speaking to, and then you have to repeat everything once again from square one, not an experience anyone wants to go through.

Email support, while less preferred, is still one of the most relied-upon methods[1]

A Zendesk study puts email at number 4 overall on the list, right behind help section articles, and fairly ahead of Twitter and Facebook support. It’s generally preferred by those of the earlier generations, as it’s what they’re most familiar with, but the ease and speed of chat support have certainly left their mark on this demographic.

Pro: Email is a great way to handle non-critical support requests

The large text count of email allows for you to detail your problem fully, provide screenshots and images as appropriate, and format your message how you choose. This allows you to highlight everything in your issue in one fell swoop rather than intermittently bringing things up as a technician asks about them. If your problem is one that can wait for an answer, it’s certainly worth it to use email.

Con: Responses can take anywhere from a few hours to several days

If email is your only option, and the problem is urgent, it can be devastating to have to wait potentially days for a reply. Most will opt for phone or chat support simply because of this alone, especially because most problems in the eyes of business owners and managers need to be handled immediately, rather than waiting days to possibly receive nothing helpful in terms of a response.

Text-based support has limitless potential for improvement

Companies are turning more and more towards chat support as a means of helping their customers on and off the clock. As bots grow more advanced, and the technology continues to grow and change, we could very well see chat surpassing phone support as a preferred method of communication sooner than we think. Email trails a good bit behind the other two, but is still far too reliable and successful of a method to even consider dropping at this time.

Overall, all three are stellar and cover most if not all the bases needed when it comes to a comprehensive customer support system.

[1] According to a Zendesk research study, link here: https://www.helpscout.com/blog/live-chat-statistics/#:~:text=According%20to%20data%20from%20Zendesk,and%20Facebook%20support%20(74%25).

How Can Your Support Team Collaborate On Product Roadmaps

Product roadmaps are visual representations showcasing the company’s product’s growth and progress. They are invaluable to companies during product development and product evolution.

But how exactly are product roadmaps valuable to companies, and how do they affect product evolution?

This blog post will discuss why product roadmaps are important, how product and customer service teams can collaborate to create better roadmaps, and why this collaboration is more effective.

 

Why Are Product Roadmaps Important?

Product roadmaps are integral to the product team’s work. The product team and product managers look after them. However, because a company revolves around its products, all other departments and stakeholders are impacted by the product evolution.

Even though product roadmaps are worked on by the product team, keeping that planning and development in isolation is not a good framework for the company.

 

Why Should the Product Team Collaborate with the Customer Service Team Before the Product Has Been Launched?

To create product roadmaps, the product team needs to consult all stakeholders, including the sales, marketing, engineering, and finance departments.

However, the customer support department can be the most valuable collaborator for successfully driving the product roadmap and product evolution.

Both teams, including project managers and customer support agents, aim to provide customer satisfaction through a good product and excellent customer service.

The product needs to improve and evolve over time, and the customer support department is the most direct resource of valuable data that can help guide this evolution.

The customer support department knows and understands what the customers like and don’t like. They get direct feedback on the product and have an in-depth knowledge of problems with the product that they have been helping customers solve through their help desk.

Even with this seemingly obvious connection, only 58% of product teams take in influence from their customer support teams on the product roadmap, and only one out of three product managers follow up with the feedback being provided by the customers.

 

How Should the Product Team Collaborate with the Customer Service Team After the Product Has Been Launched?

Once a product has been launched and used by the customers, the customer support team becomes a company’s primary point of contact with the customers.

Any future product changes and add-ons should be guided by what the customers want and would respond to. Here’s what a typical collaboration effort would look like:

1.     Create a Cohesive Product Roadmap

The product team’s prediction and tentative plan may oppose customer feedback completely. In such a case, the product managers must consider the valuable insight offered by the customer support team and come up with a cohesive product roadmap.

2.     Incorporate Knowledge From the CS Team

The product team must incorporate knowledge from the customer support team, and it is equally important for customer support staff to get product training from the product team to be better able to serve the customers.

3.     Create a Plan for Answering Customer Queries

The product team should effectively communicate any new developments in the product to the support agents. Hence, they are well-equipped to deal with customer queries.

With this in-depth understanding of the product, the support agents can also filter out customers’ concerns and criticisms, creating a plan for answering customer queries.

4.     Communicate CS All Insights to the Product Team

The valuable feedback given to the support staff can then be relayed to the product team for product planning and tweaking, as when it comes to improving the product, adding in more features, or drastically changing the product plan, customer feedback is more valuable than any external product research in the market.

 

How Can You Strengthen the Collaboration Between the Product Roadmap and Customer Teams?

The collaboration of the product team with the customer support team can also be taken one step further to be transformed into collaboration with customers themselves.

Since the end goal of all company efforts is to make the customer happy, taking their feedback to drive the product roadmap is a way to ensure success.

Here are some ways you can strengthen the collaboration between the product and customer teams:

·        Products Analytics

Product analytics shows the product team what the customers are doing with the product or how their product is being used. It also includes insights that describe what the customers need from the product.

Moreover, product analytics provides you with the necessary information that can be crosschecked with real interactions between customer support agents and customers. It also gives concrete numbers that product managers can use to support their ideas in front of executive members and other concerned departments, such as finance and marketing.

The teams can collaboratively derive invaluable metrics from product analytics and customer feedback, including customer engagement, conversion rates, customer retention, churn, feature adoption, cohort performance, etc.

·        Qualitative Feedback

Both teams can also come together to collect direct qualitative feedback from the customers through product analytics. When the customer support teams have the guidance of the product team, their interviews and surveys can become more in-depth and concentrated around specific product features or development plans.

Using the knowledge and reach of customer support, the product team can work on a development plan, roll it out, and get specific feedback from the customers regarding the development.

These rollouts or soft launches can be supervised using product analytics where both teams keep a close watch on how the customers have received the rollout, and further improvements in the product can be guided.

 

The Bottom Line

The collaboration between product and customer service teams has a world of potential for companies to benefit from. This collaboration goes beyond company structure to involve customers in the feedback loop and empower employees to contribute more to their work than just their fixed roles.

You can achieve this collaboration by having product managers shadow the support staff, allowing product developers temporarily serve as customer support workers, and making the product and customer service teams work together whenever an opportunity arises.

How B2B start-ups should approach customer support

Delivering customer support, particularly for B2B start-ups, is an incredibly difficult thing to get right and implement well. Supporting customers is vastly different in the B2C than it is in the B2B and requires completely different strategies and tools for your customers to have a great experience.

Let’s talk about a few key approaches to support that your start-up should take when implementing your support department.

In a B2B start-up, customer support is the frontline to understanding your customer’s experience with your brand and your product (and will ultimately dictate sales/revenue). It drives how you build solutions, how you market your business, how you sell and position your platform, and if you are really good at it, creates customers that do the selling for you by creating reviews, blogging, and sharing their stories about you on social media.

The most important decision to make at the start is how your customers should reach you. The way your customers reach you is called a communication channel. The one key learning I have found is to pick one and only one channel for customers to reach you and dominate on that channel. The reason for this is that each method of communication has its benefits and drawbacks and requires a different set of skills and as a start-up, to maximize resources, you want to focus on one skill set.

For instance:

Phone conversations require someone who is outgoing, can handle conversations well, and can think under pressure.

Live chat requires someone with good soft skills in spelling, and grammar, who can think on their feet, and multi-task.

Email requires someone with good communication skills in spelling, grammar, and time management, and who can methodically create responses to problems that anyone can understand and follow.

By picking one channel to focus on, you can effectively control it, improve on it, and most importantly set your customers’ expectations on how their relationship is going to be with you. Your customers will notice and appreciate knowing exactly what to expect and when and not the channel itself.

Most B2B businesses toy with phone and chat as a primary channel, but soon find it’s not a scalable solution and quickly goes back to what almost all B2B businesses rely on: email. Email allows you to focus on priority issues, gives you time to gather the right information, set customer expectations, and record the solution to be used later.

Focusing on one channel, will:

  • – Let your team shine in one particular skill set and improve on it.
  • – Set your customers’ expectations by funneling them into a place you can control.
  • – Allow you to scale that channel.

 

The second most important aspect to implement is knowledge storage. In the same way, Sales has CRMs to track purchase history, Ticketing systems must track conversational history. The recording and

keeping of all Support related problems and their solutions are integral to building institutional knowledge that is passed down to new employees, product managers, salespeople, and even customers.

Building knowledge helps your team:

  • – get up to speed with your products faster.
  • – not re-invent solutions over and over again.
  • – deflect customers by allowing them to find answers on their own.

 

Thirdly as a B2B start-up, customer health is hugely important and needs to be measured and tracked as relationships have a direct correlation with churn.

85% of consumers churn because of poor service that could have been prevented. (Kolsky)

B2B businesses typically have higher value customers who pay more for their products/services and have long-term relationships with them. Customer support agents in B2B will know intimate things about the people support: whether they’re married or have children, what sports teams they cheer for, and many more things you wouldn’t expect them to know. I knew someone so well, that years after I left a company, they visited my city and they looked me up to go for a drink. Because of these close relationships, it is vital you know how your team is supporting them, how positive these interactions are, where you are failing, and get notified if something changes in those relationships.

Track your relationships by:

  • – Collecting net promoter scores
  • – Gathering customer satisfaction scores
  • – Recording customer effort scores
  • – Analyzing sentiment and emotional responses from customers
  • – Analyzing KPIs such as response and resolution times
  • – Keeping notes on customer behavior

 

Keeping track and building this type of institutional knowledge seems like a lot, but if you plan for and implement a solution that can handle these complexities at the start, it’s easy to build and grow into.

The key takeaways are:

  • – Choose one channel to support your customers and dominate that channel.
  • – Store as much knowledge as possible on answered customer questions within a knowledge base.
  • – Customer support is a key business pillar and is direct insight into your customer relationships and revenue retention.

 

Author: Eric Klimuk, CTO and founder of Supportbench. Customer support and retention platform specializing in the B2B

7 Steps to Drive Real Customer Support Improvement

Many businesses have the same goals: to drive real trust and customer support improvement to their bottom line. However, restoring trust, as well as increasing the revenue stream, for some businesses seems impossible.

In such cases, customer service or customer support improvement can be the solution. Without customer service, consumers will search online, calling, emailing, (after all these tools are very expensive) or even post on social media. A simple Google search for customer service help or case studies can lead you to hundreds of examples for customer support improvement.

We have examined thousands of case studies and hundreds of case studies that both gave an overall assessment of customer service initiatives as well as how to verify and audit the actual data, as well as how to differentiate it. The key takeaways for managers are:

1. Customer service takes years to build trust with customers

A company provides outstanding service but two out of three customers never know about it. This may be the reason why only 37% of US businesses are serving their customers as they should. As you can imagine, this can have a very significant impact on your bottom line as 70% of customers form their opinions about you based on customer service.

In fact, 90% of consumers will simply stop buying from you if you don’t fix your service issues. The customer journey begins with a business statement describing what your organization does. This is vital because, in the post-internet age, your competitors have so much more control over customer perception and opinions.

2. It’s not a minor issue

Your customers need your help to validate their opinions because trust is a priceless asset. Without this, your real value proposition becomes blurred as to who are really accountable for your customers’ experience and therefore how much they’re going to take your word for it.

In the absence of security for your data, your competitors become better at collecting information than you. This gives them a competitive vantage over you and can present the most severe problem to the rest of the field as well.

3. Customer service dominates the top five business top trends for 2020

Over 80% of businesses which have successful customer service overall will increase their market share.

Today’s automation plays a major role in customer service and this makes up for most of the mistakes, as well as in the inability to build an excellent customer service culture or drive customer support improvement.

Despite it, there are certain lessons companies can take away by looking at both case studies and performance metrics in finance, healthcare, insurance, government, etc. They can easily check if their strategies are working out in practice and simply using additional variables like agents’ response time, how they’re training them, the amount of advertising dollars they’re spending on customer service (both online and offline) etc. can also provide valuable insights into the real performance of customer service.

4. Conduct an audit of the customer data

Let’s say you own a software company. Your next step is to visit the website of your top competitors and see what they can tell you about your customers. Additionally, using sites like G2.com that provide aggregated reviews from customers of rival products can show what customers are finding to be valuable and where there may be potential missteps. Using this data, you can get access to valuable customer data points of competitors that you may use to improve your customer support, positioning, and also for better understanding of market dynamics.

Furthermore, if you’re already a leer in customer service, we recommend making sure you make a point of having several performance audits and reviews along the way. Having multiple auditing sessions along the line might have a huge impact on your bottom line and this certainly helps you save yourself time, energy and money on the process.

5. Know how to answer every question

Back to customer support solutions, the most important aspect of a successful customer support improvement is being able to answer every question. In order to avoid questions, the rest of your communication should be about what you can do to fix it and how you’re going to do it.

In many cases, your customers prefer email and you try to answer some questions manually, like who can they call, how, what kind of questions or how they should respond to some specific questions.

By knowing and working through the questions and answers, you can then start compiling and building an internal knowledge base to help support your team. Furthermore, you can even use this to build a public facing self-service knowledge base that allows your customers to find the answers before contacting you, offloading common questions from your customer support team.

The key is to make sure that you also have a customer support solution such as Supportbench that will allow you to respond instantly and actually even facilitate some better answers.

6. Identify the key factors on customer satisfaction

The ability to enhance your customers’ health score is what’s defined as your company’s ability to live up to your customers’ expectation for what your company is best known to do. There are many different issues, like tracking your customers after getting an order, direct communication and change, resolving issues, or providing more coverage in the event of a claim. That’s why it’s important to look at a customer’s journey from the beginning and measure how you can help your customers. As part of doing so, it’s crucial to understand their pain points and understand what you can do to identify problems, tackle questions, and adjust your service.

Additionally, it is vital to view potential customer service challenges in perspective of your company and get your KPIs on a weekly basis. And before you can start looking at customer satisfaction, you have to see these issues as a business opportunity. So the first step of identifying problems is taking an eye-opening look at your customer satisfaction overall.

Business logic is at the root of every problem, and that’s how you first get to know your customers. It’s important to know what their feedback is and how you could be improving the way you engage with them. Without taking those first steps, you might fail to see the big picture and miss a great idea of how to take action.

Most industries today would be shocked by the fact that attention to customer retention is incredibly poor. According to the Customer Service World, more than 55% of Americans were unsatisfied with their customer experience in 2017.

And the fact that US customers use 27 customer service agencies because they aren’t getting the help they need has also skyrocketed. That’s why it’s vital to prioritize fixing those issues. What started as a mistake can really negatively impact the entire customer experience. It’s important to develop systems that match each and every employee’s needs so that you are doing everything possible to strengthen the relationship between you and your customers and drive customer support improvement

7. Get real on leading change

When it comes to effective customer service, leadership skills are a powerful part of it. Every time there is an issue with your business, it’s the responsibility of the business leadership to lead. You need to help shape the organization and help redefine the way customers interact with your company. Without change, you will continue to miss opportunities to build on your customer’s experience.

Customer satisfaction is the core of every relationship and for many consumers, that’s the number one touch point with your company. And in fact, even though those are two words that most companies don’t use in their daily messaging, people do use them.

Influencers are great to engage with your audience and you want to make sure they see value in your company. You must be there when customers want you to be there. And if you aren’t there, well that doesn’t translate to customer retention. It also means that you aren’t helping your customers get the service they need. They may be experiencing problems, but without knowing what you are doing, your next steps in communication may not lead anywhere good.

Once you know that 80% of all social media users dislike passive interaction and 85% of them are looking for engagement, you should be doing everything you can to satisfy that need. That is why being active with social media is crucial to customer satisfaction in 2020.

In some ways, a basic and simple guide to getting on social media that could improve your business. If you want to be there when people want you to be there, then you need to be there by listening to your customers and acting accordingly.

Supportbench unifies customer support, success, experience, knowledge management, and account management into one simple platform. Do more, with less, to maximize your retention.

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What does a customer support agent do?

Rarely is a role one-note, and a customer support agent is no exception. Customer support agents don’t only provide support. This role is nuanced with various duties and functions that an agent is responsible for. From providing support to cross-selling to providing valuable feedback, the support agent wears many hats.

Awesome support agents are crucial to providing your customers with an excellent customer experience. Below are five jobs a customer support agent is typically responsible for.

1. RESOLVING ISSUES

First and foremost, a customer support agent is responsible for resolving issues. That is what the bulk of the role will entail. Agents are reactive in that they respond when customers reach out for help, as opposed to the proactive nature of customer success agents.

When customers are reaching out, it’s because they have a problem or issue that need to be resolved. It’s not uncommon for agents to deal with irate customers, so resolving issues require customer support agents to use tact and exercise patience.

On top of providing efficient and effective support, agents have to be fast. Customers these days expect fast service and will give their money to the companies that can provide that speed.

2. CROSS-SELLING

While support agents are not a part of the sales department, there are a plethora of sales opportunities that fall under the domain of a customer support agent.

Cross-selling is the practice of encouraging customers to purchase related or complementary products or services.

Because agents are perfectly positioned to know what customers want and more importantly, need, they have a prime opportunity to suggest other products or services that a customer may benefit from.

But it has to be done right so that the customer doesn’t feel that you’re trying to squeeze more money from them. By getting to know the customers’ pain points, your agents will be able to organically but strategically make product recommendations that provide the most value and deepen relationships with customers.

3. EDUCATING CUSTOMERS

Support agents not only resolve issues, but they also have to educate customers on what happened, why it happened, and how to prevent it.

This includes distilling complex technical information into digestible, clear instructions that help customers resolve their issues quickly. This can also mean crafting comprehensive, well-structured knowledge base articles to cater to customers who prefer self-service support.

4. PROVIDING FEEDBACK

Your support agents are on the front lines every day. This means that they have a direct line of sight into what customers are struggling with.

This means that they can provide invaluable insight. Customer support agents can flag bugs, identify gaps in both internal workflows, and external procedures, and recommend solutions on how to improve the product or service.

5. RETAINING CUSTOMERS

Finally, support agents also actively prevent customer churn.

When support agents interact with customers, it’s because customer have a problem or issue that needs resolving. Sometimes, customers can get frustrated enough that they consider cancelling their services.

So it’s up to customer support agents to not only resolve the issue but to do so in a way that turns the bad experience into one that will make the customer reconsider leaving.

This takes an intricate mix of fast response time, active listening, empathy, exceeding customer expectations, and efficient resolution.

It’s a such a crucial job to ensure that customers have a memorable support experience because it’s not only what will retain customers in danger of leaving but also turn them into brand advocates.

Customer support agents do a lot. They are professional multi-taskers, often juggling many cases and roles at once. Their jobs are extremely dynamic, and as always, it boils down to how agents can provide customers with the best possible experience.

Ready to provide excellent customer support. Contact us today!

Your customer service is only as good as your customer service agents

I’ve been in the customer service agent game all of my life and in all of that time, nothing has changed. Technology evolves, concepts come and go and the only constant throughout the years is the people.

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Supportbench launches new release offering businesses the most flexible and affordable customer service and helpdesk software on the market

 

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