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Customer support drives long-term relationships that can be the primary source of profit for your business. However, a customer support process that is slow or does not make itself as accessible as it needs to be can drive customers away. As such, we're going to look at 15 ways to streamline and improve the whole process.
The farther that the customer has to go to get the support that they need, the more expensive it becomes for you, and the slower your response will become. We will look at specific tools that move support close to the customer, such as self-service and live chat, but this is a concept that should be kept in mind consistently.
Related: Customer Experience (CX) Lessons and Guidance
One example of moving support closer to the customer is allowing them to take care of some of their own needs with a self-service platform such as a customer portal or the client-labeled interface from StartingPoint. This can enable them to place and track orders, review and download relevant information, and check the latest announcements and any self-help resources you have.
Not only can customers serve themselves, but they can support themselves, too. While they should always have the option to get direct help from your team, giving them FAQs, how-to guides, and frequent fix posts will allow them to help themselves more often. Be sure your self-support content is delivered in the medium that most effectively communicates the steps they need. Sometimes this will be written bullet points. Occasionally it may include screenshots. Sometimes it will use video.
Put together all of the customer support services you can offer and categorize them in a catalog so that users can choose the one that fits their needs, instead of hunting through a support FAQ to find it.
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You should have a knowledge base, put together by your support team members, technology experts, external information, and even customers. This way, your customers can rely on the information and insights you have gathered together when providing support.
Related: The Essential Guide to Business Process Mapping
There will be customers who need a lot of help directly from your team, and those who can solve most of their problems, even in new and innovative ways. The users who best understand your services and systems are your super users, and they can be a lot of help to the first type. Recognize your super users, label them, and empower them to participate in things like support forum posts or Q&As on products. People like to be recognized for what they bring to a brand's community.
Fewer customers use the phone to communicate daily, but many support systems are still stuck primarily using the phone to help. Communication has evolved, from email to using web forms to using instant messengers. When you're looking at which means of contact you should provide, it's encouraged to keep the old methods available, but trying to keep up with modern communication habits, too.
To use a more concrete example of those modern communication methods, the live chat could be a tool that will help your customers get the help they need much more quickly. Remote support is more straightforward now than ever thanks to the net, and it's a lot more accessible and efficient than phoning up only to be put on hold.
Another way to use modern communication methods to empower your customer support is to deliver it through social media and spaces, be it a company-run forum, Facebook, or Twitter. These additional channels may be more recognizable to the average user and, thus, more accessible.
Helping people over the net isn't always about streamlining the communication side of it, however. It can involve taking a more direct approach. For instance, the technicians on your team can offer to connect to assume direct control of a customer's device directly, allowing them to pinpoint and fix the problem more efficiently, or to install what software needs to be installed. Ensure the customer can take back control at any moment, so they feel secure with this feature.
Related: How To Increase the Productivity of Remote Teams
Just as you can compile and centralize all of the tools that allow your customers to support themselves better, you can do the same for the support staff. An informational resource center that will enable them to quickly find the solutions they can apply or steps they can take to systemize the process, making it much more efficient. It also gives them the means to find answers more quickly. They might not think about themselves. Documenting and structuring your knowledge for your team takes time, but saves them a lot.
Providing support services can be monotonous and draining. Adopting gamification software or practices can help motivate and engage your team.
The better you can connect support to relevant information and functionality from other systems, the better. For instance, StartingPoint integrates a self-service client-labeled interface with service management, file storage, team management, and more. It allows your support system to better connect to your most available team members and the information most needed at the moment.
Your support desk software might be outdated and unable to work with the tips shared above. If that's the case, might it be time to look at some of the other options instead. Can you upgrade and update your existing tools to suit your needs?
Service management platforms like StartingPoint look not only at how to make customer service more efficient for customers. It also includes workflow automation and management features so that your team can more easily provide the needed support.
With the tips above, you can create a sharp, faster, and more convenient customer support system. Take a closer look at StartingPoint and see if it meets your support needs.
Looking for more insights? Come check out our resources!