The customer is always right. Customer feedback is crucial for success. You need loyal customers to grow.
We've all heard these principles of business and this basis won't ever change.
But, now that you have a great product and an effective support strategy, how are you focusing on the interactions happening on your business's front lines? Are you adding more to the customer experience through your post-purchase services? And, is your customer support team equipped with the right tools, leaders, and strategy to maximize your brand's value?
If you aren't sure, don't worry.
I had a great conversation with David Hunt, VP of Customer Support at HubSpot, to explore how you can make all of this happen at your business. Below are three tips David and I discussed that will help you improve the customer experience using your service team.
3 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience With Customer Support
1. Always Have Empathy.
By the time a customer reaches your support team, they have probably searched your knowledge base, watched videos on YouTube, researched your website, and turned the product off and back on again and again. Now they're reaching out to talk to a human that can help them solve their problem quicker than they can do it themselves.
This is where empathy is key.
When you find a way to truly connect with your customer it can be a rewarding experience for both sides. David Hunt had this to say.
Empathy starts with training. Taking your customer support reps through your company culture, your approach to resolving customer concerns, and truly being a customer-led business will all lead to improved empathy.
During times of crisis, you also have the chance to really shine and generate loyalty. Short-term discounts, delaying payments, and being flexible with renewals can all be helpful ways to keep customers loyal to you and avoid potential churn.
How to Do This?
Customer Service Training: Training is a great way to create empathy. You can review good calls that ended with a high NPS and ones that ended with a low NPS, then talk about the key takeaways of each.
Company Culture: It's important to have a company culture that supports empathy for customers and provides ways to obtain and implement customer feedback.
Customer Service Metrics: Customer service teams should have metric-based goals that everyone is accountable for. These can be NPS, referral revenue, feedback on review sites, etc.
2. Prioritize the Speed of Your Support.
Speed is crucial.
Speed to follow up on requests, to close support tickets, and to connect with customers. These are all important pieces of empathy and recognizing how valuable your customers' time is.
David Hunt had this to say.
When we have empathy and recognize the inconvenience of reaching out to a support team, then we can train agents on responding to that customer perspective.
How to Do This?
Customer Support Tools: Companies like Gainsight, Qualtrics, and many others use CloudApp screen recording to close support tickets three times faster and increase their customer satisfaction rates. Visuals are great for demonstrating a solution, providing a speedier response to the problem than typing a long-winded explanation.
Team Goals: Setting achievable goals every day, like meeting a specific NPS or responding to a certain number of tickets, will typically lead to speed and efficiency.
3. Give Your Support Team the Support It Needs.
As a business owner, when you only have a certain amount of money to invest, it can be easy to sleep on customer support. You may be tempted to invest more in engineering, product development, or marketing and sales before you put it into customer support.
That's a mistake.
Customer service should be a core component of your business plan and you should consider it during each stage of your organization's scaled growth. You can start by creating a framework of how many reps you'll need based on the number of customers that you acquire over time. This way, your team will be ready to manage your organization's growth and equipped to handle the rise in customer demand.
David Hunt had this to say about what they do at HubSpot.
How to Do This?
Growth/Scale Strategy: Don't sleep on investing in your support team. You should have a clear plan on how many service reps and customer success personnel you'll need to hire per customer. This will ensure tickets are closed in a timely manner.
This was a great conversation with David Hunt. He started as a temp at HubSpot and is now the company's VP of Customer Support. It's easy to see that his ascension was tied to his love of helping customers and a firm commitment to making the support process better at his company.
For another insightful interview, check out this HubSpotter's tips for managing a remote support team.
Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.