In this article, you’ll learn the four types of tools that will allow your team members to do their jobs and how to effectively scale up your customer support team in a fast-growing company. Every company wants to provide great customer service to their paying customers.
In 2016, customer service means more than just manning the telephones and responding to emails. Trying to stay organized across multiple channels of support while maintaining a high quality of service is a tough managerial challenge.
Let’s look at the different types of tool you can use to make your support team more organized and efficient:
#1. Use Effective Social Media Tools
Increasingly, customers are turning to social media to log complaints and get help from customer service representatives. It can be easier and more convenient than picking up a phone.
But this presents a challenge. One survey found that 42% of respondents who reach out to brands over Twitter about customer support expect a response within 60 minutes.
What does that mean? Well, it means that you need to be where your customers are when they need you. This kind of support requires a great deal of organization.
These tools can help:
Conversocial is a social media tool created specifically to help you provide the best customer care possible. It connects you to your customers through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SMS and more.
Unlike most social media tools, Conversocial is specially designed with customer support agents in mind.
The system is designed to be user-friendly, and offers special features like a robust resolution management system, a customer feedback system, a clipboard for storing commonly used links or text (like a current coupon code) and full integration with popular CRM systems.
Other helpful social media tools include:
However, it should be noted that these tools were mostly designed for general social media management, and do not focus specifically on customer support.
On a more basic level, if you have a social media presence on sites like Facebook, you must maintain them! Make sure your marketing team doesn’t slack off with posting new and engaging content, and respond quickly to any problems that come up.
A great way to destroy customer confidence in your support team is to leave a customer complaint lingering on your Facebook wall without a response.
#2. Implement Customer Service Software
There has been a swell of activity in SaaS (“Software as a Service”) that focuses on customer support. Usually, these companies will provide a number of specific tools within a larger framework.
Typically, they will offer a help desk interface that allows customer service agents to work with customers over multiple channels. There will also be a tool to help you build and maintain a “knowledge base” for your site, where you can provide answers to customer questions, and provide in-depth support documentation about company policies, product features and more. (more on that later.)
They also provide advanced tracking and engagement tools. If you use software to track all customer interactions, you can get a good picture of the problems each contact has had in the past, and how you can better serve them today.
The big player in the customer service software game is undoubtedly Zendesk. With over 81,000 paying customers and expecting over $300 million in revenue in 2016 they are the industry leader.
Competitors to Zendesk include:
If you feel like this is a solution that might work for you, you can request a demo from each company. You might find that one suits you better than the others.
Some people also use the core Salesforce product, but this is probably overkill for most businesses when it comes to customer support. You can also integrate most of the above SaaS products into Salesforce if you need to.
#3. Create a Self-Service Knowledge Base
As discussed, knowledge bases can be really helpful in taking the load off of your customer service team, and providing customers with quick answers.
They also present a great opportunity to get your personality across and build brand loyalty, so use your company’s unique voice where you can.
Of course, you should always be focused on delivering easily digestible information first. Make sure to edit these posts until they are completely error-free and perfectly understandable.
Whenever possible, steer customers to your knowledge base. You will likely be able to answer the majority of customers’ questions on these kinds of pages.
If your knowledge base is easily accessible and visible on your site, you can cut out some of these calls and emails before they even happen, saving both you and your customers time and energy.
#4. Hire a Virtual Receptionist Team
If you find yourself growing very quickly, and you just can’t find the bandwidth to interview, hire and train top-quality customer service agents, consider going the virtual receptionist route.
A virtual receptionist is a person who sits in a call center and responds to customers as if he or she worked from the same office as your in-house agents. Your virtual receptionist can be trained to help customers over phone, email, chat, or any of the SaaS products we discussed earlier.
The benefit here is that you do not have to hire a high-cost, full-time employee, and you can increase or decrease your plan’s hours depending on your expected monthly volume. If business is growing quickly, simply increase the number of hours with your virtual receptionist. Once you catch up on your in-house hiring, you can return to a reduced plan.
And Finally …
Don’t over-reach. Only offer customer care on channels you can fully support. For instance, don’t add a chat window to your site if you only have one customer support specialist, and they are already at maximum capacity.
Don’t rush to implement every channel at once. Start with the ones you know your customers want, and that you are best at providing.
As with social media platforms, you might find that one platform is more suitable to your customers and your company. If so, make sure you are providing top notch customer service for that channel, and only then move onto the next item on the list.