There are there elements of a successful venture – great product, great marketing, and great support.
However, when it comes to the latter not all of the companies excel in this department. And the problem is not always about hiring the right people to do the job. It's more about the overall business attitude your company has towards the users.
For niches dealing with non-physical products or online services – efficient tech support is simply indispensable. When you fail to deliver your promise, your reputation gets hurt. Software, for instance, is already intangible enough and customers don’t want to feel even more puzzled with the solution they just purchased.
So, how do you make things right? Start with the following 5 tips.
Set Up Multiple Support Channels
Some people prefer to get on the phone, some get along well with an online chat. Millennials give preference to self-help portals. Some companies go as far as using Snapchat as a customer support tool as it allows creating simple and instant videos in real time to explain complex issues or demonstrate how a certain feature works correctly.
Depending on the size of your company and the nature of your services, you should stick to at least 3 different support channels e.g. email, phone and ticket desk support system.
Don’t forget to clearly outline your support hours and how long does it typically take to receive a reply. There’s nothing worse from a customer’s perspective than sending their inquiry into the void and wondering if anyone is there to attend to it.
Create a Troubleshooting/Support Wiki
One of the most efficient ways to cut down your support costs and time is to build a comprehensive user portal, which not only answers all the common FAQs and product/service questions but additionally features interactive materials like educational visual guides or step-by-step tutorial videos.
Keep it regularly updated by adding new topics based on the frequent support inquiries. Don’t forget to label and structure the information accordingly and make all the materials searchable for easy access.
Airbnb keeps it sleek, minimalistic and straight to the point:
Consider Hiring a Dedicated Provider For The Second Level of Tech Support
When your in-house support team can’t handle due to its technical nature, you need to call the IT guys. For instance, if a customer’s credit card was billed twice; when the payment form didn’t work or the informational good was not delivered for some technical reasons.
So, should you hire a dedicated on-call team in-house or opt for a 3rd party service provider? Here are the cases when you may need an in-house tech representative available at short reach:
- Your software troubles happen consistently.
- Your operations cannot be done efficiently due to tech issues.
- Your equipment is out of date and aging.
A direct hire is immediately available during any emergency situation, which is kind of great. However, his billable hours do not depend on whether there was a major tech disaster lately or not, hence you’ll likely have to occupy the person with other chores.
An outside consultant, on the other hand, usually operates on on-demand premises. You sign the contract and pay for the initial consulting, scheduled regular maintenance and emergency calls. Companies like Netswat, for instance, take a step further and deploy remote management software with an assigned technician, who keeps an eye on your operations almost round the clock.
Get The Customer to Help Each Other
Another option often used by major software companies is setting up a dedicated forum and actively encouraging users to help each other out.
There are some definite benefits here:
- Customers can browse these existing threads and find a solution themselves.
- Another customer will answer the common questions instead of your reps.
- The forum response time may be much faster compared to the standard support TAT.
- You can use the common forum questions and topic to update your wiki, create additional educational content and leverage your content marketing.
Certainly, there are some drawbacks to this too:
- An empty forum looks kind of pathetic, so you’ll need to heavily invest into its promotion.
- You’ll have to hire a moderator (or a few) as the place can quickly turn into a complete mess.
- Spam and malicious entries can become a problem. Always keep an eye on the security infrastructure.
Analyze The Feedback You Receive
User feedback and common problems are your golden mine to further product development. Don’t take things personally and learn from the criticism you receive.
Analyze what is the root of the customer’s complaint – when and why things went wrong within their journey. Try to discover whether it is a recurring problem and if some other users got affected by the same issue (and haven’t reached out to you yet). Scrutinize the data you have before taking action.
Do you want to keep that feedback organized? In that case, you should set up an efficient internal funnel for collecting and tallying up that feedback. If your current tech solution doesn’t have such features, you can use tools like Trello, JIRA or Asana to store and review this kind of information.
Ideally, it should work the following way:
- A customer reports a problem for the first time.
- The information is added to the respective repository.
- When the same/similar issue is reported again, the report is added to the same file.
- When you have at least 3-5 similar cases, it’s time to investigate the problem seriously.
When you plan to roll out a new product version, look into your feedback file and ask the following questions based on the data you have:
- What issue is coming up over and over again?
- What kind of a quick fix can you make to satisfy a lot of users simultaneously?
- What kind of suggestions will encourage more people to buy/upgrade your product?
Now you have it – an efficient blueprint for organizing your tech support and repurposing the data you receive for additional good causes – from further product development to online marketing.
Freelance writer and digital marketing buff. Five years in online marketing. One year as a World Teach Volunteer. I love testing custom acquisition growth hacks and always on the look out for new startups.