Businesses of all sizes and industries know that customer support is essential for success. It's one of the most important ways to differentiate your business from the competition, and it can make or break a company. In fact, 90% of Americans use customer service to decide whether or not to do business with a company.
However, customer support isn't always easy, and it's often one of the first areas to suffer when things get busy, or budgets get tight. That's why it's so important to have a customer service strategy in place. Not sure where to start? Here are ten steps to help you develop effective customer support strategies.
What is a customer support strategy?
A customer support strategy is a comprehensive plan to handle all customer interactions. It is built on the bedrock of your customer support philosophy and includes everything from how you will answer customer questions to how you will handle customer complaints.
A well-executed customer support strategy can help build a loyal customer base by ensuring every customer has a positive experience.
Additionally, a customer support strategy can help to improve efficiency by identifying and addressing potential problems before they cause major disruptions, which is key to increasing your net revenue retention (NRR).
Ultimately, a customer support strategy is an essential tool for any business that wants to provide excellent customer service, which is why it's so important to have one in place.
How to develop an effective customer support strategy in 10 steps
Now that we've answered the question, "What is a customer support strategy?" it's time to look at how to create one. While every business is different — which means your customer support strategy will be unique to your business — there are some general steps that all companies can follow to create an effective customer support strategy. Here are the top ten steps we'll cover in this article:
- Your customer support philosophy should be about maximizing customer satisfaction
- Identify all customer touchpoints
- Set goals for your customer support
- Identify important customer support KPIs to track
- Build the perfect customer support team
- Build the best tech stack
- Don't go crazy with automation
- Embrace new technologies and keep looking to the future
- Always ask for customer feedback
- Destroy silos between product and support team
Your customer support philosophy should be about maximizing customer satisfaction
A successful customer support strategy is laser-focused on increasing customer satisfaction and happiness. Without this customer-centric focus, it will be challenging to create a plan that meets your customers' needs.
This means that your goals, above all, need to focus on customer satisfaction instead of time to resolution or the average number of tickets handled per agent. A few examples of customer-centric goals could be:
- Reducing the number of customers who reach out to your support team
- Increasing the number of customers who say they're "very satisfied" with support
- Reducing the number of customers who contact support more than once for the same issue
While it can be challenging to cultivate a customer-first mindset in your support team, it's essential if you want to achieve long-term success.
By always putting the customer first, you'll be able to increase satisfaction levels and create loyal, happy customers that will stay with you for the long run.
Identify all customer touchpoints
It's crucial for any business to analyze all customer interactions in order to identify patterns and build out from there to identify all key touchpoints. This will allow the company to understand its platform usage and optimize the user journey. To understand your customer touchpoints, consider asking yourselves questions such as:
- How soon after signing up do customers contact you?
- How often do they contact you?
- At what points in their customer journey do they need support the most?
- Are processes like onboarding and billing optimized and understandable, or are they frequently a concern when customers reach out?
Asking questions will help provide the insights needed to identify customer journey touchpoints and how to allocate resources effectively in their support team. Additionally, building a user journey in this way will ensure that the customer is supported through their entire lifecycle on your platform.
Set goals for your customer support
Setting goals is essential for any team, but it's especially important for customer support teams. Support teams have to manage a lot of different moving parts, and it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. That's why it's critical to set goals for your support team and take stock of them on a regular basis.
This will help you make sure that everyone is on the same page and headed in the right direction. Unlike the KPIs we discuss in the next point, these goals need to be more top-line and less granular. They need to speak to the ultimate vision of what you are trying to create as a support team.
Use a framework like SMART goals to ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
With well-defined goals, you'll be able to build a strong customer support team that provides an excellent experience for your customers.
Identify important customer support KPIs to track
While good customer service is about more than just numbers, sometimes those numbers can give you some valuable insights. Keeping track of the proper customer support KPIs can help you identify areas where you need to improve. Here are a few of the most important KPIs you should pay close attention to:
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): CSAT will tell you how satisfied customers are with the service they received from your team.
- Customer Churn Rate: Customer churn rate will tell you how many customers are leaving your platform.
- First Contact Resolution (FCR): FCR measures how often customer issues are resolved on the first contact with support.
- Resolution Rate: This KPI measures the percentage of customer inquiries that are successfully resolved.
Build the perfect customer support team
Did you know that 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience? The customer support team is the face of your company. They are the ones who interact with your customers daily and play a crucial role in determining customer satisfaction.
That's why it is crucial to hire the right people for the job. Customer support can be demanding, and burnout is a common problem. You can help your team members stay motivated and engaged in their work by offering training and development opportunities. In addition, regular check-ins and feedback will let them know that you value their contributions and are committed to their success.
For additional ways to support your customer service team, consider reading more about how to scale your support team as your SaaS company grows, as well as how many support agents you should hire.
Build the best tech stack
You must have the right tools in your toolbox to provide the best possible customer service. Fortunately, there is a wide range of software available to choose from, and picking the right one will depend on many factors, including the size of your team, your budget, your business model, and your industry. You'll want to choose the best software from each of these five categories to create the perfect customer service tech stack:
- Conversational support software
- Help desk software
- Live chat software
- Customer self-service software
- Technical customer support software
We've compiled a comprehensive list of the best customer support software to help you pick the best toolkit for your team.
Don't go crazy with automation
In today's age of technology, it may be tempting to automate everything in your business in order to make things run more smoothly. However, you should resist this temptation! Customers often prefer talking to a real person over a chatbot or automated system, even if it means they have to wait a bit longer. This is because they can build a rapport with the person and feel like they are being truly heard. So, while automation can be helpful in some cases and it has its place, don't go too crazy with it, or you may end up frustrating your customers.
Embrace new technologies and keep looking to the future
If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to embrace new technologies and keep looking to the future. With the proliferation of SaaS companies, customers have a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot afford to get complacent. New technology is always coming out to help make the workflows and processes of customer support better and more efficient.
For example, there are cobrowsing technologies, where an agent can see gain control over a user's screen to solve particularly complex problems collaboratively, as well as session replay recordings, which are video-like recordings of user sessions in your app that can help you see bugs in context and proactively identify customer issues.
By investing in new technologies, you can stay ahead of the curve and provide the best possible customer support.
Always ask for customer feedback
Asking for customer feedback should be a central part of any customer support philosophy. After all, who better to tell you if your support is working than the customers you support? By consistently sending out well-written and thoughtful customer satisfaction surveys, you can make sure you are talking to the most important stakeholders of all: your users.
By soliciting feedback on a regular basis, you can stay attuned to the needs of your customers and make sure that your support is always meeting those needs.
In addition, by asking for feedback, you show your customers that you value their input and that you are always working to improve the quality of your support. Ultimately, regularly asking for customer feedback is a win-win: it benefits both you and your customers.
Destroy silos between product and support teams
Too often, customer support agents are left in the dark when it comes to product changes and updates. As a result, they are unable to provide accurate and up-to-date information to customers. Additionally, when support agents are not included in the product development process, they are less likely to be able to provide valuable feedback that can improve the product. In order to avoid these problems, it is essential that communication barriers between customer support and product teams are broken down.
At Fullview, our end-to-end platform is designed to ensure that everyone is on the same page, from customer support to product development.
With the ability to quickly communicate information across teams, Fullview guarantees that your customer support will always be well-informed and able to provide accurate information to your customers. So, for example, instead of struggling to explain a customer issue to your developers via email or on Slack, customer support agents can directly share a timestamped replay with your product team so they can see exactly what a user experienced in your product.
Customer support is essential to the success of any business, yet it is often overlooked or given less attention than other areas of the company. In order to provide the best possible customer service, businesses need to have a customer-centric approach and philosophy. By focusing on the needs of your customers and always looking for ways to improve, you can ensure that your customer service is top-notch.