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Create a Customer Support Experience That Drives Growth

by Emily Hall · Updated Oct 17 2019

If you have a customer service team, you are striving for good customer support experience. That's a no-brainer. Of course you're striving for it. You have been told it's the goal and you're doing your due diligence.

But do you know why good customer support is the goal?

Happy customers, happy business, right?

But there is so much more to it than that. Good customer support experiences are the key to opening a whole new level of marketing, improved customer retention, and even improved customer acquisition.

Sound too good to be true? Normally, we'd agree and tell you to look for something more realistic. But investing in a good customer experience really can make a world of difference.

Customer Support is Tricky

First, let's talk about the difference between trying for a good customer support experience and actually achieving a good customer support experience. Many strive for good customer support, but many fail. Why? Because it's so easy to fall into subpar support.

Good customer experiences don't just grow on trees. Sometimes it requires not only a redesign of how you manage support, but also of your other departments or even your product. Customer experience doesn't start with your support team, but if you do it wrong, it could end there.

Solve Your Problems by Being Customer-Centric

So how do you keep your customer experience from turning negative? There are short term fixes that you can perform to patch problems, but that won't save your customer experience in the long run.

You want to solve the underlying problem, not slap a fix on as soon as a side effect surfaces. You need to dig deep and make some changes if you want to truly want to create a customer support experience that drives growth.

The answer is to become customer-centric.

What does it mean to be Customer-Centric?

Being customer-centric means that the customer is the center of everything. From their very first steps into your product, you want to be guiding them. Being customer-centric doesn't start and end with support - it's an entire company adjustment. You can build it into the very foundation of your enterprise, though this will take a lot of time and effort.

But we're focused on the support experience right now. So how do you incorporate a customer-centric approach into your support team?

Your support team plays an important role in being customer-centered, so you want to make sure you give them the tools they need to thrive. Check out this free extra resource for 5 Tips for Engaging Customer-Centric Employees.

Spread the Knowledge

You don't want knowledge to be siloed in one or two individuals. This is what usually leads to a customer being unceremoniously bounced between support staff. You want to make sure everyone has access to the same knowledge. The best way to do this? Create a way to share the answers to customer questions amongst your support team.

This may be as easy as a sheet hung on the wall with interesting questions and answers for the week, or a living internal knowledge base that your staff can add to as they encounter new questions.

Make Support Easy to Find

One common complaint amongst customers is that they can't find out how to contact the company's support team. Make sure your support team is highly visible on your main site (or even within your product, if there is a place that makes sense for it) so that your customers will easily be able to get the help they need.

Become More Efficient

Every support team has questions they are asked on a regular basis. Answering these questions can suck time away from more unique or complicated questions and can result in a backlog of customer queries. To help combat this, you should make the answers to these common questions available for the customer to solve themselves. This solution may be creating a knowledge base article or adding a response to your chat bot.

While this doesn't necessarily scream "customer-centric," customers will appreciate that you can spend more time on the questions that matter.

Be Proactive

Support may seem like a reactive occupation. A customer encounters a problem and contacts support for help. But there are ways to solve the problem before the customer reaches support. For instance, sharing on social media when a feature is down or under maintenance may help confused customers.

You could build little help modules into your product or improve the onboarding process. Maybe clarify some of the wording in your error messages. These little things could be what stands between you and an influx of support calls.

Read more about why you should invest in proactive support in this blog by Nicereply.

Supporting Your Staff

Support staff are an integral part of the customer-centric approach. It's important to keep them engaged so that they can continue to give your customers the best support interaction.

However, being a customer-centric staff member doesn't mean you have to enforce the "customer is always right" approach. Instead, it's about engaging your employees so that they can do their best work. Being a customer centered support team relies heavily on anticipating and helping customers. But that doesn't mean you need to side with the customer on everything.

Some customers will never be satisfied, even if you hand them the impossible thing they asked for. Customers aren't always right. In fact, they're often wrong. While that doesn't give an employee the right to be rude to a customer, sometimes customers can be downright hostile to your employees.

If it comes down to deciding between a hostile customer and one of your employees, it's okay to choose your staff member. You want to keep your support team's morale high. You can't do that if you're siding with an unnecessarily nasty customer. Choosing your employees will make them feel like you have their back.

Shocked that the customer isn't always right? Check out this blog at CustomerThink for more points about how that method may steer you wrong.

Good Customer Support Experiences = Growth

Creating a positive customer support experience is every support team's goal. But how do you turn that experience into positive growth? Once you have mastered the art of making your support customer-centric, it's time to make it work for your company.

How Good Support Drives Growth

When a customer reaches out to support, it's a unique situation. Nowadays, customers are often very hands-off. They do their research, read reviews, look at your website, then decide to try your product. Sometimes they do reach out for more information, but more and more often the process is a solitary one.

But when they reach out to support, they are about to start talking to the company. Nevermind that it's about a problem or question about your product. When a customer reaches out, it's an opportunity to actually speak to your customer and make a good impression. An impression that, if done right, can do more work for you than even the most energetic marketing team.

It's important that you give your support team the tools they need to thrive, though. Happy employees make for better customer experiences. Check out this free extra resource for 5 Tips for Engaging Customer-Centric Employees.

Use it to Your Advantage

Customer support is a touchpoint you can use to your advantage. Your customer is in contact with you! This is an opportunity to show them how great your company is.

No, we're not saying to tell them all about your cool new products. People don't like when you try to muscle them into buying extra stuff. Instead, we're talking about making a good impression so that they will remember their interaction with the company on a positive note.

If you make a positive impression, that person may look on the company favorably and, when asked, they may recommend your product to someone else. Happy customers are also far less likely to leave your product. You may even get a positive review. Our blog post, Great customer support improves metrics: the numbers, goes over the actual numbers for how great customer support has helped us retain (and acquire new) customers.

Happy customers and good reviews can all add up to new customer acquisitions. Not only do happy customers do your marketing work for you, they can bring in new customer acquisitions in the form of their friends, family, and colleagues. While your marketing team has lead generation covered, your happy customers can continue to market your product by word of mouth.