“5 Tips for Offering Amazing Customer Service” was written by Kris Knowles. Kris is the Customer Care Manager at @PipelineDeals. Kris is a technology enthusiast who enjoys product design and the Seattle Sounders. He lives with his fiancée Jen in Seattle.
At PipelineDeals, we see customer service as the starting point in everything we do. In sales and in business, it’s all about building relationships. Helping our customers thrive is our top priority. Most software companies view customer support as a nuisance. They look for ways to automate it, outsource it, or charge you extra for it. We think that’s shortsighted.
We see amazing customer support as an essential part of standing behind our product, especially in the relationship-focused field of sales. When it comes to responsive and proactive customer service, we strive to leave our competitors in the dust.
Since our founding in 2006, we have grown and become profitable through hard work, amazing team-members, and the enthusiasm of our customers. Word-of-mouth marketing is powerful and it’s one of the reasons why we’ve been able to grow our customer base to more than 14,000 users worldwide without any outside funding.
Most customer support experiences are painful. Often support is limited to email or live chat, and when you finally reach someone they’re half a world away. Here are five ways to provide amazing support:
1. Be available and accessible. Make it easy to find help online. Display your phone number at the top of your website, offer live chat and make it easy to submit a help request. If you offer phone support, avoid phones trees and auto-receptionists – they will only further upset distressed customers. Allow your customers to leave a voice message if all reps are unavailable. Build trust with your customers by returning their call as soon as possible.
2. Have real conversations. Build relationships with your customers and avoid scripted phones calls. When our customer care ambassadors are getting started, we provide them with best practices for talking to customers but we don’t tell them exactly what to say. We trust that we’ve picked great ambassadors and have provided proper training to go off script, personalize the customer support, and have genuine conversations. If you don’t trust your support enough to let them chat without a script, then they shouldn’t be chatting with your customers at all.
3. Engage and offer support. Provide proactive customer service and build relationships with existing customers. If you can, call every new customer to thank them for using your product. Make sure your customers know how to get the help when they need it, and offer to follow-up with them later if they have any additional questions or concerns. If you are selling a SaaS product like PipelineDeals, or offer a product with monthly, quarterly, or annual renewals, develop an engagement strategy for your customer support team to communicate with your customers throughout their life-cycle as a customer.
4. Set internal goals for your team. Determine your key success metrics and challenge your team to exceed your goals. At PipelineDeals, we pride ourselves on being quick-to-respond to our customers when they have questions. With that being said, we also want to strike a balance between quality customer service and timely responses. Our internal goals aim to encourage quality answers fast, and we continually raise expectations for our Customer Ambassadors as they gain more experience.
5. Listen and respond. Always listen and hear what your customers are saying. Offer a forum where customers can share ideas and request new features. One of the strengths of our Customer Ambassador team is that they’re empowered to go to bat for our customers. We use feedback from our customers to guide our roadmap for new development and better understand the needs of our customers.