Five Ways Support Impacts a Customer’s Success

When Customer Support is mentioned, the first thing that usually comes to mind is talking to an agent in a call center. While this is certainly a component of support, it should only be one aspect of your organization’s approach to enabling customers. To that end, here are five ways Support can impact Customer Success beyond the traditional thought:

Proactive Support

Why wait for your customers to contact you when there is an issue? Product malfunctions are a reality and it’s imperative to put monitoring systems in place. Support needs to be given to tools to spot these issues and take ownership for reaching out to the customer when they arise. Once you have a handle on what’s effective, take steps to automate the outreach and look for additional touch points. It’s surprising how many companies fail to do this effectively, as customers often seem surprised and delighted to hear from Support before they even realize they have a problem.

Communication avenues

At many startups, support begins as an afterthought. An email is put on the site, which may be accompanied by a phone number. These aren’t enough avenues for today’s customer and It’s up to Support leadership to think through how people want to contact your team. Depending on your business, you might want to think about including chat, social media, or even a customer community where your clients can find what they need from directly from others that encountered a similar situation.

Customer facing documentation

Regardless of who originates how-to guides in your organization, the Support team should be the owner. Ideally, Marketing can give direct access to the public-facing site and Support should put procedures in place to ensure it’s iterated upon. If another team is responsible, make sure there is a clear path to updating through client feedback. Stale and unclear how-to content is the antithesis of great support as it will lead to customers still having to contact the team.

Product feedback

Ask any person working in Support and they can tell you the three (or more!) most annoying bugs to customers. An average Support organization has a way to document and communicate these to the Product team. A truly successful company enables customers to leave feedback directly and ensures follow up when enhancements are made. There are many tools out there to help accomplish this and if you’re looking for a suggestion, see if UserVoice will work for your company.

Judging effectiveness

The easiest way to judge Support’s impact on Success is through transactional surveys. At VS Networks, we see an 18% response rate for post-case surveys and monitor customer comments daily. It’s important to make sure there is a process in place to follow up on any lingering or negative comments in a timely manner. In order for surveys to be the most effective, they need to be integrated with your CRM. Try GetFeedback (SalesForce) or Aminian (NetSuite) if you’re looking for an easy launch.

By creating a world-class Support Team, you’ll ensure customers are getting what they need when they need it. Even the largest Customer Success teams don’t have the ability to reach every client and excellent Support can help with renewing those outside of the scope of Success. For the larger clients Success regularly interacts with, Support can help make sure those interactions begin on a positive note, rather than a download of issues experienced with the product or team.

Scott Berry is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. He is currently the Director of Customer Success at VS Networks.

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