Tips for Providing High Quality Customer Support More Efficiently

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efficient-customer-support_1-01_largeCustomer support is a constant balancing act. On the one hand, you want to respond to customer questions and requests for help as personally and robustly as possible to earn their loyalty. On the other, you need to scale your operations without compromising quality as customer support inquiries continue to grow. Here are five tips for effectively delivering a quality support experience as your company scales.

Save time by cross-referencing existing content whenever you can.

Building and growing a highly referenceable support knowledge base comes in handy for using existing content to answer new questions that come in. In this example from bettycrocker.com, the “Ask Betty” feature simply directs the customer to a relevant link rather than requiring a tailored response. To maximize efficiency, look for knowledge base technology that enables you to cross-reference content quickly and easily. Of course, you’ll continue to run into scenarios where need to manage a customer inquiry which requires an individualized answer; but with all the time you save referencing existing content on other questions where it does make sense, you should still be able to be efficient without compromising service.

Make it easy for customers to find their own answers (and to find you).

Did you know that 67% of customers prefer to use self-service tools before getting in touch with a service representative? To make these tools truly useful, it’s important to empower customers to find their own answers. But the key is to do that without ever making the process seem burdensome or making customers feel as if self-service is their only choice. Self-service tools like online tutorials, Q&A, videos, and other knowledge base formats that can be easily searched and browsed are all great ways to accomplish this goal. Ideally, utilize technology that’s able to quickly recognize your customers’ needs and respond immediately with relevant information to address those needs. The more you’re able to effectively connect customers with the right support content, the less likely they are to need to contact your support organization for further help. Of course, in those cases, you should make the process clear and as easy as possible for them if they feel that’s what they need to do.

Use social media – but bring your customers back to you.

Social media is an important component of customer support; after all, that’s where many customers “live” online and most often interact with brands when they go in search of answers about products and services. You need to be there to field those inquiries, and you should – but you’ll be better able to control your interactions with them on your own turf. When you respond to customers on Twitter, Facebook or other social channels, always take the opportunity to direct them back to the solutions referenced on your own website. This allows you to bring them back to an environment where you have full control over the user experience, as well as where you lead them next to help accomplish your business goals.

Be sure every search ends successfully.

When people go to search engines with their questions or problems about your products or services, be sure you have the content there to answer them. Maintaining publicly available content that’s easily found by search engines helps make sure customers get their answers from you – and not from other sources over which you have no control. For businesses whose clients log into an online portal, be sure you provide search tools that are easy to use so they can quickly find the content that will satisfy their inquiries.  Having this content available through the channels that customers are actually using helps ensure they get satisfactory answers to their questions from the real subject matter expert (that’s you).  In turn, you effectively nip the issue in the bud so they are served well without submitting a new inquiry.

Focus new support content on topics that meet proven customer needs.

When you’re creating new customer support content for future inquiries, use your time wisely: Identify and focus on the issues and questions that matter most to customers. Analytics tools like the Google Analytics Content tool and Hubspot page performance reports can help you track activity and look at how existing content is performing. You can also glean insights from your own knowledge base about what types of content your customers seek out most often. For example, our Answerbase Q&A’s Content Insights feature identifies topics in high demand and recommends new content to create based on that information.  This ensures that you have the most relevant content available to reference moving forward, satisfying the highest percentage of future inquires.

If you’re committed to delivering a satisfying support experience to your customers, there are far more efficient ways to achieve your goal than allocating more and more scarce resources to customer support. Build a solid base of content to draw from, update it regularly based on customer demand and follow these tips to make it work harder for you as a source of effective, reliable support.

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