Chances are, you’ve been on the receiving end of a frustrating customer experience, where your service provider is unresponsive, unable to sufficiently answer your questions, or maybe just sold you a bill of goods from the beginning. And hopefully, you’ve been on the receiving end of a satisfying experience, where the service provider customizes your purchase to meet your needs, answers your questions quickly and thoughtfully, and treats you like a priority.
It’s not necessarily bad people in the frustrating scenario. It’s possible that they’re just following poor customer service practices. So, what are the best practices to serve customers in every phase of the journey?
That’s the question we’ll explore in this series.
Catch-up on Part 1 (Introduction)
Part 4 (Support)
There’s only so much our implementation team can cover in the time they have with a new customer. We are available to help if there are technical or configuration questions during that stage, but naturally, some of them won’t arise until later on.
The next stage of the journey is continuous if you value your customers. Your support team needs to be knowledgeable, easy to work with, and most importantly, responsive to ongoing customer needs.
There are three ways to contact our support team: by online chat, by email, and phone. There is actually a fourth as well. Every customer has a customer success manager (which we’ll outline in part five) who can advise on best practice or refer a question to our team.
We want our customers to contact us in the way that’s comfortable and convenient for them, so it’s good to have multiple options.
Types of questions
“Something is broken. Can you fix it?”
This could be an existing bug that we already know about, in which case we’ll update them on its status and keep them informed until it’s resolved. If this is our first time hearing about the problem, we get it to our engineering team so they can handle it. Either way, we’ll keep our customer informed of the progress.
“We want to do something differently. Can you change it?”
They’ve set up the application to behave in one way, but they’d like it to behave another. If our product is capable of fulfilling the request, we can certainly facilitate it.
If it’s not something our application can currently do, we don’t just say, “no.” We can’t promise a solution if we don’t have one, but we do have an online community dedicated to the customer voice. Customers can submit and vote on feature requests in the community, if the request is among the most popular, we’ll do our best prioritize it as we add functionality.
“Can you help us with a configuration?”
Sometimes customers need help with certain elements of the application setup or features. Maybe they’d like to integrate single sign-on with Samanage, and we’ll help them set it up. We can also advise on options for using additional application features that meet the customer’s business needs.
Of course, we work to resolve all support issues or questions, but we have to prioritize them. Our initial communication to cases is guided by the priority and business impact of the issue. Once the initial contact has been made the priority of the issue will also dictate how the case is worked.
Hopefully it never happens (and it almost never does), but if the application is down, that’s “priority level one.” If there’s a recurring issue in an area of the app, that will be high priority as well. Anything that affects a large number of customers needs to be resolved as quickly as possible, so we need to communicate that with all relevant parties. Engineering needs to know the problem and the urgency. Our customer success team needs to know since they’re sure to receive inquiries. And, we need to keep our customers up to date on what we’re doing since it directly affects them.
You may notice that communication is a common theme in a support team’s responsibilities. We need to answer quickly when we are contacted. We need to talk with engineering to find solutions, and stay in contact with our customers to keep them informed. Most importantly, we need to speak with them after a solution is provided for their case to be sure they are satisfied with the resolution.