If your business is like most others, it's probably taken steps to become more efficient. Maybe it introduced automated billing software, allowing accounting to process more invoices each day. Or, your business might outsource payroll, freeing your HR team from repetitive tasks. What you might not consider is that your customers want to operate efficiently, just like you. They want things to be easy instead of going through numerous steps that can take up their entire day.
The way you handle your support goes a long way toward helping or hindering customers in their efforts to become efficient. Making support easy from their point of view increases satisfaction and the relationship between the two of you. Here are a few ways customer support makes life easier for customers:
Reduces the number of steps in solving an issue
A simple definition of the word efficiency is reducing the number of steps needed to complete a task while producing a similar or better outcome. Think of how customer support worked in the past. Businesses operated on a tiered structure, assigning agents to different levels based on their knowledge and experience. Customers who called the support line started at the base level. If the agent they spoke to couldn't solve their issue, the customer was transferred to an agent in the next level. This cycle kept going until the customer matched with an agent who knew how to solve their issue.
While customers with simple problems had their concerns quickly resolved, those with complex ones had to repeat themselves to different agents as information was not passed along. Even businesses that didn't use tiered support often transferred customers from one department to another, increasing the number of steps involved in the support process.
With collaborative customer support software, businesses can eliminate tiered and multidepartment structures, and all agents have the resources to answer any question. They can access internal knowledge bases and consult other agents through the software's chat feature, reducing the need to transfer customers through various departments. In addition, every agent has access to a customer's support history and current setup, so there's no repetition necessary.
Gives customers control
As MyCustomer noted, people generally prefer online support methods over phone calls. This is likely because customers feel more in control when using the internet as opposed to relying on the suggestions of a support agent. With self-service support options, customers have the freedom to explore and try things for themselves. Depending on the company, they can ask each other questions on message boards or use wikis to find answers and look up terminology.
"Customers get to take their time testing different solutions."
Even live chat, email or social media support takes away some of the pressure of a call with a support agent. Customers get to help themselves and try different solutions on their own time, instead of trying to correct the issue in one lengthy conversation.
Self-service support isn't the only means of providing control. Customer portals that integrate into your website let customers create new tickets, search through your public knowledge base and chat with agents. Best of all, customers can check the status of open tickets through the portal without having to send an email or call an agent.
Makes support convenient
Business2Community discussed how 7-Eleven turned convenience into success. The company originated as a Texas-based ice producer. In 1927, an employee named Jefferson Green proposed the idea of selling staple foods like milk and eggs in the company's ice stores. The idea took off in an era when many used iceboxes to keep perishable foods safe for consumption - customers could buy their groceries and the ice to refrigerate them in one location. Thus, the concept of the convenience store was born.
Your support should operate in a similar manner, providing convenient service on behalf of the customer. The best way is to make your support available across multiple channels. Phone is a good way to start as some people prefer talking directly to an agent. However, others would rather use self-service options or contact your team by email or social media. By providing multiple methods of contact, customers don't have to search hard to find a channel suitable to their needs.
Efficiency is the name of the game, both for you and your customers. Making your support as easy as possible shows customers you care about their priorities and positions yourself as a leader in your industry.