Hangout #48 – Is Email Still the Best Support Channel?

This week’s show is all about support channels. With companies like Automattic, Buffer, and even GoDaddy moving towards live chat over email, it’s a good time to take a look at that good old email channel.

GoDaddy rep Nick Fuller explained that email consistently finished last as far as their customers’ preferred method of help.

“After reviewing customer behavior and satisfaction scores we decided we could better serve people in ways they were telling us work better for them.

Customers love the ‘real time’ support experience. Email is not instantaneous and in fact many in the industry are putting an end to their email service as well because fewer than half of tech customers believe their problem can be solved by email – it’s sort of going the way of the cassette tape.”

So is email support going the way of the dinosaur?

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Hangout #47 – Scaling Support at Buffer

This week, we’re talking about Carolyn’s fantastic article on why Buffer doesn’t scale support. We also talk about support utopias and how to get your product lead to listen.

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Hangout #46 – Automated vs Manual

This week, we’re looking at a question that Jeff and I go back and forth on a lot. What can you automate for customers and what should you keep more manual / high-touch experiences?

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If you’ve got a question for us or an idea for a future episode, send us a message here. And if you enjoyed the show, show us some love by giving us a review in iTunes.

Don’t Be a Robot – Create Conversations

The tour guide wipes his brow. And wonders how to respond.

A chubby teenager, my eyelashes batted a few times. Blank stares colored the faces of everyone.

What just happened?

San Antonio. A tour of the Alamo. You’ll never guess the question this guy asked.

Think. When was last meaningful conversation you had? Was it with a friend? Or a loved one?

How did the conversation end? You probably didn’t say the following:

  • Please let me know if you have any questions.
  • If you have any other problems, just let me know.
  • If there is anything else you need, please let me know.

Yet this is how tons of interactions with customers end. It’s like a robot is on the other end.

It’s Not Black and White

rb-bw-color

The only purpose of ‘customer service’ is to change feelings. Not the facts, but the way your customer feels.

Seth Godin, The only purpose of customer service

Customer support is not black and white. It’s full of colors. Fuzzy. Emotional. It’s about feelings.

So how do these sentences make you feel?

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Are you a robot? Isn’t that your job? Do you not want to talk anymore?

If you have any other problems, just let me know.

Are you hinting there will be more problems? Will there be other problems? You just solved the problem, now there’s going to be more?

If there is anything else you need, please let me know.

Should I need something else? Am I going to need something else soon? Are you saying that I’m needy?

All of these stock or canned responses are great ways to end a support ticket. It’s perfect to cross it off your list. Shave some seconds or minutes off your response time.

This is seeing everything in black and white.

What If You Created a Conversation Instead?

That’s seeing in color. Conversations are how you learn, share, listen, and care.

Conversations are how you communicate.

You’re not a ninja. A guru. Or a rockstar. You’re human. And so are your customers.

You’re not some robot that closes tickets. Your customers are people. Not numbers.

You can’t treat them all the same. Because people are different. What make sense for one customer, will confuse another.

That’s why you should ask questions instead of using stock sentences.

Look at the difference. How does it make you feel?

Instead of please let me know if you have any questions, try -

Does this help you?

Rather than if you have any other problems, just let me know, what if you asked -

Did that answer your question? And does it make sense?

Don’t say if there is anything else you need, please let me know, ask -

Anything else that I can help with today?

These are simple questions. A yes or no answer will do. It makes the customer feel that you’re listening and are there for them. That you want help.

Here’s an Example

A conversation between Michael, from Netflix, and Norm, the customer, where both act as if they’re in a Star Trek episode.

Captain Mike and Lieutenant Norm go back and forth for about 10 minutes. Captain Mike resolves the issue, but he doesn’t end the conversation with a stock sentence.

netflix

That’s how you end a conversation. The customer wants to keep talking to you.

Those feelings last. It’s what keeps customers coming back. And what makes them tell their friends about you.

Why did they build the Alamo in the middle of the city?

That’s what the young man asked. The tour guide explained, with hesitation that, the city was built around the Alamo.

Just like your business is built around your customers.

So stop the please let us know if you have any questions.

Don’t be a robot. Create conversations.

Do you create conversations with your customers? What questions do you ask? Let me know on @cjgallo.

9.75 Seconds

From Scott Brown, Director, Amazon Customer Service:

75% of customer contacts for Fire HDX now come via the Mayday button. Even as the Mayday button has grown to become the most popular way for customers to ask questions, the team’s been able to beat the response time goal of 15 seconds or less—our average is just 9.75 seconds.”

That’s crazy awesome.