You can read more about this simple little rule that works every time.
Archives for November 2012
The little corner or the world called Support Ops has grown immensely over the past few months. I started out with just a random blog post on support every now and then. An idea emerged from those early posts and this site was born.
Last week, a friend asked me what Support Ops was here to do. I talked for a bit about how it’s here to teach support done right, to grow other support reps, and to provide resources that aren’t really found elsewhere on the web quite yet. We chatted about that for a minute when he asked, “Well, why do you write those articles?”
I paused for a moment and had a crystallizing moment. And the next few words that came out are the cornerstone of the mission of Support Ops.
Support Ops is here
to bring humanity back to the world of customer support.
Most interactions with a support team are on par with a root canal or jury duty. But we can change that. (More on that later).
For now, I wanted to put out the Support Ops mission. It’s definitely a work in progress overall but I think this helps to clarify exactly what we’re aiming to do here.
We’re in this together and knowing exactly what our mission is means we can all be headed in the same direction.
What do you think?
I ran out to get some take-out last night and of course, the restaurant was packed on a busy Saturday night. I used the restaurant’s online ordering system so my food was ready and waiting when I arrived. However, the take-out line was four people deep. I ended up waiting 20 minutes just to get my food. Why? The person manning the take-out register wasn’t communicating with customers very well.
Here’s how each person’s order played out.
Remember, it’s a busy Saturday night, most of the people in line are checking their iPhones or talking with friends, and non one is really paying attention to the order in front of them.
A customer walks up to the take-out register to place an order. Each order takes about five minutes to complete since they were for multiple people. Plus, the menu’s kinda big so it took a minute to browse through it. After getting the order rang up, the cashier told the customer the total and that it was a 30 minute wait. Naturally, each person decided to leave at that point because 30 minutes is a long time to wait in a narrow corridor with no seating.
Repeat that for three other customers and you finally get to me who’s been waiting for twenty minutes to pick up an order already placed. As we were checking out, I suggested that the cashier tell people the wait time in advance. It’s a simple tweak that would’ve sped through those other people who didn’t want to wait around.
What’s that got to do with you?
Give your customers an average wait time for contacting you. If you’re running thirty minutes on an email response, the customer will send that short question via Twitter to get a faster response time. They’ll also see that time and double-check the help pages to make sure they can’t get an instant answer there.
Having the average response time shown gives the customer more information, which makes them happier. Every customer in that restaurant that left were frustrated over the time lost placing the order.
It’s easy to head off that frustration by giving them a simple piece of data – your average response time.
From Seth Godin:
Just about every organization, every online service, every product and every element of our culture now has chat rooms and forums devoted to a few people looking for something to complain about. Some of them even do it on television.
The fascinating truth is this: the people in these forums aren’t doing their best work. They rarely identify useful feedback or pinpoint elements that can be changed productively either. In fact, if you solved whatever problem they’re whining about, they wouldn’t suddenly become enthusiastic contributors. No, they’re just wallowing in the negative ions, enjoying the support of a few others as they dish about what’s holding them back.
It pays no dividends to go looking for useful insight from these folks. Go make something great instead.
I’ve met many a person that just wanted to complain. I’ve even seen a customer complain about the choice of photos put on a website. These people aren’t worth your time or energy.
The Ritz-Carlton motto:
At The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” This motto exemplifies the anticipatory service provided by all staff members.
This is how companies and customers should interact. The focus is on one human serving another. It’s so concise and simple. So pure…
The first of the UserConf videos are up! Check out the keynote from UserVoice’s Richard White.
I spent several long years working towards being a public school teacher. I think I saw Dead Poets Society a few too many times. In the end, I passed on being a teacher but those experiences taught me a lot about the world of customer support.
In schools, teachers have students, parents, and even other faculty members as their customers. Another teacher is upset about this. A parent is furious about that. Even in the classroom, you’re still working towards making people happy (and hopefully teaching them a few things along the way).
In this series, we’ll cover four big lessons from the classroom.
Then make sure to check out our other series here!
Let’s talk hiring. If your product does well, you’re going to get more customers. More customers mean more support emails, tweets, and general requests for help. More of those means you need to hire some more support reps.
But what do you look for when you go to hire someone? In this episode, I talk about five things that you need to be watching for.
Listen to the show
Show Notes and Links
What did you think?
If you have an idea for an episode you would like to see or a question, e-mail me.
Oh, and if you enjoyed the show, please rate it on iTunes. That’d go a long ways in getting the word out. Plus, you’d get cool points.
“People expect good service but few are willing to give it.”
Social media mission controls are all the rage now. Stacked with more flat screens than you can imagine, they’re manned by teams that are scouring Twitter and watching Facebook to interact with customers. Here’s a hint – you don’t need this!
You’re not NASA trying to put a man on the moon.
Is anybody really paying attention to all of those screens on the wall inside the Gatorade control center? Of course not. It’s meant to look flashy for cameras and PR.
It’s also pretty creepy. If I mention Gatorade on Facebook, their team stands by ready to jump into my conversation.
“It’s like we’re a person in their social circle now,” said Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Robb O’Hagan.
That’s totally natural, right?
Just Two Things
With your customers, all you need is a computer with an Internet connection. Keep it simple. Focus on one screen. Find your customers that are reaching out to you and interact with them.
Don’t stalk them on Facebook or analyze them on Twitter. Be yourself in those spheres. Your customers will love you for being you.
How are you interacting with customers on Twitter and Facebook?