Nifty bit of info on the Zmags’ support page. Instead of having to wait forever stuck on hold, just let me know when the best time to call is. Doesn’t make it all better but this goes a long way to relieving any frustration.
From Flickr Artist Marc Falardeau
For every online tool out there, you’ve got to have two things when it comes to customer support:
1) An email address for someone to contact you.
2) A help section with answers to the top questions.
That flow typically works out like this:
Customer has question and clicks on help button. -> This takes them to the help section, where hopefully they’ll find an answer to it. -> If they don’t find the answer, they click on the email link to send you their question via email.
This is the bare minimum. If you don’t at least have this, well… let’s just say you want to rethink how you’re “supporting” your customer. But who wants to just reach the minimum? Those are the people that strive for customer satisfaction rather than happiness.
When it comes to helping someone, you’ll want to always be trying something new. Email and help sections are a no brainer.
Beyond that, try…
- In-app live chat. I tried this with a specific group of customers and they loved it. Sure, it’s like having a support number to call (meaning you’ll always have to have that chat app manned by someone), but that’s the point of support. Make things incredibly easy on the customer even if that means you have to bear some of the pain.
- Videos on demand. Screencasts are easy to make. I mean, so easy your grandmother probably sends you a virtual Christmas card with your grandparents waving at you via the webcam. Use videos to highlight some best practices or simplify something complicated inside your app.
- Online classes. First and foremost, don’t use the word “webinar”. It’s dumb, stupid, and just sounds wrong. Really, who though putting “web” and “seminar” together was a good idea? Anyway, set up some online classes. Maybe just an intro to your app or such. Customers love this because it gives them a short way to cover all the basics. Potential customers love it because they can see instantly if your tool will be a good fit for them. It’s a win/win for everyone.
- IRL. Don’t forget, you can do support in real life too. Invite a customer over to your office so you can help them with any questions. You’ll get to pick their brain on how they’re using your tool, which can give your designers and programmer all sorts of new projects.
The big thing here is to not get too comfortable with only providing support via email and a help section. The only time that works is if you’re AT&T and no one else carries the iPhone. 🙂
Most of you already know I’m part of the awesome support team at 37signals. Each day, I get to work with customers to help solve whatever troubles they run into. And since it’s a core part of who I am (I love helping people), I believe it only right to share some of what I learn here.
This is just my little effort to help add some knowledge to the world of support. Stay tuned for more. 🙂
“Dismissing an idea is so easy because it doesn’t involve any work. You can scoff at it. You can ignore it. You can puff some smoke at it. That’s easy. The hard thing to do is protect it, think about it, let it marinate, explore it, riff on it, and try it. The right idea could start out life as the wrong idea.” – Jason Fried | Give It Five Minutes
Again, I work with an amazing team.
Photo created by Intiaz Rahim.
I learn a lot from sitting in the airport concourse and just watching people. Today’s lesson?
A simple tweak can yield powerful results.
There’s a small nail salon across from the gate here. Two of the employees stand out front greeting people as they walk by.
“Hi! How are you today?”
“Hello there! How’s it going?”
“Hi there! Do you have time for a manicure today?”
In two hours, they haven’t had one taker so far. So being weird like I am, I wanted to see if they might be open to a suggestion. With two people, it’s pretty easy to A/B test what phrases work best for potential customers. So one employee kept with the generic questions mentioned above. I convinced the other employee to try a different approach. We tweaked her wording and then started looking for the right customers rather than just talking to everyone.
“Hi there! How’s your nails looking today?”
“Hello! Would you like a 10 minute manicure?”
“Hello there! When’s the last time you had your nails perfected?”
Simple tweaks that put the focus on two things: 1) Speed and 2) State of their nails at that moment.
The first employee still asked generalities about how they day was and if they had some time. Potential customers were able to brush those off easily and say “I’m great” or “Not today” and keep going. The second employee asked potential customers questions about their nails and honed in on women travelling alone that were strolling through the concourse.
How well did it work? The previous two hours yielded no customers despite two employees talking to everyone they could in the concourse. The next hour finished with six new customers, which means money for the team. Same foot traffic in the concourse as before – just new phrases and approaches from the team.
With your business/hobby/whatever, make sure you’re using the right words. Trying tweaking a phrase here or a word there to see what happens.
A simple tweak can be a truly powerful tweak.