You want to start your own firm, you do everything you can to make sure your product is worth selling, your office is up and running, your teams – sales, finance, HR, business development and marketing – are ready to kickstart the process and still, there is something that fails to make this journey easy. You ponder over it endlessly but you just can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong. You realize your employees are pretty much doing everything they can to help your customers with their problems but there is still a huge backlog of customer queries. You then realize you need to set up a team to handle all your customer calls but it’s too late! Your new customer happiness team will already have a pile of unanswered customer queries and potentially disgruntled customers. Sounds unrealistic? Ok maybe we’re being a tad dramatic!
What really happens
Truth be told, this is mostly what happens, on a relatively less drastic scale. In an early stage startup, customer support is something that every single person in the team handles. But as the product starts selling and the product-market fit has been arrived at, the core team scrambles off to do other things and sometimes, customer support gets left behind. They feel like customer support is something that can always be handled by the present employees and that dedicating a separate team for this can wait for a little longer till the profits start showing up..
There is a lot to be gained when every person is the team is trained to do customer support and spends some time on the job. Campaigns like CEO on Support are excellent examples. But, when customer support becomes a 20% project, the division of attention between their core jobs & customer support affects the reliability of the support your company offers.
In addition to this, what stands to question, is that can we really generate sales without a proper support team in place?
1. Customer support is sales
Your customer support team is your best resource in getting to know what your customer truly wants. They are in constant touch with your customer and are your one point of contact to understanding customer feedback & sentiment about your product or service.
Imagine the reverse. You have a kickass sales team that has done a fantastic job of selling your product/service to your customers. But when these customers actually start using your product, and they’re met with lousy support, they’re going to leave you.
And when you have a reliable support team that knows your customers well & understands them, upselling happens more naturally and is not a force fit. Your support team is seen as experts providing guidance, rather than employees trying to achieve their targets. When you upsell to an existing customer, you are adding a layer of profit on top of your current layer of profit and before you know it, it becomes a major revenue generator for your business.
“42% of service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces, and multiple applications.” – Forrester
2. Happy customers drive in more traffic
Your happy customers, now, absolutely love you, all thanks to your customer happiness team! Having been a customer yourself at some point, you know how important it is to have your customers say something good about you. You recognize how important it is not only for building your brand but also for revenue generation. Happy customers bring in more happy customers.
Another way of looking at it is that your happy customers, without instigation from your end, rant about how quick your team is at getting back to them or how wonderfully they solve your queries and go spread the word around when someone looks for a business of your sort.
— Sanchit Malik (@maliksanchit) July 10, 2015
Other people begin to hear how your company is more accessible, more human and more responsive than any others in your sector. You are now present in the mind of a 100 more customers than you previously were.
“89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.” – RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report .
3. Gaining a professional outlook:
You begin to gain the trust all your customers, your customers networks’, the network’s networks’ and so on. This goes on for a while, and BAM! Your company now has an aura of professionalism. As a start-up, seeming professional to your clients means you are a stone throw away from being the next Google (exaggeration alert!). You have already created value in the minds of the customers and their networks by providing them with good customer service. True professionalism comes from sincere involvement of the people in your business. The involvement of customer happiness individuals in engaging your clients makes them look a whole lot more professional which impacts the way people see your firm.
“Consumers are 2 times more likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences.” – 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer
4. Missing calls is so old school:
Starting a support workflow early and then scaling it is easier than setting it up at a later stage. You should put in some time to set up a basic workflow – when and how to escalate tickets, building support ticket queues, etc.— to start building out a knowledge base and capturing customer feedback, which will help you tremendously later on.
This will then allow your customer happiness team to cater to your clients needs more systematically. They will now be able to answer calls at lightning speed with great precision. With the help of systems such as Exotel, your executives can call back all the people whose calls they missed. Everything appears on the dashboard. They find it simple to manage calls and ensure no call gets left unanswered. Customers are now super impressed by how dependable your customer happiness team is. Sounds like you’ve got everything under control, right?
5. Because virtual speed killed no one ever:
Being a customer yourself, you know that most purchases are time bound. Decisions are made in a matter of minutes. Your customer will look at an array of products before zeroing in on one product. Most customers don’t like a huge time gap between when they have a query and when they get the answer to that query. Statistics reveal that nearly every customer will be expecting to have their requests answered in a rational period of time. These queries for a start-up typically come from various social media. According to statistics , if ignored by companies on social media sites, 45% said they’d feel anger, and 27.1% said they’d stop doing business with the offending company altogether. The faster your team can get back to the customer, the better are your chances of making a sale.
“26% of consumers have experienced being transferred from agent to agent without any resolution of their problem.” – 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer
6. Support needs support:
Taking care of your support team’s needs will make your support team more driven, thus leading them to be the best team there is. The more motivated your customer happiness team is, the more they will strive to be the best, the better will be the response to your customer and there will be more happy customers to serve. To know more about how you can recruit the right kind of folks to keep your customers happy, read this .
Apart from the basic perks, your support team will also need a system that stores all your call data, shows your executives whom they need to call, has a downtime that is almost negligible, and so much more. It can really help ease the burden off of your support team.
So, if having a reliable customer support team can help your startup to such a large extent, why would you have it any other way? Don’t live vicariously through someone else’s eyes. Set up your own customer happiness team and watch the magic unfold!