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Customers First: The Best B2B Customer Service Blog

Meeting customers at the starting line

When customers need help with an issue involving your product or solution, where's the first place they go? In the past, customers would call your support team directly. Now, they're more likely to search online for answers. According to Microsoft's State of Multichannel Customer Service Report for 2016, customers across the world overwhelmingly start their customer service interactions online as opposed to on the phone or in person. If possible, people would rather try to handle support issues on their own.

Your business needs to be ready and waiting for these customers at the beginning of their support journey. You can best provide online customer support in two ways: offering an online support portal that directs customers to self-service support options and optimizing the visibility of your support portal in organic search.

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Nailing a customer's first support experience

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Business-to-business (B2B) customers spend a lot of time working with their vendors, and a bad first impression from a support team can cause them to rethink their decision to partner with a particular company. Meanwhile, a good first impression assures them they made the right decision. That's why, when customers contact your support for the first time, you want to to be sure to provide them with everything they need. Here's how to nail a customer's first experience with your support:

"Customers want the correct solution as quickly as possible."

Respond to them in a timely fashion
When customers have an issue with their product or service, they want the correct solution as quickly as possible. Businesses that regularly handle a large number of customer messages with no method of organization run the risk of losing or forgetting about certain emails, leaving customer questions unanswered. Your agents need software that can manage and sort the numerous emails they receive. Additionally, they won't have to worry about creating a ticket for each email since the software does it automatically. 

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How well do you know your customers?

As an organization in the business-to-business (B2B) sector, you need to fully understand your customers' operations and long-term goals so you can offer them the best products and support. This makes you more than a supplier - you become a partner in your customers' lives and it helps your business by increasing customer loyalty.

Are your customers engaged?
According to Gallup, only 29% of B2B customers are fully engaged with the businesses they work with. Meanwhile, 60% are indifferent and 11% are actively disengaged. To solve this issue, Gallup recommended companies work to develop an open, transparent relationship with their customers. This means developing a relationship beyond the sales and procurement teams. To do so, your business and customer support agents need as much knowledge and insight into your customers as possible.

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Crafting the perfect customer support portal video

Video is a great tool for improving the customer experience, even for business-to-business (B2B) organizations. This is especially true for customer support - according to Pitney Bowes, video content improves a customer's understanding of your products or services by up to 74%. Video tutorials show your customers the exact steps to take to troubleshoot or resolve an issue, breaking complex solutions into small segments that are easy to follow. Videos featuring actual agents via webcam also put a real face to your company, increasing its relatability, and makes customers feel more comfortable. Customer service expert Shep Hyken says seeing an agent gives customers a much more personal experience. They know that they're interacting with a real person who can empathize with their situation, not a robot. Here are a few tips for creating customer support videos for your customer support portal that are engaging, informative, and easy to follow:

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Are Chat Bots Overrated in Customer Support?

Not all customer support trends are clearly defined. It was only a decade ago that the notion of a "customer experience" was just a way to summarize interacting with customers and was dismissed by some industry professionals. Now the phrase encapsulates what leading support companies strive to refine and master. With this said, the term "chat bots" is emerging as a potential game changer in the customer support industry. Imagine virtual agents that can solve all the problems your customers have and actually hold a conversation with them - pretty incredible! But we're not there yet, and honestly it could be decades until a sophisticated version of this technology reaches mainstream customer support.

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