When evaluating software, it’s easy to fall back on what you’ve done in the past. Your work computer likely has Windows and the Office suite installed directly on the machine, so why shouldn’t you have software for sales, customer support, marketing, or other industries right alongside it?
The amount of focus companies devote to customer experience and engagement has continued to increase. Especially for companies who can’t beat their competition when it comes to price, an excellent customer experience can be a key differentiator. This is especially true in the B2B industry, where companies are often willing to pay more for a better experience. One of the best ways to improve the help desk portion of the customer experience is by utilizing external help desk software.
There are many terms in customer support that are used interchangeably, sound the same, or are just plain confusing! For example - help desk, customer support, and customer service - is there really a difference? That's another blog post, but today we want to talk about the latest buzz words in the industry and try to shed some light on the subtle, but important, differences between customer success, customer experience, customer satisfaction, and customer effort. Our good friends at the Association of Support Professionals (ASP) recently published a full report on this topic, and it inspired us to write this post!
The term customer experience is considered by some people to be a “buzzword”, especially in the B2B (business-to-business) customer support industry. It can be described by skeptics as some flashy B2C (business-to-consumer) way to describe the simple process of helping out a customer.
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 customer support 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.
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.
These days, many people prefer self-service support options over contacting customer support through phone or email. Data cited by Capterra revealed 75 percent of customers want to solve product or service issues on their own without having to rely on an agent. The best way to help customers find these self-service support options is through an online customer portal - a one-stop shop for online support. Online customer portals provide a space for customers to create and manage their tickets, review documents and policies, find knowledge base articles and watch instructional videos. Here are four reasons why your businesses should have an online customer portal:
Consistency is a large component of customer satisfaction, especially with regard to customer support for business to business (B2B) organizations. These companies tend to have more interaction with their customers than those in the business-to-consumer (B2C) sectors simply due to the nature of the relationship, and customers expect to receive a similar experience throughout every interaction. This doesn't mean you should hire agents that all talk, walk, and act like each other, but they do need guidelines that detail how to interact with customers across channels, including phone, email, web-based chat, and other methods your business uses. In addition, every agent needs access to the same customer information so they can approach customer conversations and support tickets in a consistent manner.
Personalization is all about creating a custom experience for customers to keep them happy and engaged. Marketers in the business-to-consumer (B2C) sector are familiar with the concept of personalization, but the topic isn't as popular in business-to-business (B2B) organizations. However, as CMS Wire noted, B2B customers expect the companies they work with to have all the context necessary to support them in their endeavors. This includes history, recent activity and individual preferences.
Despite the widely accepted tenet that “the customer is always right”, the reality is that the statement completely depends on who the customer is and how you define “right”.
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