6 ‘Must-Have’ New Year’s Resolutions For Online Support Teams

By: Jozefien Verhaeghe

January 6, 2014

Tags:
customer service
customer service tools
Gary Vaynerchuk
social media monitoring
support agent

When it comes to product quality, price, features, and so on, the difference between brands is often negligible. An important question then arises: How can brands still differentiate themselves from their competitors? The answer is simple: excellent customer service! You’d be surprised how important this is in the purchase and retention process.

Whether your brand already offers comprehensive support, or you plan to start doing this in 2013, some contemplation is always in order. Now that you have rung in the New Year, what better time to start then now.

1. ‘Harder, Better, but mostly Faster!’: offer quick solutions to customers

Who are we to disagree with Daft Punk? It’s widely agreed upon customers demand quick solutions, especially in such a digital age. The truth, however, is not quite so black and white. More than anything, customers wish to be heard within a timely matter. It’s okay if you’re not able to solve all their issues in one interaction. Just let them know you received their inquiry and will do whatever it takes to resolve it as quickly as possible.

On a related note, you also need to consider when support is available. Especially when focusing on an international market, this might mean 24/7. An “always-on” Support Team will not only increase responsiveness, it also reduces the workload. Instead of arriving at the office and needing lots of time to work through the overnight questions, they’re already taken care off by the ‘night’ shift.

2. Super Heroes Are the New Support Agents

Support Agents? So 2013! Support Super Heroes are here to save the day.

Their super powers include:

  • Remaining calm in periods of stress.
  • Transforming disappointed clients into satisfied brand advocates.
  • Turning complaints into brand opportunities.
  • Untangling even the most unclear questions and providing the client with an answer at the speed of light.

3. From Company Units to Dream Team: Include All Departments

Different units, working each on their own goals, is a thing of the past. Excellent customer service concerns everyone in the company, from product developers to the sales representatives. Therefore, Support Heroes have to be true brand advocates externally AND internally. Not only is it their duty to translate the clients’ wishes to several departments, but also to make sure other teams are informed of relevant changes since they are often in the loop from an early stage.

4. Provide Proactive, Not Just Reactive, Support

Instead of only helping the customer when an actual issue or question rises, try to think ahead. Proactive support will not only impress the client, it also lightens Support’s workload.

A few ideas on how to do this:

  • Use a monitoring tool to track possible relevant conversations across different social media channels. This is what Social Media Guru, Gary Vaynerchuk, did when he had just started out with his wine retail store. He browsed the different social media networks to search for people in need of advice on wine. Question by question, he built his own wine empire.
  • Allow clients to test new features or products.
  • Check in with important clients from time to time. Don’t wait for them to come to you.

5. Have Your Audience Participate!

Customers are a valuable source of feedback on your product’s performance. Allowing them to suggest points of improvement gives them an empowered voice and enhances the product.

6. Invest in Good Customer Service Tools

Instead of going to all your social media channels separately to answer questions, invest in a tool that combines them in one place. A tool allows you to monitor on several keywords (see resolution 4) and deliver insightful statistics on how to improve your service.