Customer service as differentiator
There are so many products and companies these days that forget and/or choose not to provide multi-channel support for their products to their paying customers. Hootsuite is just one of them. Let me qualify this a bit more. I have been in the Customer service space for over 15 years and pride myself in the fact it is one of my passions and our company's goals to differentiate ourselves through better service and deliver more value to our customers.
BundlePost is an example of great customer service, it's one of out secret weapons. We use it to manage all the social content we find and share. I was having an issue with their product before an upgrade and reached out to them on Twitter (@Bundlepost). Within minutes, I had a repsonse and a phone call scheduled from their customer support manager, @perfectJulia. They're not a giant company with unlimited resources; they're a company that says 'the customer comes first and we want to see you be succesful with our product.'
This post started out of frustration over dealing with Hootsuite. I usually praise them for social support. However, their inability or lack of desire to rectify an issue we're with adding a team member prompted this post. Is it a bug we uncovered, is it a user issue (maybe), or the company’s failure to put customers first and look outside-in not inside-out. If you don't know what"Outside-in" is, Read Ian Claytons work on the Universal Service Management Book of Knowledge.
This issue could have been rectified if they put customers first. When a paying customer has an issue, it's the company's responsibility to satisfy the issue to the best of their ability through all channels possible. A simple thing like using two tools (phone and Remote Desktop control) could have solved this issue over a week ago. Neither of these are sophisticated or new.
A client is very frustrated. They try all your email suggestions. It still has not worked. The customer takes to social media to complain...now what?
This whole issue of "perception of bad support"could have been handled this way:
A customer has an issue and asks for assistance on day 1. Day 2 there are a couple of email exchanges that still do not seem to help the customer. Day 3, a support agent asks the for customer's phone number, sends a link from one of many remote desktop control tools like Logmein,NTRGlobal, ISLOnline or (the one we use) Join.me. The support agent gives the customer a call and the customer clicks on the link. The agent sees the screen and configuration, tell the customer to do 'x' and voila! Happy customer!
This would have taken 5 minutes at most, the issue would have been solved and neither party would have wasted time on an issue that could be rectified in a much more cost effective way.
How does Customer service help with sales?
By providing fast, knowledgeable and friendly service, your company says "we value your business". Just look at some of the best companies out there: Disney and Apple..They are famous for how they think outside-in and do everything in their powe rto make sure the customer experience is a positive one.
I learned along time ago that it is 5 times easier and cheaper to keep a customer then get a new one.
I learned a long time ago that a happy customer is more likely to recommend you, your product or the service you sell.
Why is service a differentiator?
It says “we care about the customer and value their business”.
It says “When you invest money in us; we invest time in making sure you are happy”.
It says “we are not just a product company”.