How We Found Gold within our Customer Support Workflow.

At the beginning of this year, I sat down with our customer support team to review our performance and discuss strategies that could make our support better. The team suggested we begin by listing all customer issues and pain points we experienced in the last three months. This sounded like the right thing to do to kick off our meeting. Just before we got started with known customer problems a team member suggested, “Wait a second, we are the customer voice within the company, and it would make sense to first discuss our own internal challenges that makes voicing and resolving customer issues painful.” We all paused for a moment. I wondered why we had viewed our support team as second class citizens after customers when in reality, the support team is at the center of it all.

This turned out to be the best support decision this year. The meeting took less time with a lot of energy and passion like I have never experienced before in our support meet ups. Here is a summary of the outcome and lessons learnt.

Real customer issues are hidden within internal team challenges.

In the end we discovered that there was no need to list customer issues as they were accurately captured within the internal team’s challenges. Even more importantly is the realization of new and potential customer issues that were deeply hidden within the workflow. We would have never known about these if we only looked at the customer. One example that stood out was— The support team found it annoying and painful to deal with the same issues over and over again for the same customers which made sitting on the support queue really boring and less challenging. Surprisingly customers were equally upset having to call us frequently over the same issues.

We took a closer look and noticed we were not providing customers with upfront accurate information like delivery ETAs. We were not empowering our customers to make decisions within the product like giving the option to cancel or adjust their orders. We failed to make our self care content readily and easily available to customers at the right time! We are now all hands on deck making major changes around this, and we should be shipping in the coming weeks.

Be transparent with the customer.

We also noticed we were spending more time crafting ‘appropriate’ feedback to customers which lead to prolonged correspondence with customers. Tasks and issues built up, our stress levels increased, and our ability to carry out responsibilities suffered big time with not so good response and resolution time. You can already guess how customers were furious at the slow pace we were resolving their issues.

We are therefore making a big change. We are going to tell it as it is to customers whenever we drop the ball and the actions we are taking to resolve or prevent the issue from recurring. We believe that being transparent will allow us to spend less time crafting replies. Customers will be kept in the loop on what is actually going on in the background as they wait for their issues to be resolved. So far so good! The metrics are going up, and I am already learning how understanding customers really are!

Ticket when we dropped the ball

While this approach works well for us, we believe it can be applied to any organization, but again, each process has its upsides and downsides depending on your product and how your team operates. While there is no “right” way to improve your support, testing several approaches will help your team find the right fit, resulting in maximum efficiency and delighted customers.

P.S.: we are hiring for a customer support agent and other roles here

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