Apr 05, 12
Excellent customer support involves two equally important components: reactive measures and proactive measures. Reactive measures include email, live chat and any other system in which customers are coming to you directly with specific issues. Equally important is the proactive measures, in which you anticipate the needs of your customers and proactively provide them with resources so they can help themselves if possible. Examples of this include a knowledge base of tutorial articles, blogs and newsletters.
Reactive Measures: Email and live chat
Whenever a customer reaches out to you about a problem your response should include three things: empathy, policy and instruction.
If a customer is reaching out to you for help they are probably frustrated, confused or worse. The first thing you need to do is let them know they are in good hands by expressing empathy and understanding for their situation. It's only after they know that you understand and appreciate their concerns will you be able to move forward in a meaningful way.
Once you've established an understanding with your customer you need to deal with the issues they're having. This means answering the questions they have as well as addressing the reasons that might have led to their issues in the first place. Frequently this means explaining your company's policy on the issue or feature that they are inquiring about.
Here you provide the customer with the tools to deal with their specific problems as well as avoid similar issues in the future. You should explain to them how to resolve the issue their having, or if there's no direct solution, explain what options they do have. If you have a knowledge base where they can find information on these issues on their own, you should point them to it. This way you're empowering the customer to solve their problems on their own, making everyone happy.
Proactive Measures: Knowledge base, blogs and newsletters
Proactive measures are an essential tool in providing excellent customer service. When properly implemented it will greatly reduce the amount your customers will have to reach out to you individually, saving time for both you and them.
The most important proactive tool you can provide is a database of articles explaining your product and how to use it. This is commonly called a "knowledge base." Even if you have a simple, intuitive product it's helpful to provide your users with the best practices that will help them get the most out of your service. This can include everything from full tutorials to little tips and tricks.
Your knowledge base is the best place to put evergreen material that will always be helpful to customers. This can range from basic tutorials like changing account settings to advanced topics like how best use your product.
Blogs and newsletters are best used to provide more timely information such as news and product updates. Regularly updating your customers on the latest developments will help keep them engaged and excited about your services and features.
All of these measures are absolutely essential if you want to provide your customers with the great support that they deserve. This isn't important just because happy customers are loyal customers, but because by providing clear channels through which you communicate to your customers and they can communicate to you, you're ensuring that everyone can get the most of your relationship.