The Freshdesk blog
Your daily dose of
peppermints, orange juice and oatmeal cookies...
Freshly squeezed droplets of customer support...
Your daily dose of
peppermints, orange juice and oatmeal cookies...
Freshly squeezed droplets of customer support...
Monday mornings are always like the first day of school after the summer. For some, like me, that’s a day we’ve been looking forward to, to share stories of our great vacation, and brag about our video game scores. For some others, like my friend Alex, that’s a day that means fun’s over, and time to back to business.
The dreaded meetings
Monday morning meetings are the worst. You have your numbers crunched and help desk reports laid out. But you’ve spent so much of your Sunday putting them into neat little graphs and charts that you haven’t really spent time to think about the core takeaways. So you end up with a bunch of beautiful charts and impressive numbers that don’t really mean much.
Mid-week meetings are terrible in a totally different way. No matter how prepared you are with the status report, there’s always this elusive question that catches you totally unaware. You know the answer is just around the corner, lurking deep inside the huge pile of numbers. If only you had it at the tip of your fingers, you could be the hero of the day.
The trouble with most reports is they are meant to throw your focus on one thing, and just that. They don’t focus as much on the insights, because, after all, insights are what you should drive.
Unleashing FreshInsights: The Report Suite with bits of genius in it
Starting this weekend, the reports you pull out of Freshdesk just got bigger, better, richer, and way way smarter. So smart that it’s going to tell you what to look out for and when to set the alarms bells off. So smart that it’ll tell you things like who your happiest customers are, and what makes them insanely happy. And who your laggard customers are, and what’s making them run behind overdue tickets so often.
So how smart are FreshInsights?
Let me put it this way. You wake up one morning in the support center of your massive hamburger factory to find out that your agents have been taking way longer than usual to respond to queries. Your SLAs are taking the hit, and the satisfaction ratings are following them to the gutter. Now what do you do? Alright, you then drill in and try to figure out where your biggest problem areas are.
Everything seems to stem from that dubious batch of cheese your ordered, and your agents are just having a tough time dealing with the new ticket load.
That’s the first good thing about FreshInsights. All the information you need is available in the place you need it. You don’t have to run from one burger report to another patty pie chart to put a mayonnaise covered finger on the problem.
The second blow-your-mind thing about FreshInsights is, well, the insights. It’s easy to know when you need to raise a red flag, and when you do, it’s even easier to identify what you should be doing next.
Unboxing the Suite: Insights all day
Of course, there are different days when you want to pull up reports for totally different things. Monday morning strategy meetings, mid-week status quo calls, end of week wrap-up sessions… With the new suite, FreshInsights brings you some added smarts:
At-a-glance Reports: A quick overview of everything happening, across your help desk, agents or a specific customer. Fire it up every day to look for alarm bells before drilling in.
Summary Reports: Agent, group, time-sheet and customer satisfaction reports that look great on status-quo meetings. A must-have during your client and team-review meetings.
Load Reports: Load and performance analysis reports that let you pinpoint exactly where your support is choking up, and where the seams are bursting out. If you love strategy, these reports will sing you poetry.
Comparison Reports: Compare how each agent or group performs against others. A great way to figure out if a problem is concentrated in one place or spread out.
Top-N Reports: Analyze the top agents, groups and customers, by tickets resolved, backlogs, SLA violations and more. An ideal way to identify who is revving up your engines, and who is driving you down.
The whole FreshInsights suite is now available in the Freshdesk Estate Plan. If you are on the Garden plan, you will have access to the Helpdesk and Customer At-a-glance reports in addition to the advanced reports you already had.
Happy Reporting, and of course, Supporting!
At Freshdesk, we know that our customers depend on us to support their customers. And we take our application availability and performance very seriously.
However, we have had a very rough two days, with unexpected performance issues leading to a downtime yesterday that lasted for approximately 1.34 hours.
Starting from roughly 10:20 AM PST yesterday, some users started reporting serious performance issues. Our operations team immediately took to investigating the cause, and discovered that the system was repeatedly getting hung on a deadlock due to a suboptimal DB query hitting our database.
By 11:15 AM users started reporting that the app was completely unavailable, and we started working on a work-around. We temporarily disabled the offending DB query and tried to restore service.
Some users were able to access their support portals over the next twenty minutes and by 11:54 AM services were completely restored in all locations.
As I am typing this, we are experiencing performance degradation and slowness issues again today. Our engineers are working overtime to get to the root of this. We do not know the root cause of this yet. At this moment I want to apologize to all our customers for the trouble and frustration that this has caused. I will do a followup post once things have stabilized and brought back to normal.
Please accept my sincere apologies once again.
As of 8AM PST the slowness issue has been resolved and things are back to normal. The root cause of the slowness was abnormally high load on our memcached servers which resulted in our cache servers crashing. The abnormal load was caused by a human configuration error.
Once again, I know how critical the app’s availability is to every Freshdesk customer, and I would like to personally apologize for the distress you would have faced during the outage. We are stepping up our efforts to maximize the reliability and performance of Freshdesk, and are taking all steps to ensure such issues do not occur again.
There are a lot of ways to turn a customer over – offering them exceptional value, focussing on genius design, delivering a great experience. And sometimes, just sometimes all these come together, with some crispy Dosa crepes, and spicy chutney on the side.
Every time I fly down to the US, I spend the first couple of days binging on subs, hot dogs, and steak. Until I finally start craving some good old Indian food (usually by the end of the first week). So when I spotted the first Indian restaurant in Palo Alto, well into my third week this trip my stomach grumbles told me I should probably just walk in. And who are we, mere mortals, to oppose the cries of the hungry tummy!
The moment I walked in, I knew this restaurant, like every other Indian restaurant, was going to be unique. The strong waft of spicy curry, waiters scuttling about, and the seemingly structured chaos that I was all too familiar with. I settled into a table right next to a group of guys discussing their next startup idea, and outlining their business plan on a soggy crepe of Dosa in typical valley style. If you’ve lived a good part of your life on Indian food, you don’t really need to scan the menu to throw out your order. Judging by the increasingly violent grumbles from my stomach, I knew I wanted a South Indian Meal (or SIM).
The SIM probably holds the record for being the safest, and most forgettable order, ever. To the uninitiated, the SIM is a plate-full of everything Indian. You have breads, and rice. You get lentils and curry and watery soup. There’s a dessert. And sometimes there is a little banana that clearly shouldn’t be there. You don’t call your wife and mom and tell them you just ate a SIM. You order a SIM for just one reason – because you are hungry, and you want to go all the way. That’s all I wanted, and that’s all I expected.
And then, the waiter came along and changed everything for me.
Traditionally, each dish in the SIM is served in little cups, with unlimited seconds (or thirds, and so on). Of course, you will need to flag down a passing waiter and request a refill, which means most SIM customers end up with an elaborate dance involving flailing hands and eye contact.
And that’s the first thing that made our waiter awesome – he was there, ready with his big ladle of curry, gravy and rice everytime we looked up from our plates. No song. No dances.
Shall I fill in the blanks? Or should I chip in?
Good waiters make sure you get the things you ask for in light speed. Great waiters make sure you don’t even have to ask. Each time we finished a bowl of spiced potatoes or fried chicken, our waiter would be standing ready. Twice, he asked us if he should just fill in the blanks, before he proceeded to refill all the cups on our SIMs. And at least once he asked us if we’d like him to chip in, before throwing us some crispy chips.
Mom, I just had the best SIM Ever!
Despite the number of months that have gone by, I still remember that meal and the enthusiastic waiter who served us at that little Indian restaurant at Palo Alto. I’ve been talking about this great guy ever since (even writing a whole story about him). And I sure will drop in the next time my stomach throws a grumble tantrum when I’m around Palo Alto.
But did the waiter have to be nice? No. Did his work demand him to be so awesome? Not really. But he did, nevertheless. And that gave a regular, forgettable SIM a personality that I will always remember. He made me excited enough to talk, share the story. And that is the real customer experience that every smart business yearns for.
To put things in perspective, do you have your enthusiastic support agents waiting to wow your customers? And is your support team empowered to “chip in” proactively when customers need an extra hand, or are they still waiting for some flailing hands and eye-contact?
“Here’s the Round Robin, round as a ball;
You scarce can see his head or tail at all.
He’s not a carrier-pigeon, though he brings
Important messages beneath his wings.
And ’tis this freak of ornithology
That assigns and says “A little bird told me.”*
There’s a lot of things your support reps should be doing. Like responding to support queries, and competing to win a great satisfaction rating. But who gets to tell them which tickets they should be answering next? Letting them sift through the whole pile of open issues every time means (a) everybody races to pick the easiest problems first, leaving the toughies for later, and (b) precious seconds get lost in jumping back and just assigning tickets.Of course, you could automate this to a fair extent (say, using Dispatch’r), and have tickets assigned to the supervisor and hope they re-assign it to the next available agent. Or queue tickets into specific groups and make it easier for agents to pick issues up.
Of course, the perfect solution would be to put in a little ‘brain and fingers’ into your groups, so it can identify the next free rep by itself and assign tickets to her automatically. But that’s just wishful thinking.
But is it, really?
Introducing Automatic Ticket Assignment (and Mrs. Round Robin)
Ok, Mr. Ticket-Assigner, pack your bags and leave way for little, petite Mrs. Round Robin. Starting this week, you don’t have to worry about wasting support hours looking for and picking up tickets. With Automatic Ticket Assignment in Freshdesk, you can have every new ticket that falls into a particular group automatically assigned to the next available agent. Handsfree!
Take a moment to read that last sentence again. Group? Available Agents? Round Robin? I’ll get to that in a second and it won’t slow us down.
The Brain & Fingers for your Groups
Now when you create (or edit) a Group in Freshdesk, you get to choose whether you want agents to manually pick up each ticket, or have them automatically assigned to the next agent. All you need to do is turn on Automatic Ticket Assignment from the Groups page, and Freshdesk will dispatch new tickets as soon as they arrive to this group.
Round Robin figures out who’s next
Freshdesk automatically assigns tickets to the next available agent every time. So if Alex got the first ticket and Bob is working on the second, the third agent in the Group, which is Charlie, will get the third. Everything’s nice and fair with Round Robin.
Availability and DND mode
But perhaps Charlie really deserved that coffee break. Or he’s working on a tough nut ticket and just can’t take up any new queries right now. Agents can temporarily mark themselves as ‘unavailable’ for new tickets by just clicking the Do Not Disturb icon from their Freshdesk portal. And when they are ready for the tickets again, they can click on the icon again and get back on the game. Mrs Round Robin is very understanding, and won’t disturb support reps unless they want her to!
To learn more about automating ticket assignments in Freshdesk, head over to our solution article and get everything straight right from the basics. This feature is available in the Estate plan, which includes the Freshdesk Arcade.
*The verses are from Carolyn Wells’ poem, ‘The Round Robin’.
It’s not everyday that you wake up to NOT being bombarded with emails. So this morning, as I rolled over and checked my phone I had a weird feeling my nightmare of being chased by an angry grizzly was not yet really over. After fifteen minutes of fluctuating between deep thought and panic attacks, I chanced upon my Twitter timeline and realized Gmail was down.
Of course things have gotten back in line since, but the Google Apps single sign on is yet to recover. For all Freshdesk users (like me) who are used to sailing through their support portals without having to mess around with a login screen, that means we have to use the old-school login method till the Big G says it’s ok. Here’s a quick article in our knowledge base about this.
Freshdesk and Google… Sitting on a Tree
I’m sure the guns at Mountain View are working their shoes off to fix this right now, so the non SSO work around should be very temporary. So back to my story… As a team, we go really deep with Google. When I have a doubt, I Google. A good chunk of my marketing life revolves around Google Analytics. I don’t just email – I Gmail. And thanks to my almost awesome Android, my entire address book IS Google Contacts. I’m not alone either - there are over 5 million businesses using Google Apps to get their work done every day, just like me.
Almost a year back, Freshdesk became the first (and, so far, still the only) customer support solution to be as deeply integrated with Google Apps for business (viz. Gadgets for Gmail, Analytics, Contacts and Apps). But then, something was missing… We thought about it long and hard, we ordered pizza, we got into meeting rooms and we scheduled meeting after meeting with customers till our idea book, and calendars screamed us to stop. And the light bulb hit us!
How about scheduling a Google Calendar Event right from that Freshdesk Ticket?
There are some nights in customer support when you know email alone just won’t do. You need to get on the phone, jump into a remote desktop session, or drive across town and explain the solution to clients over a cup of coffee. Of course, you are the night owl and the customer is busy with something else right now. Fifteen emails later, you decide a time and date, exchange phone numbers, and get cozy on your beanbag before you take up the next ticket. And the next. And the next… Until you realize you missed the call, and curse your stars for not remembering to put it up on your meeting calendar earlier.
With the Freshdesk – Google Calendar integration, you can create and edit events from inside the Freshdesk ticket. All those events, calls, meetings, birthday parties… Everything. Check out the solution here to get your calendar into Freshdesk.
Having Google Calendar inside Freshdesk means you don’t have to go back and forth between your calendar on one tab, and the support ticket on another. And, more importantly, it means you don’t have to remind yourself to set yourself a reminder on your Calendar.
There is something immensely satisfying about ordering pizza. It’s not as much about the taste, though – I can think of at least a dozen different food I’d prefer over pizza anytime. To me, the thing I love the most about pizza is reliability.
Most days, I’m hungry enough to crash if I don’t get my carbs, but also too lazy to actually drive down to a restaurant (or worse still, cook). So when the pizza guy gives me the 30 minute guarantee, I know when to expect my stomach to rumble. Just the knowledge that someone somewhere has the next thirty minutes of his life dedicated to bringing me a fresh pepperoni pizza is magical.
Service Level Agreements between you and your clients are meant for exactly this reason – (a) to give your customers the reassurance that their problems will be solved by a certain time, and (b) to give your agents the time by which they should solve this issue.
So what is a Service Level Agreement policy (and why should you care)?
A service level agreement (SLA) is a negotiated contract between you and your customers, where you promise and guarantee them a certain level of service that they can expect from you, no matter what happens.By extension, an SLA policy lets you set standards of performance for your support team. For example, Joey, the kind gentleman who brings me steaming hot pizza has an SLA of 30 minutes to deliver my food, as long as I’m within his delivery circle. The moment I order my Margarita, we both hit our timers to synchronize my tummy rumbles with his dough-and-cheese time bomb.
In Freshdesk, your customer support Service Level Agreement refers to the maximum time by which you will respond to, and resolve a ticket. Of course, not all issues (and pizzas) are equal. In Freshdesk, you get to guarantee and drive Service Levels based on the priority of the issue.
The New Toppings: Managing Multiple SLA’s
Of course, there are times when a single SLA policy just doesn’t cut it. For example, Joey the pizza guy knows that I’m a big shot in my hood (you get there, when you order in three days a week… either that or he can hear my rumbles already!). So he’s made it a point to get me my food within fifteen minutes.
Certain customers fall under the high priority radar and tickets from them have to be addressed as soon as possible. And there are always some crevices (like Finance and Dev) where tickets tend to get holed up longer than usual. Having different policies for different situations makes sure you stay true to your word every time, without getting covered in red “Ticket Overdue” warnings.
The radically cool new SLAs in Freshdesk
Freshdesk has almost always allowed customers to enforce multiple SLA policies for different customers. But over the past couple of weeks there’s been some radical improvements and flexibility added into the way you manage service level policies. So here’s a quick recap of everything you need to know:
Drive SLAs based on Customer(s), Group(s), Product(s) and/or Source(s) of the ticket
Why is this such a big deal: You can now have a separate policy for your high value customers, add a special SLA for tickets assigned to the Finance and Dev teams (and give them more time than usual), or step on the throttle and speed up resolution for tickets coming in through Twitter. Oh, or you could have any combination of these conditions too, implying that you can have a policy for tickets submitted by high value customers, through Twitter, assigned to the Finance team.
Choose “When” you want to escalate issues
Why is this such a big deal: Perhaps you want to give your team a 30 minute breathing space before escalating an issue. Or perhaps you want the right guys alerted immediately. Choosing when you want the ticket to be escalated means you have the freedom to select the right amount of breathing space for your team.
Notify everyone who should know
Why is this such a big deal: The big guns always need to know when hell breaks loose. In some support desks, a service level violation is a grievous crime, requiring the immediate attention of the whole top team. But a lot more often, when a ticket is lying with no responses it makes sense for you to get any free hand onto the case right away. And that means you need to alert all your best guys to the job.
Multi-level Escalation Hierarchies for Resolution Violations
Why is this a big deal: Ok, let me put it this way – “Who will watch the watchers?”. So a ticket was not resolved on time, and was escalated to the first level manager. Unfortunately, that’s the day the manager had to call in sick, so now there’s an overdue ticket sitting in Terra Nemo. Having an escalation hierarchy in place lets you notify the manager’s manager if the ticket is still unresolved, say 30 minutes after the first escalation. And then push it to the big boss if there are still no resolutions in sight, say an hour later.
Having a powerful SLA policy in place can go a great way in keeping your support team focussed, and your customers happy. So go ahead, set up the right SLA policies in place and start resolving issues before the pizza goes cold. And head over to the Freshdesk Solutions page on SLAs to start creating your policies.
The default support reply has always started with something that exudes “teamwork”. A word that has always been the killer of ego, and the self. WE. The idea, of course, is that ‘we’ are a team and are working together to ensure the greatest support experience possible. In fact, just saying “We” often enough celebrates teamwork to the most noble of ideals, and elevates it to the level of gospel. Teamwork is so important, this train of thought says, that even if a bear starts chasing you on an ill-advised camping trail, you should hold hands and run as a team. Even if you went on a solo camping trip!
You must have figured out by now that this post is not about WE. It is about “I”, and being personally responsible for each support email sent, each call taken and each issue addressed. And I’ll tell you why “I” make(s) a much bigger difference than “We”:
‘We’ takes away accountability
The company may draft a million support statements composed of eloquent emotional sentences, conduct ‘teamwork’ classes asking employees to run up and down the forbidden forest, and train employees by ordering them to elicit a response from a mannequin, but when a support agent answers the phone, he only says his name, not the whole team’s. If he advises an old lady to step into a bathtub filled with water when troubleshooting a faulty hairdryer, the whole team is not to blame. Using ‘we’ takes away the responsibility and implies that the whole team is in on it, which you certainly don’t want to happen.
Here’s what that would sound like – “We are sorry to hear about that. Why don’t you step into your bathtub and switch your hairdryer on again. Oh, there’s water in it? That’s ok, its just water. We’ll take complete responsibility if something happens.”
Something invariably will happen, & ‘we’ won’t cut it then.
What you say
Oh we are sorry to hear that.
What the customer hears you say
We want to pretend we care, but we are just mindless robots.
‘We’ takes away competition
When ‘we’ is the norm in support, no agent is going to want to do better than the other. Why should he? He’s in a team, and the team will figure out all that important stuff. Yes, you’ve heard this before. The concept was championed by a fine fellow in Russia until the country that ran itself on this principle collapsed. It was good to hear and nice to think about, except it didn’t work. ‘We’ called it communism. Actually, we still do, and we all more or less agree it won’t take us anywhere, except perhaps chaos.
Only when an agent knows how much he is working when compared to the bearded fellow in the next cubicle, will he want to sink his teeth into first call resolutions and satisfaction scores.
And obviously, there’s no ‘we’ in that.
What you say
We got that done yesterday, but I’ll check again.
What the customer hears you say
We are the curtain that covers pointless things like individual responsibility.
We takes away the geniuses
Imagine if Mark Twain had decided that writing with a team of Missourians would be the best way to write a classic like Tom Sawyer. With his reputation of gambling and drinking, it is safe to assume he never would have managed it, and that we would have lost a literary classic, and also would never have known how to make other people paint fences while we lazed around eating ill-gotten apples.
Some things are better off being done alone, including work, and of course talking to yourself. Support is much the same. Some tickets and calls need to be handled by someone who is good at what he does. A baker cannot be expected to hang-glide, by which I mean that someone who has the ability to pacify a mad customer should be given the credit and the opportunity to do so.
What you say
Oh the fix worked brilliantly, eh? We are overjoyed that you liked it.
What the customer hears you say
We are all the same. The best, the worst, everyone.
There are certain places where ‘we’ can be used, like when you can put a name or face to the group you are talking about. For example, the following sentence – “John from our Dev team and I are working on your issue right now. We will give you a resolution by the the end of the day.”
Where you absolutely cannot use ‘we’ is when you are apologizing. Never ever ever ever ever apologize with a ‘we’. It makes you look faceless, spineless and absolutely lacking sincerity.
Just don’t use ‘we’. If you are going to leave your signature at the bottom, might as well put your name on the top.
As a company that builds and sells technical support software for a living, businesses ask us all the time whether they should be outsourcing their support. Sometimes our customers ask us, because the answer is key to their using Freshdesk for their tech support. Sometimes buddies, friends and entrepreneurs ask us, because outsourced tech support is still a hot service revenue. And sometimes we’re asked because we are here and we just need to have an opinion.
But I think it’s important for every business, right from growing businesses all the way up to large enterprises, to know exactly why they should, or should NOT, outsource their technical support processes. And, more importantly, what kind of problems they should expect to be solving. So here’s a head-to-head comparison between outsourcing your technical support, and keeping it in house:
Round One – Total Cost of Ownership
When you outsource, it basically means you pay someone to hire support reps, train them, get resources and do everything that goes with it. Sure, you’re paying for calls to be routed overseas but in the end, with VOIP and less stringent telecom regulations, outsourcing your technical support is often cheaper than doing it yourself.
When it comes to the TCO of your technical support process, outsourcing manages to draw first blood without breaking a sweat. If the people cost adds up to the biggest hit in your tech support, outsourcing the team to a low-cost center half way across the globe might actually save you big numbers in the year end report.
Verdict: If you have a people-centric technical support cell, outsourcing to a low-cost center might be a good idea
Round Two – Scaling up (or down)
There comes a time in every technical support agent’s life when you realize you have more tickets coming in than the team can chew. Or that there are just too many agents manning lines that don’t ring as often as justified. Now, with these scenarios the solution is to expand your support team or downsize it accordingly. That generally means you need to find the right people to add to your technical support help desk, and you need to find them quick.
Now, if you’d outsourced your technical support, you have the option to choose a vendor who can scale up, or take the shock for you on the fly. The vendor is the one who has to expand the support team or break it down. They’re the ones with the pink elephant in the living room, not you. You’re removed from the decision and been saved a lot of stress, time and money. And if you hadn’t outsourced it, well, you get the picture.
Of course, there are ways you can scale up your technical support in-house, without scaling up the team, so blindly outsourcing it or leaving the onus with your vendor may not be the best idea.
Verdict: If adding more people to your tech support process is the only way to scale up, outsourcing can be a big big relief
Round Three – Quality Control
So midway into the bout, it looks like outsourcing is going to win with ease. It’s been two rounds and there seems to be no downside to it. You save money, time, stress and you get the work done ! How often does that happen?
But don’t write DIY off so easily. There’s a reason companies still prefer to build their own support team and this is it – when you outsource your technical support, you have no control over the quality of the support.
When you outsource technical support, you’re basically handing over the responsibility of making sure that your customers are getting correct, complete answers to their questions. You don’t have any control over whether the agents are going the extra step to ensure that your customers are satisfied. All of your customer’s queries might be answered but have they been answered accurately and completely ? You have no idea.
Outsourcing kind of takes that power right of your hands. You can only direct and hope for the best.
Verdict: If you care to build a brand on your technical support, keep it in-house
Round Four – Being “in touch”
When it comes to being “in-touch” with the customers, you gotta admit that outsourcing doesn’t really put you in a position to receive direct feedback from customers. You have all the numbers and figures that show you that the outsourcees are doing everything they can to make your customers happy but you have no access to the basic facts. No direct insights from your customers. Whereas if you’d set up your own in-house support team, you’d be directly interacting with your customers and would be able to get a good idea of what makes your customer tick.
Verdict: If you want to drive feedback from tech support back into your product and business process, DIY is the way to go
Round Five – The Rulebook
Ok, this one gets a little bit more subjective. Do you think all your technical support woes can be solved with a troubleshooting manual?
The problem with outsourcing is, those call center agents aren’t your employees. They have no hands on experience in developing the product, and they probably aren’t technical experts in your field. That means they’re going to have to be trained extensively before they can begin supporting your customers. And this training is usually accomplished by putting together an extensive troubleshooting manual where you detail everything that can possibly go wrong, how it can be fixed and hand it over to the outsourcee.
As long as most support queries lie within the boundaries of this manual, the outsourcee should do just as well (or even better) than your own employees. But if your support queries involve more technical expertise, a lot of tacit knowledge and walking across the floor to quickly get inputs from the products team, outsourcing the function is a sure way to disaster.
Verdict: If your technical support can be sufficiently bound in a rulebook, outsourcing is the way to go. Else, its better to build your own in-house support team.
Round Six: Getting Beyond Ticketing
The times when technical support was all about being just reactive are nearly gone. It’s the era of social media and a time where customers would rather share their complaints for all the world to see, on Facebook or Twitter, than talk to you about them.
And when the customers do talk to you (or even about you, on social networks), they expect you to listen to them and take their input into consideration. The traditional paradigm of answering only when a customer is talking directly to you is over. So, for all those companies that are looking to shift to the new reality, outsourcing may not be the key that gets you there. Sure, answering direct queries is still a part of the equation but it’s not the only part anymore.
Verdict: If you want to proactively support customers, letting someone else to do it just doesn’t work out anymore.
So what does all this mean?
In a lot of cases, outsourcing definitely seems to be the way to go. For example, a large business that sells common electronic gadgets would have a lot of similar technical support queries. Possibly, the most effective way to scale up here is adding more support resources, and it makes sense to outsource their technical support. Dependent fields offer a great way to categorize, and identify how technical support queries are spread across categories.
For another similar business, selling niche electronic components to a very targeted audience, it is likely that their technical support queries are more varied, and require a fair deal of domain expertise and knowledge to answer. Here, it probably makes sense for the business to invest on building a support team in-house, and look to other ways of scaling up their support in the long run.
Today is one of those days that changes everything.
I want to say it’s the day that redefines everything we know about customizing the tools we use everyday, or rebranding our support, or even about customer support in general. But I know that’s hardly the point. The truth is today we are launching happiness, in unlimited flavors and sizes, with the launch of FreshThemes.
FreshThemes lets you completely customize your customer support portal with your own styles, layout, design and interactions. But it lets you do so much more. FreshThemes lets you create an experience around your support that is personal to your customers. And, for the first time in the world of suits, ties and business software, FreshThemes means Choice and Happiness.
What is FreshThemes and why is happiness so darn important?
Can you imagine a world where the only juice you can get is Orange? Or the only ice-cream vanilla? Would you be ok with having a wardrobe full of deep blue shirts and just that? When you, as a consumer, are so tuned to having choices, preferences and a personality, why should your support be any different?
Your customers want you to make it personal. When they come knocking at your door with a support issue, they are yearning for an experience that they can turn the tale over and make them fall in love with you. Of course, you can stop with just satisfying the customer. Or you can go the extra mile, and give them that support experience that will make them delirious with joy. FreshThemes give you complete control over your customer support experience. In fact, with FreshThemes, you get to decide what your support portal should look like, how you want information to be presented, and where.
But… What does it mean for me?
FreshThemes, like happiness, can mean different things to different people. It’s the designer’s dream-come-true for the Michelangelo in you. It means you can design and deliver the support experience you always wanted, without worrying about any creative restrictions.
To the CSS Geek, FreshThemes lets you break out of the boring and the monotonous with all the canvas, interaction and usability genius bottled up inside you. You now get to enjoy happiness, right at the code-level of your support portal.
Most importantly, to your customers, it means a better support experience – an experience that’s you. It means you get to decide what they see when they want some help, when they are angry, when they want to tell you your support’s great. And since you know your customers best, that means a better, cleaner, and happier support experience for them.
If you are still wondering why this “FreshThemes” thing is so world-changing, paradigm-shifting, mind-blowing, drop-your-pants-ing awesome, here’re four reasons why:
1. FreshThemes is raw, undiluted power for just about anyone who cares about Experience
With FreshThemes, you can give your customers the experience they need, when they need it. For starters, you could show your ecommerce customer her recent orders, and where her latest package currently is. Or you could go all fancy and modify the look and feel of your entire portal. You can guide your customer through her support experience, one step at a time. And you can completely change the layout, effects and interactions to suit your style.
2. FreshThemes are your style. All the way.
With FreshThemes, you can paint, pop, pad, push, turn, and more with your own Cascading Stylesheets (CSS). I’ll leave it for the CSS geek in you to have a little party in your head right now, but the point is you get to style every last element in your portal.
3. FreshThemes are easy. Super easy.
True story – we threw a bunch of HTML newbies into a room, and four hours later we had a whole bunch of pretty slick themes ready. FreshThemes are super easy to build – of course, a little basic HTML and CSS can go a long way, but you can build your own theme armed with just your support portal, this FreshThemes Guide, some intro lessons from W3Schools and 1 large pepperoni pizza.
4. FreshThemes come in packs. Kind of like family, but more fun.
FreshThemes are so brilliant, they hate being alone by themselves. That’s why we built them a nice little FreshThemes Gallery here, where they can swing by, meet other cool users, and go home. You can download the FreshThemes you really like from the gallery and start using them right away, or you can further customize them to make them scream “You” even more. And you can share the themes you make with other Freshdesk users, get their feedback, and build a better world, one theme at a time.
If you are revving to see what you can do with FreshThemes, here is a handy guide that will help you get started with building your own. Or you could check out the FreshThemes Gallery to directly plug, play and start making your customers fall in love with you all over again. Of course, you will need a Freshdesk account first so if you haven’t got yourself our awesome help desk software yet, go ahead and signup to start trying some themes.