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...
It’s been a month since you launched your latest task management app on the App Store. You did the pre-test right, and your mom absolutely loved it. But the user base hasn’t really taken off like you thought it would. Why, you wonder. Where is the app going wrong? After all, it did get shiny Techcrunch coverage on launch day too…
Paul Graham (and a few others) called this phase the ‘Trough of Sorrow’ in the life cycle of a startup. After you strike the initial few points, like virality and need, off the checklist, you are left with the more obvious reasons most apps die – the “I Don’t Get It” syndrome.
Andrew Chen said it best in one of his essays, when he described life after the “Techcrunch Bump”.
“Identify the root problem. Is the product working? Does the on-boarding suck? Or is execution on growth lacking? You can figure out the main bottleneck by trying to understand where it’s working and where it’s not.”
The solution seems simple. You need to be able to make user feedback and on-boarding an integral part of your app. The only question is – how do you do that?
Today, your users have 2 ways of reaching you when they have an issue. First, by posting reviews on the App Store. And second, by looking for your website (assuming you have one), and contacting you with their support queries. Not a very likely thing to happen…
Your users don’t have the time or motivation to come out of the App, note down what’s wrong, what wasn’t right, get on to the App Store or your website, raise a ticket and tell you about it.
So how DO you really get feedback?
Now let’s talk eutopia for a minute here. What would really make your life as an app developer easier?
A direct connection to be able to talk to users right inside your app would be priceless. Your users could just chat away their feedback without even getting out of your application. Get rid of those speed bumps and detours when users really just want to talk to you. Getting feedback works out just so much easier, you know exactly where the bottlenecks are and with each iteration you get to create a product your user base already loves and understands.
It’s never going to be easier to ‘batch’ up your sales and support!
Freshdesk is now integrated with Batchbook.
You can now display contact information from your Batchbook account on the Freshdesk Contacts and Tickets pages.
Freshdesk will pull in all the contact details you need from Batchbook into Freshdesk. And your agents’ work gets that much more easier. In short, they can just lean back, and.. not do anything, actually! All the information your agents need is already before them.
And if you are looking for that perfect CRM-Helpdesk combo, you can signup here and test-drive Freshdesk for free.
Your sales and support teams are going to get really really ‘high’ on this. We just hope they don’t OD on it!
Freshdesk is now integrated with Highrise, the CRM software from 37 Signals.
Agents can track their contacts right from within Freshdesk. The Name, Title, Company Name, Contact Address, Phone Number & Mobile Number fields from Highrise CRM are displayed right next to the ticket in Freshdesk.
There’s nothing like knowing everything you can about the customer when you are troubleshooting their issue, a good reason why we focus quite heavily on our CRM integrations. With this integration, growing businesses get to drive CRM insights from Highrise without leaving Freshdesk.
For those of you who have been waiting for a long time to get that beautiful helpdesk that lets you Highrise, we have just the thing for you.
This week kicks off the season most people look forward to all year long. November brings on Thanksgiving and that means awesome discounts, gifts wrapped in shiny paper and midnight caffeine-induced queues outside our favorite gadget stores.
But there’s a small bunch of us at the other side of the counter to whom the “season” also means more queries, support tickets, returns and more queries. And that means a huge pileup of support tickets between Thanksgiving, when the buying begins, and the week after Christmas, when the wrappings come out.
Wait a minute – add to it the agony of having half your team away, and generally trying to run your extra-loaded support with fewer hands on deck and you start wishing you were the Thanksgiving turkey instead.
So how can you prep yourself up and make the best of the holiday cheer? And how can you give yourself the support experience they expect and still come out of the season not looking like a turkey? Here’s our Thanksgiving checklist to keep your support in full swing from Black Friday all the way till you go jingle-all-the-way.
1. Get those part timers on support
Its time to get those occasional agents out and ready on the helpdesk. Some stress tests and hands-on training won’t hurt either, so they can hit the ground running. And get some Day Passes ahead of time for your extra agents.
2. Dust those FAQs and solutions
Gather information about all the deals, anticipate customer queries and get your sharpshooters in place. This ensures that when the going gets tough, your shooters are already locked and loaded and have the target in their sights.
3. Put out a social media high alert!
Get all hands-on-board on Social Media. This is where the traffic will explode and you need all the help you can get. Every mention and question will drive customer sentiment. You need a tool to make sure you don’t miss anything.
4. Have a central control station
Put someone (or yourself) at the end of the hierarchy. Be ready for random questions, and be ready to take split second decisions under pressure. Let people know where the decisions are coming from, so people know where to go if there’s a crisis.
5. Put out all the information that you have, and might need
Let the whole support team know what’s going on. Write all the key things on a whiteboard in the war room, for example. Time will be the most precious commodity this weekend. Make sure you automate as much as you can so you are free to take care of ‘real’ customer service.
And if you are in panic mode and wanting to set up a helpdesk just in time for the Thanksgiving weekend, you can sign up here for the most intuitive and user friendly helpdesk on the market.
A decade ago, ‘customer interaction’ meant very little.
The little kid with the lemonade stand just had to place his table on the right intersection, make enough lemonade and price it right to reap his riches.
Conversations with customers would, in most cases, be a muffled grunt or an excuse to tender exact change. And when the kids from across the block started competing, our lemonade kid just had to slash his prices. If he could get his lemons cheaper than everyone else there was just no stopping him. And he could always add a little bit more water. After all, who would notice?
Except his customers, of course. And our little man realized that if he wanted to stay in business, he had to start listening.
And listen he did. It was as simple as placing a fish bowl & a notepad on his stand for customers to drop their feedback. Every night, the lemonade boy spent an hour reading all the feedback and responding to them. And as he grew (and his business expanded to the parking lot), customers started flocking to him. Not because the lemonade was cheaper or even better than everybody else, but because they believed in the Lemonade Boy who Listened.
So what was that really big deal that turned the little kid with watery lemonade into the Lemonade Boy who Listened?
Lesson 1 – Make it easy for customers to talk to you
The Lemonade boy had a fishbowl and a notepad. The customers did not need to bring anything, except themselves. Ask yourself this – How easy is it for your customers to talk to you? If the answer is ‘very easy’, you are in a good place and should treat yourself to a lemonade.
But if you need your customers to bring their pens and paper, its time you got yourself a fish bowl. Now!
Lesson 2 – Listen, act and show them that you listen
At first, there were just a couple of letters, some nice and some nasty. As the days rolled by, the fishbowl had to get refreshed thrice every day. But the lemonade boy still listened – he committed himself to going through every feedback, and acting on it. And if the backlog ever piled up, he spent his nights and weekends clearing them up. Now, if you are still able to keep your fishbowl consistently clean for the next day, kudos.
But if the backlog is piling up you better put on reading glasses, because your customers know when you aren’t listening to what they say.
Lesson 3 – Be honest. Good lemonade is all about personality
The girl from the red brick house three blocks away felt the portions were too small. The lemonade boy wrote back telling her the quality and poetic elegance that goes into every cup. And, the next day, he showed her exactly what went into making that one portion of freshly squeezed lemonade. Today, the Lemonade Boy’s lemonade is no longer a drink. It is a story that every customer wants to relate to.
Your support is the brand that your customers directly relate to. Break away the monotony and drive a personality in every cup of lemonade you serve.
When Apple Genius Bar’s hiring managers evaluate candidates, they keep one guiding principle in mind: “Will this person provide a Ritz-Carlton level of service?”
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel brand is synonymous worldwide with standout customer service. So it makes sense Apple would model their support team after the luxury hotel brand. But what makes their service so special?
Recently, I sat down with Ritz-Carlton Vice President Diana Oreck to see if she could crack the code to their service success. She heads up the companies Leadership Center – an executive training center where they teach the Ritz-Carlton Legendary Service Model.
Here is what she had to say:
What sort of questions can you ask someone to find out if they’re caring and can anticipate customer wants and needs?
Well what you want to make sure you do is not ask yes or no questions. You’re not going to say, “OK Ashley, are you a caring person?” Because obviously, you’re just going to say yes, right? So what we do is we ask you in the interview, “Ashley give us a specific example of how you’ve cared for someone in the last month.” “Give me a specific example of anticipatory service that you have extended.”
Ritz-Carlton puts a lot of emphasis on successful new hire orientation. Why is this important for customer service training?
A lot of companies have a notion that employee orientation really needs to be a data dump of the company, and statistics and who’s doing what. It really isn’t. What we are looking for at orientation is passion. We want to make sure that that new person feels they made the right decision in joining us. It’s all about them and it’s all about culture. We feel that orientation needs to be significant emotional experience. Because think about it – you are making a very big decision in your life to either start a job or change a job. So our two days of orientation, they are solely revolving around our culture, which we call the gold standards. And the reason we do that is we know that the culture creates passion advocates of our employees. Raving advocates of our brand and we don’t think that it’s realistic to ask that your customer be passionate, raving fans if your employees aren’t first.
Is this also something that helps with customer service employee satisfaction and retention?
Yes, it’s about engagement. I will give you an example. The lodging industry as a whole tends to run a 60-70 percent turnover in a year. Here at Ritz Carlton we run in the low 20s. It’s a huge difference.
What metrics or qualitative data does Ritz-Carlton use to measure customer service training success (How do you know it’s working)? How do you collect this data?
Oh yes, we poll our guests once a month. The Gallup organization sends out 38 percent of guests that stayed the month before. It’s done randomly with the hope we will get 8-10 percent return. We live and die by that guest engagement number. This is the sum of responses to about 30 questions, including How likely is that guest to recommend Ritz Carlton? Were they delighted and satisfied with their stay? If there was a problem, did we take care of their problem? We know that if that guest engagement number goes up, we know that our training programs have been successful.
What are the biggest mistakes companies make when training customer service staff?
There not being specific enough. They’ll say things like “Give great service.” Well that’s nice, but people need a road map. Never assume anything, make sure you have your service standards written down and allow people to observe you in action. Don’t assume that their mother or father, or previous employer taught them what really great service looks like. Have a written service strategy.
What other successful customer service strategies have companies adopted by studying Ritz-Carlton?
It’s all about empowerment. The thing that our guests are most wowed about is that every single employee has $2,000 a day per guest to delight, or make it right. But we never use the money because that money is just symbolic. We are saying to our employees we trust you. We select the best talent. Just help the guest. We do a lot of training around empowerment. So I would say this – you need to empower employees. You also need to make sure that you are inspiring employees to bring their passion to work everyday and to volunteer their best. And you do that by reinforcing their purpose, not their function. Not the how to do your work, but the why of the work you do.
Ashley Furness is a CRM analyst for research firm Software Advice.
John’s Pizza place, which he opened the year he got married to Stephanie, is now doing pretty well. In fact, so well that John’s restaurant is now facing a huge influx of visitors and delivery orders.
As the story goes, John decided to start using Freshdesk to make sure he never misses a call, passes on the snacker’s feedback to the chef, and knows exactly when to add extra onions and when not to…
John has his customer’s address on file. He knows who got their pizza cold. He knows where who he should send the bread-sticks to. He knows everything he needs to know.
Except one thing. If only he could pull up exactly “where” his customer are on a map right inside the support portal, he could do so much more with his small team of delivery guys and mopeds.
Ah, well.. Now he can!
Get your customer’s favorite Pizza, toppings and where they are, right into the ticket
With FreshPlugs, companies can now tailor their support tickets to include an assortment of product information. Not only does it make it easier for support teams to see relevant information in one view, it also gets the customer much better support as the agent already knows the context of the customer communication.
So you don’t sell Pizza?
Here are a few more examples where FreshPlugs can totally rock your support -
1. On-the-field support teams can see exactly where an issue is coming from on Google Maps right inside a ticket.
2. When processing a refund claim, you can pull insights like loyalty points and return history of a customer can be directly into Freshdesk.
3. You can integrate your VOIP telephony systems and have your FreshPlug softphone waiting inside every support ticket.
Check out everything you need to know to create your own FreshPlug here.
As parts of the companies and teams we work in, there will always have been the minute when we think about the brand itself – if our efforts, as marketers, support reps, developers, salespeople, is in any way contributing to the brand itself, and if it is, how are we shaping what our brand will stand for? What will it be its lasting impression?
The brand is what the customer thinks it is. It isn’t the million dollar super-bowl advertisement, or endorsements by that gorgeous model. In fact, a brand is only what the customer says it stands for, nothing more and nothing less. And that is why every customer-company interaction, every point of contact, is a chance for the brand to iterate what it wants to mean, and communicate what it doesn’t.
Think about that a minute. Did I just say ‘every customer-company interaction’? Surely your brand equity can’t depend on such minute trivialities. Can it?
The Cost of Every Single Interaction
An engaged customer who is happy with your brand will tell three of her buddies. An enraged customer with a bad experience will convince her six buddies, her beautician, four others in the super market trotting their cart in the next aisle, and three very angry young men at the bar never to do business with you. Ever. That’s a difference between winning 4 customers who are madly in love with you, and losing 15, who are never coming back. And that’s where brands are built and demolished.
But even if every single customer interaction is important, is it really possible to get a perfect 10 consistently across all communications?
The truth is.. No. Not if you want to do it all by yourself, instead of calling on your greatest marketers and salesmen for help – your loyal customers!
This is where the community steps in. As you build your brand and keep delivering great support, you create a group of customers who actually become more like a part of your business. They trust you, and you deliver.
But what if they knew each other well? What if you could give them a platform to come together to share a drink, play a game of darts and talk about how you’ve changed each of their lives in a unique way?
Well, this community is where your brand equity resides. These customers hold the key to what your brand will mean to everyone else, even the world. And this is why you should be focussing not just on building the community, but letting the community build itself too. Facilitate conversations, give them the platform to engage and show them that you’d love to participate.
What you should do right now
1. If you don’t have one, set up a community forum for your customers
2. Tell them, and if necessary, tell them repeatedly, that there’s this forum for them
3. Ask some of your influential customers to start posting and encourage conversations
4. Always engage in the dialogue & answer questions directed at the company
Better late than never, right? Get started on your community building initiative right now.
Most tools like your CRM or project management software let you shoot an email to automatically create a lead, project or document. And when it comes to customer support, wouldn’t it be just great if you could send a copy of your conversations right into your leads information or projects? Of course, you don’t want your customer to see this address copied on your replies to them.
Or perhaps you’ve had those times when you need to rope in someone from the engineering team on a ticket without the customer knowing. Oh, wouldn’t it be perfect if you could just bcc your replies to any email address you want?
Backup every mail, and go ninja with BCCs
Freshdesk lets you bcc your tickets to your dropbox email, get stuff organised and done. You just need to add the bcc address in the reply you send from within Freshdesk, and all your subsequent ticket conversations are automatically copied to that address, without your customer seeing it.
You can automatically add bccs to every ticket coming into a specific mailbox, or choose to blind-copy someone on just a specific reply. After all, you can’t be a ninja if you don’t go all out, can you?!