Our Favourite Reads on Customer Support

Written by on February 1, 2018

Brands of all sizes understand that customer expectations are constantly changing. To keep up with the change, they are encouraging their customer-facing teams to be more creative. New trends in technology also offer more opportunities for brands to push the boundaries of customer experiences. Now, there’s a lot being talked about these trends, pitfalls to avoid in customer support, and the lessons that companies have learnt in their journey to customer success. If you’re worried about where to start, we’ve put in the hard work on cherry-picking the best articles from last year.

Say hello to the Roundup — a great way to stack up your customer support ideas for 2018.

#1 Setting up a Customer-facing Team that is Multiculturally Diverse

What piqued our interest here is the essay ‘The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes’ that discusses how cultural issues can cause plane crashes. Culture and plane crashes, really? The article uses this analogy to explore why your customer-facing team should be culturally diverse.

“It doesn’t matter if the team is centralized or distributed – the only thing that matters is the sensitivity, intelligence and creativity [and cultural awareness] they bring to the table.”

While we are discussing culture, Harvard Business Review published an article about a study on the seven types of customer support reps that surprisingly ranked Empathizers only at #4.

#2 Sharing the Secret Formula to a Less-chaotic Day at Customer Support

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”

This article identifies that most support teams tend to confuse important with urgent, which is a pressing issue when it comes to prioritizing customer requests. If you can distinguish the two, half of your problem is solved. But, how? The Eisenhower Matrix can help your support reps when they face such a dilemma.

#3 Quick Tips to Deliver Better Customer Experience

If we ask you to list the best tips that win customer loyalty, what would they be? Josh Linkner highlights three overlooked hacks to build strong customer relations. He explains how shifting the perspective a little and beginning to look at customers as long-term clients will come a long way in improving customer loyalty. Now, how many of us would have thought of that?

“Whatever you promise your clients, promise yourself an extra 5%.”

Shep Hyken too shares his two cents on building deep customer relations using interesting examples. In one of his customer service posts, he talks about how important it is to be keen observers to serve your customers better.

#4 The Secret Sauce to Great Customer Support at WordPress.com

Each week, we bring stories of how support teams go above and beyond the call of duty to make their customers happy. Andrea Badgley, from the WordPress.com Happiness Team shared some amazing information on how their support team uses microblogging to drive team discussions and why it isn’t right to mislabel the customer as being aggressive.

“[It is important] to lean into customer frustration, and [also how to] redirect back to the original issue to get to resolution.”

#5 Customer Speaks: How to Get Better Service

“Companies are doing all the right things the wrong way.”

Back in 1976, 32% of customers came back with a complaint within 12 months of purchasing a product or service. However, in 2014 the number was at 54%. What changed? In the article, Christopher Mele discusses this and other important aspects such as the psychology behind customer rage and how customers can get solutions to their requests more quickly.

#6 Gather and Implement Customer Feedback to Skyrocket Your Business

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

In this long post, Hubspot explains, in simple terms, the strategic system called A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop. You begin by asking your customers for feedback, then categorizing the feedback into meaningful buckets, acting on it, and closing the loop with a follow up with the customers.

#7 AI, Chatbots, and the Road Ahead for Customer Service

Technology, AI in particular, is supercharging the customer service world and we have been reading a whole lot about it. This article caught our attention as it discusses how support agents are excited about the idea of AI — they want to focus on solving bigger customer problems.

We were also surprised to learn that 44% of customers prefer interacting with a (smart and well-designed) chatbot over talking to a real person for customer support!

If you are someone new to the idea of AI and chatbots in customer support, this article from Nicereply’s blog breaks it down for you.

#8 Solving Customer Problems with Proactive Support

The article talks about an experiment where Autopilot sends out a personalized email automatically to those who search their knowledge base for information. The results were impressive! The emails saw 63.5% open rate and 26% reply rate. Great customer experience is well within reach. The answer to the recurring question of how to wow your customer every single time is Proactive Support.

“Proactive support is the ability to anticipate issues and pain points that your customers might experience before they experience them.”

With that, we reach the end of the list. If you have read some content pieces on customer support that stood out or left a deep impression on you, let us know in the comments.

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