Today, it’s not just enough to build a great product — companies are competing on the overall experiences they offer which include the product as well as every single touchpoint they have with customers. In fact, analyst firm Gartner found in a recent survey that 89% of companies plan to compete on customer experiences next year. But how can you deliver an awesome experience that scales as you grow? The Desk.com team hit the road on theSalesforce World Tour New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Seattle, where our product marketing team shared these five tips with the local attendees.
Know your audience.
Product marketing is used to thinking about customer needs when designing products. And sales and marketing teams think about the best ways to communicate with the people that might purchase their product. But to build a scalable experience, you to consider what your customers want and need through your entire lifecycle together, including after the sale. You need to deliver on the expectations that you set during the sales process and offer an experience that’s consistent from the very first touchpoint through their entire relationship with your product. For example, if you offer a mobile app for customers that are on the go (like dating app Hinge or taxi service Hailo) you need to make communicating with customers just as fast. Look at embedding support into the app so customers can quickly get help from the road.
Remove obstacles for your customers.
If your product or service presents customers with too many challenges, they’re more likely to move to your competitors. You need to make it as easy as possible for customers to interact with you. This can be as simple as making your phone number more prominent on your home page or integrating support content into your website or mobile app (like the companies mentioned above). It also means interacting with customers in the way that they are most comfortable with. For many of today’s uber-connected customers, that may mean by interacting with them on Twitter. Making it as easy as possible to connect with you is sure to create a tighter bond with customers, and reduced the chance that they’ll go elsewhere.
Make the customer experience everyone’s responsibility.
The most successful small companies make it everyone’s job to keep customers happy. Don’t just assign a single group of people to help customers, make it a priority for everyone. Comanies like Formstack, an online leader in creating, managing and hosting online forms and surveys, does this by by training every employee on their helpdesk tool so everyone from the CEO to the receptionist can pitch in and help with customer support during busy times. Training should be part of your onboarding process and an ongoing part of every job (after all, it’s the best way to learn about your customers and products). It’s also important to empower your employees to go above-and-beyond with customers, so they can offer unhappy ones free shipping or a discount on their next order.
Give your team the information they need to know customers.
Empowering employees to help customers can only go so far if your employees don’t have the information they need to know customers. (You wouldn’t want sales to pitch a customer who is in the middle of a gnarly support issue, would you?) Everyone who interacts with customers needs to have the full context of their relationship.You can start as simply giving employees access to contact information or purchasing and billing histories. Truly integrating sales and service lets everyone do a better job of helping customers, as well as supporting more upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Fortunately, it’s easy to do this with today’s cloud computing solutions. You don’t need consultants or big IT budgets to integrate your systems and give everyone the data they need to know your customers.
Value your customer’s time.
In today’s hectic and over-scheduled world, time may be the most valuable thing that many of us have. Making it as fast and easy for customers to get the answers they need is essential. Today it’s table stakes for even small companies to offer self-service so customers can find their own solutions, 24/7. You can make that process even easier by embedding support links into the relevant pages on your website. You can also show you them you value their time by supporting them on the channels where they are most active and reaching out to you. But sometimes customers still need to reach a real person, and when they do, you can improve their experience with a helpdesk solution that automates repetitive tasks so agents can focus on complex issues or providing personalized service.
But, let’s face it, your strategy only goes so far. To be successful in today’s world, you need great execution! For more information and best practices for offering awesome service, check out the Desk.com Success Center. Or, read our customer success stories to see how other companies are delivering amazing experiences and awesome service with the Desk.com helpdesk. If you’re ready to get started, try Desk.com now for free!