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What "House of Cards" can teach you about customer service productivity

A few weeks ago, the much-anticipated second season of “House of Cards” premiered on Netflix. The show details the process of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a ruthless politician that will stop at nothing to become the President of the United States. While I don’t encourage revenge, deception or mind games, there are a few lessons in customer service that you can take away from the show. Here are three ways you can effectively manage and organize your support productivity.

1) Have a Solid Game Plan

In customer service, as in politics, you must have a solid strategy. Research shows customers who feel they work hard to resolve their own issues are 61% less likely to repurchase. In “House of Cards,” Frank Underwood always has a game plan. He never makes a move without first assessing the risks and benefits. As a result, he’s managed to move upward in office from House of Whip to Vice President of the United States. For your support team to become most effective, focus on creating hassle-free, friction-free customer experiences. A Universal Inbox like Desk.com encourages accountability and reduces ambiguity by creating an airtight system to track your customer interactions and keep them in context.

2) Provide Support Across Departments

Customer support should not be isolated into a single department, it should be considered a company-wide effort. Providing “Whole Company Support” helps small companies get ahead of potential problems and share them beyond the help desk, so that product, marketing and sales have a better idea of how to prioritize and focus their attention. Similarly, Frank makes it clear from the beginning of the show that he had a plan and needs help executing it. If you look at the success of Frank, it boils down to the help of his wife, his right hand man Doug Stamper, the Whip Jackie Sharp and the Press Secretary Seth Grayson. Everyone from the get-go understands the plan of what to do and how to get there. Using business intelligence and analytics tools can be a powerful differentiator, especially in the area of customer service.

3) Respond Quickly and Accurately

When it comes to measuring success, speed should not the most important support metric. While it’s great to respond quickly to customer issues, being fast and accurate is the ultimate combination. Frank Understood is able to stay five steps ahead of everyone else by acting fast and maintaining open communication with his team. Even when his plan veers off track, he manages to keep his team informed at all times so they know how to quickly achieve results. When you respond fast and accurately to customer issues, you’ll earn your customer’s trust and commitment to your business. This is good news since the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60%-70% (and only 5%-20% for prospects). If your business can do that, you’re likely to notice a quick return on human capital investment.

So how do you maximize your customer service productivity? All three of these steps need to be managed and organized in order to promote productivity. Take a "moral" lesson from Frank. When he balances his strategy and network, he’s able to achieve his desired results. Similarly, when your company balances the right productivity tools with the right methodology, you’ll be able to increase your support efficiency. Delivering more than expected is what earns your customers’ loyalty and referrals and breeds advocacy.

To learn more about how to increase customer service productivity, check out our latest "Desk.com Master's Guide: Single Team Setup" to configure your support site specifically for your team.

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