High Tech and Customer Support: Lessons Learned by Industry Leaders
Updated: Dec 26, 2019
On January 22, Wix Answers hosted an exclusive event, “Customer Support Matters,” in the hustle and bustle of Tel Aviv, Israel. Beer was sipped and spilt, pita bread generously devoured, and some of the brightest minds of the high-tech industry shared their thoughts on the importance of customer support in their daily schedules, and long-term growth. The panel included leading companies such as MyHeritage, Payoneer, Fiverr and Wix.
All four of these high tech brands have successful track records in their respective industries - their teams pushing the limits of online innovation, dealing with complex algorithms, and coming up with fascinating marketing campaigns. Yet, the core of their success still relies on one thing: connecting better with their users. As the CEO and Founder of Fiverr, Micha Kauffman, puts it:
“The only way to engage in a meaningful conversation is through customer support.”
From finding the best help desk software to keeping a human dimension, their testimonials enabled us to grasp the most important needs and concerns high tech companies are facing when it comes to customer support. Here they are:
1. Omnichannel is the all-seeing eye of customer support
At the early stages of your business, you can afford answering customers yourself, with basic tools such as your phone and email. Soon enough, you’ll start hitting hurdles as you’ll grow and your audience will become more demanding. You’ll open a business page on Facebook to offer social media support. Then, you’ll hire a customer support representative to assist you. Finally, you’ll find yourself juggling with more smartphones than your pockets can actually carry. This scenario is extremely widespread across startups on the rise - whether they specialize in high tech, eCommerce or more traditional sectors.
To solve the issues stemming from this proliferation of channels, high tech companies quickly found the need to own one platform that combines them all. Omnichannel customer support software became an extremely popular concept among the last years. But one can’t fully understand the revolution it represents until they actually use one themselves. Before using an omnichannel software, the VP of Support at MyHeritage, Yakir Lasry, had to deal with countless accounts, passwords and screens. The result? A growing feeling of frustration and dwindling efficiency.
“You have one vendor that does IVR (interactive voice response), one that does ticketing, and one for the help center. For me, I always hated it and I wanted everything to connect.”
With a huge variety of à la carte help desk features out there, MyHeritage has made the shift by using Wix Answers. This enables them to provide top-notch customer support, manage teams and gain valuable insights so no issues slip through the cracks.
As for customers, you’ll always have users requesting help more than once with different issues, which is why, at a certain point, you need to consolidate this information and have easy access to it. With an omnichannel solution - instead of conversations being scattered across multiple channels - each ticket, call and live chat consists of a timeline that can assist with tracking conversations. Overall, it paints a full picture for you of each customer's journey - from A to Z.
2. Support-driven data is shaping the entire production system
How do you know whether your latest feature was a success or a flop? How does your product team learn to prioritize top issues? Why are you receiving so many views on one particular knowledge base article? You can rely on your gut feeling, but having concrete data insights can set it in stone. The fact of the matter is that customers are the building blocks to any business, which is why their feedback must be recorded in an all-in-one system and represented in a clear way. The VP of Customer Solutions at Wix, Elad Eran, believes that precise data can help both support and product teams make data-driven decisions.
“We needed a powerful data insights tool to present to the entire company about what was going on in our products.”
By illustrating top issues through one seamless platform, the support team at Wix found themselves able to help other decision makers in the company, like marketers and product managers, optimize their own processes.
Valuable data can be extracted from multiple support assets. For example, checking how many users voted on your feature requests articles can give your product team a strong indication of which features should be modified, developed or abandoned. Receiving multiple questions about an answer you gave on a social media post might indicate that your content wasn’t clear enough. Lastly, this information should also impact the way that you manage your support itself. By defining and checking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to answering tickets - from number of solved tickets and replies to their customer satisfaction rating - you’ll soon be able to optimize and streamline support team performance for greater customer satisfaction.
3. Why knowledge (base) is power
You surely know the proverb: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” As your business grows, the traditional method of emailing your customers may not be the most efficient way to communicate. Many times, hiring agents is out of reach due to resource limitations, which means that you’ll need to find creative ways to help your customers. The most efficient option might actually be to help them help themselves.
This is why most high tech companies develop and grow strong knowledge bases (sometimes also called “help centers”) which can be used by customers and support representatives to find answers. Yakir Lasry from MyHeritage, offered some advice for startups, “It might not look important now, but you’ve got do it. You can’t handle it by yourself. You have to send people to do things on their own.” This comes with extra benefits too, such as a boost in organic traffic through search engines like Google, thanks to the rich and original content you put out there. On top of this, information should be available to everyone. As the VP of Customer Care at Payoneer, Natalie Margolin, mentioned, “We want it to be fully transparent to the customer.” Why? It empowers them and in return, you earn trust and respect.
Whether you’ve published an article or finished a call, this is not the end of the journey. Through your help desk software, you can derive valuable insights about your customers. For example, what your customers search for (or what they don't), the most voted feature requests, and common terms and phrases used. The reality is that data can provide you with unique ways of improving your products or services to better serve your customers. Not only is knowledge power for your customers, it is for you too.
4. Go the extra miles
Offering 24/7 customer support is extremely difficult and costly. Yet, in today’s omnichannel world, customers demand instant service at any time. When your company is expanding in all directions (users, employees and tickets), you’ll probably want to consider offering around-the-clock support. This is especially true if you grow in multiple countries in parallel - meaning that you’ll have to provide your customers with multilingual assistance. If you’re a company dealing with customers across different time zones, the best way to reach out to them is through their native tongue at an appropriate time. Natalie Margolin went as far as to open a call center for Payoneer in the Philippines. She said, “we took it all the way to Manilla. We worked in-house and understood that if we need to support our customers, we need to segment them.”
But of course, this represents a cost that not every burgeoning startup can afford. A help desk software with multilingual support across a handful of dedicated channels - like knowledge base, a ticketing system and even calls by customized and dedicated queues - can be a good start. Then, hiring multiple teams in different countries will come with resources. Elad Eran from Wix wanted to test the impact and possible potential of providing global support with part-time students. He said, “we did an A/B test focused on 24/7 support and found there was an increase in our conversion rate. That’s when we knew this was highly rewarding for Wix. As a result, we opened our first site in San Francisco and proceeded to open our Miami site to cover both coasts.”
Remember, before you take the 24/7 journey, it is a significant investment. Whether you’re a large business or just starting out, do your research and run a trial (like a pilot of part-time students, for example) to see if it’s a worthy adventure.
5. The human approach is eternal
“With great power comes great responsibility,” once said Uncle Ben to Peter Parker (also known as Spiderman). In customer support lingo, this translates to any increase of traffic to your business or website will inevitably come with more frustrated customers. With the emergence of new technologies in the realm of customer service, businesses are using tools without the need of direct human contact. This does sound neat and innovative, but to a certain extent, there is nothing that replaces the human connection between your brand and your customers.
The first strategy to implement is using a multi-channel ticketing system. Whether your customers are located around the world, or just around the block, having a consistent structure enables you to keep track of every single interaction you had with your users. Just like on a social platform feed, you want to maintain conversations in one timeline and avoid asking repetitive information to customers that already exists in their ticket thread. Keep in mind, behind every ticket, call or live chat is a customer. Yakir Lasry from MyHeritage informs his representatives that “it's not about the tickets or phone calls or chats, it’s about the people behind it. These are real people with emotions and hope, and your product touches their life.”
Ready to start your seamless customer service journey? Try the best help desk software today!