With Yulia Ziv, Head of Product Marketing Wix Answers & Nir Galpaz, VP Support BlueJeans
We sat down with customer support expert Nir Galpaz from BlueJeans, the cloud-based video conferencing platform for an exclusive look into how to employ proactive tools to improve your customers’ experience. This topic has only become increasingly relevant with the eruption of the Covid-19 virus. Our goal is to lay out several useful practices that every company can implement to improve their customer experience during this crisis and beyond.
See How BlueJeans is dealing with exponential growth across their platform
BlueJeans happens to be positioned perfectly to expand its reach into new territories- at a pace that could almost not be imagined previously. Customer support inquiries have increased by 5 times the previous norms.
Here's the question, how can your support teams ensure a smooth expansion of both their workflow and customer experience? This is not theoretical - Nir and his team at BlueJeans are living this reality today.
Here are some of the most insightful tactics he’s utilized to manage his CX during this time of uncertainty and growth. The unique demands of real-time support incorporate these fundamental pillars:
Nir's Tips on how to build a customer support team capable of expanding during times of crisis
It is imperative to be able to build an elastic team. Flexibility will offer a resilience that will spell success.
Hire and train your team quickly and efficiently. Structured onboarding for new agents will save you precious time down the road.
Ensure you have the correct worldwide partners and infrastructure in place to be able to scale your global teams without losing control of your company's unique culture or efficiency.
An important point worth noting here is to consider the question of “what are customers really looking for when it comes to support?” What the customer is truly seeking is empathy - it goes far beyond just the technical issue at hand. When considering how to appropriately structure your CS teams- empathy is key.
How hiring empathetically can be a game changer when it comes to providing a smooth CX
Technical skills alone are not sufficient to determine what a perfect customer support agent looks like. It is an individual's personality and attitude that ultimately define if they can be a successful CS agent. Attitude defines experience.
When a hiring manager is looking at a potential job candidate, it is imperative to remember that it’s incredibly hard to train a person to have empathy. Emotional intelligence is the “X factor” that you should be looking for. A combination of both technical and soft skills is the ideal blend of emotion and intelligence you should be looking for.
How measuring “Soft Skills” can help you hire correctly, thus solidifying your CS team will be able to handle any and all situations
Firstly, it’s important to measure your Transactional Customer Satisfaction score. Perhaps even more important to a comprehensive understanding is to look at a metric called Customer Effort. The less effort a customer has to put in order to complete “X,” the better the score and overall customer satisfaction.
BlueJeans has initiated a QA process that focuses on emotional capacity specifically. Make sure the agents are well tuned and are phrasing all responses in a clear and courteous fashion. It is also valuable to try and figure out authentic customer sentiment via Automated and AI initiatives. These systems should be able to indicate certain elements of customer satisfaction during and even before the transaction itself is actually completed.
How do smart people (support agents) deal with stupid (basic) questions in a way that will ensure a great CX?
The key is to build a large and diverse team.
Keep in mind that each agent should play to their specific strength.
Ensure your agents are segmented into specialized groups.
Tech savvy individuals should be dealing with the difficult questions. Emotionally perceptive agents can focus on simpler questions and frustrated clients. If organized correctly, this will guarantee that both the agents and customers will feel better about themselves in the long run.
Best practices for approaching customer support in real-time during a catastrophe like Covid-19, where customer expectation combined with rapid expansion can lead to increased frustration and pain points
Set expectations for your customers by placing a banner on your site explaining how the current situation is affecting your company and what the user should expect as a result of the present reality.
When it comes to technical support, honesty is always the best policy - above all else. It’s really important to learn how to offer bad news in the right way. “No” can be the right answer, but one needs to make sure that the information is transmitted carefully and correctly.
Giving the customer what they need vs. what they want is essential to a healthy, proactive customer support solution. If applied correctly your clients will trust you in contrast to companies who promise a new feature or integration without being able to deliver accordingly.
This issue goes beyond just support. Success or failure during a time of crisis can be defined by how an organization represents and positions itself. As a SaaS provider, people are sensitive to any issue that impedes upon the software working correctly. Any lag in video quality, screen share capabilities or voice issues across the BlueJeans platform is akin to disaster.
Keeping your platform up and running, no matter the circumstance is absolutely the key to happy customers. It is also pivotal to be as transparent as possible on the company level during a crisis. Trustworthiness is a pillar for every company striving to keep their clients satisfied.
Nir's Tips on how to establish your customer support strategy to be able overcome whatever challenges are thrown your team's way
Your product should always be as intuitive and simple as possible.
The more you can answer via automation or the platform itself, the better.
The goal is to have simple issues be resolved via your knowledge base and information made available to users through self-service.
Your CS agents should be primarily answering complex questions that aren’t the usual “how do I change my PW” support tickets.
Helping customers help themselves is another tool to ensure your customers will enjoy interacting with your product
It should be every customer support leaders goal to help define a proactive approach to offering users the information and answers to basic questions and common pain points related to the product. The easier and more seamless the experience, the happier your customers will be.
How this unique time offers an opportunity for companies to anticipate future customer needs and pain points
The idea of building an “exception center” as opposed to a “call center” is to be able to take the strength of your organization and bolster it. There are three different steps to reaching an ideal level of customer support efficiency. To start, you must be reactive, but then pivot towards being proactive and eventually take a further step of actually becoming predictive.
First, focus on making sure your tech is speaking and working correctly. If you ensure you put the right elements into the product this should in and of itself fix your need to be overly reactive.
By utilizing dashboards and analytics, which can inform you about how your customers
are using the product, you can learn about specific customer trends. Depending on the
info at hand, you can reach out to the customer from an educated perspective and offer
them the help or information they actually need. This is far better than the user receiving an automatically triggered email alert that they are over their current plans allotted usage.
The next step is to examine this data and make judgements and assumptions about
what will happen later or what might change based on what you have already seen.
Companies can definitely look at the Covid-19 era as a unique opportunity to kick off a proactive approach to CS by employing these different strategies. The benefits of increased customer satisfaction are clear. Both the users and company stand to gain as happier clients ultimately result in higher revenue and most importantly an outstanding product.
Self-service tools are genuinely necessary to ensure the balanced growth of any company in 2020.
Try to leverage automation - we know there are fires, but institute a mode of automation to answer basic queries. You can’t fix everyone's issue today, but with automation, you will be able to in the future.
As a support professional you have the ability to have a seat at the table. Speak to your product team and put customer and user feedback back into the product. This is essential to stable scaling and growth.
Remember to work with your team about managing crises. To be emotional without
panicking, as well as to prepare mentally and physically to overcome any issue at hand.
Focus on giving your team the support they need so they will be equipped to overcome