Laying the Customer Care Groundwork — This is part one of a three post series explaining the essentials of starting out on the right foot with customer service. You can find there second post here and the third here.
Your current customers are gold. Having your existing users psyched about your product, and company, is key. Setting standards of customer care - and then living by them - is essential. Good relationships will give you valuable market insight, maintain long-time customers, and help you acquire new users. Whether you have are in the process of bringing a product to market, or are already established, you have to consider how you will build on your user-base.
FIRST SET STANDARDS
You’ll never be able to build on your success if you don’t understand how you got there, and that means setting your standard operating procedure (sounds dry, I know - I used to work in government, sorry). Now, I don’t mean that you need to have a SOP manual approved by some ad-hoc committee commissioned with that sole purpose, but simply put, if everyone is to be on the same page, that page has to be first established. That means setting standards for language - for example, making sure everyone on your team uses the same terms to describe each feature of your product.
It’s also important to make sure that everyone on your team understands how to speak to customers. This may seem obvious, but unfortunately it’s often taken for granted. Most of us in the tech industry wont ever make face-to-face contant with the vast majority of our users. Despite this, the lessons learned in my past life in retail certainly apply. When a user contacts you, they are coming into your space, your environment, and you need to make them feel comfortable. Think about your experiences with customer service, and spend some time working with your team to bring out everyone’s feelings on the topic. Listening to eachother speak about real experiences on both sides of the coin desk will help your team get in the right mindset and get on the same page in a more general sense.
The logistics of answering support inquiries is also importan to establish. What kind of response times will you expect from your team? Will you provide your support 24/7? If so, how will you determine who is on call? These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself. Having a good support infrastructure will help a great deal when all of these situations start to play out. We use Zendesk, which should come as no surprise since the widely popular services is used by more than 20,000 companies.