Put simply, customer support refers to the collection of services that you provide to customers in order to help them make the most of your product/service and also solve any problems they may have. For example, this can range from troubleshooting to helping with onboarding.
Support services can vary from industry to industry and include features such as helpdesks, FAQ knowledge bases and email support. More recently, businesses are leveraging technology and automation such as Helpshift chatbots and live chat to improve the experience for customers.
Why is Customer Support Important?
Customer support is an essential component for many businesses because it helps ensure their customers are kept as happy as possible. Some products can be very technical in nature, potentially leaving customers feeling frustrated and it pays to have somebody available to provide customer assistance.
Keeping customers happy is essential because it means they are more likely to remain with you and, hopefully, do more business with you. Good customer assistance is also very important for your brand reputation. The word soon goes around if people are enjoying a good experience from a company’s customer support, while word will go around even faster if the experience is not so good.
Ultimately, good customer support services can lay the foundation for successful business growth by improving customer happiness, customer loyalty and customer engagement while also encouraging further customer feedback.
Customer Support vs. Customer Service
Customer support and customer service are similar roles, but with some key differences:
What is Customer Support?
Customer support services are there to help fix any technical issues you might be experiencing. If your router isn’t working – support at your ISP is there to provide customer assistance. You’re having difficulty with a feature on a SaaS platform? Call customer support and somebody will be there to walk you through it.
What is Customer Service?
Customer support services could fall under customer service as a sub-category. Customer service is a term that means customer assistance for any issue that they might have. The issue might be that a product hasn’t arrived or was broken when it did arrive, for example. Regardless of what the problem is, the task of the customer services department is to provide customer assistance to help solve the issue to help keep the customer happy and maintain, or even improve, your relationship with them. Another potential customer service issue could mean a technical problem with a product – which would be a job for the customer support services team.
How to Provide Good Customer Support
There is little doubt about the importance of good customer assistance, which leads to the question of how to ensure the customer support services team does a good job:
Make the Job Varied: Although a particular issue might be new to a customer, there’s a good chance the customer assistance agent has solved the issue hundreds of times in the past. Repetitive work can soon become boring and the agent can lose enthusiasm for their role, and a lack of enthusiasm will often be detectable to customers.
Try and make the role as varied as possible to help reduce boredom. Give agents different tasks to mix up their week, and try to give them responsibilities such as training other agents. Making the office an enjoyable place to work will also help to give your customer assistance teams more enthusiasm in their role.
Look for Soft Skills As Well As Technical Skills: Your customer support agents might have excellent technical skills and be able to fix problems with ease, but that’s not all that matters. Soft skills can be just as important, or perhaps even more important than the knowledge of how to fix certain technical issues.
Ideally, your customer assistance agents should also be good at communication and working in a team. They should have interpersonal skills and even the ability to take the lead if necessary. Without these skills, even the most technically gifted customer support services team may struggle to function.
Teach Empathy: Your customer assistance team might be extremely talented when working with your products, but it’s important to remember that they’re really dealing with people. They will need to know the importance of showing empathy and understanding the customers’ situation.
If a customer support agent has already dealt with a particular issue hundreds of times it can become easy for them to treat it as though it’s trivial. While it might be trivial to the agent, however, they need to understand that the same probably cannot be said for the customer.
Establish and Evolve KPIs: KPIs are important for just about any department, and customer assistance teams are no exception. KPIs help teams and individuals to understand what they are expected to achieve, while also letting management understand why some things are not going as well as they could be.
Not only should KPIs be established, but they should also evolve as the department learns about how to provide the best service. Setting a target number of solved tickets, for example, is all very well, but it doesn’t really indicate how customers feel about the service. Remember that customer support is also customer service.
Train Agents to Give More Guidance: Solving a technical problem for a customer is pretty much what a customer assistance agent is employed to do – but they could be doing more. Not only could they solve the problem for the customer, but they could also help guide the customer to understand the issue so they get a better understanding of how the product works.
Guiding customers in this way will help reduce the number of incoming calls but that’s not the only reason. In giving your customer assistance teams more support and helping them understand better, you are also helping to enhance the level of service you provide. Better customer support services mean happier customers who are more likely to remain loyal and recommend you to their friends.
Customer assistance teams are essential when it comes to helping customers deal with technical issues, but that’s not all they should focus on. A customer support services team should also operate as an important part of the overall customer service team. In addition to fixing technical issues, they should also help to ensure that the customer has a good experience and the company’s reputation is maintained or even improved. Give them the training and the support they need and your customer assistance team could play a pivotal role in helping to ensure your business retains its customers for long into the future.
Helpshift’s Role in Customer Support
Helpshift offers the tools customer support teams need to provide streamlined, non-siloed and highly effective experiences. Teams can unify all customer support services onto a single platform, resulting in an experience that is stress-free for customers.
Helpshift’s customer service chat technology can be embedded straight into your app and website, ensuring customer support chats are easy and don’t remove customers from your website or app environment. With the help of out of the box bots, businesses can offer fast, automated help for simple queries while freeing up agent time to focus on high value tasks. For instance QuickSearch Bots can quickly connect customers to your FAQs and knowledge bases, helping them to self-serve.
The in-channel survey-request feature also makes it easier to capture feedback. This feature asks customers to rate their experience while still actively engaged in the messaging window or with a chatbot rather than through a follow-up email or message.
Additional Information About Customer Support
Products: Customer Support Help Bots
Products: Web Support
Products: In-App Support
Blog post: KPIs for Digital Customer Support: New and Improved Ways to Measure Success
Blog post: Pro Tips for Scaling Customer Support Without the Growing Pains
Blog post: Automation Scales Empathy to Make Customer Support More Human