Sep 26, 2022

Five Strategic Moves to Double Down on Your Support Experience

Five Steps to Align the Entire Company

Our Chief Revenue Officer, John Kelly, sat down with our new Chief Customer Officer, Judith Platz, for an open discussion on the need to invest in the support experience. For B2B companies, right now is a critical time for business strategy given the high pace of change and disruption. To standout in a crowded space, and meet ever changing customer demands, investing in the support experience is critical.

Think about it – in a B2B relationship, you’re looking to create customers for life. And who do your customers reach out to the most? That’s right – customer support. So, it makes simple sense that investing in the support experience is a smart bet toward ensuring customers stay happy, loyal, and most importantly – keep buying more. 

How can any company get started reinventing their support experience to be more proactive, more predictive and overall more efficient? Judi explained what she calls “doubling down” on the support experience in her talk with John. Below I’ll highlight five key takeaways from the talk that anyone can leverage to elevate the support experience. Let’s walk through them one by one. 

First, secure C-suite buy-in. 

As Judi notes – executive staff members are starting to appreciate that keeping customers happy is critical, especially in this new subscription economy. However, support has been viewed as a “cost center” for far too long. But when the top-down view is that investment in support is an investment in retention and higher profits – good things can come from that view. When you have backing at the top for improving support experience, change comes far easier. 

Second, reduce the “stress footprint” of customer escalations. 

We all know escalations are going to happen in support. It’s just part of the business. But, if you can reduce the “Friday afternoon” nuclear escalation that requires agents and managers to stay late, stress out and feel the backlash even when they’re going above and beyond – you’re moving in the right direction. By better analyzing support interaction data to get even a few hours ahead of a potentially big escalation – it means support teams are less stressed, and agent burnout (and eventually attrition) becomes less of an issue. 

Third, balance the customer and employee experience

Next, make sure there’s a balance between the customer experience and the employee experience in support. As Judi explains, a lot of businesses “over pivoted” towards the customer experience over the past few years. This means that support agents had to go above and beyond to delight customers – but they may not have had the best tools to do the job without the stress and burnout risk mentioned above. 

So, it is important to empower managers to better engage with agents. It’s not about rigid, weekly reviews of cases no one can remember. Rather, enable a more streamlined, real-time engagement model that helps managers be true coaches and advisors – helping agents be the best they can be, not simply providing slaps on the wrist when protocol isn’t followed 100%. The technology exists today to provide managers with the just-in-time insights they need to be more engaging with agents. 

Fourth, act on the true voice of the customer

Another key area of investment needs to be in extracting the “true voice of the customer,” according to Judi and John. Again, with innovations in artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing, we are no longer chained to surveys and NPS as our only measurement to customer satisfaction. These tools are important, but they are small, unscientific, lagging indicators. Once you get a survey result, it’s usually too late. 

But now, companies have the ability to analyze 100% of customer interactions. That means you’re scanning the entirety of the support relationship for every customer. This allows you to paint a far more accurate picture of customer health and sentiment. What’s more, since this analysis is happening in close to real time, it means managers and agents can take action before it’s too late, to reverse or nip negative outcomes in the bud. 

Fifth, focus on the right metrics

Finally, support teams need to re-think the metrics they use to measure effectiveness. As noted above, most support team metrics are built upon lagging indicators. What’s more, a lot of operational metrics are just that – operational. They fail to consider the actual customer (or employee!) experience. But if we start using more “balanced scorecards” as Judi puts it, we can benefit from metrics like customer effort scores. These metrics tell us a lot more about whether a customer is willing to do business with us again and again versus some more operational call time or case per agent, per day type quantitative metrics. 

These are just five of the awesome strategic insights Judi and John unearthed in their discussion. If you want to hear them all, catch the replay of the discussion HERE

One final profound Judi thought: everyone is responsible for customer success. Support needs to work together with sales, product teams, everyone to make sure the customer is always getting what they need. The beauty of today’s analytics software is that it can leverage these critical support interactions to empower everyone in the organization towards optimizing the customer experience. And that’s not something to take lightly.

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