You’ve probably heard this stat a million times: Half of businesses fail within the first 1-5 years. That’s a scary truth, one that every startup faces. So how do you avoid becoming part that statt?
Invest in your customer support.
Believe it or not, but customer support is one of the most solid ways to guarantee that your business grows, especially in its early stages. It provides you with three elements crucial to your survival: Product development, relationship cultivation, and consumer marketing. Taken individually, these three areas can cost a fortune, but the right customer support solution contributes significantly to each area, and at a fraction of the cost of the traditional budget for each.
So how do you game your support so that you stay in the good half of that 50%? You need to game your support for growth. Here are some tips to help you take control of your customer support and grow your startup to the next phase.
Pick one environment and stick with it
Startups tend to be pressed for time and resources. Email is usually the most efficient approach at the startup phase but no matter what support environment you choose, pick only one and stick with it.
Create a communication workflow
Once you’ve chosen an environment, you’ll need a system for communicating. This is where a communication workflow comes in handy. On any given day you need to know what problems are arising, why they are happening, and what the solutions or responses are when people write to your support about them.
There’s a lot to document when it comes to running an efficient help desk. For more on developing a communication workflow, check out this blog post.
Give your team access to the data
Feedback is important; it’s what helps you improve your product and your business processes. This is why everyone should know what’s going on in customer support. What do people love? What are the most common questions? What features cause the most confusion and how is the support team doing overall?
Feedback is the breakfast of champions so make sure everyone on the team has access to your support data.
Use the feedback to improve your product
Not only should you share customer support feedback with the team, you should pay close attention to it. Paying attention to customer support is the best way to validate your service offerings and get insight into what your customers want.
Adjust your marketing
Do you get a million questions about a specific page on your website? Or questions about a specific offer you are running? It might mean you need to adjust the copy or add more detail to your website or landing pages. Customer support questions help identify places in your marketing that need tweaking. This is why we recommend that your customer support team communicates with your marketing team.
There is a human on the other side of that computer. You need to listen to that person’s needs and communicate with them in plain language. Give a personalized response each time, be transparent, and let them know what’s going on. Most importantly: solve their problem.
Build Macros as You Go
You are going to start seeing the same questions arise over and over again. This is where macros come into play. A macro (short for “macro-instruction”), allows short sequences of keystrokes to be transformed into other, usually more time-consuming, sequences of keystrokes. While you don’t want to give canned responses every time, it helps when you have an answer already cued up that can just be personalized rather than re-written every time.
First time reply matters
The time it takes you to get back to someone is the single most influential variable in delivering awesome customer support. Getting back to customers in a timely manner sets the tone and shows that you care. Your customers are experiencing frustration with your product and are waiting on you to help them solve the problem they are having.
Building a startup is hard and finding time is difficult, but the reality is the customer is the most important part of your business. This is why customer support is so important. In summary, the most important thing you can do is get back to people in a timely manner.