How Startups Can Improve Their Customer Experience

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Read more by Andy Steuer

Andy Steuer is the CEO of Helpware, helping companies level-up their customer experience. Andy has 20 years of VP and C-level experience leading business development and product innovation in both a startup environment and at Fortune 500 companies.

4 min read

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Customer expectations are incredibly high. When customers contact you, failing to meet those expectations comes at a price. Not only can it cost you sales, but it can drive off other potential customers when dissatisfied customers share their feelings online.

Acting promptly with the right tech, tools, and team can be a significant advantage. Here are four things companies are thinking about as they improve the customer experience.

Omnichannel Support Is No Longer Optional

Customers today expect you to provide nearly instant responses on any channel they pick to communicate with you. Gone are the days of putting people on hold or waiting until the next day to return an email. Don’t respond to a Tweet in less than an hour and the Twitter trolls will take you to task.

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Live Chat
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Other Social Media
  • Website Contacts/Support Widgets

If you’re not omnichannel ready with your customer support, many of your potential customers will take their business elsewhere.

If you’re not omnichannel ready with your customer support, many of your potential customers will take their business elsewhere. @MerchEngines tweet

Response Times Matter (A Lot)

The single most important attribute of providing great customers service is a fast response time, according to customers surveyed by the CMO Council. Unfortunately, many companies aren’t staffed properly or don’t have the right tools to handle contacts efficiently. It takes a holistic approach to the total customer experience. Analyze each touch point in the customer journey to find key moments where customers need support.

The Right Tech Makes A Difference

Applying the right tech at the right time can help improve response times and reduce customer friction points:

  • Workflow API’s can help automate support task to help customers get answers more quickly
  • FAQ’s can preemptively provide answers to common questions
  • Building walk-through guides for customers can help those who like to solve problems on their own
  • Chatbots can gather preliminary information and handle low-level tasks freeing up your reps’ time
  • Live Chat can integrate with automation to quickly access records and solutions

All if this won’t matter though if you don’t have a “process map” clearly defining the customer journey with each of these points. Process mapping is one of the most important things that you can do to make sure that your customers walk down a path that you are prepared to help them with. Without a process map, you will be scrambling to do one-off customer support and it doesn’t scale.

Process mapping is one of the most important things that you can do to make sure that your customers walk down a path that you are prepared to help them with. @MerchEngines tweet

Outsourcing Operations Can Save You Money

Building your own internal customer support team can be costly. In addition to the difficulty in recruiting great people, you’ve got the expense of training them, motivating them, and retaining them. If you’re in a big city with a high cost of living, the starting wage may be high.

What if you could get an always trained and always motivated staff that costs you less? Outsourcing customer support functions and operations can save you money. With support teams located in lower-cost cities, you can often save even more.

You pay only for the resources you need with the option to scale up quickly when business is booming. In addition to building your customer support teams, you want to build process maps as you ramp up your team so you can build a framework and predictable, semi-automated process.

If you already have a CRM or other customer care systems in-house, integration with most popular software (including Zendesk, Olark, Freshdesk, Desk.com, and Intercom) can make outsourcing easier than you think. It can also allow you to maximize the data you gather to better serve your customers.

You pay only for the resources you need with the option to scale up quickly when business is booming.  @MerchEngines tweet

unnamed
Read more by Andy Steuer

Andy Steuer is the CEO of Helpware, helping companies level-up their customer experience. Andy has 20 years of VP and C-level experience leading business development and product innovation in both a startup environment and at Fortune 500 companies.