Analytics

8 Ways to Grow Your Business by Leveraging Customer Support Inquiries

Here are 8 reasons that your business will grow and your support team will thank you when you track the causes of new customer support inquiries.

Thomas Melching Thomas Melching on October 23, 2018 • 6 minute read

When you think of customer support, what usually comes to mind?

If you’re like most people, you might think of customer support inquiries as people reaching out because they are having trouble with our products or services.

In other words, a lot of bad news.

However, listening to your customers can help solve problems and improve your product or service offerings.

Based on our experience at Helpware, here are just some of the benefits of viewing your customer support inquiries as a roadmap for improvement rather than bad news.

Product Improvements

When you pick up on trends in customer service questions, you may discover underlying problems with your product, service, or process. If customers are calling with the same issue over and over, it might be time to look at the product and see if there’s a design issue or a way to proactively address the issue.

For example, many companies hear that customers are unable to find the information they need on the business website. The information may very well be available, but if customers can’t find it easily. It may be worth a design review so that the website User Experience (UX) team can address it. Fixing that issue can reduce customer frustration and customer support call volume.

If customers are routinely asking for copies of invoices, you may want to consider making a self-service option available for customers to retrieve them.

This knowledge may also help you discover new selling opportunities such as potential upgrades, features, or new products.

Resources For Your Support Team

Tracking the reasons customers contact customer support allows you to pinpoint specific topics that occur regularly. This allows you to provide education for your customer support team and develop resources that will help them handle issues more efficiently. This can help improve your average resolution time metrics and allow your team to potentially handle more volume.

How many times has your support team had to write the same responses? Having to type the same information into an email or live chat repeatedly can take time. Creating shortcuts to deliver specific answers to common issues can save time.

Prioritizing And Escalating

Tracking customer issues can also help you to categorize inquiries.  Reducing time for common inquiries can help you take care of items quickly so that you can spend more time on difficult situations. By identifying these areas, you can develop a better priority system to quickly recognize when issues need high priority attention or escalation to product specialists or technical teams.

In addition, setting priorities and escalation can help make your team handle issues more efficiently when tickets get routed to another team to handle.

A Knowledge Base

People are more comfortable than ever with solving problems on their own.  They are used to searching for information online.  If they can’t find it, they may get frustrated.  Tracking the customer experience can help you develop a database of the key touch points where customers and potential customers are looking for information. The data can help you identify missing information that you can use to build a knowledge base for your website.

In addition to FAQs, consider other self-serve options such as delivery status, step-by-step tutorials, how-to videos, and chatbots to answer basic questions. Not only can customers find information more easily, but it can also reduce inquiries.

System Efficiency

By using efficient tracking systems, you can make adjustments to processes and systems. This can reduce support team frustration and develop more efficient support ticket routing and resolution.

Track By Issue And Channel

You want to capture all of your customer feedback across channels: phone, email, live chat, website inquiries, Facebook, Twitter, etc. By knowing which inquiries arrive via which channel, you can make decisions about what information to provide and where to provide it.

Customer Interaction Data

In addition to tracking issues, it is important to ask for customer feedback regularly. You want to survey not just whether people were happy with the resolution, but if they were happy with the process as well. Even a person that had their problem solved might be unhappy if they deem it was difficult to do so.

It’s important to understand customer sentiment about your process as well as your product. That’s why companies will query customers using several different types of surveys. Responses can highlight areas of concern, system problems, and level of satisfaction.

Common Customer Support Surveys

  • CSAT (Customer Satisfaction)
  • CES (Customer Effort Score)
  • NPS (Net Promoter Score)

CSAT will gauge overall customer satisfaction.  CES reveals how much effort customers had to spend before getting a resolution. NPS surveys measure customer loyalty by asking how likely they are to recommend your product of service to others.

Tracking these metrics can uncover friction points that hinder the customer experience.  For example, it might reveal a difference between what you think is a proper response time and what your customers expect.  You may think you are handling things efficiently, and meeting your customer support team goals, but the customer may think you are falling short.

Bridge The Disconnect Between Companies And Customers

Finding where and how you are failing customer expectations can be difficult (if not impossible) if you are not tracking the data and listening to your customers.

There can be a significant disconnect between the service you think you are delivering and what customers perceive they are getting. If you think that is not happening at your company, consider this revelation from the Customer Service Benchmark Report: While 80% of businesses report that they provide excellent customer service, just 8% of their customers agreed.

Track the reasons customers are reaching out to your customer support and create tools and systems to improve your team’s efficiency and reduce friction.  This can help create happier customers, who get their issues addresses more quickly, and happier customer support team members.

Happy customers tell their friends and associates.  Unhappy customers share their experience with the world online.  Word-of-mouth is the most powerful advertising your company can get, but it works both ways – good or bad.

Helpware has several dashboards that can help you understand what’s going on in the customer support world of your business. We have dashboards that support Zendesk, Help Scout, Hubspot for Sales & Marketing, and Intercom for live chat.

Below are some of the customer support metrics you can monitor on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis with our Databox dashboards:

  • New tickets trend to monitor the increases in the number of customer inquiries and prevent overload
  • Type of customer inquiries to identify reasons (new feature release, a problem with packaging, delivery terms, etc.)
  • Channel to identify what channels your customers are using to communicate with your business
  • Average first response time to track how fast your team is responding to inquiries
  • Average resolution time to track how long it’s taking your team to respond
  • Number of correspondence per user to identify how many emails/phone calls it takes to resolve a customer support ticket
  • Tickets opened/resolved by agent to track how many customer support tickets are being closed by each agent
  • Customer satisfaction rate to understand how your customers feel after they’ve interacted with your business.

Tracking customer support interactions using data points, surveys, and analytics can reveal places you can improve your process, resources, and systems.  Improving the customer experience can lead to increases in customer satisfaction and be a significant differentiator in today’s marketplace.

About the author
Thomas Melching
Thomas Melching Thomas is a content manager at Helpware. In his free time, he runs Biohackers San Francisco, one of the largest groups of biohackers in the Bay Area.
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