Five Reasons You Need Great Customer Service
Good customer service is critical to a successful business.
  1. Customer Satisfaction
    The better your customer’s experience is, the greater the value you provide to them.  Great customer service is a necessity in today’s business environment because of the range of offers that are available to customers as a result of globalization. The days where competition was limited to who was on your block are over.  Businesses are now competing on a global scale, increasing the importance of maintaining a great relationship with clients. For markets that are highly competitive, customer satisfaction is a major point of differentiation. So much so, that it’s become a competitive advantage. It’s not just about treating customers right when you want to attract them, but about working to build and maintain a healthy relationship after you’ve found them.
  2. Repeat Business
    Keeping customers is cheaper then attracting new ones. An increase in customer retention of 5% can equate to an increase in profit of at least 25% (source). This is because repeat customers are 67% more likely to purchase from a brand they’ve purchased from before (source). If you’ve landed a client, chances are you’ve spent a considerable amount of resources on getting that sale. This client knows who you are and what you offer, so it only makes sense that the next sale with this individual will be much easier because trust has already been established. Therefore, its crucial that existing customers experience excellent customer service when they come to the business with an issue they are facing.
  3. Reputation
    Customer service represents a business’s brand, image, mission and values. Customers are forced to make assumptions about a business based on their marketing efforts, which include advertisements, social media presence, public relation activities, etc. They have no idea if a company really delivers on the values that are being presented to them. However, a customer service team has a direct link with customers. They represent a business’ brand and showcase how an organization truly values their customers. It’s essential that your customer service team can resolve customer issues quickly and provide them with a great experience.
  4. Employee Satisfaction
    Its easy to be nice when things are going smoothly. So, the question at hand is: how can you make things easier for your customer service reps to do their job? Providing tools that enhance their ability to handle customer service issues makes their jobs less stressful and helps them close tasks quickly, making them feel at ease and effective. This increases employee satisfaction and decreases the turnover rate for your customer success agents. 
  5. Decreases Negative Word of Mouth
    Equally as important as generating positive sentiments for one’s business is avoiding negative word of mouth. This is because an unhappy customer is likely to tell 10-15 people about their bad experience with your business. Negative word of mouth is especially important when dealing with b2b solutions, as one terrible review can have leave business’ in your target market skeptical. Skepticism can lead to a businesses early demise, as the negative experience of one customer can turn thirty potential clients away. 

Customer service must be a primary concern for businesses. The ramifications of a customer service interaction extend far beyond just the single interaction.  Customer satisfaction has become a competitive advantage in the highly competitive global market that most business operate in. It’s not only important in building brand loyalty in clients, but also in representing a measure of an organization’s loyalty to it’s customers. Good customer service speaks volumes of a brand, because it affects the reputation of the business deeper than marketing efforts. It is a true testament to a business’s sentiment towards its clients. Excellent customer service also increases employee satisfaction. Employees are looking to work in a position where they’re effective and can be proud to work for a company that treats its clients well. Most importantly, good customer service impacts the bottom line for the better, avoiding negative word of mouth or lawsuits that may occur if customers aren’t handled the way they want.  So, the question is: what actions are you taking to make your business great at customer service?  

What is an Internal Support Plugin?

You may have seen the term “internal support plugin” used by us or another company. But, what is an internal support plugin? Simply put, an internal support plugin is a piece of software that helps a customer success team use their existing software better. Plugins interface directly with existing software. These plugins can have a variety of functions; from bringing up ticket details in chats, to assigning tickets to the right people. There are plugins available for most apps used by customer success teams, ranging from Intercom, to Slack and even Jira.

Why Plugins?

Another question that might come up is: why use plugins? Why not just build all this functionality directly into the customer success software? The answer to this is three-fold. Users are given choice, they can more easily connect the different apps they use, and they don’t have to learn new software.

Not every user needs all the features of every plugin. The amount of plugins for certain customer success suites is astoundingly large. If all these plugins were incorporated into the suites themselves, they would become bloated, confusing, and unusable. By having these features split into plugins, users can pick and choose they features they want.

This extensibility ties into the second reason to use plugins. Plugins allow different customer success technologies to connect more easily. Plugins can be installed on two or more different platforms (such as Slack and Jira), allowing them to interact. This interaction lets customer success teams enhance and connect the different parts of their workflows. The result is time saved for both the customer success agent and the customer.

Finally, plugins minimize the learning curve needed to use a new feature. Suppose that instead of offering a feature through a plugin, another company developed a separate app. This app would have to incorporate the feature and the existing functionality of the old app. Any user who wants the feature would have to learn a completely new interface and workflow. Depending on the complexity of the software, this could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Additionally, this puts the feature out of bounds for companies that are hesitant to switch apps for the sake of a single feature. Plugins allow complete avoidance of situations like this.

All in all, it’s pretty clear that plugins can play a big role in customer success. They not only offer choice, but are also easy ways to enhance a workflow.

How We Use Internal Support Plugins

The team here at Creatros is embracing internal support plugins. We’ve been developing our own skill tracking plugin for Slack and Jira to keep track of our team members’ skills. Our plugin helps us assign tasks to the team members best suited to handle them, all without needing to manually track skills. It only takes a single Slack command to find the most qualified team member for a job. We’re currently working on a beta of our software. If you think your customer success team could benefit from skill tracking, check out some info about the beta program. Or, just fill out our applicant survey!

Can AI Improve Customer Service?

Adopting Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the latest trend in tech. AI is becoming popular for applications ranging from quality assurance to regulatory compliance. But, does AI have a role in customer service? The answer is a resounding yes!

Customer service has four stages:

  1. Pre-contact: When a customer has a problem but hasn’t yet contacted the customer success team. 
  2. Initial contact: The customer has reached out to the customer success team, but hasn’t made contact with a person yet.
  3. Discussion: The customer chats with the customer success rep. to better identify their problem and find a solution.
  4. Resolution: The customer success rep. solves the customer’s problem and closes the ticket.

AI can play a role in each of these stages. It can reduce the time each stage takes, and offer the ability to skip stages.

Pre-contact:

The pre-contact stage is when the customer is likely to troubleshoot and do research on their own. This stage is where a strong knowledge base is invaluable. The goal is for the customer to be able to find a solution to their problem in the knowledge base. If the customer solves their problem at this stage, significant customer success resources can be saved. 

AI can help the customer search your knowledge base better. Search results can be tailored to fit the customer’s recent activity, helping show results that might be more relevant. Overall, a smarter search will make it more likely that issues will be resolved at this stage.

Initial Contact: 

At this stage, the customer has sent a message asking for help. If possible, you want to solve their issue without human intervention. AI comes to the rescue in the form of a chatbot. Chatbots can query the customer for details about their issue. They can also analyze what the customer says to determine whether a pre-written help article already exists for them. Even if no such article exists, the chatbot will have gathered more information about their issue. The end result is that either the issue is resolved at this stage, or the customer success rep. has access to more information about the customer’s problem.

Discussion: 

At this point, the customer success rep. has started engaging with the customer. The goal is to resolve the ticket as quickly and effectively as possible. AI can help in two ways. First, it can suggest relevant internal documents by analyzing the discussion. Second, it can suggest which team member can best resolve the ticket.

Like with the chatbot, there may already be a pre-written solution in an internal document. This “document” might be an old ticket, or it could be a slack message. AI can look through these to quickly find anything that might be relevant. This can help avoid the tedium of having to figure out a new solution when one exists already.

AI can also help the customer success team know who to ask for help. Not every issue can be solved without intervention from the technical team. In larger teams, there are a variety of different people with different skills. It can be hard to know who to ask, and a lot of time can be wasted tracking the right person down. AI tech can analyze the skill sets of everyone in a team to find the best person for a task. This type of AI is our specialty here at Creatros. If AI like this is what you need, check out our Slack and Jira plugin combo.

Clearly, artificial intelligence can play an important role in this stage by helping resolve tickets faster.

Resolution:

Not every solved ticket is equal. Some leave the customer more satisfied than others. At this stage, tickets need to be analyzed to determine where there is room for improvement. Artificial intelligence comes into the picture with sentiment analysis. Sentiment analysis software can look over a conversation and determine whether the customer is satisfied, angry, impatient, etc… Such analysis can be a useful tool to structure future customer service interactions better. Ultimately, pro-active analysis of solved tickets can lead to consistently more positive interactions.

There’s a clear role for AI in customer support. It can enhance every stage of the support pipeline. The result of integrating it is saved time, and enhanced customer loyalty. Integrating AI into the customer support workflow should be a priority for any modern company.