Customer Support is a Year-Round Thing

Goodbye, January. The month where we can take a breather and reflect on the amount of butter we used for baking, dishes we washed after parties, and plastic containers we transported from house to house for Cookie Exchanges. This past month also saw many retailers scaling back on their customer service activities. After all, the busy holiday season is over, right? Not so fast: In our world of customer support excellence, the season is always ‘on.’

By season, I mean Fantastic Customer Support. Providing a response, a follow-up, and, ultimately, a resolution for online shoppers, searchers, and researchers. Here are some quick tips to get your customer service activities back in check. Since it is the time of year where volumes may not be as high, it’s a perfect opening to getting your digital communications house in order to supplement your support activities.

1.     Have you hosted a brown bag lunch with your marketing team?

It’s finally happening – customer support and marketing teams are realizing the notion that no one truly owns the consumer. First, no one owns anyone. Second, a consumer’s information should be shared across an organization to deliver the best customer support possible. This means that the marketing leaders who own social media activities should merge their promotional activities with customer service. By adding a third-party tool like Conversocial or Sprinklr, teams can look at all of the social conversations that come into a company, tag each comment, and answer appropriately. In addition to this tracking, both divisions should see about merging databases to understand not only how many times Jane Doe pinged Brand Customer Service, but how many of the company’s products does Jane own, and how often does she buy?

In approaching your brown bag, make it very casual. Provide case studies on how similar industries are merging divisions and sharing data. Trust me, it can be tricky, but in the end everyone saves time and money. Most importantly, the consumer is taken care of in the most efficient and responsive manner possible.

2.     Do you listen in real-time?

Yes, and not just during a promotion or a large campaign — are you truly listening to what people are saying online about your brand? If you have a social listening tool in place, I suggest adding in terms like [brand] customer support[brand] service stinks, and I hate [brand] customer support. On a day-to-day basis, this listening gives you a drumbeat to the health of the brand in the form of delivering stellar support.

3.     Have you tested your support team?

I suggest using the customer support tools that your own consumers are expected to use daily. Whether it’s online chat, email, or phone, how is the service? How long does it take someone to not only pick up the phone, but talk to you? Are the hold times long? If so, does this annoy you? If you’re finding that things seem to be taking too long, you may want to consider beefing up your customer support staff and adding people at heavy times of the day, along with overnight coverage. We offer this sort of thing at ModSquad and we find it works seamlessly with our partners’ configurations.

All and all, life gets busy. You may be sitting at your desk, reading this post and shaking your head. There may be no way you can implement any of these adjustments to your customer support activities. I encourage you to pick one and go from there. Like most challenging things, the more time you put in the beginning, the more solid the payoff later.

Blagica Bottigliero
VP of Digital Media

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