There's an old adage about how the cobbler's children have no shoes, an adage which essentially means that some people provide excellent products and services to the outside world, but don't usually provide these things internally. The customer support software industry, in some cases, has seen to suffer from just such a malady, and it's a point that said providers need to watch closely. A report from TeamSupport, meanwhile, offered up a perfect reason why.
Recently, TeamSupport noted that a prospective customer called the company to check on offerings from TeamSupport, and the customer in question noted of the current software provider's offerings that “...their customer support is awful!” That is a particularly telling point; companies that make customer support software should, by extension, offer some of the best customer support around. Such companies make the products that allow for customer support programs to take place, after all. When the company that makes the tools can't provide the kind of service the tools are intended to provide, that becomes a terrible reflection on not just the company, but on its product line.
Admittedly, a software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) app—which customer support often falls under—has a lot that goes into its construction. There's not only the development to consider, but there are future changes as well on the docket. Few companies want to be caught behind the eight-ball that is not having the latest new feature included where every other company does; that's a sure recipe for lost sales, especially if all else is equal. Also, many companies start looking outward for sales rather than looking inward, and thus focus on a social media campaign or the like to start driving in new business, rather than cultivating the current slate of business to help ensure a more reliable income stream.
Indeed, putting customer support as the number one priority has generated some significant success stories; consider how Zappos has done such a job itself, putting a clear focus on serving the customer. But it's not just about a declaration of priority; there has to be plenty of training involved to make sure the customer service representatives are able to provide the level of support required. No company really wants a Ryan Block incident like the kind that struck Comcast (News - Alert) back in July 2014, so training helps ensure that customer service agents can handle issues rather than depend on a script. Remember not to skimp on the customer service; it's not a handy reserve item of the budget that can be cut in tough times. This is the primary connection to the customer base, and keeping it strong and functional—not to mention happy—can be a huge help in terms of customers retained and sales made. Finally, focus on delighting the customer. Make sure the customer service reps have the necessary authority to solve problems. Some framework is necessary, yes, but a script can't always solve problems.
The key point here is to focus on providing support for the customer, and how important it is for those who provide the tools to offer customer support. The cobbler's children must have the best shoes, lest the cobbler's own ability to provide be called into question.