If you offer customer support for a technical product or help desk services, you know the goal is to please (and hopefully keep) customers. When customers buy a technical product, they expect that when they need help, the vendor will be there when they pick up the telephone or launch a chat. In the business-to-business world, this is particularly true: bad reviews will lose you some very high-value customers in the future. Most companies understand this today, and strive to hit benchmarks and keep track of metrics to ensure they are doing so.
But there are secondary purposes to the customer support function, and one of them is using the knowledge you’ve gained to understand your customers better. (When you do this, you’ll be better able to tailor new products or services that will sell.)
“The best business-to-business (B2B) customer support strategies are those that go beyond quickly resolving issues as they arise, and instead focus more on understanding customers well enough to anticipate their needs and frustrations proactively,” wrote B2B customer support solutions provider Team Support (News - Alert) in a recent blog post.
Your employees may have a general idea of what customers are looking for. Chances are, however, that they are too busy to share these insights with the marketing department or the company’s executive layer on a regular basis. Furthermore, they may not be seeing the deeper connection in customers’ requests that could lead to new opportunities. They also may not be grasping when customers’ needs change.
“Companies that serve the needs of other businesses must work to constantly evolve and meet changing customer needs,” wrote the Team Support blogger. “Throughout the duration of a client relationship, customer support agents should be empowered to constantly tap into clients' needs, pain points and frustrations.”
By gaining this understanding of what customers need and want, and what they might need and want in the future, businesses are better positioned to proactively reach out to their customers and make changes that lead to longer-term retention, or even entirely new sales opportunities. At the most basic level, anticipation of customer needs can prevent the kind of common behavior or errors that can lead to customer churn.
With a good customer support system that includes customer relationship management (and not just individual ticket management) and some analytics, companies can behave in a proactive and collaborative way with customers instead of the reactive manner that simple ticket management leads to.
“Collaborative customer support software allows businesses to share insight from various teams including account management, technical support, engineering and customer service and paint a full picture of the client relationship with this knowledge,” according to Team Support. “Tools that are equipped with alerts empower everyone to share pertinent information about a client with the entire team, so at all times, everyone involved has an understanding of the company.”
For this reason, patched together home-grown solutions to customer support and help desk services often leave many companies (as well as their customers) in the dark. Ensure the solution you choose results in intelligence you can learn from and that can help your company and your customer relationships grow.
Edited by Maurice Nagle