It’s hard – one might say impossible – to provide great customer support to people you don’t know well. We’re not suggesting you invite all your customers out for dinner or put your customers on an analyst’s couch. But when you get to know your customers, you can anticipate their needs, cut down on future support interactions and be proactive about what they might want in the future.
Luckily, data helps good support organizations really know their customers today. Each time a customer reaches out to you (or responds to your outreach efforts), dozens or even hundreds of data points yield clues to the customer’s present and future behavior. It’s what you do with the information that will count, going forward. It’s also important that you don’t rely on entirely on information provided directly by the customer. In the Information Age, there is already a plethora of information available on every one of your customers, according to a recent blog post by TeamSupport.
“You'll certainly acquire a lot of information during the sales process, but extensive customer support software goes above and beyond by collecting public information from a customer's online profiles,” wrote TeamSupport. “This allows for a more intimate understanding of your customers and their business and history. With this insight, agents can better personalize their support with critical information they may not have obtained otherwise.”
Company Web sites or blogs and social media sites such as Twitter or LinkedIn (News - Alert) can help fill in information about a customer’s needs and wants, and his or her attitude toward business. All this information can help build a better foundation for customer support.
It’s also important to understand not only what a customer wants, but what he or she doesn’t want. What makes a certain customer dissatisfied will give you enormous clues about the best way to handle a customer in the future. Proactive support can lower costs, improve satisfaction, boost customer engagement and retention and keep companies competitive.
“With the right support software, agents are alerted when a customer seems particularly dissatisfied,” wrote TeamSupport. “This allows reps to take a proactive approach, prioritizing the customer's needs and anticipating their issues to rectify the situation.”
One of the best way to anticipate customers’ needs is to ensure that each time a customer reaches out – or something happens in the account to merit an outbound call on the part of the company – each agent has the maximum amount of relevant information on that customer before the support session even begins.
“The right customer support solution details each customer's purchase,” wrote TeamSupport. “It instantly shows agents which products, versions or features a customer owns or has access to, supplying key information before any issues arise. This also lets agents get started on open tickets without having to collect these details from customers.”
Customers today want you to know them, understand them, and anticipate their needs. It seems like an onerous task (and it is, without the right support solution), but in the long run, it will benefit the support organization immensely by improving customer satisfaction, arming the agent with the best possible information to solve the problem, and cutting precious seconds or even minutes off each support call.