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Customer Support News & Analysis

SaaS Support Best Practices: The Transparent Model

2014-27-October-Boost.jpgAs technology vendors respond to a changing marketplace by creating Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings, their relationship to their customers must change. Satisfying customers by creating a great product that garners positive reviews, and soliciting customer feedback for future upgrades simply isn’t enough.

When a company hands over control of its mission-critical software environment to a SaaS provider, the SaaS customer support organization essentially functions as an extension of the customer’s IT department. To take this step, a customer must trust that they will receive the constant, professional and hands-on support they need. Generating this trust requires that the Customer Support team be transparent and always available.

The Customer Intent Wake Up Call

2014-21-October-Alarm-Clock.jpgAs companies evaluate their growth strategies for the New Year, the conversation ultimately comes down to which set of dials to turn. Does the company invest in more sales people, product features or marketing programs?

Companies aspiring to be customer-aligned add a few more dials to the conversation -- what should the chief customer officer be measured on, beef up the customer success team, invest in employee engagement / culture initiatives, innovate their customer engagement strategy, and/or shift from a product-feature-pushing sales model to a services-selling-path?

What all of these dials have in common is that they focus on the customer. Except each dial reflects an organizational silo that is focused on a slice of the customer experience -- none focus on the whole customer. Revenue growth depends on the organization’s ability to understand how to detect, decipher and act on the customers’ perspective of their intent.

SaaS Support Best Practices: The Seamless Approach

2014-20-October-Free-Advice.jpgAs more and more companies look to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as a way to increase agility and control costs, many technology vendors are evolving their solution sets to include a SaaS offering. When vendors do this, they must recognize that their customer support organizations will become critical to customer satisfaction and retention. As the primary point of contact in an ongoing customer relationship, support must develop and maintain stronger and deeper relationships with customers. Failure to do so will inevitably result in higher churn.

Build an Online Community - and Customers Will Come

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Most businesses recognize customer communities can build brand trust, improve support, reduce costs and even enhance marketing efforts and generate new product ideas. That's the conclusion of a new report from Get Satisfaction, an online community platform.

Get Satisfaction surveyed more than 800 professionals in support, marketing and product teams in businesses of all sizes. The not-so-surprising conclusion — given that the company markets a customer engagement platform — is that more businesses recognize social platforms are a good way to engage with brands. 

“Adoption has really started to take off and people understand the value,” said Get Satisfaction CEO Rahul Sachdev. “61 percent of folks have adopted an online community and 58 percent of those adopted it in the last two years.”

Zendesk Masters Customer Service

After completing a successful IPO this spring, Zendesk, provider of a cloud-based customer service platform, recently added to the upside momentum, reporting second quarter revenue growth of 80 percent.

In the past quarter, the seven-year-old company added more than 3,000 new accounts and now has an installed base of 45,740 customers, up 40 percent year-over-year. Among Zendesk’s customers: Uber, OpenTable, Airbnb, Groupon, Adobe Systems, Box, Dropbox, L’Oreal, Nine West Group, Red Bull, Roku and AOL.

With so many consumers these days turning to Facebook, Twitter and Yelp to talk about their customer service experiences, it’s more critical than ever for businesses to get it right. Poor customer service is now much more of a social event, and potentially more harmful to an organization’s reputation.

Kana Blends Analytics Into Its Customer Engagement Suite #Connect2014

Thumbnail image for 2014-10-July-SS-Robert Hoetink.jpgSince Verint bought KANA earlier this year for $514 million, the question has been how the business analytics company would blend KANA's customer experience services into its suite of employee services.

The answer, or at least a big part of it, came today in San Francisco as the new "KANA, a Verint company" introduced a big data solution called Engagement Analytics at the Connect2014 conference.

The new product ties the actions of employees together with the experience of customers across the web, mobile, contact center and other channels in near real time.

How to Ensure Success in Your Customer's Journey

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You wouldn't climb the highest mountain without a guide or take up parachuting without an instructor. So why expect your customers to succeed without some guidance?

Today, it's important to help your Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) customers to succeed by analyzing the way they use your product and step in when they need help. This approach, known as customer success, has grown rapidly over the past couple of years. It's a byproduct of the subscription economy that has turned the traditional sales model on its head.

The subject was explored in depth yesterday as customer success executives from Totango and Kapost shared their ideas in a CMSWire.com Webinar sponsored by Totango.

User Feedback: The Fuel Of The Experience Engine

2014-09-September-Suggestions.jpgUser feedback helps companies deliver the best products and services possible. Identifying needs, incorporating ideas and listening to customers questions are all ways to help solve problems and ensure development efforts remain focused on what really matters. By creating a conversational relationship, a company is able to better understand what it’s customers truly value.

Customer Service on Stage: 3 Ways to Avoid Brand Failure [Infographic]

2014-19-August-Stage-Fright.jpgBusiness leaders across the globe have confirmed that, in the midst of stiff competition and growing customer expectations, customer and field service differentiation is key to growing revenue and delivering an excellent customer experience. These are the findings of two new reports and an infographic released by SAP SE and The Service Council (TSC).

The reports, “Service Transformation: The Business Case” (pdf) and “Reviewing Field Service Strategy: Aligning Focus and Execution,” (pdf) provide important insights that executives should consider in redefining customer service and field service strategy. 

What Customers Want from Contact Centers - and How to Deliver It

When speaking with a customer service agent on the phone, most customers want swift, accurate answers and a human experience. These are the findings of a new online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of NICE.

According to the poll, 59 percent of respondents say they most value having issues resolved efficiently and correctly when contacting a company via phone. The poll also uncovered that 23 percent of customers would rather have a real conversation with a person rather than listening to an agent reciting a script.

Surprisingly, being put on hold and waiting to transfer to another representative were of significantly less importance, with 6 percent citing hold time as most important, and 3 percent citing transfers – as long as the customer received a quick, correct answer to their problem.

In short, the survey reveals that what customers really want from your contact center is excellent customer service – and they want it fast.

How to Reduce 'Tech Effort' in Support Centers

customer service, 2014-06-August-Tangled.jpgResolving customer issues quickly and during the first interaction takes effort. It involves creating the right culture, integrating new technologies and improving processes. Market leaders are dedicating huge sums of money to enhance their customer support or acquiring companies with proven support technology to reach these goals.

IBM's report,“The Customer-activated Enterprise,” surveyed more than 4,000 executives and came away with three common themes: companies want to be more open to customer influence, pioneer digital-physical innovation and craft engaging customer experiences. All three themes can be seen across the tech support industry. Customers want their tech issues resolved quickly, and in the communication style and channel they choose.

How Customer Communities Bolster Support Teams

2014-15-July-Contact-Center.jpgThe business benefits of customer communities are well known: call deflection, search engine optimization (SEO), product ideation and even revenue growth. While some of these benefits directly benefit customer support teams, others benefit the broader organization.

Customer engagement helps sales teams drive incremental revenue, ideation helps inform the product roadmap for product management and SEO helps the marketing team rank higher for particular keywords. Ask customer support managers and they’ll tell you how customer communities can make their teams more valuable.

Omnichannel Service Takes the Whole Company

When we look to a company for answers, what do we want?

We want a seamless experience and answers tailored to our needs, no matter how we reach out. Whether we visit a store, check a website, send an email, call customer service or all of the above, we want the source or person on the other end to understand our relevant history and quickly provide answers. We want omnichannel service, and so do our customers.

Note to Marketers: We're Not Waiting Any More

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The other evening, I found myself impatiently waiting on the supermarket checkout line. Although I waited just a few minutes while the clerk rang up the customers ahead of me, those minutes seemed to last much longer. Why?

Other customers seemed irritated, too, shifting from side to side, peering around one another, and making small noises when one woman pulled out her wallet after the clerk told her the total. How dare she waste five seconds? Didn't she know she'd have to pay?

It all made me realize that patience is wearing thin -- not just mine, but the patience of billions of Internet-empowered consumers who have grown used to instantaneous responses to such critical questions as "When will Earth be sucked into the sun?" or "What is Beyonce's shoe size?"

Meet the New 'Multimodal' Customer Service

2014-02-July-Fortune.jpgOrganizations have been gearing up over the past few years to support the needs of today’s omnichannel customer service enterprise, with the goal of offering a seamless consumer experience through available shopping channels.

Excellent work.

Now it’s time to change. Again.

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