In our experience, three aspects heavily influence the success of a software product, or as I like to call them 'THE TRINITY OF PRODUCT SUCCESS'.
- CRM (Marketing and Sales) – This is knowing who your prospective and active customers are on their product journey. Ideally, link customer activity from the Web or Mobile App to your marketing and sales activities through your CRM.
- Support: Ensuring users can voice and you can address any concerns or issues they have in using your product. We'll elaborate further below!
- Analytics – Understanding where your users came from, where they go and why. We achieve this by adding analytics tools that can record conversions and even screen recordings of users interacting on the App.
As a product or business owner, getting an understanding of continuous improvement for all three points is vital. In my personal experience, the most commonly overlooked aspect of this is Support. Often an afterthought with the focus of a new product usually on discovering product/market through sales and marketing. However, a "5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit." This leads to the question, 'How can you best support your web or mobile app customers?'
To answer this, we first need to make a delineation between technical (Level 2) and customer support (Level 1). As a software development vendor, WorkingMouse offers only level 2 support to deal with technical support. We work directly with our clients to resolve bugs and make product enhancements, but that is not the focus of this article. We will instead focus on how to provide level 1 support, boost that profit margin and determine what is necessary to escalate to level 2 or active development.
Providing direct customer support can seem daunting at first. However, there are two points to focus on that if done well, will create the exact resolution and feedback loop you need. These are 1) enabling users to self-discover the right information in a knowledge base and 2) providing a consistent service experience for them to put their hand up for help with a ticketing system.
"A study recently conducted by Zendesk showed that 67% of users prefer self-service Support over speaking to a company representative. And a whopping 91% said they would use a knowledge base if it met their needs." That means your customers want to self serve; they want to find what they want quickly.
The knowledgebase should reflect the questions your customers frequently ask. Look to your operation and sales team to ideate what should be the first articles you write. It should be available to your users within your App but also prospective users. Not only will the google machine index your knowledgebase if it's available publicly, but if a prospect is reviewing your service over of a competitor, showcasing how a particular feature set works can help steer them to your product.
The great thing about a knowledgebase is that you can iteratively approve through analytics (The Trinity!) just like you would do for your Application. Some ideas to improve this include:
- Reviewing what users are searching for and the results they see vs interact. Do we have the content, or are they searching for it using another term?
- Specifically, review support tickets that come after failed knowledge base searches in the knowledgebase.
The second key element to support is service experience. I define Service experience as providing a systemised, consistent and hole proof mechanism for answering questions, helping, troubleshooting any issues that relate to your service and product. Again, not just for users of the Application but should be for anyone engaging your business.
These days there are too many business fronts across Email, Website, Social Media to give an outstanding service experience without systemising. I think we can all relate to email inbox atrophy letting that important customer 'To Do' slowly fades into an 'Unread' email deep in your mailbox.
So, the first point is that all roads must lead to Rome! That is making sure it all goes to One place, Customer issues emailed in, tickets from your App, Website forms, Messaging, social media. It should all go to that one place.
Your one place, which we'll call your Customer Service Help Desk, will make sure none of these slip through the cracks. Everything in the help desk should be listed until resolved. Aside from systematically ensuring everything is the service desk is a great place to categorise everything coming in. Repeated requests for features can be given to the product team whilst multiple responses that are already existing feed the knowledgebase.
There's also a couple of excellent further points to consider here:
- Firstly, where possible, especially in the App - enable your users to ad-rich media to their tickets. A picture is worth 1,000 words and a screen recording, 10,000?
- Make the logs available to your service team within the App. You can also go beyond log files. If your analytics (The Trinity!) are smart enough, they will link your database to the user recording. That means your support team will be able to replay and log the video of the issue against the ticket, and this is pure support gold!
- It doesn't all have to be about improvement. There should be a compliments category. How create would it be to feedback to Marketing and Sales what is making customers happy or verbatim compliments! (The Trinity!)
In summary, I honestly believe an upfront investment in Support is as valuable, if not more valuable to the long-term success of your product or service as marketing and sales. Every dollar invested in marketing and sales is wasted if you can't properly service your customers. How do you know if you're correctly servicing your customers? Support.