Customer support is an unsexy but extremely high-value function for most businesses. Signing up a new user usually gets more celebration than when a customer renews, but both are absolutely vital. You can sign up dozens of new users, but if they don't stay with your service, the bottom line suffers. Not only do you lose customers, but your reputation may also take a hit.
As a founder, you can only influence your customers' experiences so much. This is especially the case as the company gets bigger. Often, customer support becomes hard to oversee or even turns into a headache.
It doesn't have to be that way, though. When your employees provide high-quality service, you can devote your attention to other aspects of the business, like creative initiatives that increase revenue. Plus, a strong reputation leads to more referrals, creating a positive feedback loop.
Here are tactics you can implement to motivate your employees to provide this quality customer service that will increase company revenue and user satisfaction.
Get employees behind the company mission.
Everyone within your company who interacts with customers should believe in your company mission. If they don't, they have less incentive to keep your customers happy. Rather, they may just be there for the wage or their own separate reasons.
I have vivid memories of eating at restaurants with workers who don't want to be there. Not only are they less motivated to help me have a positive experience, evidenced by the lackluster way they handle complaints and order mistakes, but they also show no excitement. It feels like they're just another cog in a giant machine. This makes me less inclined to return and support that chain. It also means the restaurant is probably getting a one-star Yelp review.
I recently dined at a local Filipino restaurant, and, conversely, the staff was extremely upbeat. They went out of their way to help me choose items they liked most on the menu. They checked in on me. They showed passion for sharing their tasty recipes.
In other words, employees identified with the mission of sharing unique Filipino cuisine. The founders did too. I found out the owner had recently traveled to the Philippines (where her parents were from) to learn from natives. She brought back new insights to share with the team. It's an example of excellent service all around.
Outside of the restaurant industry, the same principles apply. Getting your employees behind a mission by keying them into company happenings, giving them high-stakes responsibilities, and making them feel valued can go a long way when they interact with customers. They will understand what you are trying to accomplish, believe in it, and do all they can to make that happen at the ground floor.
Push your employees to understand customers.
I'll never forget my old job at a "social media listening" company where on day one, I was on the phone conversing with customers. I was listening to their pain points, empathizing, and connecting the dots for how we could help. Some of them I spoke to multiple times a week. Even though many customers were a continent away, I got to know them personally.
This type of interaction inspired me to solve their problems, gave me more conviction in upselling to them, and built up my desire to improve the product.
By pushing your employees to understand your users, they will more easily follow the mission and understand why you're doing your work.
Determine the most important customer metrics.
One issue many companies face is a lack of transparency into how well customers are doing.
You can solve this by, first, coming up with critical customer metrics. Are you tracking time spent moving from a free to a paid user? Percent of users who renew a year later? Their number of hours using your service each week?
Determining these metrics will make superior customer support transparent. It's much better than some arbitrary guessing game.
Provide employees with high-quality tech to track metrics.
There are tools out there now that do everything from tracking email open rates and customer usage, to sending users stickers in the mail upon sign-up.
Providing your customer success team with innovative technology to track and communicate with your customers will both make their job easier and get them further behind the mission. They will feel financially supported by you and have all the tools in the shed they need to excel.
Applaud top customer support.
Whether you designate a monthly top "customer success employee," give shout-outs on the company message system to those who serve customers well, or have some other strategy, make sure you're recognizing solid customer service regularly. When you applaud your best performers this way, you're building a culture of appreciation and motivating employees to do their best.