it:ad:customer_support_services:home

IT:AD:Customer Support Services

Summary

Before going to far down this direction, keep in mind that the available services only stay in business by hooking you into a model/game play they defined. They thrive on your communication with clients. But you end up having to pay for the humans to act as agents (they're expensive if in house, and maybe not adding as much value as you would like if they are outsourced). You should keep in mind that Customer Service should be a last-stop solution to a poor value UX – and focus on ensuring you have an amazing UX that removes confusion.

But you never want to work towards getting rid of customer Support.

Support conversations with existing Clients and prospective customers is essential for

  • input on what features to expend effort
  • pricing feedback and adjustment
  • ideas for new additional services

Some high level desired features to consider:

  • Service we're trying to cover are:
    • FAQ portal, for hosting categorized canned answers, to reduce pressure on support agents
    • Help portal, for hosting help categorized pages, to reduce pressure on support agents
    • Live chat
    • Feedback portal, to capture community ideas and problems
      • User Insights/Intel
      • Agent Management (Groups/Sharing/etc)

      * Live chat should be directly integrated into the application (eg: a [hovering] button on the page [header/footer])

    • can provide information as to what View the User is looking at/asking about/reporting issues with
    • can be relatively easily phased out (not abruptly) by a more appropriate service (cheaper/more functionality/etc) if/when one becomes available.
  • manage multiple channels:
    • in-app communication channel
    • traditional async channels (email)
    • social media channels
    • sync communication:
      • VoIP, etc.
  • Lead generation
    • The current consensus is to engage with a client before they leave your site (bird in hand, and all that…), using Bots and campaigns, to convert them from potential to new active customers.
      • Personally, I think this is annoying. Let people explore your site, try the app, and ask for help when needed. If you are focused on doing UX well, you're focusing on removing confusion, therefore focused on removing a need for support (keeping humans hanging around to answer questions that shouldn't be coming up is really expensive!). That said, you do want to leave a communication channel for people to comment on what they like, what they would like, and help with (always unavoidable) new edge cases.

      * FAQs: common answers should be solvable by providing Categorized FAQs.

The following are some options to consider:

    • Free!
    • But only provdes LiveChat features (missing Feedback, Help, KB)
    • Starts Free!
    • Has LiveChat, FAQ, customer usage Insights/Intel, Group Management, but missing Feedback, Help?
    • 15/Agent/month
    • Has Feedback, Help, KnowledgeBase, Live Chat

Basically, at this point, combining FAQ and Live Chat makes me think that FreshChat is on to something. And at a start price of 0, I'd recommend it for a startup. But I'm not seeing an integrated solution for leaving Issues/Recommendations.