What does world-class support really mean? At InfoCaption, we believe that it means a support service which is constantly developing and improving through reusing and transferring knowledge, to both customers and coworkers. At InfoCaption we practice what we preach, and here are our top 9 tips!
1. Help your people help themselves
Enabling users to seek and find the answer to their questions on their own does not just lighten the work load for your support service. At times, users may experience a certain aversion to contacting support with questions. There is some pride in being able to solve problems on your own. Furthermore, if users feel they “should” know something they may be unwilling to trouble the support unnecessarily. This can lead to a lot of time and energy being spent searching for solutions, without the correct solution being found. By enabling and making it possible for users to help themselves fewer support errands are reported and our customers work days are made more efficient while their self-esteem is increased.
2. Use videos
Videos showing how something is supposed to be done are vastly superior to instructing through text and pictures. The user can see exactly how a task is to be performed and the risk of misunderstandings is decreased. Our way of enabling self-help consists largely of instructive step-by-step videos. Each step in these videos is at most 30 seconds, so users can easily navigate through an instructional video and find exactly what they need. Should they require aid with the whole process they can just as easily watch the whole video. Perhaps they only need guidance with finding a single small button in a program or feature. In this case, the step concerning just that button can be swiftly found and the user gets just the knowledge they need. Time and energy doesn’t need to be lost watching unnecessary steps or finding exactly the desired sequence.
3. Let the self-help cater to different user needs – all in the same place!
The answers expected by users turning to support for aid can be of very varied character. Some questions can be very specific and require very specific answers. Other queries may be more related to general workplace advice.
In our experience, they key to delivering best possible user support catered to individual needs lies in having all support material available in the same place. The user should have a known and specific destination to go to for all kinds of support issues, regardless of the type of their query. Basically, make it as easy as possible for the user!
4. Encourage users to actively use the self-service functions
Add a link to the self-help center in the automatic response sent to user submitting a support query. The user may find the answer to their question by themselves, and the support issue can be closed before it has even been initiated. Also add the same link to the email signatures of your support staff, to remind users of the self-help services existence and availability.
5. Actively use self-service in your support service
At InfoCaption, we always use our self-help service to answer support queries. In this way the users receive the best possible support and guidance while simultaneously encouraging them to seek the answer for themselves next time. This leads to simple support issues being automatically solved, freeing up time for your support staff to solve harder and more time-consuming problems.
6. Continuously expand and update your self-service
Our self-help services are expanded daily based on user queries and needs. If a guide answering a certain support query does not already exist, we make sure to create one. It is actually faster to record a step-by-step video than manually creating one consisting of just text and pictures. In addition to, the following advantages are also achieved:
- Users get the best possible support with clear video instructions
- Knowledge is reused, and the next time a user asks needs the same assistance the video guide exists!
- Knowledge is transferred internally. Support staff and other users who lack the knowledge in question can use the guide to increase their own competence
We also make sure to take advantage of data and statistics regarding searches users have made without a matching guide being found. We use this data to create new instructions to cover these unmatched searches.
7. Be proactive
Predict the questions and queries your users may have. When we release a new version of our product our developers create videos presenting new functionalities. These are of course added to our self-help service. We are however aware of the fact that new and more detailed questions will pop-up regarding for example new visuals on existing functions. In these cases, we use the developers’ videos and cut them into smaller, more specific guides focused on the function in question.
8. Use an issue tracking system that matches your needs
A good issue tracking system in itself does not create world-class service. As the above statements show, many others factors play a role. It is however an important prerequisite for all the other pieces to fall into place. Use your system based on the amount of queries and errands you get on a daily basis, and the number of support staff. We reviewed several different options before realizing we did not need a system purely for managing our support issues. We did not want to build our customer management around support since we do not receive that many errands per day. We chose to instead use a system with CRM as it’s’ core functionality with management of support issues as an additional module. We could start managing our support queries from day one without complicated configuration. The module is however customizable according to our needs. This solution was flexible straight out of the box and suited our needs perfectly!
9. Let your support service describe their own routines and work processes
When introducing the new CRM-system, there were many new routines and process to get in place. This was especially clear in our support service. We let our support staff describe and constantly develop the process they work in on a daily basis. This way our processes are constantly being improved, being designed by the very people who work in them and have the relevant knowledge and experience. Furthermore, this kind of autonomy leads to our coworkers feeling a certain responsibility for the outcomes of their work and thereby being increasingly motivated. You can read more about this in the following article: Motivated Support Staff Creates Satisfied Customers - A Good Circle
This is an example of a process developed by the support staff at InfoCaption.
So, does all this give us a world-class support service? We live that to our customers. However, effects we have experienced ourselves include:
- Fewer and fewer incoming support errands
- Our instructional guides facilitate knowledge transfer and increase the level of knowledge of our users and coworkers
- We are easily able to reuse existing knowledge through answers to reoccurring questions
- Our support staff is more motivated. Read more in this article: Motivated Support Staff Creates Satisfied Customers - A Good Circle
- We are receiving positive feedback from our customers. That our response time is quick and that our personnel Is very helpful, for example.
The Norwegian system vendor Webcruiter has created more than a thousand guides with InfoCaption, with between 2000-5000 views a day! Since they started using InfoCaption, their customers are experiencing and reporting " A world-class support!".