Guided Demo of Zendesk Chat

Download a 30 minute walk-through of Zendesk Chat

During this video we’ll cover:

  • The benefits of live chat: driving higher customer satisfaction, increasing conversion rates, and improving agent productivity,
  • Some key metrics and the ROI of Zendesk Chat based on a recent Forrester study,
  • Chat demonstration: how to implement and customize your widget, chatting as a visitor/agent, the power of proactive chat, and chat analytics and reporting,
  • How Zendesk Chat integrates with Zendesk Support.



Trent Bloom - Product Specialist and Marketing Manager






Abhi Basu - Lead Product Marketing Manager


Complete the form below and get access to the on-demand video! If you have any questions please direct them to support@zendesk.com.

Schedules in Zendesk Support

With Schedules in Zendesk Support you can build workflows and analysis around the hours of your customer service operation. This short video shows two examples of how Schedules can improve your customer experience and team reporting.

Learn more about Schedules in Zendesk Support.

 

Streamlining Customer Service with In-App Support Solutions

customer support value

It’s no fun encountering a bug in an app when you’re in the midst of a battle or playing around with a snazzy filter. Unfortunately, that can’t always be avoided. App publishers, however, can be better prepared by offering in-app support so users can get help when they need it most.

According to an IDC report commissioned by Zendesk, as end users gravitate to mobile devices, customer service applications follow accordingly. IDC predicts that mobile-based CRM will reach nearly $830 million in 2020. It makes sense that as more customers rely on mobile apps, customer support will reach them in those apps. The reasons for this include the following:

  • Real-time response to customer requirements
  • Shift to interactions when, where, and how customers want
  • Multichannel support that is consistent across channels
  • Proliferation of mobile devices
  • Customer engagement through branded mobile applications
  •  
    In the report, Streamlining Customer Service with In-App Support Solutions, IDC lays out the how providing in-app support allows companies to provide customers with the quick, frictionless support they are increasingly expecting. The report also includes cases studies of how companies like Swiftkey are accomplishing this with Zendesk.

Meeting Multichannel Customer Service Expectations

On-Demand with Billy Hamilton-Stent & Josh Frank

The days of businesses providing a single channel of support communication are gone and unlikely to return. Now, it's more likely they'll be trying to strike a balance between what customers are looking for—the warmth of human communication and the speed and efficiency of automated service.
This webinar, based on the findings of a recent survey conducted by Loudhouse and commissioned by Zendesk, illustrates this important and perplexing challenge faced by all companies.

We'll be discussing four key trends that the survey highlighted:

• Multi-channel customers are less patient and expect more than 3 years ago
• Multi-channel use had increased considerably in 3 years, with more
  diverse channels available to customers
• Customers are developing distinct expectations for each support channel
• Higher expectations are balanced by a more relaxed approach to sharing
  diverse channels available to customers
• Customers personal information—but only if doing so improves service


Billy Hamilton is the founder of Octopus group. His role consists of strategic planning, audience insight and brand development. Billy’s experience ranges from marketing communications to research, strategic planning and business development for B2B brands.

Gartner Predicts 2017: CRM Customer Service and Support

2016 has challenged industry leaders to engage customers across all support channels, but the coming year, 2017, has taken a swift turn towards analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver better support interactions.

Customer service is going digital, and more and more customers expect seamless mobile support. With analytics and AI, support teams can tailor interactions to a customer’s needs and manage workflow and resource allocation. According to Gartner, “By 2018 50% of agent interactions will be influenced by real-time analytics.”

How will leaders in customer service improve customer experience with analytics and AI, and how will investments in these pivotal trends affect prospective employee skill sets and future roles?

Gartner’s key findings include:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI), a topic of interest for over 20 years, is at last finding rapid uptake as a tool to provide better customer service.
  • In addition to the power and productivity of AI harnessed for customer service, AI and automation will also disrupt the jobs of over a million customer service agents over the next four years.
  • Consumer messaging will overtake social media as the point of origin for customer support requests.
  • The use of virtual customer assistants (VCAs) will jump by 1,000% by 2020.

To learn more about Gartner’s predictions, analysis, and recommendations on using analytics and AI to deliver great support, you can access your complimentary copy of Gartner Predicts 2017: CRM Customer Service and Support.

The full report is no longer available for complimentary download. Read more about this and other Gartner research on the Gartner website.

Gartner Predicts 2017: CRM Customer Service and Support, M. Maoz, J. Davies, J. Sussin, O. Huang, and B. Manusama, N. LeBlanc, J. Robinson, 7 November 2016.

Zendesk Deep Dive: Dynamic Content and Localization

When it comes to scaling support in global organizations, having localized content should be at the forefront of your strategy. Just imagine asking a company a question in your native language (say, English) and receiving an answer in another language (Japanese, for example). A roadblock to great global support, right?

Zendesk’s dynamic content feature can help ensure a seamless experience for agent and end-user alike, regardless of their primary language. In this 40-minute on-demand webinar, Zendesk teams up with Evernote to show how Zendesk’s dynamic content tools can be used with our automated features to meet your global customer service needs.

Listen to Brian Tobin, Director of Sales and Support Operations at Evernote, as he shares the story and impact of Evernote’s localization process. You'll also hear from Sam Michaels, a Tier 2 customer advocate at Zendesk, who demonstrates best practices for setting up dynamic content and Help Center translations.
 
This webinar is intended for everyone, no matter the size of your team or the level of technical expertise.

Effort and Conversion: An Inverse Relationship

Laura Pappas

Less equals more when it comes to the relationship between effort and conversion. Contrary to long-held beliefs, the "delight factor" as part of the customer service experience yields less than simply meeting customer needs and valuing your customers' time.

So what makes a great customer service interaction? This 6-minute watch reveals that what customers really want is a quick and easy answer. Companies who offer self-service and/or live chat have been able to prevent customers from having to pick up the phone (more effort for them, more cost to you), and have increased conversion rates by as much as 20 percent.

5 Ways Customer Support Can Lead the Customer Centricity Charge

Chris Brown Photo

Creating a customer-centric company takes more than making an investment in the customer service department and systems. It’s about building a culture in which the customer is at the heart of all decisions made within every function and team. Watch this recorded 45-minute webinar, where Chris Brown will share why creating a customer-centric culture is important, and more importantly, how customer support can play a significant role in leading the charge. He’ll share five examples that support agents at any level can put into practice today to help their company embrace a customer-first philosophy, and put it into action.

Forrester Names Zendesk a 'Strong Performer' in Customer Service Solutions for Midsize Teams

Zendesk was cited in The Forrester Wave™: Customer Service Solutions for Midsize Teams, Q4 2015

Customer service is the cornerstone of a great customer experience; however, delivering good service is difficult. A 2015 Forrester Research, Inc. report encourages companies to look for vendor solutions that enable the business capabilities necessary to deliver differentiated experiences.

Forrester Wave Names Zendesk a ‘Strong Performer’ in the 2015 Customer Service Solutions Report

In The Forrester Wave™, you'll learn:

  • Why providing good customer service is a win-win for customers and companies
  • Why customer service technology investments was one of the top five most focused investments companies made in 2015
  • Common challenges faced by customer service leaders as they seek to balance customer needs and operating costs
  • Why cloud-based SaaS solutions are targeted for midsized teams
  • Key evaluation areas for choosing the right solution for your needs

The full report is no longer available for complimentary download. See below for more great insights from Forrester:

Forrester's Predictions 2016: The eCommerce Gap Widens 

Forrester's Top 10 Customer Service Trends for 2016 

Forrester Names Zendesk a 'Strong Performer' in Customer Service Solutions for Midsize Teams

Manners Around the World

Being polite might seem easy: Someone does something nice, you say “thank you,” right? As it turns out, that all depends on your location. Manners are different all over the world. So doing business—especially providing customer service—in a world brought closer together by technology can be a daunting task.

One thing is sure: you need to treat people with respect. We hope this infographic will allow you to do just that, by helping you navigate the world of global manners.

But be warned, even within many countries, manners will differ from region to region, neighborhood to neighborhood, and person to person. Always do plenty of research when traveling abroad or interacting with customers in countries outside of your own.

Manners Around the World

The Mysterious Case of Ticket X

Customer service can seem like a scary endeavor. There are ghastly tickets out there in the night, just waiting to strike at the very heart of your support team. Some suck up your time and energy. Others are known to take a vicious bite that festers, threatening to infect your entire team.

Within this tomeThe Mysterious Case of Ticket X are tales of some of the more devilish tickets our team has encountered. It is our hope that by becoming acquainted with these tickets—and the agents we dispatched to deal with them—you too will be prepared to face any monstrous ticket. Only then shall you earn the vaunted "Yes, I was satisfied" response from the ticket's creator.

Providing great customer service through social media

Social media
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have evolved to become more than emergent platforms for marketing and advertising. Increasingly, they are also valid and important channels through which consumers solicit and receive customer service. According to the Q2 2016 Sprout Social Index, 90 percent of surveyed consumers have used social media in some way to communicate with a brand. What’s more, over a third (34.5 percent) said they preferred social media to traditional channels like phone and email.

Want tips on how to provide excellent customer service on Facebook? Read our guide, Tips for Providing Great Customer Service on Facebook.

"Social care" is not a new concept, yet providing multi-channel support that includes social media can present real challenges for B2B and B2C companies both large and small—as well as opportunities to positively impact sales and customer loyalty. The reality is that customer service expectations are rising year over year and consumers are looking to brands to create a seamless experience that spans the showroom floor to the Facebook timeline. Simply having a social media presence is no longer enough; your job is to be a social media rock star.

But how? In this guide we'll explore some best practices for an employee to deliver great customer service through social media, whether you're just getting started on the job or taking your social care to the next level.

BE WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE

One of the first challenges to providing great customer service over social media is determining where to focus time and resources. While marketing efforts may drive traffic to targeted social sites, customer service teams must meet their customers where they're already socializing. For most companies, Facebook and Twitter will be the primary focus for social care, but some brands may find that their customers also frequent Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, or other social sites.

To feel out where your audience is, search for mentions of your brand within popular social sites. Whether this is a first step toward creating a social media presence, or something your marketing department has already done, it is a mistake to leave dialogue about your brand solely to online commenters and the Google search algorithm.

If you find that your audience aren't yet talking about your brand online, look for ways to include yourself in conversations relevant to your industry. The way, for an employee to be welcomed into social conversations is to add something of value.

Because the consumer—not the brand—wields the most power over a brand's image on social media, the bottom line is that neglecting conversations that occur on sites like Facebook and Twitter can have staggering consequences. Conversocial reported that 88 percent of consumers are less likely to purchase from a company that leaves questions on social media unanswered.

Craving more social media tips? Read our guide, How to Provide Great Twitter Customer Service.

LISTEN TO WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS HAVE TO SAY

Many marketers are already familiar with social media monitoring tools that automate the process of searching for mentions of a brand name, or combing social media pages for specific keywords, but listening is equally important from a customer service perspective. What's more, many customers already believe that you are. In fact, research from the Institute of Customer Service reveals 1 in every 3 customers turns to social media to seek advice or communicate with a business.

Depending on how much volume your brand's social media pages generate, it's an important part of the job to collect and analyze activity so that you understand the kind of issues being raised over social media. Smaller companies may need to collect a week or month's worth of activity while larger companies can probably take a pulse over a shorter period of time.

Look at the information you've collected to determine:

  • How many comments appear to be written in moments of frustration, perhaps after having a poor customer experience in person or online?
  • How many are technical or account-specific questions?
  • How many comments provide feedback, positive or negative?
  • How many questions can be answered using links to existing help content?
  • How many brand mentions require, or would benefit from, a response?
  • What time of day are your customers most active on social media?

The answers to these questions will help you plan staffing and resources, define priority criteria, make decisions about self-service options, and determine whether you'll be able to handle the majority of issues directly through the social channel or require a process for directing social media users to another line of support.

There are tools that automate the process of calculating volume and time, and an employee can generate reports to provide you with a complete picture of customer demand. You may learn, for example, that the hours your audience is the most active on social media do not align with your actual work hours.

TRACK AND MANAGE VOLUME

The size of your company and industry vertical will affect your social metrics. Some companies will see a lot of what amounts to "noise" via social media, and their challenge will be to sift through the noise to find the top priority contacts that require a response from an employee. Other companies will find that the majority of their contacts are direct requests for customer service. Depending on the volume of social interactions your brand generates, and the size of your staff, your ability to keep track of social inquiries (and your responses) may be made easier by a customer service platform that can integrate with social media and turn posts, tweets, and direct or private messages into tickets. In this way, you can easily triage, track, and escalate issues behind the scenes, yet still respond to the customer in the space where they have contacted you.

As a best practice, it's not necessarily wise to simply turn every social media mention into a ticket, either because your company's social media pages are so heavily trafficked that the volume becomes unwieldy, or because every interaction does not require a response (even if it feels like it should). Still, what an integrated, multi-channel customer service platform can provide is context. The more you can see about a customer's history, the better. Are there open or prior conversations with this customer? Who did they interact with, and what was the outcome? Have they had this same issue before? Have they already tried reaching customer support through traditional channels or was Facebook their first line of defense? If you already have user data stored, agents can eliminate back-and-forth questioning for basic (or private) contact data.

In the fast-paced world of social media, speed of response is critical. Treating social media tickets like any standard ticket isn't going to be enough because a faster response is expected. So, how can you define priority criteria? There's no single way to do it, of course, but here are a few suggestions:

Highest priority:

  • Direct technical or account-related questions
  • Complaints from dissatisfied users
  • Service or product requests that are urgent
  • Issues (or outages) that affect many users or raise a potential PR crisis

Items that are second-tier in priority are often opportunities to be proactive. You might consider:

  • Responding to general references to your products or services
  • Thanking those who provided positive feedback
  • Touching base with those who have made comments about your brand or industry that weren't necessarily targeted at you or requiring a response

Smaller businesses without a need for a customer service platform might try one built specifically for social media ticket creation and management (rather than phone, email, and chat support) or, at the very least, utilize the private or direct messaging features of Facebook and Twitter to help create an archive of interactions.

REPEAT THIS MANTRA: TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

It's worth restating: speed of response is critical.

"Live help" typically refers to phone or chat support, yet in the customer's mind, social media is a gray area that more closely straddles the line between chat and email support. There is the potential for help to be instantaneous if social media is constantly monitored, but more likely, help will arrive hours later.

Several studies have found that most people feel they deserve a response over social media within the same day. That’s pretty reasonable considering the Northridge Group reported that 42 percent of consumers expect a response to their customer service inquiry within the hour. Of this group, 17 percent expect a response in minutes. These can be difficult service levels to meet, though some companies are beginning to.

One of the challenges to providing social care when you're not using the follow-the-sun model of support, is that tweets and timeline posts can languish overnight, driving your response time from just a few hours to 10-20 hours later.

As a best practice, always respond with immediacy—or with the promise of. This can be tricky without being able to send an email autoresponder, but one workaround that problem is to prepare a boilerplate message catered to each social channel that lets users know you've seen their comment and that you're working on a resolution.

Speed isn't everything if you're not able to resolve the customer's issue. As a general guideline, if you can easily answer a question posed over social media in the space of a comment or tweet, and the answer can be public, then by all means, do it. But more important than providing an answer through the same channel it was asked, is providing a timely and correct answer. This might involve providing a first response over social media that moves the conversation to another channel of support.

SOCIAL CARE IS CARE. PERIOD.

The success of your social care efforts will depend, as ever, on the quality of care you provide, but you might want to pull out the kid gloves because providing great customer service over social media can require extra special handling. Agent responses must be timely, accurate, sensitive, brief, and friendly—a tall order.

Agents must respond quickly but not so fast that the problem isn't properly resolved. Agents must employ their customer service skills to read into a customer's emotional state and properly determine when the informal nature of social media, such as the use of smiley faces or emojis, are appropriate for conveying friendliness and willingness to help, or when a more formal statement of empathy or apology might be required before addressing an issue.

Then there is the issue of length. Can or should the issue be resolved publicly, within the limited real estate of a comment or tweet? Is the agent trained in, or capable of, drafting custom replies without errors? Popular myth suggests that the young and tech-savvy are best equipped to handle social media, but some large companies have reported success using seasoned customer service agents, trained specifically for social media.

In general, all tenets of excellent customer service apply to social media. A great response will:

  • Correctly identify the issue or problem
  • Provide links to additional information
  • Close the loop (even to a "thank you" comment or tweet)
  • Include a personal touch, such as signing off with the agent's first name or initials
  • Be consistent across the organization, with regard to tone and response time

Active use of a site like Twitter can be an acquired taste—and a learned skill. Consider hosting a "Lunch and Learn" or equivalent to cross-train your staff on social media usage and etiquette. Often at smaller or newer companies, there is overlap between marketing and customer service, but as companies grow, shared skill sets, best practices, and communication guidelines tend to break down and become siloed. Cross-training will ensure that your teams learn from one another, and that your brand message and integrity are upheld at every point of the interaction.

Once agents are trained at responding over social media, they have the potential to be more efficient, handling four to eight times the number of contacts received through social media as they can by phone, according to a report by Gartner. In addition to improved efficiency, it was also reported that providing excellent social care helps to foster a deeper emotional commitment to your brand, directly impacting your Net Promoter Score.

DETERMINE WHEN TO TAKE AN ISSUE "OFFLINE"

Providing a public response to a question or complaint can go a long way. According to Conversocial, 95.6 percent of consumers are affected by other comments on a brand's social pages, and so it follows that consumers will also be affected by your responses to questions they see raised over social media.

When you gain or lose customers based on customer service, it adds up in dollars. The good news is that customers can spend up to 20 percent more when a business engages their customer service-related tweets, as reported by Applied Marketing Science.

But the reality is that not every contact over social media can be easily resolved in a single exchange (or in less than 140 characters), particularly if the issue is very technical or when the customer has many grievances to air. It can also be hard to know at the outset whether the customer will keep a thread going, cluttering your Twitter feed with @replies, so customer service reps must become adept at determining when to take a conversation from a public page to a private message, or perhaps off social media altogether—as well as when to bring the exchange back into the public sphere.

Generally, agents should move a conversation "offline"—in this case, off a timeline or feed/stream/profile—when:

  • there are many back and forth replies, perhaps because the customer needs to answer a series of questions, or
  • sensitive personal data is required, such as email addresses, phone numbers, passwords, account or credit card numbers.

But how to do it? Sensitive information that can be quickly conveyed in writing may easily be sent in a private or direct message through the social media site. The following are based on a few real world examples of how one company used Twitter to request information, suggest another channel, and move a conversation into a private message:

@Customer My sincerest apologies! I would be happy to look into this for you. Can you please follow us and DM me with your order #? ^SB

@Customer So sorry for those emails! If you need help w/ your email settings, don't hesitate to LiveChat us [bit.ly/link] ^SB

@Customer Apologies for the inconvenience! I just reached out to you via Facebook Message. Be sure to check your "Other" folder. ^SB

One benefit to using a customer service platform that integrates both social and traditional channels is that you can use social media to let the customer know you'll send them the information they need by email, without having to request an email address.

After an issue is resolved offline, it's important to return to the social channel and thank the customer for reaching out. Public interactions can be a double-edged sword, but the positive ones, when a customer has the chance to express gratitude for a great customer experience, is not the interaction to miss out on.

While building a social media support strategy, it's worth considering what might happen if you moved every social interaction "offline" or to another channel of support. Companies with limited staffing and resources might find that they must, and when done well, the customer will feel like they received a response over social media and had their issue resolved.

LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO MAKE LEMONADE

We're all familiar with that old adage, "When life gives you lemons..." The well-known implication is that it's possible to turn around a less-than-hoped-for situation with a change in attitude. This is particularly useful advice when providing customer service over social media, given consumers' proclivity to use social media to grab a brand's attention. A survey by Dialog Direct and Customer Care Measurement & Consulting found that in 2011, 20 percent of customers were using social media to communicate their complaints to a brand. By 2015, that number had increased to 33 percent.

When this happens, everything depends on your response. Receiving negative feedback is an open invitation to rectify your brand's image and, more important, your relationship with the customer. The customer must feel like they've been heard and that you're willing to do what it takes to make them happy.

The following are some other things customer service reps might do to proactively to engage customers:

  • Respond even when the user hasn't directly tweeted at you or asked for help. Answering brand mentions or comments that don't require a response, but might benefit from one, shows you're paying attention.
  • Promote your customers by retweeting a happily resolved support interaction, or by "liking" helpful interactions that occur between customers. It's kind of like giving your customers a hug.
  • Give your customer service team a public face by introducing who's on duty and how long they'll be answering questions. Consider posting a team photo or an agent spotlight. It's nice to connect the face of the brand with the names behind it.
  • If feasible, follow up a resolved interaction with, "How is everything?"
  • Promote self-service. Think about introducing a support tip of the week and assigning it a clever, unique, and easy-to-remember hashtag, or designating someone to update your company's social media accounts when a new article has been added to your knowledge base or help center.

MIND YOUR P'S AND Q'S

Whatever the social channel, there are a few ways to (publicly!) stick your foot in your mouth. The following are a few social media don'ts:

  • Don't neglect your customers. If you're going to provide customer service over social media, at minimum every direct support question should be answered.
  • Don't delete (or hide) comments or posts. The only exception is when comments are clearly spam or in violation of posted community guidelines. Deleting a customer's negative comment in order to preserve your virtual image will only further enrage the customer and damage the relationship.
  • Don't be defensive. It's important to remember that the customer, even when angry, has reached out to you. Thank them for bringing their issue to your attention, acknowledge their concern, and apologize for the trouble they are experiencing (even if you know it's self-wrought).
  • Don't engage with a customer whose intent is to simply argue and publicly defame your brand. Sometimes your best defense is silence and, after a certain point, they'll damage their own credibility more than your brand's reputation.
  • Don't overwhelm your customers with too much information, whether you're posting articles from a knowledge base or providing a too-lengthy response in a comment.

There are, of course, always a few exceptions to the rule, and here's one of them:

  • Don't reply or respond to every customer in the event of mass issues or outages. When many customers are affected by a single issue, it's best to provide only public status updates that will reach everyone.

Regular monitoring of your company's social media pages combined with savvy use of the sites can elevate your customer service efforts from acceptable to exceptional. The better your social care, the more social traffic you can expect, and this is a good thing!

If you’re looking for more information about using social media for customer service, we’ve got you covered with downloadable platform-specific tip sheets:

Tips for Providing Great Customer Service on Facebook
Tips for Providing Great Customer Service on Twitter

How to Provide Great Facebook Customer Service

Scroll to the bottom to download our white paper "Tips for Providing Great Customer Service on Facebook"

People from all over the world have distinct interactions through Facebook. They can catch up with family members, share photos with friends, and engage with their favorite brands without email or a phone number. Many companies have had to rethink their approach how they handle their Facebook customer service. It's not enough to just have an account on Facebook and claim it as a tech presence, especially when that account is suddenly a hotbed for users to voice an issue or problem.

Companies can't skirt around it by only listing a phone number on their account. Facebook audiences aren't privy to calling a phone number to make themselves heard. It's now too easy to voice an issue or problem on a Page's timeline or through a direct message. The need for Facebook customer service can't be satisfied by encouraging users to call a company's Facebook customer service number.

Consider this: 47% of those surveyed by Edison Research said that Facebook, of all the social networks, had the greatest impact on their purchase behavior. A Facebook Page plays a big part in that. Forcing users to search for a Facebook customer service number, or any phone number for that matter, doesn't make for a positive impact.

With Facebook being the major tech company that it is, there's now plenty of research to help agents with the formidable task of providing great Facebook customer service. We've put together a tip sheet that clues you in to Facebook customer support (beyond just providing a phone number). We've included suggestions for:

  • How to keep agents from overlooking valid support questions posted on your brand's timeline (so they don't have to constantly search for an issue)
  • Utilizing features such as Page Insights, Messenger, and other integral features of Facebook customer support
  • Adding a support app or feedback tab to your page to optimize your Facebook customer service
  • and more!

Of course, you'll still want to provide a Facebook customer service number to go beyond the tech presence (sometimes a phone number and a chat with a support rep can't be beat). Go ahead and list the phone number and contact details, but remember: there's more to utilize with Facebook customer service. Our tip sheet is a great place to get started for providing great Facebook customer service.

Using Zendesk to Communicate Effectively with Your Customers

Casem's photo

A customer service journey starts with customer support, resolving your customers' issues and answering their questions. This live, 30-minute webinar will help you get started, and show you how to:

  • Open communication with your customers via email, phone, chat, and social media
  • Automate some of your support workflows in Zendesk to drive more efficiency, including a best-practice example you can start using immediately
  • Handle tickets with great productivity through a few neat tools built into Zendesk

This webinar is a must-see for anyone who's getting started with Zendesk!

How to Provide Global Support

How to Provide Global Support

When it comes to the management of customer support, organizations should be prepared to meet customers with access to their support information, no matter where they are and when they need a solution. It doesn't matter if it's a large corporate organization with plenty of resources, or a small technology company with a tight budget. In order to have a big impact, companies need to be able to give the information their customers are looking for swiftly and provide them with consistent access for doing so.

Our eBook, "How to Provide Global Support", gives management the information they need on the tools, practices, and services that will help provides solutions on a larger scale. They'll obtain a better understanding of the kind of systems they need, what kind of solutions they should provide, and learn best practices for providing a large volume of customers with the right kind of information. Management can heed the "Follow-the-Sun Support Model" to get their solutions, technology, and sales in line for a global stage.

Download the eBook below for more key considerations of how management can handle the systems and technology solutions for better global support.

Customer Service Advice - 16 Lessons Learned

We asked 16 customer service professionals what advice they would give to someone just starting out in customer service. Check out the SlideShare below we created from their responses. That's good advice!

Customer Service Skills You Need

Customer Service Skills You Need
Customer service involves much more than having a conversation on the phone. Responding to tickets over email, live chat, and social media are equally important communication channels for customers. While there is much overlap in the customer service skills required to do a great job, each channel also benefits from a unique approach to these skills.

For example, there are important customer service skills that are usually associated with phone support, such as empathy, the ability to “read” a customer’s emotional state, clear communication, and friendliness. But emotional cues are much harder to read in writing, and so additional skills for newer channels need to be developed to make those channels a viable choice for customers.

Whether you’re interviewing or brushing up your customer service skills for your resume, it’s good to remember that most customer support managers are not just interviewing for technical skills. They'll be looking for how you demonstrate your customer service skills.

The best customer service employee will be able to move easily between channels and solve problems with the skills that best suits each channel. If you can do that, you’ll be a rock star in customer service.

What follows are our tips and solutions for improving your soft skills by channel, excerpted from the eBook Customer Service Skills You Need.

Phone support: How’s your “phone voice”?

Email supportSome say we wear our emotions on our sleeve, but others might say we convey our emotions through our voice. Customer service employees certainly know from experience that frustration and anger translates through the phone lines. And, of course, that’s a two-way street. Even phone agents reading from a script must consider their tone.

The following list includes important tips to help you provide skilled phone support:

Smile, literally

Smiles translate through the phone, but should be used at appropriate times.

Mirror a customer's’ language and tone

Part of the job is mirroring a customer's language and tone. Mirroring another person’s language and tone can help create connection. That said, if a customer is angry, you don’t want to copy their frustration. Instead, you can try increasing your volume just a little and then quickly work to bring the intensity down a notch.

Reflect and validate

When customers are upset or frustrated, they might not be able to take in what you say—even if it’s the right answer. Listen first, let them calm down, and then try to help solve their problems.

Acknowledge

Customers need to feel heard, so tell them that you understand the reason for their call. They'll appreciate the touch of empathy and it will make their experience of dealing with customer service even better.

Summarize

Listening can be a tough skill to learn if you’re not already an expert at it, but it’s a skill you'll always want to be training for mastery. You’ve got to listen to a customer's problems in order to repeat back to them with supportive language. It's one of the top job skills for customer service agents.

Communicate hold time

Even if you’ve just handled a call really well, you can lose a customer by leaving them on hold for too long. This is especially true if you haven’t set their expectations first. It ultimately reflects poorly on your customer service and your company's reputation.

Email support: You are not a robot

Phone support imageHoning your writing skills is especially important when providing email support. The email response is arguably the most structured response and requires the most precision. You must write with clarity and brevity while detailing a list of issues while also taking the time to proofread and correct any mistakes.

Here's a list of what you'll need for great email support in any situation:

Use templates, not boilerplates

For efficiency, you’ll want to use templates that include some pre-written text. At Zendesk, we call them macros. Templates are like guidelines—they shouldn't be overly rigid and unwavering, but can provide a helpful structure for common responses (like a list for step-by-step responses). Even though the whole team can use it, you’ll want to personalize your own answer before replying to customers. Inject your personality into responses.

Inject personality into responses

It’s okay to use your own voice and approach, even as you reflect your company’s persona and philosophies. Think about how you might make your own signature unique or consider different ways to close the email depending on the tone and resolution of the interaction.

Timeframe matters

Emails, especially a first response, need to be answered within a defined timeframe. A great email support agent will prioritize their responses by urgency and how long they’ve been sitting for. There's a good chance your customer was spoiled during the sales process and expects similar treatment in customer service. Having a great customer service platform will help make that responsibility easier.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Similar to phone support, it’s great to mirror a customer’s language or phrasing to show them that you understand and acknowledge their issue. This helps to create rapport and establishes a better relationship with them.

Chat support: Multitasking is a key skill

Chat imageProviding great live chat support requires a cross of phone and email skills. Chat is conversational and real-time, just like customer service over the phone, but it also requires strong writing skills.

Here’s what every great live chat agent needs to pay attention to:

Tone

Tone can be hard to decipher over chat, especially since the responses can be short, quick, and incomplete. Choose your words carefully. A good rule of thumb is to use a gentle, informative tone—and an emoticon if your tone might come off as unclear.

Multitasking

Live chat agents are expected to handle more than one chat at a time, which is a skill in itself. Great multitaskers don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. Be careful not to handle too many chats, or else your customers will be waiting too long between responses. You can always put a chat “on hold” if you need more time to find an answer, but just like with phone support, set their expectations!

Reading cues

Sometimes it’s harder for customers to express themselves by writing, so don’t read too quickly and jump to conclusions. It takes a lot of training to understand the nuances of different customers, but it's part of what makes someone successful at a job in customer service. For example, someone that works in sales might come off as assertive while you're providing them support, while an engineer might need complex technical details to see their problem solved. Being able to read specific cues can give agents a better idea of how they can help.

Social support calls for speedy deliveries

social media imageSocial media support requires a combination of all of the above skills. When live chat isn’t available, customers turn to social media for an exceptionally fast response. The skillset required to provide customer service on social media is generally a bit advanced, and often saved for more senior or specialized customer service agents.

The following skills are crucial for social media support:

(Almost) always respond

Always respond to a customer’s social post—especially when they need help. Even if you can’t answer right away, make quick initial contact with them and let them know where and when you’ll respond. Providing speedy responses means you’ve got to be adept in addressing a customer's problem in a precise and polite tone.

Don’t take the bait

The exception to “always respond” is when you are confronted with an obvious attempt to create an altercation in a public space. These comments are often directed at the company itself, and sometimes other people will quickly take the bait. Most organizations know they can’t afford to have a customer service agent who makes mistakes on social media. The damage to the company's reputation can be far-reaching.

Differentiate

Social media contacts occasionally walk a line between something that should be handled by support and something that should be handled by marketing. A skilled agent will know what should be a ticket and what should be forwarded to another team.

Why Zendesk

 

Customer Support Tool Scorecard

Evaluating a new customer support tool can be a daunting task, and finding the right customer service tool for your organization means finding one that fits the needs of your team and your customers. We've created a handy scorecard that outlines some of the must-haves your customer support tool should provide, including:

  • Great customer experience
  • Easy-to-use agent interface
  • Useful support features built-in
  • Ability to seamlessly collaborate
  • Flexibility in admin customizations and management
  • Robust reporting and analytics
  • Integrations with your existing business apps
  • Stellar product performance
  • Strategic partnership and support

Please complete the form below to download the Excel file to help guide your evaluation process as you test and compare different customer service tools.

Get a preview of the Scorecard here.

The History of Customer Support

There was a time when customer support meant you told a shop owner your issue with what they sold you, and they either decided the problem was for them to fix or your own damn fault. But then the telephone was invented and everything changed. Call centers emerged, phone trees were born, and suddenly there was no way around pressing '1' for one thing and '2' for another. It's actually pretty interesting stuff.

So when you find yourself wondering how on earth hold music came to be, and why it always seem to be smooth jazz, let this little history lesson fill in some of the blanks.

The History of Customer Support

What's the Secret to Providing a World Class Customer Experience

With John DiJulius

Watch as THE authority on providing a world-class customer experience, John DiJulius, shares how companies like Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Nestle, Disney, Nordstrom, and The Ritz-Carlton deliver a world-class customer experience consistently, and how you can, too. In addition to addressing the current "Customer Service Crisis," John provides actionable steps that companies of any size can follow to improve their customer service today.

Best-selling author of both Secret Service: Hidden Systems that Deliver Unforgettable Customer Service and What's the Secret: to Providing a World-Class Customer Experience, John DiJulius is redefining customer service in corporate America. His keynotes and workshops are used by the top world-class customer service companies to provide unforgettable service every day. John has worked with companies such as Lexus, PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Marriott Hotels, and State Farm Insurance, to name a few, and he's the father of America's #1 customer service conference, The Secret Service Summit.

Best in practice: what works in customer service

Your reputation for providing the best customer service matters,. In fact, as our latest infographic illustrates, the importance of following customer service best practices is two-fold: you need it to maintain your existing customer base and you need it so your base will promote you to potential customers.

Your customers are talking about you on a variety of channels, such as social media, blogs and review sites. Social media isn't just a place for your marketing efforts; it's for brand awareness and customer service. Customer service and marketing are both important for potential customers: only 1% of respondents said that a company's customer service reputation is not important when they consider whether or not to do business with them. The results that come out of channels used for both marketing and customer service can be the kind your management is looking for.

A company's brand is contingent on the customer service they provide. Subscribing to customer service best practices dictates the need for customers to have great experiences on different channels. Social media, for instance, can have a strong customer support presence to show the company is listening. The management of various channels takes a lot of time, communication, and strategy, but it pays off for the consumer is worth it in the end.

One of the most important factors in providing the best customer support is being able to respond to customers through a variety of channels. Many respondents (43%) listed the web as their preferred method of contacting customer support, but it's important to acknowledge that there are at least 5 other methods outside of the traditional 'in store' method that need to be accounted for. Strong customer service serves the customers as well as it does the brand and the company.

Best in practice: what works in customer service