Customer service is supposed to be a main priority for most companies. Unfortunately, it rarely is, hence your constant frustration every time you try to call the customer support line when your WiFi crashes or you notice a foreign charge on your credit card.
In this article, we want to talk about support driven growth — a new business strategy that really does prioritize the customer while benefiting the company. No, we're not kidding and yes, it is possible!
Read on to learn what support driven growth is, why it's beneficial, and how to use it to implement an effective customer service growth strategy.
What is Support Driven Growth?
Let's start with a definition, just in case you aren't familiar with the term. According to Help Scout, support driven growth is, "a business approach aimed at shifting the customer support channel from cost center to critical revenue driver."
Still confused? Don't worry…
In a nutshell, support driven growth is a strategy that turns customer support initiatives into money making processes. For example, if a trial customer were to contact the support team asking about a specific integration, a customer service rep with a support driven growth mentality might send a follow up email that says:
Yes, our product does integrate with X! Here are the details. Also, I noticed you began your free trial but haven't yet attended a webinar. Sign up here to learn more about our solution (including integration possibilities!)
By responding with an answer to the question and an opportunity to watch a webinar, the customer service rep has just increased the likelihood that the individual in question will become a full-time paying customer. After all, that's what the webinar is designed to do: describe the merits of the company's solution and entice viewers to make purchases.
But a true support driven growth approach extends well beyond the customer service team. Every department in a company needs to adopt this mentality.
For instance, sales reps should focus on delivering concierge-type support and concern themselves with customer success — not just on the day of the sale but throughout the customer's entire time using a product.
Product development teams can (and should!) take on the support driven growth mentality as well. For this department, that means acquiring a deep understanding of company customers from the support team and pinpointing both beloved and despised features. Armed with this knowledge, product specialists can then fix issues that cause customer churn and/or double down on popular features.
Do Support Driven Growth Strategies Really Work?
Absolutely! We'll dive into a specific case study later in this article. But for now, let's just take a look at the two main benefits of a support driven growth strategy:
1. More Paying Customers
A support driven growth approach leads to more paying customers, plain and simple. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. When a customer and their needs are put first, they'll have a better overall experience with your company which will naturally result in more sales.
It will also boost word of mouth because people talk about the things they like. Essentially, a support driven growth strategy leads to an avalanche of free marketing as your customers gladly tell their friends and colleagues about your company. It's not hard to see how this extra publicity can boost your company's bottom line.
2. Better Customer Retention
Again, this benefit is obvious when you think about it: if a customer's needs are completely met, why would they ever even think about going elsewhere? A support driven growth strategy prioritizes the success of each customer, thereby reducing the likelihood that they'll feel the need to use other solutions.
By providing great customer service and taking every opportunity to subtly push prospects towards a sale, your company will begin to acquire more paying customers and experience better customer retention.
How to Develop a Customer Service Growth Strategy
Okay, you now know what support driven growth is and why it's beneficial. Now let's talk about deploying this tactic and developing a customer service growth strategy. There are four steps you'll need to take:
1. Adopt the Support Driven Growth Approach
Step one: adopt the support driven growth approach. This may sound simple at first blush — maybe even too simple to warrant its own step in this article. But remember, a support driven growth strategy applies to every company department, not just customer service.
That means you need to get everyone in your company onboard with the approach. That's not always an easy thing to do. Especially when you have company veterans used to doing things a certain way or busy employees with little time to learn new processes.
But it must be done!
Ease the transition by reiterating the benefits of the support driven growth approach to each department and staff member. For sales teams, remind them that this strategy often produces more sales. And product teams will be able to create better solutions.
2. Commit to Saying "Yes, and…"
We briefly illustrate this concept in a previous section, but it really is the crux of the entire strategy so we'll expand on it now.
The "Yes, and…" technique is a way to answer customer (or prospect) questions and upsell them at the same time. So, referring back to an earlier example, when a trial customer contacts your support team asking about a specific integration, your service teams writes back and says, "Yes, and…"
"Yes, we have that integration, here are the details — and I noticed you haven't watched our new trial webinar. Sign up for it here."
The "Yes, and…" technique is the best way to up-sell a customer, or at least get them more engaged in your company's world. It's helpful, not sleazy. It puts the customer first, and attempts to anticipate their needs before they have them. But it also benefits the organization and opens the door to future sales.
It's important to note that this strategy starts with "Yes" and is followed by "and". Customer service reps should always answer questions first and provide additional details and/or resources second. It would be incredibly annoying if the order was reversed.
"I saw that you haven't watched our new trial webinar yet. Sign up for it here. Also, yes, we do offer that integration and here's how to set it up."
This reply sounds way more sales-y. It's also a bit condescending. The customer may think the rep is saying:
"If you would have watched the new trial webinar like you were supposed to, you would have known that we offer this integration."
So make sure you answer with "Yes, and…" and not the other way around.
3. Invest in the Right Technology
Alright, let's talk tech. The right tools will make your support driven growth initiative much easier and more successful. That's not to say that certain technologies are absolutely mandatory. But they do help. Here are a few tools you may consider investing in:
Help Scout is a software tool "designed with your customers in mind." It will allow you to provide personalized chat and email support and deliver help content from one convenient place. Oh, and it won't cost you an arm and a leg either. Plans start at just $25 a month.
All in all, it's a great tool that will allow you to communicate with your customers and implement a support driven growth strategy.
HubSpot is a popular software suite that offers tools for marketers, sales professionals, and customer service teams. Obviously, the customer service solutions will help your company in its support driven growth efforts. But what we really want to mention here is the HubSpot notifications you can enable.
When your customer data is stored in HubSpot, you can program the service to notify you of specific events. For example, you could choose to receive alerts when customers fill out surveys. You can then respond to these folks with replies to their answers, giving you another opportunity to reach out and subtly push customers towards a sale.
Lastly, we have CloudApp, the ultimate tool for visual communication purposes. This solution allows users to quickly and clearly communicate via screen recording, GIF creation, and image annotation features.
Let's say your support team is asked how to perform a specific task in your company's software. Rather than writing a lengthy email, you could pull up CloudApp, enable the free screen recorder, and show your customer exactly how to do the job.
This process saves you time and provides a much better experience for your customers, likely leading to more sales in the future. CloudApp also seamlessly integrates with Help Scout (mentioned above) for a complete customer success experience!
4. Build a Better Customer Support Team
The final step to creating an effective customer service growth strategy is to build a better customer support team. While it's true that every department plays a role in support driven growth, the customer support team leads the charge.
Here are a few tips to build this team successfully:
1. Instill the Support Driven Growth Mindset
By this we mean that customer support reps should be involved in many different company processes and initiatives.
They should participate in revenue generating activities like webinars and coaching calls. They should be the product teams "ears" and relay customer likes and dislikes to them so that products can be adjusted and optimized. And they should subtly push product sales so that the actual sales department can focus more energy on "big ticket" customers.
All this requires a mindset shift. Customer support teams need to be viewed as an integral part of company processes. And customer support reps need to be involved more than simply answering customer complaint emails.
2. Develop Product Expertise
The best customer support teams understand their company's products like the back of their hands. This will allow them to help any customer with any problem in an efficient manner. It will also enable them to be more helpful to sales teams and interact more fluidly with product teams.
For your support driven growth efforts to take hold and succeed, your customer support team needs to develop true product expertise.
3. Scale With Your Customer Base
And finally, your customer support team should scale as your company's customer base does.
Now, the proper use of technology — like the tools we mentioned above — can reduce the number of reps your organization needs to employ. But at some point, you will need to hire more help. When you do, make sure they have the support driven growth mindset and quickly develop product expertise.
A Real-Life Look at Support Driven Growth
So what does support driven growth look like in the real world? Take a look at this Help Scout case study from CloudApp.
Help Scout, as we noted above, is a customer success software platform. They're also a pioneer behind this support driven growth concept. The company is always looking for new ways to delight customers and turn their customer service efforts into revenue generating opportunities.
One of the ways they do this is by integrating their service with CloudApp. Now when sales professionals respond to prospects, they do so with screen recordings or animated images that illustrate their software's best features. This allows them to be more productive, increase customer satisfaction, and easily make more sales.
Help Scout and CloudApp: A Match Made in Heaven
Interested in using both Help Scout and CloudApp to reach your support driven growth goals? Fortunately, these two pieces of software go together like peanut butter and jelly! Just follow these quick tips to set up the integration:
- Get a Free CloudApp Account
- Fire up Help Scout
- Capture your screen, edit and annotate, add the link or content directly into Help Scout
Check out how easy it is to add content to Help Scout with drag and drop:
Once you've successfully integrated Help Scout and CloudApp, you'll be able to record your screen and share the footage directly into any Help Scout support ticket. You'll also be able to edit and annotate images without ever leaving the Help Scout app. This will allow you to answer customer questions quickly and clearly — everybody wins!
Your Turn: Commit to Support Driven Growth
Support driven growth is the way of the future. This approach will allow you to take customer service — a necessary department, but often seen as a company cost — and turn it into a revenue generating machine!
Just follow the simple, four-step plan we outlined in this article:
- Adopt the Support Driven Growth Approach
- Commit to Saying "Yes, and…"
- Invest in the Right Technology
- Build a Better Customer Support Team
When it comes to the right technology, we suggest you give CloudApp a try. Our tool's screen recording, GIF creation, and image annotation features will make you more productive and allow you to provide better experiences to your customers. Try CloudApp for FREE and see for yourself!