Customer service has evolved exponentially in recent times. Today, customers expect premium and prompt support from almost anywhere in the world, and at any time of the day. With so many options readily available, offering top-notch customer support will give you a major competitive advantage.
So let’s dive into what is meant by customer support and answer the question: what is customer support? And more specifically: what does customer support do? Check out our customer support guide to ensure your online support offers the best customer experience.
What is customer support?
Customer support is typically viewed as an IT service that aims to help improve customer experience when using a company’s product or service. Customer support has evolved from face-to-face help, to call centers, to online software in a matter of decades to keep up with the demand.
At the beginning of the 21st century, companies started to pivot away from exclusively offering customer support call centers, and started inventing software. Software such as CRMs, help desk ticketing, and online chat software were designed to improve efficiency, and enhance customer’s experience. The rise of SaaS (software as a service) has drastically improved customer support as remote installation and operation of software has become far easier. This gives customer support representatives remote access to their customer’s desktop for better, and more efficient support.
Excellent customer support is paramount to your success. If a customer is dissatisfied with a service or customer support, they have several competitors to choose from. This means customers expect easily-accessible and high-quality content if they run into an issue. The bottom line is - customers want the best value from your service or product.
Another important aspect when defining what is customer support and achieving great results is balancing automation and efficiency, with personalization. When a customer contacts customer support, the interaction should feel like a one-to-one conversation. Customers want to feel individually valued, which means authentic, personal, and proactive responses in a timely manner. It is important to empower your support team with tools and philosophies that both help resolve customer issues, and connect with your customers. Leverage customer support tools that offer customers answers to most commonly asked questions, and provide design, branding, and workflow customization and options.
Successful customer support will result in:
- Satisfied and engaged customers
- Loyal customers that believe in your product, service, and message
- Customers who provide feedback to help improve your service or product
What is customer support and service?
At this point, you may be wondering, what is customer support and service? Are they the same? Although they must work together to create a great experience, they each entail different skills and tools. Customer service is about establishing a customer-centric relationship, while customer support solves troubleshooting issues, answering customer questions, resolving conflict, and assisting customers with onboarding, training, maintenance, installation, as well as upgrading, or ending a service. Customer support agents should be thought of as experts that solve issues with excellent interpersonal skills.
When a customer reaches out to a customer support agent, they expect to be helped on a wide variety of technical support issues. With that in mind, excellent customer support should offer a range of services that cover any and every issue a customer may encounter so they can get the most out of your product or service and resolve problems efficiently. Depending on the industry, services may include phone support, online ticket-based helpdesks, email support, self-serve knowledge bases, or more in-depth personalized customer support tools. It all depends on the product or service you offer.
What does customer support do?
So we’ve covered what is meant by customer support, now what does customer support do? Ultimately, it is about seamlessly helping customers get the help they need. With so much competition readily available, having a good foundation is paramount to your success. Here 7 key components to include in your customer support.
1. Brand voice
Considering how difficult it is for companies, products, and services to stand out from the rest of the competitors, taking the time to really understand your user will give you an upper hand. One of the key components of honing in on the user behind a service or product is creating a rapport with your audience. Customers aren’t interested in buying from faceless corporations, people want to buy from people. Your customer service communication needs to reflect this notion.
Consider your target audience, your brand voice, as well as the different channels and scenarios. Don’t get caught up in trendy styles, or unnecessary buzzwords that will distract users. Keep things as conversational as possible, while providing clear and concise communication that sound like themselves and/or their peers.
2. High-quality support
Customers expect high-quality support that they can quickly access and understand if they run into a problem. Depending on your service or product, high-quality support may be about speedy responses, well-curated knowledgebase tutorials, excellent online chat support, and so forth. The crux of your success is ensuring your support team has the systems, strategies, and leadership in place to deliver high-quality support, in any and every capacity.
3. Efficiency and speed
In today’s fast-paced world, customers hate to wait. They expect premium and prompt service from almost anywhere in the world and at any time of the day. Will you provide 24/7support, including holidays? Do you provide customer support 9-5, Monday through Friday? Or something in between? It is important to define your hours, and set your customers’ expectations. The goal is to resolve customer issues quickly to diffuse frustrations and build confidence in your brand.
To do this, consider how important speed is to your customer from contact to problem resolution. What do your competitors offer? Will automated tools, or a robust knowledge base offer alternative solutions when your support team is unavailable? To decide what’s best, track your average response times, and collect customer feedback to determine if your speed requires tweaking. Ensure your customer support agents have the tools and support to solve each problem completely in a timely manner.
4. Personable customer support
Customers want to feel heard and validated. When your customer support team can empathize with the person on the other end, they are able to deliver effective and personable customer support and service. This level of caring and understanding will translate and show through, which has the potential to lead to happier customers.
5. Knowledge and transparency
Your customer support agents should be experts on your service or product, as they will be expected to be helped on a wide variety of technical support issues. The level and type of service offered depends on the industry. If an agent does not know the answer, it is essential to be honest and transparent. If an agent can’t solve a particular issue, let the customer know they need to connect with another team member for further assistance, and that they will return when they have a solution.
Ensure you have clear systems, strategies, and processes in place. This will help ensure your customer support team can create positive user experiences while addressing and resolving issues smoothly. Consider creating developing single-step processes for your customer. If a customer contacts you, give them options that will direct them to the correct representative for more efficient problem-solving.
7. Continuously improve
Excellent customer support takes time. It is meant to be an ongoing process that often needs revising and tweaking over time. Carefully tracking your process, service, and support will help identify issues that continuously crop up. From there, alert the appropriate team to fix it. Carefully review your content, and process to see where the issues lie. Clarify your message and content to help cut down on the follow-up questions, prevent confusion or miscommunication, and reduce time spent solving the same issues.
What is customer support services?
In our recent article, Best Customer Support Tools, we defined six popular types of online support tools commonly used. These tools will streamline your processes and ensure you make a positive connection with each and every customer.
All-in-one customer service tools
All-in-one customer service tools provide live chat, email, social media, phone, and self-help centers in one omnichannel software. This means that every single customer request can be managed and found within a central dashboard or single browser tab. Ensure your all-in-one support tool provides:
- Integration and automation capabilities
- Project, team, and task management
- Delegate and assign specific tasks to individual team members
- Internal notes to clarify information about previous discussions with a customer
- Monitor support-ticket status
- Updated conversations
- Prevent duplicate replies
- Seamlessly and quickly transfer conversations to non-support departments when necessary
Customer chat software
If you’re wondering what is customer support, you might also be asking what is chat support? Chat support and customer chat software is a dedicated tool designed to enhance your customer experience by delivering immediate service and information in a live environment. Quickly resolving issues as customers encounter them with a quick call or screen-share saves time, and can diffuse frustrations. Look for the following core functionalities in your customer chat software:
- Integrates with your help desk software chat feature
- Analytics about performance and usage
- Access to chat transcripts
- A place to create and access internal notes
- Track phone call and chat records
Help desk tools
A help desk tool is the hub for all your customer support. Your help desk customer service tool needs to be a seamless centerpiece of your software and workflow. A good help desk customer service tool should include the following features and functionalities:
- Shared inbox and internal chat
- Categorize and organize requests and ticket
- Track conversation history
- Delegate and assign tasks to team members
Customer satisfaction surveys provide invaluable insight into your customers' wants, needs, and any pain points they may have. Consider customer feedback software that offers the following:
- Access to in-depth analytics
- branding options
- customizable questions
- automatic survey delivery time
- easily integrates with your customer service toolbox
Social media customer service tools
Social media customer service tools monitor, track, respond to, and help gather useful information. It is also useful for identifying trends, tracking your competition, and giving you insight into your target market. Ensure your social media customer service tool provides the following features and functionalities:
- Gain insight into brand awareness and reputation
- Monitor, track, and respond to brand and product mentions or tags quickly
- Identify relevant trending product, service, or industry topics
- Integrates well with existing online customer support tools
- Capability to create support tickets from social mentions
Knowledge-base customer service tools
Knowledge-base customer service tools are designed for building sites with pre-made answers to common questions. This online self-serve option is carefully curated to provide the most helpful answers and solutions. Creating a knowledge base is a straight-forward process with software that includes the following:
- Search functionality and user-friendly navigation
- Recommendations for related content
- Identify issues and successes with data and reporting
- Site-wide widgets for easy access
- Access to your support team for further information or help
Understanding the different types of customer service tools available will help you narrow down your best options and make an informed decision about which customer support tools will suit your specific needs. Keep in mind that a majority of online customer service tools will provide similar features. The key is knowing which channels your customers and support team depend on.
What is online support with CloudApp?
We recognize how important clarity and speed are to your customers in need of assistance. Transform you assist your customer support team and customers with visual explanations and communication with screen recorder videos. Quickly solve issues with a GIF as a follow-along tutorial, an annotated screen capture with arrows and circles to point out details, a webcam recording that walks the customer through the solution to their problem, or direct customers to the appropriate knowledge-base section, complete with screen captures. So what is online support with CloudApp? In a nutshell, it is quick creation and easy sharing so you can close tickets faster and improve customer satisfaction.
CloudApp also easily integrates with a variety of tools including Zendesk, Asana, Help Scout, Jira, Freshdesk, Slack, and more to increase productivity, and collaboration. All of CloudApp’s innovative tools are stored in our native app, and securely in the Cloud so that it can be easily shared with your team.