About Prashanth V K

Prashanth is a product marketer at Zoho. When he's not writing blog posts, he's probably talking to customers. When he's doing neither, he's probably asleep. To start a conversation with him, just drop a comment below. Or, you can tweet to @uleadin instead.

Announcing Happiness Ratings for Zoho Support

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The ultimate goal for any business is to acquire more customers and serve them in the best way possible. Sounds simple and straightforward, doesn’t it?

Yes, it does. But that’s only when all customers are alike. In reality, customers come in as many varieties as you can think of: different behavior, different tastes, different levels of understanding, different degrees of need and so many more.

Suddenly, your simple and straightforward goal becomes tricky and complicated. But, all’s not over.

Professionals in the customer service function, over the last decade or so, have managed to develop methods to measure customer satisfaction. Customer service itself has evolved so much in the last few years, to the extent that customer ‘satisfaction’ is no longer good enough. At Zoho, we’ve always believed that Customer Happiness should be our goal. With Zoho Support, we believe it should be our customers’ goal too!

Happiness Ratings for Zoho Support

With that firm belief, we’ve built Happiness Ratings for Zoho SupportRead more

Cloud Telephony and Mobile Apps for Zoho Support

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The holiday season is approaching. What can be more gratifying than creating happiness! That’s exactly what we have in mind for you as well.

It’s a great feeling to talk to customers and deliver amazing service. Phone is by far the most convenient way for customers to ask for and receive help. But, it’s usually a logistics nightmare to build and maintain scalable PBX infrastructure, especially if you’re a small business. We’ve been through it at Zoho and, ever since, we’ve wanted to drastically simplify it.

That’s exactly what we announced last week.  Read more

Introducing: Notification Center for Zoho Support

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One of the key influencers of an agent’s response time is the delay in getting notified of developments. We’ve observed this from our own customer service operation.

Suppose an agent is typing a response to a customer. He/She doesn’t really know if another customer has responded on another conversation. This makes customer service very linear and sequential. And, it drags down the efficiency of the entire customer service operation. For a generation of multi-tasking natives, this just isn’t enough at all.

There had to be a better way to solve this and turn things around. So, we took it onto ourselves to do just that. Over the last couple of months, we worked with our own customer service teams to fully understand this problem and solve it the right way.

Notification Center for Zoho Support

Today, we’re really excited to launch that solution, the Notification Center. Read more

Build Communities. Share Knowledge. Create Happiness.

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A couple of months ago, we asked customers which tool/platform they used to build their business’ community. And, several of them mentioned Facebook.

To understand this better and put things in the right perspective, we spoke to a some customers at length. We realized that they preferred Facebook just because it was easy and free. It didn’t involve any additional learning curve. For most of the businesses we spoke to, it wasn’t the best solution. And, given a more convenient choice that’s free, they’d start using it right away.

Zoho Support Announcement

After that, we spoke to customers who hadn’t started building a community yet. A significant reason was convenience, again. They couldn’t do it all from a single place. Naturally, because of that, it would involve even more effort to build a community.

This was some fascinating insight for us. As always, we took this back into product development. Since then, we’ve been working on a community solution right within Zoho Support. Today, we’re really happy to announce precisely that!

The new Community module within Zoho Support lets you do some cool things like

- Moderate community posts and keep spam away
- Organize your community using categories and forums
- Automatically (or manually) add community posts as support requests
- Minimize redundant posts by suggesting similar existing posts
- Analyze how the community is growing and make improvements

Oh, and, it’s free and available on all our plans, including the free plan we announced recently.

Try it today and let us know what you think about it. Start building your community right away!

Free unlimited users! Freedom from software licenses!

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Ever since we started building Zoho Support, we’ve firmly believed that small businesses must also be able to deliver world class customer service without having to spend a lot of resources. That belief has guided us over the last few years and it shall continue to guide us well into the future too.

We’ve continued to ship a lot of features and automation capabilities that make life easier for customer support teams. But, there’s one thing we always wanted to simplify: the way small businesses adopt a web based customer support software. Today, we’re extremely happy to be doing that.

ZSupport-announcement

It’s tricky for small businesses to decide what support channels they can sustain, how many people to hire, how many licenses to buy and so on. It’s really meaningless and unnecessary to go through these decisions when you’re just about to start and grow. You should simply focus on defining your customer support culture. Starting today, you can have as many support reps as you want, for free. Forever.

What?!

Yes, that was not a typo! We’re letting you add as many people from your team as you want for free.

Why free?

Because we think you shouldn’t worry about what channels to use, what plan to choose, how many licenses will be too little and how many too much! These are things you’ll figure out along the way. Until then, we don’t want you to have these in the way of your work!

What’s in the box?

Free Unlimited Reps

Channels: Email, web form, customer portal and forums.

Helpdesk Basics: SLA, escalation, priority

Customization: Rebranding, custom fields and tabs, domain mapping

Reports: Pre-defined reports to help you track how your team is handling requests

What’s the catch? Where’s the fine print?

It might be difficult for you to believe this. But, there’s no catch. No fine print. Nothing. The plan is free for you to use. It has all of the features mentioned above.

However, it’s available only for a limited period and applies only to fresh signups. But once you sign up, your agents are free forever. And you can add more for no cost as well. We don’t limit that at all.

Simply, sign up, set up and start building your customer service culture today!

Poll: What’s the ratio of support reps to sales reps in your business?

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Businesses come in various shapes and sizes. Some can generate a lot of new business with a small sales team, but will need a much bigger customer happiness team to support customers. Other businesses might need a large sales to scale new business quickly and can do with a small team for customer support.

The Zoho Support Poll

Either way, an interesting metric to look at is the ratio of support reps to sales reps in any business. It allows a bird’s eye look at whether a business is sales-intensive or service-intensive. So, that’s the question we’re asking on our poll this week: What’s the ratio of support reps to sales reps in your business?

One support rep for many sales reps

Typically, this is for businesses where sales is driven by a lot of human interactions and post-sales support is only for a small set of issues. For example, businesses that sell simple-but-indispensable products can thrive on this model. The larger sales team enables them to reach more customers and sell more volume. The small-yet-efficient support team can handle the finite bunch of possible issues and resolve tickets quickly.

One sales rep for many support reps

Companies that operate in the B2B space can function on this model. Selling to other businesses means deal sizes are substantial and sales can be handled by a relatively smaller team. On the other hand, they’ll need a fairly sizable customer support team to handle the support load. For products that offer extensive customization, the effort required in post-sales support could be far higher than what’s required of the sales team itself.

It’s also possible that there’s a third case where the ratio is at 1:1. But that’s not as common as the other two. Most businesses are likely to have (at least!) a slight skew in the ratio.

We’re curious to see how the ratios are distributed across all of your businesses. If you have a specific rationale for the ratio in your business, do tell us about it in the comments section below.

Results: Facebook is the most used platform for community

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In a bid to understand how businesses build communities, we had asked a question last week on our poll. We were eager to see what platforms were preferred by businesses to build a community. At the same time, we also wanted to see how much the idea of a building a community had permeated.

poll-results-building-community

As it turns out, Facebook was voted as the most popular platform for building a community. About 23% of all respondents had chosen Facebook as their preference (or one of their preferences). This is fairly straightforward. Facebook has a really large user base and has a simple user experience. It takes very little time to start a community and grow it via Facebook.

LinkedIn comes a close second, with about 20% of respondents choosing the professional networking platform. As a more serious alternative, LinkedIn has several business communities that attract significant participation from members. Businesses, initially, preferred LinkedIn to Facebook when it came to building a professional community, because of its more serious outlook towards networking.

Twitter comes third with about 16% of all respondents in its favor. Although, Twitter isn’t suitable for a community in the traditional sense, it allows businesses to have ‘conversations’ with their customers/prospects. Businesses can address customer support issues via Twitter. It’s also a great distribution platform for content marketing.

Just over 16% of all respondents said they use their own blog and forum to build their communities. This is most likely because a blog and a forum are one level separated from a social network. So, it takes more effort to build a community using these. Building a community away from social networks means that your customers need not necessarily have an account on any of them. In that sense, it has no prerequisites.

Above all this, around 24% of respondents opined that they haven’t yet started building a community. Building a community involves a lot of sustained effort for mostly-long-term benefits. Businesses in their early days might not prefer to build a community, simply because they’re busy finding customers via other means. Also, in the case of businesses where a community simply serves the purpose of customer support, email or phone support might be a better idea for sometime. Nevertheless, this component of the respondents will most likely start building a community sometime in the future.

If you’re looking to build a community, you might want to consider the pros and cons of each platform in detail, before deciding on anything.

That’s it for this week. We’ll come right back next week with another topic. Until the, have a great weekend!