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.
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.…
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.
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.…
Building a community around your business is, perhaps, the most important outreach activity you can ever pursue. It deserves such prominence especially because it’s a long-term activity. It’s an ongoing activity, like invoicing customers or addressing support queries.
A community has far-flung benefits across various aspects of your business. It helps you keep your existing customers happy. It helps you win new customers. It helps you reduce the load on your customer service team. And, it helps builds your brand.
Every community starts off as an idea on someone’s mind. But, it eventually has to move to a more ‘conducive’ space. That space is different for each one. For some, it’s a simple forum. For some, it’s an interesting blog. For a few others, it can be a social network like Facebook or LinkedIn.…
At Zoho, we get to talk to several startup founders and small business owners regularly. A good number of times, the topic of hiring and retention comes up in our conversations. We thought it might be a good idea to ask the community at large and understand the broad opinion.
We had asked a question on customer support hiring, via our poll last week. From our own experience, we’ve seen startups with very good process clarity as well as mid-sized businesses that prefer not to have strict processes. So, we were naturally excited to see what results would emerge from that question.
About 40% of all respondents said they preferred to hire experienced professionals and empower them suitably.
From a traditional standpoint, this feels like the optimal approach for any company that wants a ‘safe bet’. If you hire experienced customer support professionals, you can trust them to behave reasonably in most of the situations.…
Beyond the processes you put in place and the helpdesk software that your company uses, the customer service experience is ultimately influenced by the people you hire. People in customer-facing roles form the face of your company in the market. When they fit their roles, all’s well. Otherwise, well, not so well.
The question we’re asking this week is about customer support hiring. What’s your approach to customer support hiring?
Hire experienced people and empower them.
Experienced customer support professionals bring a certain competitive edge to your company. They already know how to handle varying ticket loads. They know what to do when a ticket gets escalated. They know what not to say to that short-tempered customer. They’ve been there and done that.
Experienced professionals are suitable for small companies that don’t have much process intelligence yet.…
Last week, we had asked Zoho Support users what kind of interactions they preferred in support tickets.
Short interactions are crisp but several such interactions in a single support ticket could still reduce customer happiness significantly. Long interactions need more patience but might get the job done in just a few interactions itself.
We asked the question to customer support managers as well as agents. We were really curious to see how different their opinions were in regard to this particular topic. What surprised us was the resounding uniformity in their opinions!
Managers prefer shorter interactions.
When asked the question, about 68% of support managers said that they prefer short-but-several interactions. While managing a team of support agents, the bigger picture takes center stage. When agents have shorter interactions in a ticket, they’re able to handle more tickets in a given period of time.…
What happens after a customer raises a support ticket asking for some help?
You wade through the ticket to find out what information is available. Once you ingest that, you try to find the simplest possible solution for the customer. But, a little later, you realize there’s not enough information for you to suggest anything yet.
So, you write back to the customer asking for some information. This is often a cycle and it happens once or twice again before you find a solution. Sometimes, it takes longer because the most common solutions don’t work. Sometimes it’s over in the first couple of interactions and everyone’s happy.
But, then, how many interactions is the most optimal number? When does it start becoming uncomfortable for the customer? How much information can the customer absorb from a single interaction? These questions only become more relevant as you scale up your business.…