90 percent of startups fail. Most of them can’t make it. It is a sad reality. Lack of capital, inadequate training of customer support teams and failure to comprehend the needs of the customers are a few of the reasons why startups don’t prosper. In the highly competitive business environment of today, we cannot afford to ignore their customer needs. Delivering a delightful customer experience can make the difference between success and failure of our businesses.
According to Mckinsey, a management consulting firm, 70 percent of the customer’s journey is dictated by how the customer feels they are being treated. For an entrepreneur like me, retaining customers has been the topmost business goal. We all know that retaining customers is directly linked to increasing business profits. In fact, according to a Bain & Company report, “Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits anywhere from 25% to 95%”.
I am of the belief that customer support and customer retention constitute two key business strategies. A great “customer support” creates customer delight, which in turn, prevents customers from brand switching. Seven in 10 U.S. consumers say they've spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service”. One of the steps that I took to make my customers happy was investing in customer support software.
There are plenty of tools available in the market to improve the operational efficiency of our customer support teams. Investing in customer support software is the safest bet for new businesses, as they lack resources in the initial phase. A well-designed support tool offers critical capabilities to help new companies achieve the early success that ultimately leads to long-term viability.
Let us now learn about some of the customer support tools that are indispensable for a start-up looking for success:
Sprout Social is an all-in-one platform. It is one of the most useful tools that specializes in social media management. It assists startups to build meaningful and long-lasting relationships with their customers.
Sprout Social helps to post and schedule messages to different social media giants through multiple profiles. It is one of the best tools to collaborate with various teams and assign tasks to ensure not even a single message is missed. It can be integrated with social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, and also with SalesForce, UserVoice, and more. It assists in the effective management of customer support, relationships and interactions directly through a dashboard.
The critical feature of Sprout Social is its third-party integration. A single tweet can be converted into a help desk ticket that is then assigned to the concerned team member.
Key Takeaway: As an entrepreneur, I believe that every brand needs to have a dedicated social media management tool today. Due to the analytics feature of Sprout Social, I have been able to measure the social media performance of my brand across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn - all within the same platform. I can, thus, track and compare my team’s social media efforts with those of others.
Customer support comes in many forms. Phone calls with a long queue of customers. Annoying chatbots. Website forms addressed through email responses with emails rapidly flooding our inbox.
Being a startup, I can’t afford to let customer service requests slip through the cracks. According to Oracle’s Customer Experience Impact Report, 50% of consumers give companies only a week to respond to a question before they stop doing business with them. A robust customer support software is, therefore, required.
Help desk software such as ProProfs Help Desk allows us to track all customer queries, requests, and bugs - all in one place. No customer issue can, thus, be missed, left unattended or, unresolved. Customers also get timely responses to their queries, which implies there is faster ticket resolution. My customers are now delighted and want to do more business with my company. My agents can even manage all customer-facing inboxes such as sales@, support@, help@, billing@, contact@, and more. They can easily see who is working on what. Collaborative teamwork, of course, helps to resolve tickets faster.
Key Takeaway: What I prefer using the help desk ticketing system is due to its integrations. The customer support tool comes integrated with ProProfs Survey Maker, Knowledge Base, and Chat. I can efficiently capture customer feedback and learn if my customers are happy with using my products if they are encountering any problems or, their pain points. I can monitor help desk ratings with Customer Surveys and Net Promoter Score (NPS) Surveys and train my agents accordingly. Using customer support tools, like Help Desk, Chat, and Knowledge Base, our customer interactions can be increased and made better.
Phone systems have traditionally been an unavoidable business expense. Customers consider them as an annoying mode when compared to other customer support tools such as chat, help desk, knowledge base, and email. It’s high time that startups switch to virtual phone systems. They are a new and economical way to avail an excellent phone service.
Grasshopper enables a startup, like that of mine, to transform the personal cell phone into a business line. A local or toll-free business number and extensions are provided for each of the team members. It assists in delivering messages in text format with the help of its voicemail transcription.
The customer support tool provides a rich range of features that include custom greetings, call screening, call forwarding, and inbound fax. Also, inbound faxes and voicemails get automatically converted to emails. Grasshopper even helps to read our voicemail to us. The “instant response” feature of Grasshopper sends a predetermined message to the caller, in case we miss a call.
Key Takeaway: I was seeking a virtual phone system that lends my business the best chance to project a professional image at all times without spending a lot. Being a startup, I didn’t want a high-priced solution that comprises every phone feature under the sun. Hence, what features I looked for in a virtual system are an online portal, an auto-attendant, and a mobile app. Grasshopper has all these features. What I like the most about this fantastic tool is I can always feel I’m “in office.”
To sum up, I realize that opening a new startup can be a difficult task. But, the tools I have discussed will help the newbie to take a little of the edge off. With so many useful and low-cost tools available, now is the “time” to leap. I would say customer support is a team effort that sets the groundwork for future business success.
Customer support should not be seen as an added cost but, an opportunity to capture more leads. When done right, it can be one of the most valuable assets for an organization. It is rightly said - “Provide customer support, or customers won’t support you!
CEO at Slidebean/FounderHub. TEDx Speaker. 500 Startups Alum. 40-under-40.