As a small business, everyone wears multiple hats. Some of mine consist of Customer Success Manager, Help Video Script Writer, Scrum Master, Chaser Downer of Those Needing Chasing...you get the general idea.
One of our goals is to create long-term relationships with our customers, so they continue to want to use our app. Support is a key factor in creating that relationship.
TO ANSWER OR NOT TO ANSWER - IS THAT REALLY THE QUESTION?
When we made the switch to Zendesk, we decided to make a conscious split of support and help. I took the lead on help, while my support agent takes the lead on answering incoming tickets.
One of the things that was very hard for me to do at first: NOT answer tickets! I was used to jumping in with an answer if I saw a support email come in. This was a small business behavior I had to break for these reasons:
- My support guy is great (we’ll call him Tier 1) – and often answers the questions, or susses out what the problem actually is based on the customer’s email. If I’m constantly jumping in to answer, I take that sense of satisfaction away from him. He watches the ticket metrics and enjoys those days we have a lot of incoming tickets. I needed to let him focus on answering tickets, and use my time elsewhere. Until....
- Escalation – this was something we did not formally have in place before Zendesk. By keeping me out of the initial ticket loop, I gave my Tier 1 support someone to escalate a customer to, giving them a second tier of support.
That being said, I still monitor the incoming tickets, and will leave private comments as needed. I also cover when he’s sick or on vacation; and keep an eye out on weekends; but otherwise I stay out of the initial loop.
Our Tier 2 Sales also has a Zendesk account, allowing us assign him sales specific tickets. Since we have a mix of Sales and Support people, I created additional views, which meant once Tier 1 Support assigned a ticket to Tier 2 Sales, it didn’t remain in his view. Check out Anton’s article on how to add views.
One of the things we initially struggled with was knowing when tickets were being updated by a customer. It turns, out, we weren’t using the built in system Zendesk has in place.
We now use the Pending status to indicate we’ve sent an initial response to the customer and are waiting for their response. By setting the status to Pending, when the customer responds, the status is automatically changed to Open, which is a quick and clear visual indicator of new activity on the ticket.
BUGS - HOW TO SQUASH THEM
We have a 2-tier approach to bugs as well. When a customer reports a bug, our Tier 1 support verifies the bug, and then escalates it to me. I manage our bug database, and I will simplify and refine the bug to its basics before passing it on to the developers. While the customer is waiting for a fix, their ticket is placed in “On Hold” status.
Once the developers have a fix in place, I verify the fix is live, and give our Tier 1 support the go-ahead to notify anyone On Hold, and we can then resolve the ticket.
We have tickets set up to automatically ask the customer for the Customer Service Rating. This is a quick time saver, and you get more comments back than you would expect. I make a list of these comments, and share them with my Tier 1 support, as well as my boss. It’s a direct way to give kudos (and criticisms if appropriate) straight from the customer’s mouth.
I have our Zendesk Knowledge Base set up with community to help provide easy, searchable answers. I have the Answer Suggestion App installed so agents can quickly add links to the KB articles, which should also help prompt users to look in the KB next time they have a question. I also have our Blog on WordPress, Facebook and Twitter all hooked into Zendesk, so we can easily turn comments into tickets, keeping all our support answers in one easy location.
THINGS TO WORK ON
We know we’ve barely scratched the surface of the features available in Zendesk. I plan to start plumbing the depths of metrics available. We have GoodData enabled, as well as the standard analytics. I want to start implementing more automations, as well as adding the cool icons to my forums and video tutorials. I know I’ll be adding more to this list as I discover more capabilities.
Here are a couple that have my attention to implement:
- Escalation for bug reports
- Adding badges to my community forums:
- Adding a video background on a category page
For those small businesses starting out with Zendesk, don’t stress about making use of all the functionality right out of the gate. If you’re like us, the switch to Zendesk in its most basic format was a huge improvement over plain email. Make use of the community, there is a lot of information available, as well as a helpful users.