Quality and consistency: Best practices for building a strong, scalable support experience

Chris Jewitt is a Customer Success Manager at Klaus, the conversation review tool designed to help modern support teams measure and maintain the quality and consistency of their customer conversations.

This is the third in a recurring series of articles looking at how modern support leaders are navigating the support landscape as it continues to evolve. With customer expectations on the rise, we look to find out how support leaders are creating best-in-class experiences to meet those expectations, and what support teams need to be set up for success as the future unfolds.

Having worked on support teams in organizations large and small, Chris notes that the key to building a strong support experience that can scale is to consistently measure the quality of customer conversations in order to know what’s working – and where there’s room to adapt and improve. In today’s world, customer support no longer refers to transactional interactions a customer has with your company when they have a temporary issue or question. From the very first interaction and throughout their entire journey with your product, customer support is an ongoing conversation between your customers and your support team.

Reframing customer support

Here at Intercom, we frame this way of thinking about customer support as conversations moving through a funnel – the Conversational Support Funnel. This funnel is broken down into three layers: proactive support, self-service support, and human support, with each layer enabling support teams to provide targeted, in-context support to their customers at any stage of their customer journey – at the right time, and in the right place.

As a conversation review tool, Klaus is empowering support teams to measure the quality of the customer support they’re providing across the board. Through internal conversation reviews, agents can consistently learn and develop to ensure they’re providing the best service possible in every customer conversation. “As a customer, you shouldn’t get answers of varying quality based on the time of day you write in or the agent you get. Klaus focuses on increasing the quality of customer service and making sure every interaction you have with your customers is a positive experience,” Chris explains.

Setting customers up for success

In many respects, proactive support can serve as a first line of defense for support teams. By offering support before it’s needed, or to answer frequently asked questions, it’s possible to set your customers up for success without them ever needing to contact your support team for help.

At Klaus, customer support begins directly within the platform. “We put a lot of emphasis on the user experience and trying to make the onboarding as easy as possible and not time-consuming or complicated,” Chris says.

Speaking further to the power and efficiency of leveraging proactive support in this way, Chris goes on to explain that thanks to the ease-of-use of their platform and clear onboarding process, one of their customers was able to onboard a team of over 5,000 support agents to Klaus in a matter of days.

Offering support before it’s needed

Once customers have been fully onboarded to the Klaus platform, the support team regularly monitors accounts and checks in with customers to try and identify any points of friction they may be experiencing or potential roadblocks they could encounter in an effort to, as Chris puts it, “get ahead of problems before they develop and the customer has to come to us.”

Klaus uses Intercom to power their customer support, which enables their team to send targeted, pop-up messages to customers when they’re experiencing temporary issues, such as a system outage, to inform them that the team is working on a fix. The team is also leveraging these messages to implement a feedback loop, regularly sending out NPS surveys to capture customer sentiment and ensure that customer feedback is frequently collected and communicated back into the company.

Fostering a culture of being quick to respond

In the world of customer support, solutions to problems aren’t always immediate. Occasionally, more complex queries will need to be investigated by multiple teams within the company, and a product fix may need to be tested and implemented. With this in mind, the support team at Klaus fosters a culture of being quick to respond to their customers – even if they can’t provide a solution right away. With Intercom, Klaus’ support agents are able to engage in conversations with customers, provide updates on the status of their query, and build strong, lasting relationships in the process.

This emphasis on being quick to respond is a crucial component in Klaus’ set of values for customer support. When speaking with customers, their support team stays true to their five key values, which are:

Speaking to these values, Chris explains that the common thread linking them together is the focus on the customer. Above all else, Klaus’ support team wants their customers to know that they’re present, they’re working on finding a solution to their problem, and that they’re listening intently to their needs and adapting to meet them.

Everybody does support

In recent years, the customer support industry has experienced a massive, transformational shift. Throughout this transformation, one thing has become increasingly apparent: there is no one-size-fits-all approach to customer support. It comes in many shapes and sizes, and needs to be flexible and adaptable to meet changing customer needs.

As a platform built for support teams, Klaus deeply understands the importance of keeping a pulse on customer needs, pain points, and desired outcomes, which is why members of different teams from across the organization often jump into conversations in the Intercom Inbox to speak with customers. As Chris puts it:

“Because we’re a support tool and we’re from a support background, everybody at Klaus knows how to do customer support – from our head of product, to our CTO, to our developers. Jumping into customer conversations also helps everyone on the team to do their job better because they can understand our customers, their problems, and their questions.”

Customer-driven support

Something else that has emerged amid the shift the customer support landscape has seen of late is that, oftentimes, customers want to be able to self-serve and find solutions to their own problems. When a customer writes to the support team through the Intercom Messenger, relevant articles related to their question are served up by Custom Bots, directing them to Klaus’ knowledge base where they can find answers, browse through frequently asked questions, and get pro tips on making the most of their Klaus account.

Further championing this idea of self-serve, customer-driven support, the Klaus team launched their community, “Quality Tribe,” earlier this year. In the community, customers have the ability to seek answers to their questions, provide support to other customers, and build relationships with industry peers.

Balancing technology with a personal touch

Using a combination of Intercom for live chat, outbound messaging, and onboarding, Klaus for internal conversation review, Aircall for phone support, and a suite of custom integrations, Chris says that when it comes to designing a support tech stack, less is often more. “I think it’s a balance. You should try to keep things as simple as possible and not have your support team logging into 15 different platforms every day and feeling overwhelmed,” he says.

At Klaus, the team’s thought process for choosing new support tools centers around a few key questions:

Reflecting on one of his team’s core support values: “be human,” Chris explains that while technology and automation certainly have their place in support, what’s important is to strike a good balance and draw on these resources in the right places, at the right times. As he puts it, “I think that technology should be running the show behind the scenes. It should take away all of the manual work like queue management and adding tags to give your agents more space to focus on what really matters – the customer.”

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