Today we released our third book, Intercom on Customer Support. It explains how we think about customer support, and the principles we applied as we scaled our team to support over 8,000 customers in 85 countries.
Like our previous two books, this is not a laundry list of tips and tactics. We start with the principles and look at customer support from three angles: starting and scaling a team, planning the quality of support you deliver, and ensuring support has a positive relationship with other teams in the company.
Quality customer support is a competitive advantage, not a cost, and the sooner your business realizes that, the better you’ll fare. It’s our hope that this book will help you deliver it. Obviously we think you should use our customer support product to deliver it, but as always this book is both tool and tactic agnostic.
This is The Age of Customer Support
Since 2011, Forrester have been telling us we live in the age of the customer, and they have collected heaps of research and case studies to support their claim. It follows that this is also the age of customer support. There are two macro trends that matter a lot here:
All businesses are becoming internet businesses, and many are turning to recurring revenue to monetize. This means customer support teams are now put under the spotlight; in any support discussion the future lifetime revenue of the customer is on the table. Measuring support purely as a cost center will misguide many businesses.
The lines between sales and support have blurred. We’ve spoken previously about this, and the questions are still relevant. If a user signs up for a trial of your Platinum $199/month plan and has a question about how to use a feature, is that considered a sales question or a support question? For most companies, it’ll be answered by the support team, yet if they do it right, they close a sale.
Because of these shifts customer support has never been more important, yet the lines around it have never been more blurred. If you find yourself struggling to work out how to support customers, whether you should support free users, how to scale a team, who should handle what, and how to ensure the costs don’t destroy your margins, then this book is for you.