Good customer support goes beyond just answering questions and resolving issues. That’s why, when we close a support ticket, it doesn’t just disappear into obscurity. It holds value from the day it comes in, and that value can last, in many cases, indefinitely.
Here’s the bottom line: Whatever your customers have to say is important. Whether they’re asking a question, making a suggestion, or providing feedback, their input reflects the quality of your product. The more input you get over time, the more you see the bigger picture, and the more equipped you become to improve your product in ways that benefit your customers best. Recognizing this value is the first step toward better customer experiences, but the real key is knowing how to use that value effectively.
Here are some ways we do it:
Prioritize improvements by demand
We have a laundry list of new feature ideas and UI improvements we’d love to release, and if we could implement all of them with the wave of a magic wand, we’d do it. But we’re not magicians. These updates take resources, so we need to weigh the benefits of each idea before moving forward.
Our customers have a huge influence on the updates we prioritize, and we keep a running log of all the feature requests we get. If a certain request has more demand, we’ll prioritize it higher, and we’ll reach out personally to let customers know when we’ve implemented their suggestion.
For example, several customers wanted to run ad campaigns targeting traffic from countries we didn’t have available. We worked with our publishers to scale our userbase in these locations and, soon enough, we had enough traffic there to open them up for targeting. Now we have customers running more campaigns with us internationally, which is a pretty huge win.
Provide the best information
Before responding to a ticket, I always take a minute to review any previous tickets the customer has submitted. Sometimes the old tickets are unrelated to the issue at hand, but often they can shed light onto why the customer is confused about something or what led them to ask a particular question. It’s also a good way to make sure you’re offering new information or expanding on a topic that was discussed earlier, rather than repeating what the customer has already been told.
There are plenty of other ways old tickets can help you communicate better information. For example, once in a while a ticket comes in with a question I know I’ve been asked before, but I can’t remember the answer to. In cases like these, I often do an advanced search to find the ticket with the answer I need.
I’ve also searched for answers to questions I didn’t know but thought could have been answered by another support agent in the past. I don’t spend a lot of time hunting down answers this way, but it can be handy when someone you’d normally ask is out of the office or in a meeting.
Find your weak spots (then strengthen them!)
When you’ve got a bunch of customers with the same question, that’s a red flag. It means something is confusing and needs to be clarified. To identify these red flags, we apply labels to each ticket to get an aggregate view of the most commonly addressed issues, then drill down into individual tickets to pinpoint the root of the problem.
Once we figure out what’s causing confusion, we brainstorm how to fix it. Sometimes the fix is as simple as writing a support article or adding instructions in the UI. Sometimes building a new tool is the best solution. In some cases, it takes some trial and error before arriving at the best customer experience.
50’s Product Team is in that boat right now.
One of our most commonly asked questions is “Why isn’t my campaign getting traffic?”, which can happen for a number of reasons–reaching the end date, going over budget, compliance issues, running out of funds, etc.
We send emails to alert customers when they hit these traffic roadblocks, but they don’t always open them. Or they’ll open the email and come back to the campaign a month later, try to get it back up and running, and forget that it was, say, over budget this whole time.
So we added an overview page in the UI that put these alerts front and center. That seemed to help, but many customers continued to consult us when their campaigns weren’t getting traffic.
We added a support article with a checklist to determine what’s preventing traffic from flowing, but that didn’t get us much further. Now we’re working on a new tool advertisers can use to identify these traffic roadblocks in one click. If all goes well, we should get significantly fewer tickets about this issue.
These strategies aren’t only applicable to support tickets. They also work with other qualitative customer input, from blog comments to phone calls to survey responses. When used wisely, resources like these provide a treasure trove of insight. Start tapping into them–Your customers will thank you for it!