3 ways to deliver the best customer support

#Humblebrag here, but Podia has the best customer support of any online course platform out there, and quite possibly near the top of any SaaS business.

Customer support is one of the four pillars of our company, and it’s a big reason why people switch to us for their online course builder needs.

Don’t believe me? Here are just a few recent things customers have said:

So, what do we do that “wows” people?

How are we getting so much love over our customer support?

For your convenience, I’ve compiled our approach below.

Immediate responses at all times

One of the support ethos I care most about is responding within minutes (mostly seconds if I’m being honest) to anyone who emails or messages us with a support question.

Even something as simple as:

“Hey , thanks for bringing this to our attention. We’re looking into it now and will get back to you as soon as possible. Best, Spencer”

The reasons for quickly responding is clear:

  1. The person knows that their question is being responded to, which for most people is enough to quell their fears or concerns.
  2. Most companies don’t do this or automate it with a crappy support desk system, which gives you a leg up on the competition.
  3. Most questions people have can easily be answered to by linking to an article in your help desk or taking 30 seconds to respond to. If you know your product well enough-- and you should--then you’ll be able to respond to 99% of all questions very quickly.
  4. You will blow your customers away! If you look at the recent NPS scores we get at Podia, almost everyone who leaves feedback mentions how responsive our support is.

Since my Carbonmade days, it’s clear to me that quick responses makes every customer support problem feel smaller in your customer’s eyes, no matter how big.

Proactive customer support

One support practice that puts us well ahead of most companies is that we proactively message people as we see them using our app.

How do we do this? We have an activity feed in our Admin that spits out all of the important actions of our customers, from creating an online course to filling out information for their storefront.

For example, if we see an action such as someone publishing their online course without an introduction video, we might message them via live chat letting them know that that’s an option.

Simply engaging our customers while they’re building and using our product is a great way to remind them that we’re here to help, even if it seems like we’re not around.

Engineering joins in

Sometimes our customers run into small bugs or hiccups (although we’ve done our very best through writing thorough help desk articles to constantly monitoring our reports to prevent them) and in those cases, one of our engineers will usually drop everything to address it immediately.

While the context switching for our engineers might temporarily slow down product development, it has two benefits:

  1. The bug doesn’t go unchecked until a later date allowing more customers to potentially become affected between initial problem to solution.
  2. It lets the customer know that we’ll fix whatever problems they run into ensuring that even if they do run into a bug down the line, it’ll get fixed ASAP. It’s really only when you let bugs linger for too long that customers get frustrated and leave.

There are downsides to this, of course, as I mentioned above with the context switching.

If an engineer has to step aside from a complicated task to fix a bug, we can lose a lot of time. One way that we’ve been recently addressing this at Podia is to always have an engineer on hand to work on these tasks, rather than interrupting the people working on the big, complex tasks.

The tools we use

  • Google Inbox: while there are plenty of great help desk software out there, I’ve always found that Google Inbox or email just provides the best, most human, and friendly customer support. The trick is using Google Inbox’s snooze feature to avoid inbox pile-up.
  • Intercom: this is where all of our live chats takes place. It’s also how I do the proactive customer support by using Intercom’s in-app message system. I watch the customer in our Admin panel and then click a special link, which opens up the chat in Intercom.
  • Twitter: this is a no-brainer. Just watch your @replies and reply to them as they come in.
  • Zoom/Skype: I’ve come to really prefer Zoom over Skype for any video conferencing. Zoom’s screen-share, video and sound quality are just far better than Skype. If someone emails or chats me about an issue, I’ll often drop them a Zoom link to talk it through, rather than typing it out.
  • Phone: if the person doesn’t have Zoom or Skype, there’s always the good ‘ol fashion telephone. A lot of people are worried about giving out their cellphone number, but I don’t mind. You can always block them if it becomes an issue. ;)
  • Trello: if there are any bugs or support tasks that can’t be fixed immediately, one of us will create a Trello ticket, and put it in our “Current Sprint” board to take care of it. We make sure to log any relevant information, the customer’s info, and the source of the inquiry.
  • Slack: we have all of our Intercom and Trello notifications pipe into Slack, so we don’t miss any inquiries. We also use Slack for any customer support problems that we need to talk through as a team.

In summary, great customer support is a lifestyle

People often ask how we are so good at customer support and really it just comes down to caring about our customer’s concerns and building it into our culture.

Customer support is one of three things that people value most about our brand, and it’s also something that doesn’t require (much) development or design time--you can completely control for it by simply being responsive and helpful.


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