Keep a customer happy and you’ve got a good chance to earn their business for life. Let them down once and they’ll begin to question their relationship with you. Let them down again and you might lose them for good.
Honestly, it took a few growing pains for ConnectWise to develop a system that delivers support our customers love and generates numbers that tell us we are doing things right. Now, we’re sharing what we’ve learned and how we put it into action. If you’re interested in learning how to improve your support offerings and keep your clients happy, you won’t want to miss it.
Let’s take a bird’s-eye view of 4 key components that help the ConnectWise support team succeed.
1 - Culture
Culture may be one of the most over-used and least-understood words in business today. Every business owner knows they need to have a culture. Few understand what that really means, or how to create a strong office culture.
Your company culture is the glue that holds your organization together. It is a reflection of how people in your company communicate with and care about each other; how they approach their work; how they align their personal goals with company goals; and how they take care of outside partners and customers.
Putting a culture in place is not as simple as drawing up a set of core values and demanding that everyone follow them. It begins with hiring employees who are inclined to live up to those values even before they come to work for you. But once you find your ideal culture fits, the battle is only half over. Your company culture should be something that not only attracts new hires to your business, but also keeps them happy over time.
Learn more about our Core Values and other obsessions. Check Us Out! >>
2 - Process
Determining how best to provide world-class support comes down to answering these three questions:
- What do your customers/partners need, want and expect?
- What’s the most efficient way for your team to deliver support that more than satisfies the customer?
- In what form(s) should information be made available to the customer?
The answers to these simple-sounding questions create a matrix of answers. Examine a dozen support tickets and you’ll see urgent requests for attention, many of which require different levels of expertise to handle. You’ll also have tickets where the customer doesn’t need an answer, but just needs to be pointed to the right information to help them solve their problem.
That’s why the ConnectWise support team leverages not just one process, but multiple tiers of processes that work together, seamlessly and holistically, to resolve tickets within 24 hours -- without putting a strain on the organization.
Knowledge-centered support (KCS) has emerged as a critical part of the process at ConnectWise. When on chat with a partner, a support team member can reference previously closed tickets that are similar to the partner’s issue and find documentation on how that previous issue was resolved. By leveraging the answers to previous problems, support personnel don’t have to be experts on every subject; they just have to know where to find the information the partner needs and deliver it to them. This enables newer support team members to more quickly jump in and assist partners on chat, reducing the new hire onboarding time period from over a year down to three months.
Also thanks to KCS, that 24-hour close rate for tickets is being achieved for close to 70% of all tickets. In the last six months alone, that rate has improved from the low 60s to the upper 60s.
Just remember that no matter how perfect the processes you implement may seem to be, you’ll still need a trained and attentive eye to review what’s taking place. Processes improve efficiency, but they aren’t perfect.
3 - Tools
No matter how strong your processes are, they are only as efficient as the tools your support team uses to implement that process. Too many support teams are driven by great ideas but don’t have the tools at their disposal to make those ideas work for them and their customers.
We’ve discovered that there are a few different kinds of tools that enable our team to improve their efficiency. We’ve discovered our team needs tools that allow them to:
- Document processes
- Record, elevate and track tickets
- Communicate internally and externally
- Host a knowledge base of easily-found support content
4 - Scale
The inability to scale support operations often comes with one of two chilling effects.
- Company A takes a big step forward. They grow every aspect of their business and presume that support will simply keep up or hire more people. When that presumption doesn’t turn into reality, the quality of support they deliver starts to decline and customers start to grow unhappy. What started off as a rapid growth plan transitions to a man-the-lifeboats attempt at keeping the company afloat and customers happy until support can be scaled.
- Company B has seen what happened to Company A and they are afraid to increase their support load. As a result, they are letting opportunities pass by. Top salespersons are frustrated, because they know they could sell more but are confined to the limits of what their support team can currently manage. So, while the company plays it safe, personnel who want to be part of a dynamic and growing company start looking around.
One communications tool has helped us scale support at ConnectWise, is Chat.
- Using chat enables us to quickly route tickets to the appropriate support tier, or direct the partner to the resource where the issue can best be addressed.
- 80% of all tickets now come in via chat
- 77% of tickets that come in from chat are closed within 24 hours thanks to how our chat function prompts answers from partners. By requiring partners supply a variety of required information before beginning a chat session, our support team can ensure we have all the information we need upfront before assisting.
Consider all these essential elements to start seeing improved efficiencies in the way you support your customers.
We have no clients or customers, only partners (and we treat them like family).