Tips for Using Customer Support Software to Cut Costs

Having well-designed customer support software might once have been an economically impractical luxury reserved for Fortune 500 companies, but today it’s an absolutely indispensable tool for running a customer service team.

When used properly and to the full extent of its functionality, it can actually help dramatically lower operating costs. Here are a few tips on how you can squeeze the maximum benefit from your customer support software.

Develop an Effective FAQ

Customers love to have the option of picking up the phone and calling support directly. You don’t have to look any further than your own experiences as a customer to come to that conclusion. But the reality is that fielding calls requires manpower, and a majority of issues can be quickly resolved and an even greater amount of questions can be easily answered through the design of a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) database. The creation of a FAQ is a never-ending and constantly evolving process, so if you have any preconceived notions about being able to predict and map out every conceivable question, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

The best approach is to keep it simple by addressing only the most common questions, and never trying to design your FAQ to troubleshoot—save that for an in-person phone call, or a troubleshooting guide. Having a FAQ can also be your greatest tool in customer service relationship management . Since you’ll probably be referring a majority of your customers to it, they may get more familiar with your FAQ than they will with you. Therefore you should design it to act as the equivalent of an online emissary. Use a conversational tone in your FAQ and don’t be afraid to inject a little of humor into it. Your customers will be pleasantly surprised, and you might be too by how something so simple can help foster a strong relationship.

Host a Forum

Developing a forum where your customers can post feedback, inquiries, and read or reply to general discussions isn’t just a good idea to create a sense of community. It’s also an effective method of enlisting the help of your more experienced customers to help educate newbies. One thing to keep in mind, however, is the fact that by using your customer support software to host a forum you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of getting hit with negative criticism from segments of your customer base who like the idea of airing their complaints in public—but this sort of interaction should never be squashed. In fact, it ought to be encouraged because it gives you the ability to post public responses and offer equitable resolutions for everyone to see.

Make Your Documentation Thorough and Personable

In the end, if your online documentation isn’t crystal clear, you’ll confuse your customers and run the risk of increasing call volume. Spare no expense to ensure that every piece of documentation that goes with your customer support software is well-thought-out and expertly written. This is the crux on which the success of your online support hangs, and it deserves every bit of your attention.

Dawn Allcot

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer specializing in diverse topics that include small business marketing and social media, personal finance, parenting and pregnancy. She is a regular contributor to many magazines and blogs including HotJobs, AOL Real Estate, and Mint.com. Read more at www.allcotmedia.com.

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