Learn4 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service

Treehouse

Treehouse
writes on January 10, 2011

Here are a couple simple tricks to improve your support and keep your customers even happier. Great customer support isn’t just the right thing to do, it also has the karmic effect of making you more money in the long run.
I’ve been doing all the customer service for Think Vitamin Membership. I think it’s important for the Founder to do all the customer support in the early days, because it keeps you connected to the customers and their pain points.

Here are four simple tips to improve the quality of your customer support …

1. Build a Raplet

Here’s a typical support request scenario:

Customer: “I can’t log in. Can you please help?”
You: “I’m sorry for the trouble. Can you please give me the email address you signed up with? Also, have you cancelled the account by chance?”

You can skip the entire second step and immediately answer their question by creating a Rapportive Raplet.

Rapportive is a powerful Gmail plugin that displays information about the email sender, in the right-hand column.

You can build a Rapportive ‘Raplet’ which allows you you pull custom data from your customer database and display it to the right of an email from a customer. This can be any data you store in your customer database, like sign up date, lifetime value, current plan, etc. Here’s a screengrab from this post that explains Raplets in more detail

Screengrab of a Raplet showing customer information inside Gmail

2. Slow Down

The biggest key to amazing customer service is this: don’t rush. If you’re trying to plow through support requests as quickly as you can (or if you’re incentivised by the number completed) you’ll cut corners and ask the customer to do extra work, instead of doing the work yourself.

Make it a goal to spend an extra 3-5 minutes on each request to really make sure you go over the top to help people out.

3. Be Quick on Twitter

In direct opposition to my previous point, you need to be quick on Twitter. Try to answer people’s tweets within one hour if you can. As replies only require 140 answers, you can get through tweets quickly, without sacrificing quality.

We use CoTweet to answer tweets and here’s what that looks like …

Screengrab of Co-tweet showing tweets answered

4. Be Human

Don’t adopt some sort of official-speak just because you’re the official voice of the company. People appreciate being spoken to in a familiar, real manner.

Obviously you don’t want to get to buddy-buddy, but being real and friendly with your customers shows them that you’re a real person and you can relate to them.

Your Tips?

If you’ve got any dyno-mite customer service tips, please share below. Thanks!

19 Responses to “4 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service”

  1. Hi… Nice article…
    If you guys wanna learn to make Raplets, you definitely should check this 4 part series of Raplet tutorials. Start with an introduction, build a ‘Hello World’ Raplet and learn how to make it configurable and jQuery armed…
    Hope you find it useful… http://blog.rutwick.com/category/raplets

    Thanks,
    Rutwick

  2. I’ve been a customer service professional for years, and one of the most important things I recommmend to all my clients, is to jot down some factoids about the client so you can engage them in meaningful conversation the next time they call. Your advice about creating a “Raplet” is totally cool and a powerful tool. See more of my no cost tips to make you money at http://www.theserviceadvisors.com.
    Thanks,
    V

  3. Even when I’m talking on the phone with the guy sitting up reading prompts based on my keywords at midnight in India, he probably KNOWS the service he is offering sucks. how to pick lottery numbers

  4. nice article.it rightly shows the need to always be in touch with the client.thanks.

  5. At our place we have sort of managed to split up our clients so we all deal with specific people, that way they feel the support is personal and I’ve actually got really good working relationships with people this way.

    Being open and honest is the thing I find people respond to best, rather than feeding them some kind of BS I like to tell them if we’ve messed up on something.

  6. Excellent post. Heads up on #3: As replies only require 140 answers.. should be ‘characters’?

  7. I think that most everyone knows HOW to offer competent customer service. Even when I’m talking on the phone with the guy sitting up reading prompts based on my keywords at midnight in India, he probably KNOWS the service he is offering sucks. But, in most cases where customer service is poor, the company pay the salaries of the employee and then tells that employee how to offer service. Until customer service is given value and prioritization, I believe it will continue to suck.

    And as much as I hate to admit, I believe that time is still a long way off because we aren’t willing to pull our money from big business because we aren’t willing to give up the luxuries or conveniences they offer. Sure there are exceptions, but generally speaking, Time Warner, AT&T and Sprint with their huge market shares continue to retain that market share even with horrible customer service records.

  8. Karmic effect. Excellent.

  9. Always get confirmation from the customer that the issue has been fixed. Don’t assume that simply telling them what to do is enough. They may be having trouble following your instructions.

    If you’re on the phone/in person stay with them until they’re up and running again. For email support, follow up messages you’ve sent. This final “Are you ok?” goes a long way.

  10. Another good strategy that I’ve heard lots about is being proactive. Contact your customers before they have a problem and ask if there’s anything they’re having problems with or if they’ve got any questions about your service. This needs to be done in a personable way so that the person knows you’ve made the effort to contact them specifically. And maybe that shouldn’t be done via email – Twitter or even a phone call might be a good idea.

    I’ve yet to properly launch my product, but when I do, I’ll be doing lots of this!

  11. Anonymous on January 11, 2011 at 11:50 am said:

    Ryan, CoTweet turns out to be a lot faster to use when you enable “Guy Kawasaki” mode in the settings (no kidding). It fits more on the screen and makes the inbox metaphor more obvious.

    Also, thanks for including Raplets ๐Ÿ™‚

    Rahul

  12. Anonymous on January 11, 2011 at 7:23 am said:

    I think doing follow-ups can be a great way to build strong relationships with customers. With OhBoard (http://ohboard.com ), I sent out an email to customers few days after an issue was fixed, asking if the same problem occur again or if there are any other problems.

  13. You can better deliver if you know what is expected of you. Properly frame the customer’s expectations.

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