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Customer Service: Live and in the Flesh

We talk a lot about online support on this blog. But what about real-life support? Turns out, it’s a big new trend.

Basecamp Delivered

During one of the many great talks at UserConf 2012, Chase Clemons of 37signals (and the amazing SupportOps …

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Rackspace turns users into fanatics with Fanatical Support®

Rackspace has literally trademarked “Fanatical Support”. They’ve been using this phrase since the dot com days. Why? “If you threw a rock you’d hit a hosting provider”, says Robert Collazo, Social Media Manager at Rackspace. “We had to stand out.” Rackspace’s goal was to become a great service company first and foremost.

welcome to rackspace home of fanatical supportAs you talk to Robert, you realize how serious this undertaking is at a huge company like Rackspace (4,300 employees, 180,000 customers). No one person could possibly read all customer interactions, even if they never slept. To ensure fanatical support, they’ve had to build a respect for the customer deep into their DNA.

Open lines of communication are also huge at Rackspace. Customer support employees have direct contact with product managers, so they can pass feedback on to those who are able to act on it. Robert says that this is key: “support issues can be solved when product managers are aware of what the customers' needs are.”

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When you DO need to implement a customer-powered support community

This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we're covering Stage 6.

self helpMore than a year ago we wrote about how we feel that customer-powered support doesn’t work. We were a little overzealous with our title; even in that post, we mention that customer-powered support can be useful for some organizations.

When you reach a certain customer base size, scaling a regular support organization can become difficult to impossible. This is especially true with free services which have many casual users (Google, Facebook, etc). If you’re on the road to becoming one of these organizations, it’s time to examine how you can provide better customer service by getting your customers involved.

How do customer-powered support communities work?

In addition to traditional support features such as knowledge bases and ticketing software, you have one or more forums where your most passionate and helpful customers can help other customers.

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