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 ...
Customer Service: Live and in the Flesh
Ben Congleton talks about why your whole team (even the devs) should be doing support
Ben Congleton had the shortest talk at UserConf 2012, but it was a fantastic one. While many companies try to get their support teams to shield their development teams from customers, Olark has done the opposite. They realized that keeping ...
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.
As 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."
When you DO need to implement a customer-powered support community
More 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.
Customer Support Models: Klout doesn’t use Klout for support (they use the development team)
People love to get angry at you when you’re popular. The same goes for Klout. Their popular “online influence” tool regularly irritates customer service and community professionals. “You can’t choose whom to give good support to based on their influence! ...
Customer Support Models: TurnSocial gives out their email address (but gets less email)
TurnSocial is a free social toolbar for local business websites. It’s also a side project. Matt Hendrick, who also works at another startup based in San Francisco, spends his free time as CEO of TurnSocial. Considering he has a finite ...
Customer Support Models: Miso and AFAR scale support before it’s too late
This is part of our ongoing series on models of doing support. We hope this series will inform and inspire your support efforts, and show the myriad of ways that a company can provide great support. Perhaps the phrase I ...
Customer Support Models: Pre-emptive support with MSW@USC
This is part of our ongoing series on models of doing support. We hope this series will inform and inspire your support efforts, and show the myriad of ways that a company can provide great support. Good Support is Essential ...