Knowledge Base Tip: Use Custom Fields Data to Figure Out What Articles to Write


Knowledge Base Tip: Use Custom Fields Data to Figure Out What Articles to Write

Deciding to write documentation is one thing. Figuring out what documentation you should write is another. Here’s one simple way to make sure you’re writing docs that are going to be effective: 0. If you aren’t already, start using custom ...

Read more

That One Time I Created a Knowledge Base


That One Time I Created a Knowledge Base

I’m extremely lucky to be working at a place like UserVoice. The people are exceptional, the company is a clear thought leader in customer service, and they care about me and my professional development. Last year I spoke to our ...

Read more

What to do When Support Ticket Numbers Increase or Decrease During the Holidays


Every business has ebbs and flows of customer activity; if you sell hammocks, you don’t see much business in winter. This is especially true at the end of the year. Here at UserVoice we see a lot of activity in ...

Read more

5 Tips for Keeping a More Accurate and Consistent Knowledge Base


5 Tips for Keeping a More Accurate and Consistent Knowledge Base

At the last Customer Service Breakfast we discussed knowledge bases & documentation. I got a bit jealous as one breakfaster told us that she has a full-time employee focusing on documentation. Most folks attending breakfast had someone doing documentation part-time while ...

Read more

How Airbnb Scaled to 24/7 Support in One Month


How Airbnb Scaled to 24/7 Support in One Month

Airbnb has had massive success by being extremely customer-focused. Despite naysayers, they’ve successfully built a huge business around a community marketplace for people to rent out their homes. People love it, and the company is always trying to figure out ...

Read more

Don’t be scared of using video in customer service


Humans are visual creatures, and our primary form of visual communication is video: 4 billion videos are viewed a day on YouTube, resulting in 3 billion hours watched per month. 1.3 billion movie tickets were sold last year. Netflix streaming ...

Read more

Building scalable training practices for your customer service team


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. We’ve discussed training your first customer service representative. But soon your team will grow, you’ll start ...

Read more

Customer Service Scaling Stage Six: Guiding a Force Beyond Your Control


This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline.

customer service scaling timeline stage 6Whew, you’ve finally made it to the final stage of our timeline. You’re a huge enterprise company with many customers and staggering amounts of revenue. So, you’re done, right? Of course not.

As you move into Stage 6, the infrastructure we put in place previously is going to help you immensely. But you also have a lot less control over individual interactions. You’ve got a huge team and a huge customer base who are doing so many things that you can’t hope to read them all in the day. It’s time to ensure that you are building a culture that will turn this into positive results, not a mess of bad, inconsistent support.

Some things you’ll want to think about in this phase:

  1. A customer-powered support community. Although we feel this doesn’t work for 99% of companies, you’re now at the size where you may need to guide your community to help each other in order to keep up with the size of you’re customer base.
  2. Ensure that you’re building an internal culture of quality support, because you can no longer control it all.
  3. Investigate pre-written scenarios for new hires, to give them the right approach - both specific to that scenario and in general - to helping customers.
  4. Do not let you standards slip. Yes, there’s a lot going on...but if you can’t answer customers at the same rate you did in Stages 1-5, they’re going to be disappointed and start looking elsewhere.

Stick with us as we take the dive into the final stage of our timeline!

Read more

Training your Customer Service Representative (in 5 Steps)


Training your Customer Service Representative (in 5 Steps)

This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we’re covering Stage 5. So, you’ve hired your first full-time customer service rep. You found the right candidate. Now how ...

Read more

Customer Service Scaling Stage Five: Letting Go While Ensuring Quality


This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline.

customer service scaling timeline stage 5Here we are at Stage 5 of the Customer Service Scaling Timeline. You’re no longer a plucky startup. You’re becoming a company, with all the good and bad that entails. Your team is growing, which means you can do more - but also means that you have less direct control over quality.

Stage 5 is all about putting processes in place that ensure quality and avoid becoming the traditional call center, where nobody can help you and everything takes forever. Here are some of the parts of scaling gracefully into Stage 5:

  • Scale tools before team. Video. Webinars. Classes. How can you proactively educate more people rather than letting them run into issues and have to wait for a response form the support team?
  • Consider reintroducing live chat. Now that your team is significantly larger, you can have someone dedicated to it, which is what it requires. Your customers will love the instant response.
  • Implement a CRM. As your company grows, it’s harder to yell across the room to find out about a customer. A CRM will allow you to keep continuity across different service channels and employees...even if they don’t know each other.
  • Training is all-important. You can’t watch every staff member, and you shouldn’t have to. Make sure you have significant training to not just give them the tools but also the cultural education to maintain your level of quality.

Read more

How to Hire your First Customer Service Representative


How to Hire your First Customer Service Representative

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

If you're at Stage Four of our timeline, you're past the ramen days of your startup and it's time to hire someone to do customer service full-time. But figuring out who should fill that seat can be tough. The skills required aren’t nearly as tangible as those of a designer or developer. How do you determine if someone is going to be a good customer service representative?

man with free hugs sign

They must actually want the job.

Seriously. Many people say they’ll do customer service but actually want to become community manager, CEO, etc...or just are looking for some cash until they move on to the next thing. Find that rare person who actually likes being helpful.

They must have huge levels of empathy.

For anyone, responding to support ticket after support ticket can wear you down. You can learn skills, but if you don’t come in with a high level of empathy, you’ll break quickly. And that's when the cursing at customers starts.

Read more

When to hire more support agents? Scale quality, not quantity.


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


About our guest blogger: Judi Huck is a community consultant whose current primary goal is to develop community at FeverBee and around The Pillar Summit, which provides professional community management training. Judi joins us today to provide a rebuttal to yesterday's post on using metrics to determine when to hire more customer support agents.

neon burger signSupport isn't flipping hamburgers. Or if it is, it should be like working at the Shake Shack of burger joints and ensuring quality every step of the way.

How often do you hear friends complain about bad customer service? I seem to notice these types of complaints on a regular, if not daily, basis.

Instead of support being an investment in customer happiness - which it should be, in my opinion - support is often a high-volume, low-customer-satisfaction practice. The danger is that, more and more, we are living in a world of perfect information. Consumers are able to share everything. If you have an awesome product, they'll blog about it. If you have horrible customer service, they’ll tell everyone they know.

To an increasing number of people, stellar customer service goes hand-in-hand with awesome products. Having a business that caters to one side without putting appropriate emphasis on the other is a recipe for disaster.

The reason why so many customer service experiences are often unpleasant is probably they are undervalued by management. Because of the level of support that many customers experience, it could appear that support is a distant stepchild to other aspects of running a business like marketing, lead generation, what have you.

Read more

Metrics for Hiring New Support Staff – From an Ex-Employee of Dell


This is part of our ongoing series on scaling customer service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we’re covering Stage Four. About our guest blogger: Kris Wong was hired as a phone support technician at Dell in the ...

Read more

5 Reasons Why you Shouldn’t Have your Intern do Support


5 Reasons Why you Shouldn’t Have your Intern do Support

This is part of our ongoing series on scaling customer service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we’re covering Stage Four. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with interns. I’ve met some supremely motivated and talented ...

Read more

Customer Service Scaling Stage Four: Processes Will Save You


This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. Welcome to Stage 4 of the Customer Service Scaling Timeline. You’re no longer a fresh startup – you’ve been around for a ...

Read more

RapidBuyr has a clear vision for scaling customer service


This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we’re covering Stage Three.Drago Kassabov, Head of Customer Support for business startup RapidBuyr, is not new to large volumes of ...

Read more

Customer Service Scaling Stage Three: Systems are Your Friend


This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we're covering Stage Three. Congrats! It’s Stage 3 of the Customer Support Scaling Timeline, and you’ve successfully launched your product ...

Read more

To Live Chat or Not to Live Chat?


To Live Chat or Not to Live Chat?

This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we’re covering Stage Two. One of the most exciting customer service innovations to reach smaller companies in the last few ...

Read more

How Argyle Takes Care of Customers From Alpha, to Beta, & Beyond


This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we're covering Stage Two. This is a guest post from Eric Boggs, CEO of Argyle Social. Argyle Social is a ...

Read more

Customer Service Scaling Stage Two: Capture Hearts, Not Minds


This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we're covering Stage Two. Welcome to September and Stage Two of the Customer Service Scaling Timeline. Welcome to customer service ...

Read more

Why you shouldn’t use any tool (including ours) too early


Largely, people seem to like our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. But the #1 piece of feedback I get is: “some of these tools could be implemented sooner.” Absolutely. Every tool we list in the timeline is useful, and most could ...

Read more

Crowdbooster uses customer service to grow a huge audience – while still in beta


This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we're covering Stage One. As we discussed yesterday, the first stage of the Customer Service Scaling Timeline is not about ...

Read more

Customer Service Scaling Stage One: Finding Where Customer Happiness Lives


This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. This month we're covering Stage One. Welcome to the very initial phase of a company’s life. It’s a deceptively simple-looking stage for ...

Read more

What is Scaling Anyway?


What is Scaling Anyway?

This is part of our ongoing series on Scaling Customer Service, based on our Customer Service Scaling Timeline. We just launched the Customer Service Scaling Timeline. But what does scaling really mean? I sat down with Kevin Mullin, Operations Engineer ...

Read more

Introducing the Customer Service Scaling Timeline


Introducing the Customer Service Scaling Timeline

For the last year I’ve been speaking to companies of all sizes about how they handle customer service. These companies very much want to provide great customer service, but the greatest challenge they face is scaling. Tactics that worked when ...

Read more

How do you avoid customer support burnout?


We wrote a lot this month about scaling customer support and avoiding burnout. But it's still a daily challenge – customer support is a rewarding but hard job, and everyone who does it should get a medal. So we're done ...

Read more

Are Canned Responses Humane?


Are Canned Responses Humane?

“Canned” responses. Even the name evokes the image of canned spinach, spam (the food kind), and other atrocities. Clearly, for the modern and enlightened company, having a copied-and-pasted response in an email to a customer is horrible faux pas, right? ...

Read more

Why Doing Customer Support Sucks, and 5 Ways to Make it Better


Why Doing Customer Support Sucks, and 5 Ways to Make it Better

Customer support is (often) a terrible job. I’m sorry to say it, because I think it’s one of the most important jobs in a company. But doing customer support is generally a terrible experience, which is why so few people ...

Read more

Great Customer Service isn’t Done by Rockstars, it’s Done by Humans


Great Customer Service isn’t Done by Rockstars, it’s Done by Humans

What do you think of when you think of a rock star? Two things come to mind for me: Making crazy awesome over-the-top music… …and being a huge pain in the butt. (It’s ok, I’m allowed to diss rock stars, ...

Read more

Customer-Powered Support Doesn’t Work


We’re very passionate about what we do. And we’re passionate about what we don’t do. Some people seem to think that UserVoice’s feedback forums are a tool for customer-powered support, where your customers theoretically answer each other’s questions. This is ...

Read more