As digital customer expectations have risen, customer service software has advanced to keep pace. In the last few years alone, several digital channels have opened up or expanded to meet the changing needs of the modern customer, from self-service, live chat and social messaging to in-app messaging, chatbots, and peer-to-peer communities.
The Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2020 highlights that pre-pandemic, less than 30% of companies offered these kinds of support channels.
But as demand for this kind of channel support has shown, those businesses willing and able to adapt their customer service strategy to include them will gain the competitive advantage. Many organisations have already done so to great effect.
“One customer deployed a solution recently that invited callers to move their conversation to WhatsApp or SMS when their agents were too busy,” explains technology provider Opus. “From a CX [customer experience] perspective, that was powerful because it meant the customers could respond at their convenience, instead of being locked into a call for a rigid time period.”
Learn more about the contact centre challenges and opportunities post-pandemic.
Digital customer service tools
The customer service software you choose is important because it’s your gateway to the tools needed to deliver a customer experience that meets your customers’ expectations.
Bridget Reid, our principal marketer, explains more about these tools and how they help.
“Portals are a fact of life for many customers nowadays,” Bridget explains. “A customer service portal, through which they can view, open, and reply to all their support tickets, as well as access other information relating to customer service, is therefore familiar to them.”
Supporting this kind of functionality can be very empowering for your customers, opening up all kinds of self-service opportunities as well as giving them a clear place to visit to access customer services. There’s no ambiguity as to where they should turn when they need help.
“HubSpot’s newest Service Hub update is a customisable portal that delivers exactly this, allowing your customers to access and reply to all their support tickets in one place.”
“At BabelQuest, we’ve created a custom pipeline for internal HubSpot portal requests. As any support requests via this channel are specifically for queries or change requests to our own HubSpot portal, we’ve added custom stages like ‘Internal stakeholder review’ with its own automation to alert the right internal stakeholder about the request.” Hollie Higa, Head of Marketing, BabelQuest
We touched on the importance of feedback for maintaining a robust customer service strategy that genuinely works for your customers earlier on. A survey tool is key to this.
“Surveys are a direct line of communication with your customers at scale,” Bridget says. “Whether you’re looking for feedback on how your services are being received, advice on how to build/shape future services, or any other kind of customer engagement, a survey is an effective way of getting constructive feedback and giving your customers a voice.”
“HubSpot’s build-your-own-survey tool covers all your bases. Start from scratch to create a fully customised survey or personalise some “industry standard” survey templates such as CSAT and NPS to get a handle on what your customers are really thinking.”
Automation is key to growth because it allows you to take a winning formula and multiply it many times over.
Many customer service platforms can help you use automation to speed up processes, eliminate repetitive tasks, or remove friction across the customer service process.
“Seeing as we’ve just talked about surveys, you could use automation to automatically follow-up with people who’ve taken the time to complete one,” Bridget explains, “as well as to deliver the actual survey results. Content can even be dynamic based on their responses.”
HubSpot’s conversation automation is a great example of this. Using it, you can automate HubSpot’s conversation tool, meaning your business can respond to something a prospect or customer has asked of your organisation automatically in ‘one seamless workflow’.
In this way:
- it gets rid of 90% of the manual, time-consuming actions that are boring and repetitive
- it removes the costs and inefficiencies associated with disconnected data
- It streamlines the user experience, whichever stage your prospect or customer is at
Learn more about how to automate tasks and reduce costs using HubSpot.
With many digital customers preferring to answer their own questions, self-service is proving increasingly popular as a channel that serves both the customer and the business.
Self-service aligns with many buyers’ preferences to research their own solutions, removing the need to reach out to the company in question and so delivering an improved experience.
At the same time, it’s a cost-effective solution for the company itself. It doesn’t require daily monitoring or live agents. In this way, self-service is also self-sustaining.
“HubSpot’s knowledge base offering is very mature at this point,” Bridget reveals. “It’s customisable so you can create a knowledge base that really works for your business and your customers. At the same time, it uses a similar structure to HubSpot’s blog content, making it familiar and easy to use for everyone involved. From generic FAQs to A-Z list of resources you can make it what you want.”
Did you know…
…you can really get creative with your knowledge base tool. We use ours to host our HubSpot hacks. Our customers don’t just use it to troubleshoot when they have a problem but also when they want to go above and beyond to get the most out of their software.
Customer service analytics
If your customer service software doesn’t support analytics, it’s time to shop around.
“On your quest to better serve your customers, you need to be able to understand them,” Bridget says. “What are your customers searching for? Which keywords are regularly cropping up? Did they find your knowledge base content helpful? Analytics (and the software that supports it) play a key role in being able to answer questions like these, giving you empirical, data-driven insights into what good service looks like for your customers.”
You’ll be hard-pressed to find service software with deeper analytics capabilities than HubSpot. This is partly because its service software supports analytics itself but also because it integrates natively with the HubSpot CRM and wider HubSpot ecosystem. This joined-up, single-source-of-truth approach means it’s never been easier to understand your customers, from a market segment perspective right down to the individual contact level.
“Uncover key insights with industry standard out-of-the-box reports that help you deliver service that is both efficient and authentic.” HubSpot, Service Hub Analytics
The bread and butter of many customer service platforms, support tickets are what most people think of when they consider service software. Tickets provide core service functionality by giving your digital customers the ability to flag an issue or ask a question.
“Add the option to raise a ticket into your HubSpot chatbot, or add it as a stand alone form on the website,” Bridget suggests. “Whatever its source, the ticket will be routed through to your service team in a bespoke pipeline. Add various stages to the pipeline for optimum performance and even go as far as to add automation.”
Examples of support ticket automation
If someone hasn't responded to a ticket in two days should it be escalated? If a customer hasn't responded after 30 days should the ticket be archived? Do we need to report on the resolution status? If so, add it as an automated requirement!