I’ve operated my online business for 6 years now.
It’s been an incredible experience. Some great people have bought my products… and many have become friends.
I also faced (and still do) many challenges along the way.
Your business must operate as a machine. It has many moving parts (systems) that must work together (process) to deliver products (value) to your customers.
Customer support is a critical element to your online success.
Now, I won’t say that I’ve got this area all figured out. Customer support is not always easy. In fact, it can be pretty hard (I’ve managed to upset a few customers from time to time).
We are in the middle of making some MAJOR changes throughout our entire customer support system. Here are some of the challenges we faced, and the solutions we are putting in place to punt these issues to the curb with the rest of the garbage. 🙂
1. Unanswered Tickets. Most free or cheap software don’t provide sufficient depth into the volume of tickets within the support queue. Queues operate on the FIFO method (first in, first out). What we’ve done with Sonic Reply is graphically present the backlog of tickets in a variety of ways so you can actually ‘see’ where tickets are and which ones must be actioned by who. Powerful stuff for a WordPress based application.
2. Lost Replies. Short of using an expensive service like Zendesk (and pay monthly), there are few stand alone systems on the market that allow you to reply via email directly to the ticket and have that reply piped directly into the support system ticket thread. With Sonic Reply, you will no longer loose replies because of customers replying by email to tickets rather than logging into the system to reply. This saves significant time and reduces the possibility of missing important information from your customers.
3. Response Speed (or lack of). The old saying ‘out of site, out of mind’ can kill your support system. It’s way to easy to ‘forget’ to reply to a ticket when you can’t actually SEE your ticket queue. Sonic Reply makes managing your ticketing system intuitive and actually kind of fun!
4. Customer Registration Process. Some of the open source scripts have clumsy account creation processes. Using WordPress creates several advantages for us (and customers who purchase/use Sonic Reply).
5. No Automated Work Flow. If you have multiple customer support staff working your queue, then you need the ability to assign and direct tickets as required. We’ve taken this one step further, and introduced automated rules for assigning tickets based on the type/department/priority of the ticket itself. And reassigning tickets is quick and easy too.
6. Capacity. OK, this one is not exactly software based, or applicable to Sonic Reply at all. Internally we are increasing the number of employees assigned to our help desk. This is simply in order to keep up with the increased support requirements as a result of the ongoing growth in our business.
NOTE: We are officially rolling out our new help desk (using Sonic Reply) on June 17th, 2014.