Let's be honest here - how many times the marketing fluff of “customer-first culture” has failed to fulfill its promise? How many times have you submitted a customer support query only to receive an automated email that tells you your request will be processed in X number of business days? Or you get stuck exchanging emails with an outsourced customer support service whose knowledge in troubleshooting is somewhat limited? Or even worse - you end up talking to a bot? If losing touch with customers was an Olympic sport, they'll be plenty of companies competing for the gold medal.
We get it - as companies grow, it makes sense to outsource individual portions of the day-to-day business activities, but one thing is sure - outsourcing customer support is not one of them. Yes, customer support is demanding and, quite frankly, plain frustrating at times, but there are numerous benefits in keeping it in-house rather than outsourcing it to a third party.
We realized early on that customer support is the fine line between a good product and a great one. Our development teams don't drop their commitment to our customers at the doorstep of the latest release. No, no. We keep our customer support in-house. What is more, that support comes directly from the product engineers and nobody else. Heck, even our CEO chimes in occasionally.
How does it work? Each team member has a week-long shift, where he or she responds to customer queries, reproduces errors and finds solutions to customer problems.
Why do we do this? Well, for starters we believe this is the most efficient way to go about our customer queries - someone who doesn't know the product inside-out would take longer to solve a client's problem efficiently.
Second, we want to maintain a dialogue with our customers - like Nassim Taleb said, for the fragile, an error is an error, but for the robust - it's information - valuable information at that! Any reported bug, feature or capability request helps us to refine and tune our products. Since the development teams handle customer support, ideas arise in the process. Recently one of the senior developers behind Cycle Control noticed a pattern amongst customer attempts to define and generate standalone metrics, outside of the release scope. The result? He took it upon himself to implement a plugin that allows customers to set their JQL and the type of graph they want. Had this been outsourced to a third-party, the likelihood of this plugin ever seeing the light of day is virtually zero.
While outsourcing customer support may save you money on your overhead costs, it is likely to cost you much more than you saved in the long run. There are three significant benefits to keeping customer support in-house:
Superior knowledge: the primary goal of customer support is to provide information, resolve issues, and ensure a positive customer experience. To ensure these criteria are met, people need to thoroughly understand the company's products, which will enable them to meet customer demands to the highest level of satisfaction.
Authentic, customer-centric interactions: customer support is much more than trying to calm down annoyed customers. Agents must be able to listen to customer concerns and understand the problem to resolve the situation, and any scripted interactions will ultimately cause more harm than good. In-house personnel with strong technical abilities, on the other hand, can provide uniqueness in each customer support interaction. Second, they tend to make customers feel like they are being valued and heard, thus ensuring customer satisfaction.
Opportunities for company growth: customer service not only strives to keep customers happy with current products but provides you with valuable insights which can be used to develop new features or products to meet customer needs. If customer support is kept in-house, agents get to communicate with customers regularly and come up with new and better ideas of how to refine and improve the products.
The results? Well, judge for yourselves! Here are some direct quotes from customers in the marketplace:
“Very impressive tool and an extremely responsive support team: even though some of our issues were not related to this plugin, the support team gave good advice which enabled us to fix the issues.” - Dmitri Barski
“Support has been fantastic! Pre-purchase, George gave us some pointers where we were getting a generic 500 error and pointed us to some Apache settings which were the culprit. Awesome product, awesome support.” - Jonathan Chatwin
“Like the tool, the support has been excellent from the first minute we have requested it, solving and explaining each one of our doubts in an unbeatable time.” - Juan Soler
“The support provided by Botron is great! During my trial month, I asked three questions, one from the web portal and two via emails. Guess what, I got all answers within hours, or to be exact, within an hour sometimes. They not only answered my questions, pointed me to more resources, and also updated their website to provide more updated information. I feel confident to recommend my team to use the product in a production environment with such awesome support.” - Zhiyong Liu
“The support has been fantastic. The response to our open issues has been nearly instantaneous, and meaningful, offering additional recommendations in pursuit of a resolution or question.” - Chris Volker
“We deal with a lot of vendors, and we have never experienced better support from any software company.” - Brad Rarick
Meet the Superheroes: Botron Software's Customer Support to the Rescue!
For those of us who use our products and had to reach out for support, feel free to find the superhero who resolved your issue!
George (HulkSupport) - Apart from being the software architect of the Configuration Manager for Jira, and one of the co-founders of Botron Software, George possesses the extraordinary superpower of channeling kinetic energy into resolving the most complex customer queries.
Boyan (BatmanSupport) - When a customer submits a ticket, Boyan (a.k.a. the Batman of CMJ customer support) will respond immediately, especially during the oddest hours of the night. When Gotham calls for help, Boyan comes to the rescue!
Stefan (RobinSupport) - If you are looking for a military-style discipline and stubbornness - Stefan is your guy! Any problem you have, he will find the solution. When he is not busy developing & testing the latest features of Configuration Manager, Stefan becomes the Robin of our customer support - kind, patient, detail-oriented, and quicker than his bike racing capabilities!
Yuri (NinjaSupport) - Yuri may fool people with his quiet and collected personality, but his knowledge of CMJ is as vast as the Atlantic ocean and deeper than the Mariana Trench! His ninja-like style of work translates in the way he deals with customer queries - quietly, patiently and efficiently.
Ivaylo (ThorSupport) - Give Ivaylo a bug and he will smash it with the hammer! I kid you know, bugs solve themselves if they hear that Ivo is approaching. Within the Configuration Manager team, Ivaylo does a lot of the heavy-lifting - he excels at solving the most complex customer queries and fixing bugs with the speed of light. Enterprise customers, please proceed this way!
Petar P. (CaptainSupport) - As the Chief Technology Officer at Botron Software, it only makes sense for Peter P. to occupy another leadership role when it comes to customer support - Captain Support! Determined to resolve any customer query, even if it means developing a new capability to solve the problem at hand. Good thing he is in charge of the backlog, isn't it?
Peter G. (SupermanSupport) - Peter G. is the ultimate superhero archetype - honest, hard-working, extremely knowledgeable and capable. There is not a single customer support ticket he will leave unsolved. He's the type of guy who, when called upon, will not hesitate to walk into a burning building to save the day for you!
Petar A. (DoctorStrangeSupport) - Apart from being as handsome as Benedict Cumberbatch in the latest adaptation of Doctor Strange, Peter A. doesn't solely rely on his looks. As a senior developer and Scrum Master of the Cycle Control team, he is excellent at diagnosing the cause of any problem and finding the most effective solution.
Konstantin (TheForceSupport) - Our in-house rockstar! We aren't kidding here - check out his YouTube channel. Konstantin's problem-resolution skills, attention to detail and patterns are unmatched (at least in this universe). He's the type of guy who will code a plugin to make your lives easier - a round of applause!
Maria (WaspSupport) - Maria is a ball of energy and enthusiasm - trust me, it's exhausting being her friend, she makes the rest of us look lazy and unproductive. She is a real Sherlock Holmes (only much prettier) when it comes to investigating and finding solutions for customer problems. Her skills, precision, attention to detail and speed are truly unmatched.
Efrosina (RocketRaccoonSupport) - Efi treats the incoming customer support queries just as she treats injured animals - with extreme care, precision, and remarkable speed for a quick recovery. No customer pain will be left untreated, and there is no match for Efi's professionalism in that regard.
Author: (The One and Only) Bianka Banova
Hi! I wrote this article about communication on the Atlassian blog in May. And I'd love your feedback. How to improve communication in the workplace It covers t...
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