Customer Service On A Shoestring

So you are at the helm of a fledgling company and providing stellar customer service is number 1 on your mandate. But your budget being what it is, you are sweating bullets at the thought of the $$$ signs good customer service might translate into for your company’s coffers.

You are probably of the mind that great customer service can be provided only with the help of a massive budget behind it. Wrong! Today, dear reader, we’d like to share with you five pointers that prove to you that you can be the provider of superior customer service, even on a shoestring!

All hands on deck

Having a dedicated Customer Service Department isn’t the only way to be the providers of great service. If every employee pitches in and shares the load, that’s just as good a method of doing the same, if not better.

This worked out really well for Shalin Jain, our CEO. The company policy of never leaving a customer waiting was honoured when every employee pitched in for tickets from their department.

Employees must do customer service

The result? The very impressive HappyFox record of a first response time of 4 hours. Even during the early days, when there was just one full-time support staff, the first response time never went beyond the 4-hour mark. And it was made possible by every single person pitching in.

Proof positive of our original statement – a separate team isn’t the main criteria for providing fab service.

Be a customer

Quite often, we tend to get carried away when we are in the thick of things. We might feel like we are doing all we can but the results do not indicate that. One of the reasons for this frustrating stalemate might be the simple fact that we have stopped seeing the problem from the opposite end – from that of the customer.

This is where roleplay comes in. Not only is it a fantastic and low-cost tool for everything from working out your problem areas to training customer support staff, but is also invaluable as it is simple and straightforward. It can be as simple as ‘follow the steps, go through the loops and fill the holes’. Or as complex as following a customer journey mapping.

Whichever way you do it,  not only will it help you plug those holes, it will also foster empathy.

Peer reviews

Every writer depends on this. Peer review is an invaluable tool and having people from the same business as yours evaluating your work is a great thing. Just because you do not have the big moolah does not mean that you cannot get your fellowmen to give your product a try and give their input.

And because they are in the business themselves, they will have a better overview of the product and the service.

This is where LinkedIn becomes a uber valuable tool – there are Influencers and Thought Leaders aplenty, sharing their knowledge across the various discussion groups and blogs. From Richard Branson to Bill Gates, from Ann Handley to Heidi Cohen, from Steve Curtin to Forrester’s Kate Legget, the creme de la creme of the Customer Service industry can all be found under one roof.

Following industry leaders and learning from their vast experience has never been so easy!

Education, Education, Education!

The Internet is a veritable treasure trove of material. Companies offer value added services on their websites in the form of courses, ebooks and White papers that you can download for free and free Webinars on customer support. Most of the time, all they need in return is your email address.

customer service courses

From setting meaningful goals to building a great Knowledge Base, from tools to understand your customers better to attracting & retaining customers, there are free tools everywhere you look!

So, why not take a dip in the well of knowledge and see how you can translate it into better quality service?

Automate

Get a kick-ass product that can automate your customer support for you. But remember, kick-ass does not mean the most expensive one in the market.

HappyFox, for example, prides itself on providing stellar service that does not break your bank. With a fully loaded option that is more than a $100,000 cheaper than the competition’s, even your accountant will be happy!

These are just a handful of ways to keep your coffers from running dry till you hit your first big target and Lady Luck starts smiling. You may have other ideas and other methods. How about sharing them in our comments section?

Lavanya Donthamshetty

Writer. Apple-lover. Follower of big brands. Interested in talking about all things customer support. Follow me on Twitter @lavanyad