Guest Author Kathy Badertscher is a San Francisco-based customer advocate and content/media professional with more than 15 years online, ecommerce, and multi-channel experience.
A solid, strategic customer experience is crucial to the success of any company. Merely adding a support page, some FAQs, contact info, and a social media presence isn’t enough. To provide a smart customer experience, you need to provide amazing customer support from inside your company.
Providing internal customer support isn’t all about communication. It’s about thinking of your user – your customer – from the moment you make a change or create a new product, function, or feature to after it’s launched. Customer experience isn’t about making the next groovy thing as quickly as you can. It’s about looking at the needs of your customers along with the needs of your marketing, support, sales, design, engineering, exec, and other teams. All of these internal departments are your first customers. Get these relationships right and the rest is easy.
The hard part of perfecting customer experience is making customer experience a de facto consideration in the way your company thinks. Get out of your silo and work with others teams to fill in all of the gaps needed for a successful launch.
Your support team is the missing link here. Underutilized customer support teams are the downfall of many a smart company. Your support team knows the customer and how they use your product better than any other team in the company. Don’t believe me? You’ve fallen into the trap.
Here are some ideas on how to consider each stakeholder and internal customer when a new product is in the works.
The usually undervalued, underutilized customer support team, whether it’s on-site or an off-site third party, is your most important in-house customer of all.
- Have senior/technical/specialist CSRs been involved in any of the product scoping? If not, go back to start. The sooner you start involving CS, the better the outcome for you and your customers.
- Support tools scoped and provided (and tested)
- Demo and Q&A session
- FAQs and macros prepared
- New tags for CRM tool – how will you track it?
- Escalation procedures in place
- Engineer contact at the ready with a backup plan
- Launch date/time is well known
- Is there a need for extra agents, expanded support hours?
- Never launch on a Friday
They have to be able to answer to the new product over Facebook, Twitter, and all social, so don’t leave them in the lurch. Every good launch plan needs to include the following:
- What’s needed to describe the product, improvements, etc.? A video, any support documents?
- A demo
- A timeline to follow (when’s the new product/update happening?)
- At least a basic understanding of how it works and impacts the current state of things
- A press release/blog post/Facebook post/social plan if needed
- A plan for any special offers
- Following a spec?
- Does everyone have access to the documentation?
- Communicating changes or asks that won’t make it at launch
- Have key stakeholders signed off?
- System/product version requirements updated?
- Site content updated and ready?
- Servers, back-up needed?
- Prepared for surge?
Are all systems go?
- Financial impact, COGS
- Terms of Service, return policies updated?
- Do they have the background info to plot out success/failure?
- What are the KPIs?
- Do they have access to the data they need and when they need it?
And don’t forget including sales/biz dev, QA, and any other key departments not covered above. What have I missed? What do you do to make sure your product launch is successful?
Call Center image courtesy of Shutterstock