The Cheapest, Easiest, and Fastest Change in Customer Support Is Language


Last week, Sarah Hatter of CoSupport and Sarah Chambers of Kayako joined forces to present a fantastic live webinar about the top five customer support mistakes all businesses make, and how to conquer them.

Sarah Hatter founded CoSupport in 2011, and in 2014 released her first book The Customer Support Handbook. Sarah also hosts UserConf, a designated forum for support professionals hosted in several different cities.

Sarah loves teaching people about customer support, so head over and watch the great back and forth conversation with Kayako’s head of support, Sarah Chambers.

In this webinar you can learn:

  • Support mistakes the biggest companies are making on Twitter
  • Why being more human can help you grow your business
  • How support teams are the backbone of your product
  • The guilty list of support mistakes from huge corporations

Get comfy and watch our teaser below (just over 3 minutes), or you can head straight over to full length webinar here.

Not ready to watch? Read on for a sneak peek of the highlights.

The cheapest and easiest change you can make

Avoid business speak. Be intentional, and stand out from the crowd. Changing the language in your email can have dramatic effects in your customer resolutions.

How does “Thank you for your feedback” or, “We apologize for your inconvenience” make you feel? Why is this the blanket answer for support?

Your customer has given you an insight into their experience, and you covered it up with an answer riddled with professionalism. Sarah warns that this is a barrier to being authentic, we use phrases as defense mechanisms which stop your from really connecting with a customer.

People want a human interaction, they want to know they’ve been heard.

She sympathises that it’s hard to be informal with strangers, but that’s the only way you can break down the barriers and empower the your customer and get them back on your team.

the number customer support mistake = language

The best customer support is not needing customer support

The best customer support out there is having people’s questions answered before they ask them.   Keep your website easy to figure out, this can be as simple as typing your query into a box and getting an answer.

We’ve gone from transactional interactions with customers, to relational interactions with customers. Sarah explains this isn’t just a hippy, campfire movement in the support world. See the difference in this process: Transactional vs relational  

Sarah highly encourages that we avoid transactional relations, this is all old school kind of support.

Through choosing relational support, your customers are subjected to a fun and energetic support team from the beginning. They can even go to your website and click on the “meet the team” link and see the faces of who they’re talking and emailing with. Sarah emphasises that your customers don’t care who your corporate team or investors are, because they won’t be answering your customers’ emails.

Create the perception that someone’s out there doing more than just support via email.

How to use customer support language

Set customers up to win!

Get away from the idea that customer support is reactionary. That it’s more than just answering a question and closing an email. Make customer support easier right now by:

  • Introducing your support team by giving them presence on the website
  • Create searchable, up-to-date, and an accessible help section
  • Use common questions from power users to keep your FAQ in check
  • Make customer education as prominent as pricing and features

If your customer is paying a subscription fee for your service, you should make the tools available for them to:

  • Teach themselves how to use the service
  • Teach their team how to use it without an onboarding coach
  • Easily get help if they need it

That’s what people want, accessibility and learnability. She emphasizes again that the above is the job of customer support, and not just responding to email.    

Customer support is actually a very difficult job

Sarah argues how customer support is not a “flipping burgers kind of job,” it’s a career. This is evident through Kayako and UserConf being businesses built around helping the customer.

Companies should really be investing in customer service teams from the start, because they are the people who are the backbone of the product. The solution is never getting an intern, or a friend to help out.

Employ people that find joy in helping others, and have experience being on the frontline with people. If you’re really focused on investing in customer support, you need to consider it as important as roles such as code and design.

Here’s a few ways you can invest in your support team:

  • Empower your support agents to do great work (take away checklists and company tone)
  • Support their decisions and encourage their voice to be heard
  • Compensate with flexible work styles, schedules and locations
  • Encourage them to seek more training (books, blogs, UserConf)

Customer support can’t be set to auto pilot, or using some bot to respond to the customer. You should be executing support really well online, on the phone and over email.

You can show that your customer support has been properly planned and well executed, by investing in support, and continuing that investment daily, by consistently updating your self service and responding on social media.

Remember, don’t just engage with your customers using the mindset that it’s reply, after reply. It’s important to invest in your support team, because this can trace back the errors and eliminate the problem in first place.

There’s so much more to the webinar than these highlights. If you want to make sure you get support right, then watch the full webinar now to learn how to:

  • Use intentional language
  • Master the art of being sensitive and relational
  • Effectively educate customers
  • Hire well to build the best support team
  • Be human in your interactions

Get the full story and more told in Sarah Hatter and Sarah Chambers’s words. Watch the webinar now

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About the author
Adam Rogers

Adam is a Content Marketer at Kayako. He is a writer by nature and a nurtured marketer. Adam loves guitars, music, books, and his wife Lacey.

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