Ian Landsman – How To Slay the Customer Support Beast (Microconf 2014)

Speaker: Ian Landsman (@ianlandsman)

Ian is the founder for bootstrapped.fm, Userscape and Snappy.

Ian clearly demonstrates that great customer support is the original growth hack. If customers are happy, they refer your business. When you are doing support you are selling your business as well.

He did nothing but taking good care of his customers and grow the business to $488k/year in the first three and a half years.

How to setup for success

  • You shall have a support tool. Email breaks done after a while (especially if more than 1 person is handling support)
  • Don’t use social for support (it doesn’t work). Those channels are meant for marketing
  • Have a clear way for people to contact customer support on the website
  • Offer a knowledge base with detailed info on initial setup, settings and best practices
  • Have search on your website: you’ll get insights on what people are looking for. You can then prepare additional resources to address their requests
  • Make things discoverable (on top of search) because customers might not know what’s the proper term to search
  • Organize tickets in categories (less than 10) so you can go through them fast
  • Assign tickets to individuals instead of group
  • Prioritize and keep simple (urgent / not urgent)
  • Schedule and try to keep under 1 hour for the first response
  • You can bring people in early to help you with support for things that are pretty standard (for non-technical things it’s quite easy to train people). If they cannot handle it, requests can be escalated to you.
  • Don’t require registration for customer support
  • Don’t export internal metadata or status of the ticket (the customer doesn’t care)
  • Build a feedback system in your company: you want to know of problems and successes

How to reply to customer emails

  • Always be compassionate
  • The customers that you can turn around are the one that will love you the most
  • Apologize and focus on the problem and help them find the solution
  • Use a proper heading when replying, like Hi Tina
  • Add a proper salutation at the end of the email
  • Use canned responses but be careful on how you do it (use PhraseExpander on Windows or TextExpander for Mac)

Read notes of all the other talks in the Microconf 2014 Hub page.