For the past six months, The Rye Agency has been making a concerted effort to take our support to the next level. The results have been pretty great. Here's some things we've learnt along the way.
We used to shield our designers and developers from all client communications. The idea was that they could focus on making websites, and as account managers we could focus on supporting existing customers.
But it just added a bunch of friction to the process... the production team weren't fully aware of problems people faced on a day-to-day basis, and the account team didn't always have the technical knowledge to give fast support.
Now, everybody on the team is there to support our customers, and we have an average response time during work hours of 2 minutes. 2 Minutes!
We figure that we should be able to be there to help in any medium that's reasonably easy and cost effective to organise. So now instead of just phone and email support we offer live chat, text messages, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, you name it. If a client feels comfortable asking for help somewhere, we'll be on it for them.
The biggest success has come from us installing live chat into every control panel we manage. Clients can now ask us questions as they use their system. So instead of getting frustrated and giving up, they know we're one click away.
We like to have lives outside of the office, but if one of our clients needs a bit of help out of hours we're here for them. Right now we've got an out-of-hours response time of about 35 minutes, not quite as good as our 2 minutes during office hours, but not bad...
It turns out that some of our clients simply don't have time to work on their site during office hours, but put extra time in out of hours to make changes to their website. If they're going the extra mile - so should we.
One thing we haven't figured out just yet is how to make phone support work out of hours, going to our mobiles always sounds crackly and fuzzy. But it's at the top of our list.
We make a point of checking when people last used their control panels and what they've changed. If they've added a new blog post we'll read it through and give them any pointers (if we have any!).
If people have been silent for a while we'll reach out and offer them some advice, some additional training, or just a gentle nudge about the importance of keeping their website up to date.
By elevating the level of support, we've gained a much better insight in the everyday problems our clients face. The little things that caused confusion, or worse, frustration.
We're now building better and smarter websites that our clients enjoy using more often. Less frustration, more happy.
We hear from clients all the time that they've been burnt in the past by rogue designers who gave up or ignored them. So we'll keep building on our experiments in improving customer service indefinitely so that we become the customer service web design agency.