Create happiness, not satisfaction

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One of my routine activities every week is to spend some time talking to folks from the Sales and Support teams. This gives me a good first-hand account of how we’re doing in the market. We also discuss interesting questions that customers asked and anything interesting that the team just learned from the previous week.

Last week, the Support team had to work extremely hard, because of the service outage. We discussed a lot of things about what went right and what can go better next time. On my way out, I just popped a quick question at the team: “What’s the one thing you guys did that you’re really proud of?”

An answer came right back at me, and quite resoundingly at that. They all said “We aim for customer happiness, not customer satisfaction”. We exchanged pleasantries and walked back to our desks.

But, that line has possessed me all of this week. There’s a seemingly subtle, but actually significant, difference between happiness and satisfaction. The latter is often corrective while the former is proactive.

Happiness is about empowering customers to reach you through as many channels as possible. Satisfaction is about picking channels you can handle really well and sticking to them.

Happiness is about enabling support execs to delight more customers in a day. Satisfaction is about letting support execs close tickets faster.

Happiness is about making it an amazing experience to manage customer support teams. Satisfaction is about giving support managers more reports than they need.

At every level of interaction with a customer, it is possible to clearly differentiate happiness and satisfaction. Happy customers become evangelists and start owning your brand. They become a cog in the wheel, a part of your company. They stand with you in times of dire need and grow with you when you grow. In fact, happy customers are the reason we’re in business today.

If you’re not creating customer happiness everyday, then don’t just optimize your operation. Hap-timize it.

Save the world, on time!

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Tracy is a highly proactive customer success leader. She manages a customer support team at her company. Delivering little nuggets of customer happiness everyday is her ultimate goal. Needless to say, she trusts her helpdesk software as much as she trusts her own team.

She gets into office every morning and has a huddle with her team. They discuss important highlights from the previous day and their plan of action for the rest of the day. That’s all she needs from them. For every other detail, she trusts Zoho Support. She loves the automation features and finds them really useful. “You guys really make my day!”, she says, all the time.

Last week, we heard from Tracy. But, she sounded a little serious.

Her company just signed on a big client. This one’s really important for their future. A strong responsibility now rests on her shoulders. Her company has to ensure that this client is thoroughly happy with their service.

She just can’t afford to let any stone unturned. After setting up a new contract, an SLA and some escalation rules, she just moved on with her typical day. They covered everything she needed, with clients previously. This time, she wanted to push a little further. That’s where we came in.

For proactive support, we think support reps have to reach out, sometimes, even if customers/clients don’t respond to an email. We also think that customers/clients need to be handled extra carefully during non-business hours. So, that’s precisely what we recommended her.

Using Zoho Support’s time-based actions, managers like Tracy can now setup alerts when a client hasn’t replied to an important follow-up email for an hour. Or, to send an email when that big client needs support after business hours. The beauty is that these alerts work with your business hours as well as plain calendar hours.

You can try it too! Just setup a time-based action and choose a business hour (or calendar hours). It’s very easy and works sensibly. That’s what we call truly functional software.

Tracy’s really happy with our automations, now, more than ever before. We love her too. After all, people like her really make our lives amazing.

Stay Customer-Centric from CRM through Support

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Each business is different in its own way. Likewise, each customer is different in his/her own way. A single all-encompassing customer support approach might not really hold good in real life. That’s one of the trickiest things in managing a customer support helpdesk.

There’s the customer who gives you so much of revenue directly. Then, there’s the customer who refers so many new customers to you. There’s also the customer who needs a little more help from your side. Oh, and there are many more kinds as well. How do you keep an eye on each of them and serve them differently, every single time?

We’ve finally solved that puzzle. Or, so we think. Zoho Support now has the next level of customization in workflows. You can create request-driven workflows for specific accounts or contacts imported from Zoho Support into Zoho CRM.

So, if Bob is your high-net-worth client, his request gets handled in a certain way. If Tracy is your hot prospect, her request gets handled in a different way. For Example: Bob’s requests can send an e-mail alert to your helpdesk supervisor and Tracy’s can be assigned to one of your senior support representative. You can as well handle, different requests from the same person in different ways.

These are just dead-simple examples. There are so many ways in which you could use this feature to your advantage.

To set this up, you can simply follow the usual steps to create a workflow. But remember to choose your desired field under contacts or accounts, while creating a workflow rule for requests.

George S Patton once said “Always do more than is required of you”. We believe in exactly that. And, with this feature, we hope you’d believe in the same for your customers as well.

Do give it a spin and tell us what you think about it. We’d love to hear from you.

Zoho Support & Zoho CRM Are Now Closer!

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On a daily basis, various people get in touch with your business. Auto-Import of Contacts & AccountsThey could be leads, prospects or customers. It’s only fair that your software understands each of them in the right context. Zoho CRM helps you manage your leads and prospects while Zoho Support allows you to support your customers. They’re both really brothers in arms, in a sense. They both go hand-in-hand.

But then, how can they work together for your business if they don’t manage your contacts well enough. Earlier, Zoho Support let you import contacts from your Zoho CRM account manually. Since then, we’ve only wanted to make it much easier for you. How, you ask? Automatic, that’s how.

We’re happy to announce automatic import of your Zoho CRM contacts to your Zoho Support portal. For all practical purposes, your Zoho CRM contacts database would be your master database. And, when we say ‘contacts’ we necessarily mean ‘accounts’ as well.

All you have to do is setup the interval at which the import has to be performed regularly. And, Zoho Support will then faithfully perform the import for you. It’s really that simple.

In fact, if you’re a Zoho CRM customer who’s just signed up for Zoho Support, you can setup auto-import of your contacts once and strike it off your to-do list forever.

We hope this would reduce a lot of your effort towards managing contacts between the two apps. Try it today and tell us what you think. In the meantime, we’ll try to make your life simpler in some other way!

Code Red! How good is your emergency response?

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Zoho Support Escalation Alert

For decades together, the traditional customer support paradigm worked like a charm. Businesses were happy with a ‘good’ ratio of positive to negative experiences. Over time, that ‘good’ ratio has grown steadily, like seaweed on a pier.

Today, it’s a social world. There’s no ‘good’ ratio anymore. For your business, the difference between a negative experience and a catastrophe is almost nothing. As much as social media amplifies the good things about your business, it has a more powerful effect on the not-so-good things as well.

The concept of emergency response has to be finely ingrained in your customer support approach itself. Yes, this necessarily includes your helpdesk software too! Let’s take a small example, in the case of a web-based product/service.

A very common case is that of a service outage. One customer tweets about it. A few more pitch in. And, before you know it, the whole World knows you had an outage. If your first official response, in this case, is delayed or insufficient, you can as well get into a bunker underground.

What if your support rep doesn’t know what to do, or isn’t around, at the time? Well, that’s exactly why you need a really smart helpdesk software! Of course, if you use Zoho Support for your business, you wouldn’t need to worry about this situation at all!

Emergency Escalation Rule

Zoho Support has automatic social escalation built right into it. You can just setup an escalation rule wherein if several tweets containing your business’ name appear in a span of a few minutes, the support manager gets notified by email/SMS. This is just one example of where it can come in handy. You can think of many more relevant situations, I’m sure.

We use this internally at Zoho. In fact, our helpdesk coord simply loves it.

But, you don’t have to take our word at all. Try it yourself. Just set the rule up once. You’ll probably be as cool as a cucumber during your Code Red moment!

We’re flat-world-friendly! Are you?

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In 2005, Thomas L Friedman proposed that the world was becoming flat. Today, we can be certain that it already has! What that has done is to unify consumers and businesses across the World.

All you need today is a product or service that makes life easier for someone, somewhere in the world. The Internet has made it remarkably easy to offer products & services globally. However, it’s not just about selling, now, is it? What you sell, you also have to support thereafter.

At Zoho, we have customers across various time zones. And, our support commitments have to be restricted to each time zone. Selling to a single global market comes with that peculiar challenge. We spoke to some customers and they all said “Hey, we have that challenge too! Can you fix it?”

Much to our surprise, even some popular enterprise-quality helpdesk software didn’t do anything to fix this handicap. So, we set out to do what we’ve always done best. We found a simple way to get rid of the challenge and built it right into Zoho Support. We’re excited to tell you all about it!

You can have a different set of business hours for each time zone. Your SLAs will ‘automagically’ tie into these business hours too. All you have to do is setup the business hours for each of the time zones you’re servicing. Pretty simple, ain’t it? Pretty useful too!

Zoho Support Custom Business Hours

Zoho has consistently empowered businesses to succeed in a flat world. And this is just one more step forward in that direction.

Try it for your business and tell us what you think. We really hope you’ll love it.

Is your response quick enough? Here’s how to find out!

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Today, a colleague showed me results of a survey that almost threw me off my seat! It was from a study conducted by CMO Council on how end consumers use social media to connect with brands.

Amongst several things, I noticed that about 47% of respondents had said they expected a response from brands within 24 hours. About 19% expected a response within an hour while another 22% expected an instant response! This goes on to show how important it is for support teams to track their turnaround time.

Helpdesk Turnaround Time

Courtesy: CMO Council

Using SLAs, Zoho Support already lets you track if a ticket has taken too long to close. However, now, you can even track if the first or any subsequent response has taken too long to happen.

Here’s how:

  • First, create a custom field.
  • Then, set a time-based rule to update it, when a response is delayed.
  • Additionally, you can compile a daily report using the same custom field or setup an alert associated with that custom field.

Sounds complicated? Not really!  Let’s look at a Zoho Support scenario.

Zoho Support Helpdesk Time Based Rule

Suppose a customer had raised a ticket and our first response was delayed beyond 24 hours, for some reason. Our helpdesk coordinator immediately knows that we’ve not satisfied that customer enough. So, he can easily ensure we make amends with that customer. It’s really convenient for helpdesk coordinators.

So, the next time a response is delayed, you know about it instantly. And, when you compile a report, you know how many times it has happened as well! You can effectively keep an eye on your support team’s turnaround time and optimize it wherever necessary.

We really hope this would be of use to you while you try to deliver the best support experience to your customers.

So, what’re you waiting for? Respond. Track. Optimize. Improve.