Announcing Zoho LiveDesk: Start delivering instant happiness to your customers

Posted by Posted on by
2

I can still remember the happiness of hearing a buddy pop up online and knowing I was only one-click away from an awesome conversation. It was 1999, and to me AOL Instant Messenger was pure magic.

While things have changed drastically in the last 14 years, there is one constant, chat remains an integral part of my daily life—even if it is no longer AIM. In fact, chat is something many of you have been asking about for a while, wondering when we would add live chat to our customer support software solutions. Well, cue up the ol’ AIM chime (do-duh-dum)—because I have an exciting message for you.

Meet your newest buddy, Zoho LiveDesk—the small business live chat solution for customer support.  Simply put, LiveDesk is the easiest way to add live chat to your websites and wow your customers with instantaneous support.

Zoho LiveDesk improves customer support for everyone involved—customers and companies.  Your customers are empowered by instant access to personalized answers from real, live people. And your team will love the power to resolve customer issues before they ever become a request in their inbox, slashing your response times and their workload.

Live support chat through LiveDesk is the quickest way to connect and delight your customers.

Both customers and agents love quick-and-easy live support chat.

LiveDesk also teams up with Zoho Support to add fully integrated live chat functionality into your existing help desk dashboard. Beginning today all Enterprise plan customers in Zoho Support can offer their customers a new channel to connect—chat powered by LiveDesk. Easily embed live chat into your existing customer portal and watch your agents close more requests in less time by interacting live with customers.

Easily create, configure and customize your LiveDesk within minutes, and with one copy-and-paste of code, you have added live chat to your website. Embed customizable click-to-chat widgets into any-and-all parts of your web presence and meet customers on their terms.

Give your customers easy access to live support chat

With three fully-customizable options to embed live chat into your pages, it is easy to give your customers access to live support chat throughout your web presence.

Once a customer initiates a chat, you can engage directly from LiveDesk’s powerful dashboard or from wherever—live chat on your terms. With complete support for the Jabber/XMPP protocol, you have the freedom to chat with customers from anywhere via clients on your mobile devices, or even from desktop chat clients.

LiveDesk was built to transform your small businesses into lean, mean customer supporting machines. It comes chocked full of features your growing team will love: 

  • Save more valuable time: Program and deploy canned messages to rapidly address recurring questions.
  • Customer Support’s Crystal Ball: Read your customer’s mind, and speed up your response times. You see what your customer types as they type it, so before they submit their question you already have the answer they need.
  • Transfer Chats: Move ongoing chats to better-equipped agents.
  • Advanced Organization: Structure your LiveDesk to fit your needs. Create departments, associate agents to those departments, even route chats to defined departments.
  • Monitoring: Supervisors can monitor on-going chats to ensure consistent results, with the ability to step-in and help when needed.
  • Collaborate: Integrated inter-agent chat and a portal-wide message board give your agents the ability to collaborate, communicate and thrive.
  • Reporting and Daily Statistics: Learn more about your customers, your agents and your business with advanced pre-built reports.
LiveDesk's powerful dashboard helps you connect and support more customers in less time.

LiveDesk has the powerful tools you need to deliver happiness to more customers in less time.

I encourage you to take LiveDesk for a test drive today and start connecting with your customers in real time.  Within seconds you can be on your way to unleashing your on-demand customer supporting potential. And because you want it, there is a risk-free, no credit card required 30-day-free trial of our most powerful plan waiting with your name on it.

Start chatting, my friends.

Poll: What channels do your customers use to reach you?

Posted by Posted on by
0

While talking to prospects who’re evaluating Zoho Support, I try to squeeze in a particular question during the first few minutes of the conversation. It’s a very simple question, but it defines how the company will use the software. It’s also our poll question this week!

The Zoho Support Poll

Deciding which channels to handle, for customer support, is important, yet tricky. It’s a trade-off of trade-offs.

Conversation versus Transaction

A channel like email, or even a customer self-service portal, is essentially ‘transactional’ in nature. Customers ask for some specific help. Agents extend help. Customers can ask for help with another related aspect. Agents extend help again. This is suitable for situations where grievance redressal takes time (example: changing a part in your mobile phone).

But, in situations where customer grievances can be addressed immediately (like canceling an order in e-commerce), conversational channels like social media will create better experiences.

Personal versus Impersonal

This is largely a debate involving channels like email, web forms, chat and phone. Customers using email or web forms to reach your business don’t really know whom they are talking to. They can’t put a face in the equation. They’re really impersonal channels. Comparatively, channels like chat and phone are personal. Your support agents become the faces of your company. Customers know they’re talking to a human and feel more comfortable. This is really important when customers have to give some sensitive information to your support agents.

Convenience versus Chaos

Is it convenient enough for my customers to reach me? Although channels like social media are far more convenient for customers, one must also note that they can’t be ‘organized’ in the same sense as email. So, they can become chaotic when handled inappropriately.

These are just some of the most common trade-offs. Depending on the complexity of your business, there could be several others.

Do tell us about how you handled these (and other such) trade-offs to choose your channel mix.

Results: We organize our support team by…

Posted by Posted on by
0

Whenever I speak to customers, I realize how each of them is different from any other. Each of them has a different way of defining quality and a different philosophy that leads to quality. Their businesses are influenced to a great deal by their beliefs and philosophies.

The most fundamental aspect of a business’ customer service philosophy is how to organize its helpdesk team. It influences hiring and staffing decisions. It even influences the profit margin! And, that’s exactly why we asked this question on our poll last week.

We had chosen to ask the question to just managers and administrators. The results have come in and their opinions are very clear!

Results: We organize our support team by...

By product

About 34% of respondents said their support team was organized by product. If the support team is small enough, it’s very useful to assign a DRI within the team to each product. Managers can kick chaos out and get a clear picture even in intra-day operations.

By channel

While 17% of respondents said their support team was organized by channel. Highly active channels like Live Chat, Phone and Social Media require an agile-yet-well-thought-out response, whereas a passive channel like email doesn’t require as much agility. If you staff each channel by a person who’s apt for its requirements, delivering happiness to customers everyday becomes a habit!

By time zone

Only 8% of respondents said their support team was organized by time zone. Organizing by time zone is efficient only for companies with a few simple products and just one or two channels. Even in that case, unless customers are distributed across various time zones, this approach doesn’t prove to be convenient enough.

A hybrid approach

Finally, the big fish. About 41% of respondents said they used a mix of these approaches to organize their support team. This is, by far, the most practical approach. It’s dynamic and, if applied well, can solve almost any problem of efficiency. We use a hybrid approach even at Zoho. Some of our support agents focus on just one channel or two, some just focus on a few products. And, we even have different people for different time zones.

If you’ve seen something that defies the pattern of these results, feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

We’ll be back next week with another interesting question! Until then, have a great weekend!

Poll: How do you organize your support team?

Posted by Posted on by
0

Whether customer support is a right or a privilege for your customers, it’s a tricky commitment to uphold. More often than not, running a team involves finding order within chaos. It’s all the more applicable while running a customer support team.

The Zoho Support Poll

One of the easiest ways to seek out ‘order’ is to organise or group a bunch of your support reps using some condition.

By Channel

If you have multiple ways by which customers can reach you, a thoughtful way to organise your support team would be by channel. Each channel can have one or more support agents dedicated to it. That way, each channel gets the optimal treatment. Channels like live chat, phone and social media are far more interactive when compared to email and web forms. By staffing appropriately, you can win across all your channels.

By Time Zone

For companies that offer products or services to customers across the world, dealing with various time zones is of utmost importance. Some time zones may contribute to most of your support load while other time zones might not contribute much. Organising your support team by time zone is a smart way to handle this.

By Product

Handling customer support for a portfolio of products is just as tricky as anything else we’ve discussed here so far. Organising your support team by product is a good way to eliminate chaos and establish leadership within your team. There’s a clear point of contact for each product, it’s very straightforward.

A Hybrid Approach

Depending on how complex your business is, you might also gain by using a combination of these methods. Though this looks complicated, it can work out really well if you can establish clear processes and make sure everyone knows about it.

The question on our poll is this: How do your organise your support team?

If you follow your own tailor-made approach, do tell us about it in the comments section.

Results: For ‘free’ accounts, customer support is…

Posted by Posted on by
0

Earlier this week, we had asked the same question to both customer support managers and agents, in a bid to see how their opinions differed. Much to our surprise, there was a visible difference!

About 57% of managers and administrators felt that, for ‘free’ customers, customer support is indeed a privilege. Amongst support agents, about 54% actually opined that customer support is a customer’s right.

Straightaway, it’s easy to see one possible reason for this difference. Support agents deal with customers on a daily basis. They deal with the emotional aspect of customer support. They see the ups and the downs in raw colours, everyday.

Managers often do not handle customers directly on a day-to-day basis. They see customers via support agents. The emotions are not as vivid when there’s an intermediary. In other words, what managers see is more of the analytical picture. Also, with experience comes a different perspective. Since managers commonly have more experience than support agents, their perspective is likely to have evolved as well.

On a related note, Kevin’s comment, that prospects could be using a ‘free’ plan to evaluate a business, is really valid. Businesses, in addition to offering a free trial of paid plans, have to handle such prospects carefully. In that sense, customer support definitely becomes a right.

If you have an opinion on this, you can share it with the community via our comments section below.

We’ll be back soon with another question. Have a great weekend!

Poll: For ‘free’ accounts, is customer support a right or a privilege?

Posted by Posted on by
0

Zoho Support has a lot of happy customers. We keep hearing from them and we talk to them about a lot of things. But, for quite some time now, we’ve been meaning to regularize this engagement with our customers. So, we’re starting off with a weekly poll series. We pick a topic, ask you a question and wait for your opinions. You choose your view, let’s discuss it and we’ll all take back a wider perspective. We’ll do this every week. Simple, ain’t it?

The Zoho Support Poll

What’s a better way to kick off our weekly poll than to ask a really important question! So, we picked one of the most omnipresent questions around. Here’s more:

Products that offer a ‘freemium’ pricing model face this debate, pretty often. Operations managers and Business managers constantly discuss this question. But, let’s face it. The question’s very tricky, per se.

‘Free’ customers need customer support. In fact, they sign up for your product only because they trust you to do what’s best for them. They believe that nothing will go drastically wrong. And, if something actually goes wrong, they believe that you’ve got their back. Customer support is really a part of the overall product experience. It’s not something external that you can plug in whenever you deem fit. It’s the customer’s right.

On the other hand, the business side of things suggests a different logic. Customers that sign up for a ‘freemium’ product know that it has a very dumbed-down experience. At that level, the product itself is pretty simple! Assigning and justifiably using customer support resources for ‘free’ accounts is not easy. An extremely-detailed-yet-really-simple knowledge base should do the trick. It’s a single-instance investment of time and effort. Yet, it stays around for eternity and can be looked up easily. Occasionally, though, personalized customer support can be offered for ‘free’ customers, depending on support load from paying customers. It’s not meant to be a part of the basic experience. It’s just a privilege.

Each side has firm reasoning to justify. What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.

If you’re a Zoho Support customer, you should see the poll as soon as you login today. This week’s poll ends on Friday. Hurry! We’re waiting to hear from you!

Hear ye! Hear ye! Direct Signup for Customer Portal

Posted by Posted on by
0

Whenever I talk to customers about their customer support operation, one topic creeps into our conversations. “How can I continually reduce load on a given support rep?”. My sarcasm kicks in and I go, “Why don’t you hire more reps?”, followed by a wink.

The real solution takes a little more time and effort than just hiring reps, and it costs far less. Some call it old-fashioned, some call it impersonal. But, whatever you call it, the customer portal is the quintessential way to reduce ticket load on your support reps.

Building an extremely detailed, success-focused knowledge base can be a tricky affair. But, you’ll get your gratification when you open it to your customers and create happiness instantly.

When we reach this point in the conversation, customers often say “Yeah. But then, they still have to raise a ticket to get access to the customer portal!”. Today, I have some good news on that front.

Till now, for a few reasons, security and otherwise, support reps had to give customer portal access manually to customers. Not anymore. Today, we’re really excited to announce direct signups for customer portals. You can simply point your customers to your customer portal. They can sign up directly and start using it immediately.

We think this would take you one step closer towards creating more happiness per ticket, and even when no ticket is raised!

Your customers who are currently using your customer portal will see nothing unusual. Their login credentials will work seamlessly. If you have any more questions, please feel free to check out this page.

This is our first announcement in the new year. But, you can expect a few big announcements in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more happiness!