It’s exciting to have a product or service that everyone’s raving about. But staying ahead of your competitors requires a customer support framework that enables delightful customer experiences, every time.
Your customers have lots of questions before and after they buy from you. Something you should be aware of is that they’re starting to form an opinion about your company from the very first contact. If your customer support agents are friendly and go the extra mile, customers will stay on the line longer and be eager to learn more. What that means for you is that you could end up with a customer for life.
On the flip side, if customers sense that it’s difficult to reach you, or that your call agents are doing little more than “punching the clock,” it’s easy enough for them to find another company that delivers a better customer experience. Forbes writes that companies using SaaS are already outperforming their competitors. Investing in your customer support framework sets you on pace to long-term success and increased revenue.
Best practices for your customer framework ensure a good customer experience. According to a SuperOffice study, just over 45% of companies are planning to make the customer experience their top focus over the next five years. You’ll need to do the same if you want to beat the competition.
Keep in mind that best practices for customer support are continually evolving as technology advances. To continue providing a great customer experience, start with some basic customer support best practices. But in addition to the necessary people-skills, VoIP integrations are a key ingredient in your support team’s journey to industry-leading performance.
10 Customer Support Framework Best Practices
Today’s customers contact you because they want or need help right now—in real-time. They want to deal with people that know what they’re talking about and can answer the questions they have quickly. If call agents don’t have the answers immediately, customers want to be quickly routed to someone who can resolve their issues fast.
Best practices for customer support suggest that you develop a framework that places the customer experience at the center of your customer service ecosystem. It’s essential to establish a culture of excellence in customer experience throughout the company and to have the right framework, consisting of the right tools, to help them follow through.
The following 10 customer support best practices provide a good roadmap to get you started.
1. Choose a modern phone system.
- Modern phone systems use VoIP technology (voice over internet protocol). A modern phone system gives you many advantages including flexibility, scalability, functionality, reliability, and mobility. It’s one of the most efficient, cost-effective tools in your toolbox, and it’s sure to be a staple of your customer support initiatives.
2. Use software as a service (SaaS).
- Today’s marketplace requires you to be agile, adaptable, and innovative. SaaS allows you to build a basic customer framework and improve on it over time. SaaS meets your needs for today and it will continue to meet your needs as you move into the future.
3. Choose a reputable VoIP service provider.
- You have many choices for VoIP service providers, but don’t make the mistake of thinking they’re all alike. In making the best choice, choose one that offers the features you need to establish or enhance your call center. Read their terms and conditions so you won’t have any surprises later. Make sure the system is secure and reliable and that you’ll be able to monitor your call center’s performance proactively. Read reviews and testimonials from other customers before making your final choice.
4. Design your framework so that it’s open, transparent, and flexible.
- You open up the greatest capabilities for your call center when you design your framework so that it accommodates multiple software programs working together. An open architecture, or open API, allows software programs to work together.
5. Set up the right software integrations.
- There’s no shortage of useful software integrations available that work well with modern phone systems. Software integrations bring all the tools your call center agents need into a single source. The right combination of integrations lets call agents choose how to use their tools rather than let their workflow dictate how they have to do their jobs.
6. Set up call center tools that have the capability for scalability.
- A cloud-based phone system makes it easy to scale your call center up or down with seasonal changes or business growth, without making a heavy investment in time or money.
7. Set up self-service workflows.
- There are times along the customer journey that customers want or need to speak with someone by phone, but not always. Software integrations and modern phone system features will help you set up self-service solutions so customers can help themselves. Best practices for customer service recommend assisting customers expediently and self-service programs can be a valuable part of that process. You’ll find that many of your customers prefer self-service tools and workflows for common inquiries and requests.
8. Set up the capability for a virtual call center.
- Call centers are quickly becoming a necessity for businesses with an eye on growth. Even if you’re building an on-site call center, there may be times when it makes sense for your call center agents to work remotely. At some point, you may decide to use remote teams completely, or take advantage of the benefits of using distributed teams. If so, you’ll be glad that your framework can easily accommodate a virtual call center. Having virtual call center capability gives you increased flexibility, preventing you from getting stuck into a rut of forcing call agents to work on-site at times when it’s not practical.
9. Create a user experience that’s consistent across devices.
- Mobility is the hallmark of the day. It’s common for software providers to have mobile versions of their programs. These apps are a great advantage for call centers where managers need to use or switch to a mobile device to access the system. Mobility gives you greater flexibility.
10. Get feedback from call agents and customers.
- Software integrations open up new opportunities to improve collaboration among your call agents and managers. They also make it possible for you to send out surveys to get feedback from your customers on their experience in real-time. On both accounts, feedback presents opportunities for you to make improvements quickly.
How to Improve Your Customer Support Framework
Cloud-based phone software and call center software in the form of VoIP integrations provide the cornerstone for your customer support framework. These tools provide a solid foundation for your customer service efforts. However, by keeping some basic concepts in mind, you’ll be able to continually improve your customer support framework over time.
As your needs grow and change, here’s what you need to consider as you make additions or changes to your customer service framework.
Cloud-based phone systems and VoIP integrations are cost-effective solutions. They will grow with you in ways that won’t greatly impact your budget. The cost of equipment is minimal as they’re subscription-based services. An all-in-one system eliminates the need for the costs associated with a traditional phone system.
When you choose the right VoIP system provider, concerns regarding phone system security won’t be an issue — now or later. A good VoIP provider will be able to alleviate your concerns about security even as cybersecurity issues continue to evolve.
Again, the reliability of your customer support framework lies with getting the right VoIP service provider. Many of them claim to have very high rates of uptime, some as high as 99.9%. With cloud solutions, there is no hardware to replace, repair, or maintain. Reliability doesn’t get better than that.
With VoIP solutions, nothing is set in stone. You have the flexibility to add or remove programs and solutions whenever you want. You’ll appreciate being able to change them quickly and without hassle.
Best practices for customer support suggest the importance of mobility. With the right customer support framework and internet access, your call agents can work from any location.
The right call center agent training is a best practice that works in conjunction with the right VoIP integrations to provide the best customer experience. Training is always something that you can improve upon. It will be a great enhancement to your customer support framework.
With these important concepts in mind, the next step is to choose the most useful VoIP integrations and implement them.
VoIP Integrations to Improve Your Customer Support Framework
It’s clear that your customer support framework and workflows need to revolve around enhancing the customer experience. The right VoIP service provider does more than simply provide a service. They’ll be happy to work with you to help you identify the right business software integrations. The right integrations give you all the functions and capabilities you need, and sometimes even more.
One of the questions to ask your VoIP system provider is whether they offer an app marketplace where you can shop for integrations that make delivering customer support a breeze for your call agents and your customers. The right VoIP integrations will help your call agents to approach calls proactively. They can anticipate your customer’s needs before they even express a need.
Your cloud-based phone system will provide many valuable features to enhance customer support like call routing, IVR, call whispering, voicemail, call queue, and click-to-dial. VoIP integrations work in conjunction with these features to position call agents to exceed customer expectations.
Check out these examples of useful VoIP integrations:
- CRM – amoCRM, Onpipeline
- Omnichannel – Heymarket, Sakari
- Surveys – Nicereply, Typeform
- Helpdesk – Zendesk, Aircall Now for Intercom
- Sales automation – LeadsBridge, Outreach
- eCommerce – BigCommerce, Gorgias
The Importance of an Integrated Customer Database
To exceed customer expectations, call agents need to listen actively and make decisions fast. With the exact software solutions appearing before them in a popup bubble, call agents are able to help customers immediately or transfer the call to another team or individual that can help. With the caller’s purchase history right in front of them, call agents can more appropriately address current problems without adding to the customer’s frustration. These integrations make it possible to provide something customers love and that’s consistency every time they call. If the call agent needs to switch communication channels during a call, integrations make that possible too. This kind of flexibility is often a pleasant surprise for customers too.
Consider how a well-designed customer support framework can help? Especially, if you thought that an on-site or virtual call center was out of reach. Aircall offers a quality cloud-based phone system that can turn your vision into reality. With a robust offering of phone system features and the ability to choose from a host of software integrations from Aircall’s App Marketplace, you can implement every solution you need in short order.
In summary, an integrated customer database serves as a hub. This hub enables your customer support team to fulfill their responsibilities in exceeding your customers’ expectations. Integrations save you valuable time and money, allowing you to focus on scaling your business. Best practices for your customer support framework will improve internal communication and streamline your workflows for sales and customer service.