Customer support interactions are an integral part of the customer journey, but sometimes SaaS companies forget about the Support department—rendering it the redheaded stepchild of the Customer Experience (CX).
Maybe it’s due to collective denial of the fact that some users will struggle with a product no matter how amazing it is? Or maybe Support is seen as a source of one-off fire alarms, not the big picture? Whatever the case, Customer Support interactions are inevitable, and Product teams can learn a great deal from Support departments when it comes to driving product-led growth.
As Blake Barlett of OpenView says, “End users are just consumers at work, so impatience is their default factory setting.” Anything that slows a new user down is a reason to think twice about logging in again. Users are telling your support agents exactly what is in the way of their success. The question is, are you listening?
If you’re part of a Product team, here’s why you need to cozy up to your colleagues in Customer Support, draw from their data, and let them help guide you in your quest to build products that keep users in the fold.
The Support perspective: A finger on the pulse of the customer experience
Customer Support agents are a bit like therapists. They hear everything! And that gives them a solid feel for every point of friction your users’ experience, including things like:
- Onboarding struggles
- How new features are received
- Documentation issues
- Bugs in your software
The key is to pull back and look at all those customer issues and requests in aggregate. This is how Support can offer a big picture and a general idea of the themes that Product teams might want to pay attention to in future versions of the software. With this in mind, Product teams can draw from two sources of support data, surveys and support tickets. I’ll cover both below.
Customer Support Surveys: An excellent source of product feedback
The first source for gathering support data comes from support surveys. By including surveys at the end of a Support interaction, which every company should be doing, you can observe broader themes. And if you use Zendesk, Salesforce or Freshdesk to manage Customer Support, Wootric has integrations with these platforms that will trigger a survey upon case closure, and bring the data into Wootric for text and sentiment analysis.
Text analytics, in short, tells you what users are talking about. It takes qualitative data and applies tags to topic themes. Sentiment analysis tells you how they are feeling about each of the topics they mention. This allows you to figure out, in aggregate, how users feel about various products, features, services, etc. You can then use this data to prioritize what points of friction you should be addressing.
Customer Support Tickets: Understanding user friction
Another excellent source of data is your Customer Support tickets themselves.
Since support tickets are where the action is, text analytics will give you a bird’s eye view of pretty much all product issues affecting your customers. Themes will emerge, points of friction will arise, and product teams can use this information to come up with solutions.
A text analytics platform makes analysis a breeze. In the example dashboard below, more than 15% of support tickets relate to bugs. Product teams could also benefit by reviewing comments tagged “feature request” and digging into user concerns about “UX/UI”.
Partnerships, not silos, build a better customer journey
Silos are the biggest barrier to creating a coherent CX journey, and they form in part because every department has its own metrics. Product is often focused on acquisition, behavioral metrics, and Product Satisfaction (PSAT), while Support is focused on things like time-to-resolution, agent performance, and satisfaction surrounding the support experience itself.
While it makes sense to have teams focused on metrics relevant to their roles, it’s absolutely vital for each department to collaborate.
One way to encourage collaboration is for Product and Customer Support to agree on shared metrics, and develop processes for sharing customer feedback.
Technology silos further isolate teams, and their data, from one another. Depending on the complexity of your technology stack, you might enlist a customer operations lead whose primary role is to enable and champion this collaboration. They would do this by:
- Building inter-connected systems for monitoring the customer experience at key touchpoints
- Creating a system for sharing data through CX dashboards
- Encouraging communication and collaboration across different departments
An integrative approach to optimizing the customer experience is key to creating products that end-users love. And building products that end-users recommend to friends and colleagues is essential to a product-led growth strategy.