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In Customer Support, it's not the Service That Fails, it's the Content. Let's Fix That.

As customer support becomes increasingly digital (and less phone-based), it is essential that organizations develop quality content that may be used to consistently address the "top" issues that arise each day. Templates (also known as macros) and standardized content are critical to any support team because they deliver precise information and a means by which organizations can scale with increasing ticket volume. This becomes far more valuable when it also enables agents to add personalization on top of the recommended templates to better connect with customers and improve the overall experience. But, that's easier said than done. Writing a good email template that doesn’t sound robotic and can be personalized can be challenging. But we've got the 4-1-1 on how to do it and do it well. 

First, let's discuss why caring about content is so important. Then, let's explore how to create effective, standardized content for your company.  
Why Caring About Content Is So Important  

Content is such a core part of the customer experience — it is the language your team employs to communicate with your customers every day, and a good experience will lead to greater customer satisfaction. Customers who are satisfied are far more likely to generate referrals, according to help desk software company Groove.

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And, conversely, not keeping your customers satisfied can have a massive negative impact too, as 78% of dissatisfied customers bail on transactions due to a poor service experience.  

Using standardized content enables customer support organizations to accomplish several goals: 

  • Be more cost-effective: Using well-developed content will take some extra time on the front end, but saves hours and hours over time. And, when time is money, every minute matters.  
  • Boost productivity: Good content supports agents and automation and dramatically improves efficiency. Macros aren’t yet to the point where they can generate an effective and nuanced email to a customer out of the box, but they are a superb foundation for most agent/customer exchanges and support personalization to cover the nuance and empathy required in more complex situations.  
  • Make data-driven decisions: All the conversation about data-driven decisions is happening for a reason — because it works! When you use templates and standardized messaging, you are controlling the variables in communications and leveraging data to improve your message, approach, and philosophy.  

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We’ve talked about why your customer support organization should deeply care about content and the benefits of good content. Now let’s explore how you can put it into action.  

  • Develop the content: Think about the issues that are often handled by your support team. Make a list of those issues and understand the patterns, then choose the ones that occur often enough to warrant standardized content. You can leverage the historical responses of your best agents to begin to generate a macro library that all of your agents can tap into. This is also helpful when onboarding new agents.  
  • Dynamic content & placeholder fields: High performing organizations use dynamic content via placeholder fields to easily personalize templated content. Instead of having to make your agents pay close attention to details like first name, last name, and specific incident, you can leverage your CXM to systematically pull that data—sparing manual look up and possible human error. Dynamic content also enables swift entry of localized content and scales easily across languages. You'll find there's an inherent confidence derived from dynamically populating unique use cases within a consistent format. 
  • Implement and train: Once you have the content, develop a system for implementing it. Whether you are using the help of people, automation, a CXM, or another system for managing your customer service requests, implementation and training at the beginning will save you headaches in the future. Take your time so that you may implement the content correctly and train your team on how to use it to achieve the best results.  
  • Measure & continually improve: One of the best parts of having the customer service experience online is all of the rich, actionable data you have access to. Once you have set up your system and trained your team on how to use the standardized content, continually review how different pieces of content are performing. Are you getting responses from customers? Are customers satisfied? If not, revisit problematic templates with your team and explore how they can be improved to get the desired result.  
  • Automate using an AI platform:  Now that you've put in the hard yards, its time to capitalize with technology. The beauty of an AI system is that it reads historical patterns of how your agents are using the macros or knowledge articles and will automatically respond to customers for simple known issues and offer top knowledge articles or macros as suggested responses to agents so they can respond as soon as they open the case/ticket without having to look for the answers.   

Screen Shot 2022-04-23 at 1.04.54 PMLEGO is an amazing example of a company that uses creative, sympathetic content to win back customers who have been disappointed. LEGO knows that sometimes a much-needed LEGO piece will fail to make it into one of its kits, or that a customer will lose a piece or two mid-project (cats, kids and vacuum cleaners are all culprits). It doesn’t matter where the pieces go missing, it’s a problem for the company. Here's how they address it: 

Thanks for getting in touch with us. I’m sorry there were item(s) missing from your new LEGO set. We try really hard to make sure all LEGO toys are perfect, but sometimes a faulty one sneaks through. Actually—controlling the quality of the toys that leave our factory is a big job (about seven LEGO sets are sold every second!) . . . and we have a whole department of experts (and machines) who test every LEGO set before it leaves us—they even weigh every box to make sure there’s nothing missing. We’d like to get even better at catching any faulty LEGO sets, though, so I’m passing your comments on to the team in charge of testing. It’ll help them make sure this doesn’t happen again.   

A response like this, with its well thought-out, customer-involving approach, can sometimes bring a customer closer to your brand than if things hadn’t gone wrong in the first place.  

The Walt Disney Company is another company known for caring greatly about customer experience and they have perfected their communication with customers by employing a five-step recovery process known as HEARD (hear, empathize, apologize, resolve, diagnose). Every exchange with a customer is an opportunity to make them love the brand more. 

A leading airline on the other hand made matters far worse when they responded to a customer's poor experience with a macro and forgot to customize the fields left open for personalization, I.e., they left the words "Specific Event" in place instead of populating it with customer-specific content like "your recent trip to San Diego". That's where templates go wrong, fast.  

At AnswerIQ, we've identified three key things that make macros work well across any organization:  

  • Make it personal   
  • Make it positive  
  • Deliver value to the customer  

If you aren't delivering a personal, positive, valuable message, you are not going to retain customers for long. 
Net net: Putting extra effort into your content can have a dramatic impact on your team's success. At AnswerIQ, we deliver solutions that leverage content on the front and back end of your support structure. A strong macro library combined with a knowledge base/FAQ's for self help, a content repository, and an analytics platform will ensure that you have the right templates in place, the right content fueling them, and an engine that reads your content, identifies any gaps, and recommends solutions.   

You'll quickly eliminate redundant and stale content from your mix and help your team create content that is both effective and works well with automation. Sign up for a free trial today.  

Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Customer Service, CSAT, AnswerIQ, content

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