- Start before Day 1: The easiest way to do this is through a series of “Pre-start Emails” that go out to new hires a week or two before their first day. Each email should focus on a different aspect of working life at your company, from cultural elements like dress code to technical elements like tools and processes. They should work to ease every new employee into life at your organization. Think of these messages as an introduction, a friendly, “Hello, we’re happy to have you!”
- Create an interdepartmental “Buddy” program: A “Buddy” program will help your new employee bond with his or her colleagues while providing the personalized, hands-on training that makes starting a new job easier, less stressful. Cross-departmental pairings will also open lines of communication, providing invaluable context about the company and its customers for new hires.
Whether your new hire is in Support, Marketing, or Sales, helping him or her hit the ground running will promote a healthy, well-rounded understanding of your customer.
3. Offer interdepartmental training.
People who don’t communicate well rarely find alignment.
Holding scheduled interdepartmental training sessions will expose every member of the team—whether they’re in Sales, Marketing, or Support—to the same information, providing a constant framework for how to think about the product and the customer. Cross-training is also an exercise in empathy, as it exposes Marketing and Sales employees to the issues Support reps have to face on a daily basis.
New to interdepartmental training? Here’s what you do:
- Be consistent: Train on a schedule—and stick to it. Whether the teams gather every month or once a quarter, make sure your employees know it’s coming and arrive prepared to participate and learn. The more engagement you generate in each session, the more value you’ll ultimately deliver.
- Be specific: Call out unique, departmental problems. Then walk through the solutions with everyone. These meetings are about empathy. They’re about coming together, which is almost impossible to do unless you’re transparent and inclusive.
Interdepartmental training—and open lines of communication, in general—will help Sales and Marketing see the customer from Support’s perspective, bringing unique ideas, questions, and solutions to the surface.
Support, done right, drives revenue
Enabling Sales, Marketing, and Support to work in harmony will create streamlined and cohesive customer experiences that drive satisfaction, happiness.
Happy customers stay longer.
“Customers are bombarded with more attractive offers all the time,” writesKen Dooley, editor-in-chief at Customer Experience Insight. “They see better deals. . . Yet those are not the factors that cause them to switch from—or encourage them to stay with—a company.”
The decision to stay with a company is emotional, not logical—and when it comes to existing customers, frontline employees are the source of that emotion, good or bad.
Good support experiences create positive emotions that breed happy, loyal customers who spread the word about a business:
- According to American Express, on average, happy customers tell nine people about their experiences with a company.
- According to RightNow, 73 percent of consumers say friendly customer service reps can make them fall in love with a brand.
Bad supportexperiences breed resentment and, in turn, churn:
- According to RightNow, 82 percent of customers have left a company because of a bad customer service experience.
- According to Esteban Kolsky, 67 percent of consumers cite bad experiences as their reason for churn.
The longer customers stay, the more they spend.
Once a customer—physical or virtual—has a favorable impression of a brand, they’re more willing and likely to spend:
- According to Temkin Group, 86 percent of consumers reporting an excellent customer experience are likely to repurchase from their provider.
- According to Medallia, customers reporting the best experiences spend 2.4X more annually than customers reporting the worst experiences.
But users who churn cease to generate revenue altogether.
Invest in Support
As a department, Support has long been an afterthought. It’s been considered an operational expense, a “cost of doing business.” Only recently have companies realized that Support proven is a market differentiator, capable of breeding happy, loyal customers. Customers who stay longer, buy more, and refer often.
The onus, then, is on companies to empower their Customer Support team internally. That means opening lines of communication between other frontline departments, like Sales and Marketing, enabling members from around the organization to work together, spread ideas, and solve problems.
Ultimately, if Support is to perform, it too must be supported—and that demands an investment in modern technology and total buy-in and effort from within.