Assertively Friendly

April 15th, 2014

Those are 2 words that can describe Disney and all of their amazing operations. After all, it was Walt himself who advised all of us to “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring all of their friends”. I recently took the family to Disneyland down in Anaheim during spring break and although it has been quite a while since our last visit, the magic returns instantly even as you begin to exit the freeway. And that’s saying something…

Unfortunately, not all businesses function like Disney. People often claim that there’s this somethingmajig about Disney that makes it great and unforgettable. That somethingmajig is also a bit hard to pinpoint. I beg to differ. You see, Disney is all about customers. From the moment you touch their ecosystem they’re trained to shower you with attentiveness and care. For adults, this is a marvelous experience. For kids, this becomes an integral part of their life.

The next time you decide to visit Disneyland, pay attention to their staff, the way they talk, the way to smile, the way they hand you something. Heck, pay attention to the way they pick up litter throughout the day. After I got back to a dramatically less magical kingdom I decided to do some more digging on why Disneyland’s customer service is so great. For us at Reamaze, we found these are the 3 things that stood out most:

  1. Make every customer feel important. Disneyland employees aren’t trained just to answer your questions, give you directions, and assist you when you ask for assistance. They’re trained to seek out customer support. They’re trained to hone in on expressions and actions that point to doubt and confusion. If you’re around a service personnel at Disneyland while a question mark is lurking above your head, it’s very likely that they’ll see it before you do. That’s being assertively friendly.
  2. Communications training is key. Disney operations put an enormous amount of resources into making sure their staff are cross-communicationally trained. Yes I just made that word up. Most businesses barely even touch this subject during training. Disneyland employees on the other hand spend tons of time training to be an effective communicator both internally and customer-facing. One element we found most fascinating was that Disneyland employees are also training to know about things they’re not directly responsible for. Have a question about Space Mountain while in line at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad? Just ask the staff and they’ll know. This shouldn’t be too hard for smaller companies, right?
  3. Keep up appearances. This is less relevant but just as applicable. Appearances do matter. How do you think they keep the park so clean with millions of visitors every weekend? It certainly isn’t magical fairies doing the work. Think of it this way: first impressions count. Customer service is all about making those first impressions count. Appearances also apply to how well your support operations and your staff are coordinated. Think about it.

Take a few days off and visit Disneyland. Mention Reamaze and get 15% off your tickets. Just kidding. But seriously, go. You’ll be amazed.

Poor Customer Service By Design?

April 10th, 2014

Did you ever think that was ever possible? We’ve actually seen this happen many times. A company’s CEO tells us that good customer service is one of their top priorities and that customer satisfaction is something they strive for everyday. And you might ask, how is that bad customer service by design?

No one actually claims to have bad customer service intentionally. The problem arises when their otherwise good intentions to provide great customer support come to no fruition. Or maybe, consider the possibility that perhaps they don’t truly believe in the value of customer service. It’s not uncommon to see companies claim to value exemplary customer service and your experiences with their “service” is anything but. In these off cases, it’s therefore logical to assume that they’re either lying or it’s intentional (two sides of the same coin really).

Certain mindsets and perceptions about customer service ultimately trickle down to specific actions and inactions. When considered under the context of customer support this can define poor customer service by design. When you hire disspassionate and uncaring people for your “passionate and caring” customer support team, your customer service is poor by design. And even if you do hire passionate and caring CS people but don’t train them properly to excavate their full potential, your customer service is poor by design. And when they’re well trained but you fail to positively inspire them or involve them in the design and future of the company, your customer service is poor by design.

We’ve helped many startups achieve their customer service reality check recently. The one really good advice we can give is this: Think about what kind of customer service you really want. Is it going to be a core part of your business or is it just going to be a nice-to-have? Because if it’s going to be a core part of your business, treat it as equals with other parts of the core business. Invest in the right resources and talents.

Reamaze for Shopify

April 4th, 2014

Yello!

It’s been quite a busy week so far and we avoided sending out any serious news around April fools. Har har… But now the pranking mayhem has subsided, it’s time to announce something we enjoyed building – the brand new Reamaze plugin for Shopify.

If you’re a Shopify store owner, it makes perfect sense to bring the Reamaze experience to your online stores. Your customers will thank you for the awesome support experience and your staff will love you just because they should love you. Right?

Shopify has made it super simple for you to get started. Simply click on the image below and enter your shop name or store URL. Follow the instructions and get connected. You can also head over directly to Shopify’s apps page to find us there.

conversation-view-shopify

As always, leave us a comment or shoot us an email over at support@reamaze.com for any questions.

Enjoy!

Reamaze & Magento

March 1st, 2014

Do you run a storefront or e-commerce site with Magento? Have you been searching for an integrated support solution for that storefront? We take our e-commerce users pretty seriously because we understand the need for great customer service when it comes to selling things online. That’s why we’ve partnered up with Magento Connect to give your e-commerce an additional dash of awesomeness.

You can now find Reamaze in the Magento Extensions Marketplace with a super easy install. With it, you’ll have a one stop shop for customer support to your e-commerce site. This also includes all the added benefits such as the support lightbox, knowlegdge base, and much more. We’ve also made things easy for you with single sign-on so that when you log into your Magento Admin, we’ll automatically log you into Reamaze as well.

You can get started HERE!

What’s Customer Service Like Over There?

February 20th, 2014

We recently came across an article published by IDEO that goes through some of the differences in customer service in China. Having experienced China more than a couple of times ourselves we found the article fascinating. The recent decades of growth, the overabundance of choice, and the rapid changes to expectations in China have definitely changed how customer service is perceived (for better or worse depending on how you see things).

There were some key takeaways that we feel are actually relevant for all types of customer service. Because our definitions and expectations of customer service norms are shaped by our culture and environment, it is important to understand how other cultures see customer service and what we can learn from those patterns.

“Reassurance Service”

The example given in the article indicates that Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of products being marketed for sale whether online or in stores. Chinese consumers actively seek out proof and reassurance that what they’re buying is real, genuine, and high quality. Due to the rise in this phenomenon, Chinese businesses have adopted a new system of service where customers may ask questions, see pictures, and get updates on stock in real time through text messaging and chat services. Without this competitive edge businesses can expect to lose customers to the next shop.

It’s absolutely normal and common for customers to feel doubt and skepticism when you’re asking them to shell out money for your product. They’d rather not pay. Or, they might prefer to try out your product before spending the money. Customers have the right to be reassured that what you’re selling is better than what your competitors are selling.¬†As customer service professionals, it’s important to remember to how customers feel when they’re comparison shopping. This, combined with speed (response times), accessibility (e-mail, social support, knowledge base, etc), and quality (consistency, tone, staff) of service you’re able to provide in these early stages can have real impacts to your bottom line. Work to have the right processes in place to offer reassurance service.

“Abundance Service”

Chinese consumers are also becoming increasingly picky about a) the quality of service and b) the additional types of service offered beyond what’s expected. Weird? Probably. But in China’s growing economy, it’s now not uncommon to find a massage therapist in a fancy restaurant or a hair stylist in a spa. The Chinese hot pot restaurant described in the article even had a children’s playroom and a manicure salon. If you think about it, we’re already undergoing this type of “T” shaped transition. More complementary services are being offered alongside specific verticals of products.

It’s therefore safe to assume that your customers are probably not just here to use/buy your product. Customers expect user-oriented designs, beautiful graphics, reliable up-time, simple payment methods, and yes, consistent customer service. Customers aren’t just in it for the product/service/food, they’re in it for the whole experience. This isn’t to say that you should start to offer BBQ ribs next to your consulting business but it is an indicator to start thinking about customer experiences. Align what you do well with the services you offer so customers feel that the overall package is complete.

“Measured Service”

The definition of measured service isn’t what you’d expect. It’s not a measure of how good your service is or how your staff is doing. It’s a measure of how good your service is compared to others that sell a competitive product/service. Another Chinese restaurant given as an example in the article drew inspirations from other restaurants when it came to packaging, cleanliness, service levels, and customer experiences. In addition, they focused on recreating those competitive attributes and re-interpreted them as a part of their own culture and service.

The lesson learned here is that it’s important to understand what your business culture is. If you’re not sure, look at those around you and see what they do well. Absorb positive patterns and relate them to what your product/service does well. Customer service is, to a large degree, a reflection of culture so simply copying processes or best practices will get you going but it won’t get you far. Having a firm understanding and commitment to how your very own business values can be translated through customer service is key.

“Adaptive Service”

Adaptive service is less about responding to customer demands and changing the way you do things and more about staying ahead of the curve in terms of what customers want and expect. Many Chinese customer service related innovations have come from this notion. A mattress store owner noticed that most of his customers live nearby and many are impulse buyers after they try out a new mattress. Most of them also happened to not have enough money on them because they were simply out walking their dogs. In order to capitalize on opportunities he offered to accept payment of any amount, to deliver the mattress in mere hours, and the flexibility to pay the delivery crew the remaining amount.

This type of adaptive service isn’t a reactionary one. It is anticipatory service based on customer patterns and a firm understanding of customer expectations. Refrain from running a customer support team that is purely reactionary. Reactionary service seeks to clear out as many customer requests as possible. Learn to provide your staff with a voice so ideas and innovations to better serve customers can easily flow to other functions of your business.

Speaking of mattresses and China – LOL

You can find the original article here.

Google Apps Marketplace & Chrome Webstore

February 11th, 2014

Happy Tuesday people! We spent the last 10 minutes trying to find a fun equivalent of “Throwback Thursday” for Tuesday. Any ideas? So far, we like “Tangy Tuesday” and “Takeoff Tuesday”. “Toasty Tuesday” would work if the sun was actually out.

Anyways, we digress. We wanted to let you guys know that it’s now much easier to access Reamaze if you’re a Google addict. We’ve released Reamaze extensions in the Chrome Web Store as well as the Google Apps Marketplace. We’d love it if you can connect Reamaze and leave a review/comment. We appreciate the support and love!

Click to connect here for the Chrome Web Store:


And here for the Marketplace App:

The 5 Don’ts In Customer Service

January 31st, 2014

Don’t Forget to Listen

When customers come to us either because they’re interested in what we offer or have a question regarding their account, we always take the opportunity to listen and learn about what they need. Instead of selling every awesome feature under the rainbow, see if you can pinpoint why the customer chose to approach you. Perhaps they only need a few tools they can’t find elsewhere. Your time will be much better spent selling the relevant tools. When a customer has a problem, try to really understand the essence of what they’re asking. Sometimes it’s better to address the root of the problem rather than providing a quick fix solution. For example, are they confused about the UI? If so, ask what their workflow is and explain how their workflow might work within your product. This is more effective than telling them what something does or where something is.

Don’t Use Technical Jargon Words

If you’re going for the intimidate, confuse, and annihilate strategy, absolutely use technical jargon. If you’re trying to calm customers down and help them through a difficult and frustrating situation, technical jargon won’t get you very far. You’ll most likely spend time explaining more than you have to. Instead, turn down the sophistication and use words and concepts they can easily understand. Remember, this is customer service. You’re not trying to look smart. You’re trying to be helpful.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

It’s not likely that you’ll have an answer for every question. Following up with customers is crucial to maintaining a high level of service. We’ll even be the first to admit that following up with customers can get lost in the weeds sometimes. However, attempt to make it a priority to follow up whenever you promise to do so. Write it on a sticky note, attach an internal note to the conversation, or mark the conversation as “unresolved” in order to remind yourself. Another type of follow-up is to include customers in your progress as a company. Ask customers toward the end of your conversation whether or not they’d like to receive tips and tricks on how to use something, whether or not they’d like to receive a monthly newsletter, or if they’d like to participate in surveys. You’ll be surprised how many of your loyal customers will say yes.

Don’t Forget to Keep Up With the Industries You Service

Changes in your customers’ industries might seriously affect how they work and use your product or service. For better or for worse, it’s important to know what your customers need. Doing so will allow you to stay proactive instead of reactive to changing tides. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers about their industry and how your product might make their lives easier. This is also a great way to build confidence, trust, and loyalty by staying ahead of the curve and your competition.

Don’t Forget to Share Internally

We’ve all gone through this before. You call into a 1800 number. An agent answers the phone and deems it necessary to transfer you to another agent. You shiver in your seat and wonder if you have to explain the whole situation all over again. Luckily, we’re moving beyond that era and technology is able to solve some of that pain. That said, you’re the one responsible to make sure that internal sharing is happening. Leveraging technology to improve customer service is one of the smartest moves you can make. Instead of focusing on the color of a specific button, spend that time brainstorming about ways to make internal sharing an essential part of your customer service routine.

 

What To Look Out For In 2014

January 18th, 2014

Now that the most of you are back from vacations from exotic and other jealousy-inducing places, it’s time to get back to impressing customers. But what should you look out for? Is 2014 that much different from 2013? Here’s what we think 2014 will look like for supporting your customers based on our internal trends survey.

  1. Increased demand for multi-channel and self-service channel support. You really have to be locked and loaded for this trend. Not only are customers actively looking for access to these channels but they’re also demanding consistency across these channels. Making it more difficult (and also where you can impress) is that customers are sometimes expecting unification of channels. They might email you to start a conversation but send you a tweet midway through. Just be ready for it in 2014.
  2. Customers might expect you to proactively notify them before problems arise. It’s natural for you to know more about your business than your customers do. If something breaks or goes wrong, you should be inclined to support customers in an outbound format. An extension of this trend is the potential to personalize outbound support messages based on your customers’ data.
  3. Knowing more about your customers turns support from the act of replying to the act of collaborating. More than 65% of customers with support issues are already finding solutions on their own. The role of support agents should no longer be confined to “handling” or “replying” to customer concerns. As helpdesk applications evolve to become smarter, the role of the agent should be to use that knowledge to collaborate with customers. This involves using customer data and user generated content together, provide more natural conversations, add more agility to fulfilling customer demands, and leveraging social tools more effectively.
  4. Support agents are not only demanding better experiences themselves but also better customer experiences. Agents who are used to disconnected and over complex tools have already demanded their solutions be more usable, intuitive, and attractive. They’re now doing the same for customers they support. Expect customer service leaders and managers to demand simplifying end user experiences by eliminating extraneous protocols such as asking for passwords and logins. This makes support agents’ lives easier and also improves service interactions.
  5. Good support needs good data at the right times. Providing customer service agents with up-to-date customer data is still not a high priority in many organizations. Unfortunately, this seriously dampens the ability to give reliable and consistent service. Customers who contact you a lot might receive better service while quieter customers often have longer wait times due to the inability to find data. Make this a priority in 2014.
  6. Customers are becoming more mobile. So should you. Prep your customer service agents to become more capable in a mobile environment. Adding value to customers in a mobile environment with personalized user experiences is going to be huge in 2014.

What Happened To My Pills?

January 17th, 2014

If you haven’t already noticed but Reamaze recently underwent some small cosmetic surgery. Gone is the pills-like menu bar where you can access knowldgebases, contacts, and settings. We’ve replaced it with a more intuitive left-oriented navigation menu. The new navigation menu gives you a more streamlined view over your support assets, tools, and settings.

The left-oriented navigation menu gives Reamaze better flow and ties together many features (and future features) in a way that is more accessible and useful. Let us know what you think at support@reamaze.com! We hope this will be a great first step to a newer and even better looking Reamaze :)

Insert KB “Here”!

January 2nd, 2014

Today is January 2nd and we thought we’d start off 2014 with a cool little feature for all of you. We’ve added the ability for you to quickly search for and insert your many KB articles in your responses to conversations.

As more and more of you are adopting Reamaze’s convenient support, KB, and community forums features, we’re doing our best to make sure these tools are well integrated, supported, and accessible. You can start testing this ASAP. And as always, if you find anything out of place, please feel free to yell at us. We’ll fix it. Pronto!