I consider myself a pretty nice Sumo. I like people. People loooove me. I like talking to people, too—in person over tacos, through email, IM, even on the phone.
You know what's funny, though? The second I run into a problem trying to buy something online or using a web app—the kinda problem that makes me start scanning for a helpdesk phone number, contact form, or Live Chat widget—I suddenly HATE people.
When looking at the business end of a customer service exchange, I suddenly want nothing to do with people. I don't wanna call them and ask for help, I don't wanna spark up a Live Chat conversation, and I definitely don't wanna send a "help me I can’t figure out your site I think it’s broken" email.
It’s all a HUGE pain in my ample Sumo ass.
What’s more is that the flip side isn’t any more pleasant. When I’m in the office, working my sausage-fingers to the bone makin’ deals and movin’ mountains, I can’t be pulled off task every 30 seconds when a new support ticket comes in. There’s nothing this Sumo hates more than sending the same customer service reply that I’ve sent 500 times to users who are too lazy to see that the answer is staring them square in the face on the FAQ page.
Plain and simple, customer service kinda sucks. Nobody really likes having to deal with it on either end. It can take a lot of time and, if not handled well, it can really leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. But the fact is, if you do business, you’re sorta stuck with it, and you gotta do it well, or your customers will take notice and your reputation—and your bottom line—will take a hit.
One day, Sumo-ling, I realized something. I was spending A LOT of time answering customer service emails. Maybe 5 or 6 tickets would show up in my inbox on a given day—some of ‘em had simple issues and were quick fixes, but some took a bit more looking into. And I do love my customers, so I’d give them their due and take the time to help ‘em out, but the time was adding up. Quick email replies that take a few minutes were adding up into hours out of my week.
Sooo….I called up my pals at UserVoice and told them about the pickle I was in. I wanted a way to not just spend less time providing customer support, but also a way to be better and more responsive with it. They knew my plight, had been through it themselves, and had talked to thousands of other people who were smack in the thick of it. For that, they developed UserVoice Full Service.
Wanna get to know your customers better?
Wanna be able to answer their questions in seconds?
How about giving them the stuff they need to help themselves before their questions ever even make it to you?
And while you’re at it, why not give them a way to actually help improve your product, service, or website for you?
That’s what these guys had in mind when they created UserVoice—a SaaS platform that will help you help your customers and empower them to help themselves. Whether you’re managing feedback forums, support tickets, or your knowledge base and FAQs, this’ll give you the tools to tackle anything your customers can throw at you.
UserVoice Full Service—what you get—is basically made up of two pretty cool, easy-to-use products.
The first is Feedback, a platform to collect, manage, and respond to customer feedback on your site.
So you know you gotta listen to your customers and ask them how you’re doing from time to time, right? Of course—they teach you that in How Not to Be a Business Dummy 101. But your users have ideas and feedback that don’t fit into a multiple-choice form. UserVoice lets you set up custom feedback forums around your products and services that make it easy for users to offer suggestions, and easy for you to field them.
And here’s the cool thing about the user feedback forums you set up. Besides being super-easy for your users (no separate login required—users can submit with just a name and email, or totally anonymously), all the good stuff rises to the top so you see the stuff that’s most important to your users first. That’s one of the reasons sites like Reddit are so popular—you have user-submitted content that’s really managed by the users. Users upvote the stuff that’s important or interesting to them, and downvote the stuff that’s not. UserVoice forums work the same way. And here’s the kicker: your users have a limited amount of votes to spend, so they won’t just vote willy-nilly. That means you see only the feedback, ideas, and suggestions that really count to your customer base.
So then you have a couple hundred users clamoring around a particular thread about a much-wanted feature, and you need to let them know you hear them. Change the thread’s status with a click and have UserVoice send a mass email to everyone on it letting them know you hear them loud and clear and to expect a feature update comin’ along. Done and done.
The most important part about getting your users to submit solid, helpful feedback is to make it easy and comfortable to do so. My pals know that, too, so they made it really easy for UserVoice to be styled to match your brand with custom logos and colors. There’s even domain aliasing (help.yoursite.com), so your customers aren’t going to some weird 3rd party help site to get to you.
The yang to Feedback’s yin in this UserVoice Full Service package is Helpdesk, a platform to receive and manage support tickets with the help of a built-in knowledge base.
Ever get the feeling that no one reads your FAQs? You get the same question over and over again when the answer is STARING your user in the face right on your site? Put a stop to all that silliness with the Instant Answers widget. This thing scans through articles, ideas, answers, and threads from your knowledge base and feedback forums to pull up solutions to your users’ problems IN REAL TIME AS THEY’RE FILLING OUT THE CONTACT FORM.
So they start typing, I’m trying to checkout on your site and I can’t find the place to input a coupon co—
And bam. Right within the contact form pops a link to an article called Using coupon codes. They get what they need quicker, and you never have to even see a support ticket. Just how much time can Instant Answers save you? Customer research shows an average 40% drop in support tickets received when using this powerful tool.
But even with Instant Answers, the odd support ticket is still bound to make it over the fence and find its way to your inbox. No worries—throw ‘em right back over quicker than ever with your favorite canned responses. Make as many as you need so you can drop in a generic reply (either in its friendly dashboard, or your own email client) that gets at the issue, change a few details, and get on with your day. And with custom rules and filters, you’ll never see a ticket that shouldn’t go to you—you have complete control over routing tickets to the right people, right away.
Here’s the good part:
I told my UserVoice pals just how much my Sumo-lings need to step up their customer service game, and they’re letting you have this one for a STEEEEP discount. For a short time only, you’ll get 12 months of UserVoice Full Service Plus for just $99.
That’s just $99 for up to 5 agents (licensed users who can moderate forums, respond to tickets, change settings, etc.) on your team for a full year. For what you get, that’s usually $900. So if you’re part of a small team who’s ready to really nail customer service, this is a steal.
This is powerful, powerful stuff. Customer service can be mind-numbingly frustrating, and this is an easy way to do it right, and actually make it simple and even kinda fun for people on both ends of it. Trust me, you’ll be swimming in kudos.
The Chief Sumo
P.S. You can put your developer to work and take advantage of the full set of APIs, web hooks, and the ability to add custom Rapportive/iGoogle-like gadgets to pull customer information from other systems right into your UserVoice admin console. Check it out at developer.uservoice.com.
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