Favorite Sayings

Below are some of my favorite sayings. These are all mine, but I have been inspired by many others. If they work for you and your department, feel free to use them.

Your Knowledge Base is your Best Worker. Think about it. It never sleeps, never takes a day off, doesn’t get injured, doesn’t complain, and is always in the right spirit and mood to help your customers. So, promote it and pay it a lot of money. Don’t scrimp on hand-made solutions or sub-par software. And be sure to keep it updated daily with brief, easily-read tips and advice for your customers. Hint: KCS can really help here.

They’re called Customers, not Users. Not everyone agrees (ahem! Zuckerberg!), but I won’t let my support team refer to Customers as Users, even internally. Quite frankly, neither should Product or Development. Always keep in mind always that customers pay your salaries (yes, even ‘free tier’ ones) and are your company’s sole raison d’etre. The title Users sounds foreign and distant. Get cozy with your customers and remember them as just that: customers.

Our Daily Ticket Goal is Zero. That’s right. Support isn’t about just ‘handling’ incoming tickets (cases). It’s about eliminating them. That requires a larger discussion outside this paragraph, but in short, the best support is a perfect product, a perfect customer, perfect tools in-between us and our customers, and a perfect culture. Granted, that won’t ever exist, but that is our goal. Just replying to tickets isn’t good enough. Setting goals of ‘less tickets’ means little. The goal is zero tickets. Then we’ve done our job well.

Instant Chat is the Worst Form of Support. Egads! I said it! Okay, more fully, chat can be the best form of support, but it takes the most work and the best teams to pull it off consistently. In this day and age when most helpdesk software lets you ‘implement’ chat with a few clicks in an hour or two, executive management is chomping at the bit to ‘offer’ chat support to their customers. Understandable. But are you ready? Are you really ready? Your email and phone support better be 100% on target before you even think about adding a chat channel.

There’s never enough ticket audits. If you have a good support manager, ticket audits should be so frequent that you feel they are like those little no-see-em bugs buzzing around your face. You swat at them, but they just reappear seconds later. Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but one ticket a week doesn’t come close to cutting it. Worse, if support management is relying on CSAT to steer their auditing efforts, then you’re already behind. Skate to where the puck will be, not where it is now.

Everything goes through Customer Support Operations first. Everything. If you’re not doing this at your company, start today. Development must include Support Management in their release cycle. Product must include Support Management in their planning. And for the love of all things holy and pure, Marketing absolutely must include Support Management in their marketing strategy. I won’t detail here my many war stories, but trust me, it’s a critical component of keeping customers happy. If you want happy customers, you include Support Management in everything. And by ‘include’, I mean more than just a seat at the table or a forwarded email.

Support are the Product Experts. And if they’re not? You’re in Big Trouble, Mister! (said like one of those kids on those black and white TV shows from the 1950s). Test your Support Team constantly. Relentlessly. Training should be weekly. Make ample time for it. Get everyone involved in becoming experts of SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) on certain areas. Support should know the product far better than Development and Product, because Support interfaces with the real-world product.

FCR is the Metric we Idolize. All other metrics are important. Some even critical. But FCR (First Contact Resolution) is the only one that customers esteem more than the rest. With every passing hour, the disappointment in your customers’ hearts grow greater if the first reply they receive requires them to reach out again. If you’re going to fail on FCR, fail early, fail fast. Perfection is indeed the enemy of progress, but tracking FCR is the surest correlation between high CSAT (and NPS and reduced churn) more than any other metric. Which is why Team FCR is my #1 goal. All other metrics helps us identify challenges to getting FCR down to 1.0 (or 100% if you use percentages).