How Your Small Business Can Increase Customer Satisfaction

I signed up for Assistly.com desk.com when I heard about their launch and I've been using it daily since. It started rough, and has certainly had it's bumps along the way, but the service has continued getting better and better. With the recent move from assistly.com to desk.com, I imagine the initial kinks have been worked out and we'll start seeing some really great updates.   desk.com logo (via bostinno.com)  

Not that it doesn't provide value now (it does), it just seems this is a space that can grow really quickly. A dashboard of your social and support connections is critical as Twitter, Facebook, et al continue to be adopted and accepted by organizations. How are you supposed to stay in contact with your customers and clients when establishing all these touch points?

It's not enough to just sign up for these services, it's important to keep the channels active. How many times have you contacted a support channel only to have dead air on the other end? Bad.

After signing up and reading a bit how the service works, I implemented four channels:

  • Twitter
  • Chat
  • Email
  • Phone

I'm ranking those in order of importance, at least for now. I assume as I get up and running, and a bit more familiar with the service, email will take over the top spot.

 

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OVERVIEW I'm a single-person organization, so this is a simple setup. I'm not using complex macros (yet) or anything crazy - my point was to get this up and running and to see if / how it could help me stay in contact with those folks who are looking to reach me.

The four channels I opened up are the ones I use most. No, I'm not a big Facebook guy but I do like interacting via Twitter and sometimes the occasional chat. Forms and emails have their place, and they aren't going away soon, so it's important to hook those in as well.

I signed up shortly after the service was made available, or as soon as I heard about the service. About two weeks ago.

The sign-up process was simple (I don't remember there being any hiccups). Since I'm a single user, I opted for the free plan:

Your first Full-Time Agent is always free. Experience all features & benefits of Desk.com with no commitments.

A quick side-note: If you're not familiar with the support / helpdesk terminology, it will help to do a review. It can get confusing: agents, cases, channels, etc. It's a good idea to review the desk.com feature section before diving in.

Next, comes the configuration. I found this to be a bit bumpy, likely due to the new-ness of the service. There are three key pieces:

  • Agent: The person(s) who(m) handle the support requests
  • Admin: The person(s) who(m) handle the setup and configuration
  • Reporting: The activity data

As the agent and the admin, I was (and sort of still am) annoyed by the fact each piece opens a new window. This seems to go against what we're trying to do here: consolidate our support communications into a single interface. Oh well, not a huge deal.

I set up the different channels and kept the desk.com tab open so I could check on it throughout the day.

TWITTER This is probably the big one for me. I like the fact it goes out and pulls in all the @wiljr references, then lists them for me to reply. Sometimes I miss references and I'd rather not. I've tried TweetDeck and a few other apps to help me keep track but they don't work for one reason or another (just another app, slow, etc.).

When a reference comes in, I can reply to the tweet and close, or just keep it open in case there is something I want to follow upon. Lots of space for notes, etc.

  CHAT I just turned this on last week and I like it so far. I've always pushed having a chat option available for small businesses - it gives them direct access to website visitors and questions from potential and current customers. You don't have to be online 24/7, just make sure your visitors know you might not be online (and another way to reach you).

The great thing about the chat channel is that you can turn it into a form if there is no response from the agent after xx time. For me, I've seen it take up to 30 seconds for a chat to register in my desk.com channel. If I haven't responded within 45 seconds from the time the chat initiates, the chat turns into a form. Once the form is submitted, it's registered as a case.

Nice!

  EMAIL I haven't published a support email address yet so I haven't really used this channel to it's fullest. However, I have tested it with a test email address and it seems similar to other support desk applications / services.

Again, the nice thing is that it's all in one portal (Twitter, email, chat, forms, etc.).

  PHONE I have this turned on but it's all manual, so this doesn't really count. This means when a call comes in, you have to manually log it in. I don't have much to comment on here but since I had the channel turned on, so I thought I'd mention it.

 

On the mobile side, the stripped-down interface looks good. Here are a few screenshots (iPhone 4, iOS 5):

 

desk.com: Mobile Screen

 

desk.com: Mobile Screen

 

desk.com: Mobile Screen

 

desk.com: Mobile Screen

 

There's some room for improvement. Here's what I'd like to see next:

  • Integration with Google Voice: I think this would be a big benefit, especially since there is a voice-to-text conversion for voicemails, which could then be logged as a case.
  • Better Notifications: There are built in audio notifications, which are helpful but I'd like to see something more. Maybe an app that sits in your tray or a counter in the browser tab. I understand that agents in big companies are probably sitting in this window all day but it'd be nice if better notifications were available so we could set them up dependent on our specific / unique environment.
  • Mobile (iOS) App: Having the ability to deal with cases while offline would be great. If you're able to respond to cases at anytime and anyplace, wouldn't that be ideal?
  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys: This seems like a no-brainer, especially since desk.com logs form input as cases.

Side note: I'm also trying engag.io, which I'm a big fan of. I'm planning a review of their service soon.

 

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