Applian has always been a customer-oriented software company. With a number of products that help people record video and audio off of the Internet, we’ve learned a thing or two about customer service over the years. With this in mind, we thought we’d share how we roll. And, we care so much about it that this one is a double volume post (stay tuned for part 2!).
You can’t please everyone… but try really hard!
Customers write in with all sorts of questions. Everything from “What’s my Activation Code?” to “Why can’t I record this video while my computer is off?” Some questions have easy answers; others require a bit of investigation. So how do we keep the conversation positive and helpful all the time?
1. We actually READ what you write. It’s important that we resist the urge to skim communications and jump to the answer. Yeah, yeah, we know it happens. But if you treat emails like a grocery list, you’ll likely miss something and provide bad or incomplete information.
2. We recognize that your time is valuable. Just like you, we aren’t glued to our inboxes (actually, that’s not really true – we’re pretty glued). Regardless, we want you to get back to the important stuff, like using our products. So we always try to get all the information needed with the least amount of back-and-forth communication possible.
3. Don’t be a jerk! That goes for both the support team and the customer. The anonymity of the Internet can often lead people to type things that they would never say to your face. Thankfully 99.9% of our customers are perfectly charming. Like, people we’d actually hang out with. Every once in a while a bad apple will drop into our inbox and be downright horrid. Our plan? Send it to Tom, our Chief Operations Officer, who has the uncanny ability to turn every scary monster into a cuddly kitten.
4. We’re armed with a team of humans. Our (awesome) software products are downloaded thousands of times per day. So, of course we want to be ready to answer any and all questions. We couldn’t do it without a staff of smart people. Really smart people. Robots are cool and all, but not really our thing.
5. The Special Sauce is important. When customers write in for help, the ticket is answered by the member of our support team that’s most knowledgeable about that particular product. If you need help with Replay Media Catcher, Shellie will be the one to sort it out for you. Cheryl will take all your Replay Music questions. And, Chad & Sheryl will help out with sales and ordering.
As a customer, what are some of the ways that a company can show you that they value your business? We hope we’re on your list of favorite companies. If not, let us know how we can do better!
As a company that develops products that enable people from all over the world to record video and audio from their computers, we’ve spent lots of time talking to remote workers at Applian and elsewhere about how to get things done away from the office.
What we’ve learned is this: the tools that empower instantaneous access to information and communication with others are the same tools that bury us all under unmanageable masses of stuff. Just as in the days of pen and paper (reams and reams of paper!), today’s most effective workers, be they remote or on-site, are those who can organize the deluge of documents, communications and information we all create as we work digitally. Finding your paperweights – those tools that will not just get your head above the rising waters of your inboxes but actively help you turn all that unorganized stuff into useful, accessible, insight-precipitating business intelligence data – has never been more important.
Here are some hopefully helpful tidbits on how to stay in control of your work data:
Welcome to another installment of From Our Desk to Yours. Applian Technologies has always been a customer-oriented software company. With a number of products that help people record video and audio off the Internet, we’ve learned a thing or two about customer service over the years so we thought we’d share how we roll. We care so much about it; this one is a double volume post. You can read Part 1 here￼ .
What We’ve Learned
Use tools, fools. Take advantage of the best services offered. We love Zendesk for managing every single ticket submitted by our customers. And Basecamp is great for tracking and reporting bugs to our developers. We’re always on the lookout for new services that make our service better. Got any others we should know about?
Sometimes people would rather fix it themselves. We offer lots of self-help options, like user guides, FAQ’s and an online troubleshooter. An online tool to find a lost activation code is really appreciated by our customers and cuts down the time our team has to spend searching for it. We appreciate those customers who (like us) love to troubleshoot and solve problems – even though we’re always here for that extra support.
Keep updates and upgrades simple. We try to avoid over-complicated language and processes so that you know exactly what you’re getting when our genius engineers come up with new releases or improvements. Here’s our upgrade and update policy.
A happy staff is a loyal hard-working staff. We allow them to work from home and provide them with the tools and equipment that they need to do their work efficiently. They are true team players and recognized as experts and professionals. Just like our customers, we would not exist without a stellar support staff.
Keep Developers out of Customer Service. Let’s face it: software developers are a breed all their own. Ours are diligent and brilliant coders that survive on caffeine and chocolate. And like most proud parents, they’re super-connected to the products they create. They can take criticism personally and get grumpy if not treated with the utmost care. So, we let our strategists and Level 2 support communicate any shortcomings and feature requests directly to them. We speak nerd so you don’t have to.
Make it easy to get in touch. Our customers really like the convenience of the self-help tools that we provide. And we’ve heard great things about our ticket-based help desk, which you can read for yourself here. We’re often asked why we don’t offer customer support by telephone. It’s a fair question and one we don’t mind explaining; telephone support is expensive. So much so that we’d need to charge for it, or increase our software prices. Neither option has ever seemed very appealing to our customers. So we stick to what works.
As a customer, what are some of the ways that a company can show you that they value your business? We hope we’re on your list of favorite companies. If not, let us know how we can do better.