Len markidan This article was written by Len Markidan of GrooveHQ. GrooveHQ is a simple help desk software. Delight your online customers with awesome, personal support.

Lack of Customer Support

Needed Support or a Product Demo

A few years ago, a survey of online customers found that on average, for every customer who complains about an issue, there are 26 who don’t say anything. They didn't get help or didn't ask for help: Why didn’t they get help? Why didn’t they ask for help?

They don’t ask questions because...

  • They feel like they should just know how to use the software.
  • They don’t want to feel stupid.
  • They don’t feel like they have time to wait for an answer.
  • They're afraid it will take too long to get an answer.
  • They're sure the support person won't understand and it's too much trouble to explain what they want.
  • They're afraid of rejection. If you don't have the feature they're after, they don't want to hear that you don't like their idea.
1 complaint 26 customers

Unfortunately, this suggests that you may have a lot more unhappy customers than you think. And as we all know, unhappy customers means higher churn.

This finding also means that you can’t depend on your customers to tell you when something is bothering them; you need to get proactive with your customer support.

Here are three proactive support wins to get you started:

Watch Your Social Media Accounts

Often, social media is the first place customers will go to look for support. With this being the case, it’s amazing how many business Twitter accounts sit unmonitored and unused.

As it turns out, that’s a costly mistake: a 2012 Gartner study suggests that failure to respond via social channels can lead to a 15% increase in churn.

Watching and responding to social media mentions will go a long way in spotting customer complaints that aren’t headed to your support inbox.

Don’t assume that your customers know your Twitter handle, either. In fact, research shows that only 3% of brand mentions actually use a Twitter handle, instead opting for the company or product name. Search for your product or business name on a regular basis (some tools, like HootSuite, will automatically update your feed with new search results) to see what people are saying.

Understand where your customers hang out online.

No matter what your audience is, there are probably some online communities where they hang out.

For example, if your customers are developers, they may be mentioning you on places like Stack Exchange or Stack Overflow. If they’re SaaS startups, they might frequent Hacker News. And no matter what niche you’re in, there’s probably a subreddit or two that captures your customers perfectly.

By listening and participating in the same communities as your customers do, you’ll have your ear to the ground when a mention of your product occurs, not to mention a better relationship with — and a much deeper understanding of — the people you sell to.

Use Monitoring Tools

There are tools out there that crawl the web and tell you when your product or brand gets mentioned somewhere. Mention is a favorite of mine.

These tools can help you stay on top of when and where your product gets mentioned, so that you can proactively reach out to the prospects customers that mention them. They’re great for marketing, but just as important for customer support.

Acting On Support Issues In The Wild

Once you spot a support issue, it’s important to handle it correctly to ensure that your upset customer becomes a happy one.

For more, check out some of these guides for getting proactive support right:

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