5 Smart Ways to Leverage B2B Customer Support Data
Your customer support data is a treasure trove of information. Here are five ways to use it to increase customer satisfaction and improve your bottom line.
- By Robert C. Johnson
- May 21, 2018
Your business can't stand still when it comes to customer satisfaction. The satisfaction and happiness of your customers can increase revenue through positive word-of-mouth referrals and expansion opportunities. Your customer support team is largely responsible for customer satisfaction.
In the B2B industry, keeping customers happy with great support is more important than ever. B2B customer support relationships play a key role in acquiring and renewing contracts. Customers may stick with you if your product isn't the cheapest or most flashy in the industry if you offer great support.
How do you know if your customer support is doing well? One tactic is to evaluate customer support data and analytics. Here are five ways to leverage that data to improve your bottom line.
#1: Identify at-risk customers
Because they work on the front lines, your support team members will often be the first to notice any "red flags" that customers are thinking about taking their business elsewhere. Keep an eye on key data points such as ticket volume, average ticket resolution time, and ticket topic tags to determine if any patterns point to excessive frustration with your business.
A B2B customer support solution may generate real-time scores based on such factors as a customer distress index (CDI). The CDI can quickly identify how happy a customer may be with your enterprise so you can get in front of customers showing signs of dissatisfaction and take steps to reduce potential churn.
#2: Establish and maintain the right agent/customer relationships
It's no secret that relationships are important in the B2B industry. It's also not unheard of for companies to renew their contracts just because they have a great working relationship with an account manager or support professional. Evaluate your agent data to determine which employees work best with which customers. Do certain agents receive more positive reviews from specific customers?
Using an automated ticketing system, it's easy to route tickets from that customer to go directly to the preferred agents. Customers want to work with agents they trust, and by pairing them with agents who also understand their business, you'll create a rock-solid relationship that, in time, can lead to excellent up-selling opportunities.
#3: Identify areas for improved collaboration
No customer support team is perfect, so leverage your data to identify areas for improvement. To start, some companies look for common themes, such as tickets with long close times, then investigate why these recurring problems happen. For example, tickets handled by onboarding and account management may be resolved quickly, but when the development team is included, the process and resolution times are longer.
One way to solve such a common issue is to use customer support software with a task management component. By dividing a ticket into multiple "tasks" and assigning them to individuals in different departments, your business can work on many areas of the ticket at the same time while keeping track of the actions required to resolve the issue. This "divide and conquer" strategy greatly reduces the close time for complex tickets.
#4: Employ channel metrics to shed light on how your customers communicate
Like business development metrics, support data can also explain how customers prefer to interact with your company. Look at the volume of each support channel (phone, email, chat, etc.) and plan your external communications accordingly. If email is a preferred communication channel, sending product announcements or promotions via email is worthwhile. If your customers aren't "tech-savvy" and they prefer phone support, traditional (i.e., physical mailer) and verbal communication may work better. Reaching customers on the channel they prefer improves their willingness to learn more about (and grow with) your business.
#5: Incorporate quantified product data feedback into your strategic decisions
If your customer support software tracks products and inventory by customer, you can leverage some great strategic insights from this data. Look at products from a granular perspective -- such as a specific version of software -- to see which products or versions are most problematic. This insightful customer support data can be leveraged along with other metrics to assist in your strategic decisions. If a product has a high profit margin but is a major source of customer support time and tickets, it may be less important to your revenue stream than a low-margin product with low ticket volume.
A Final Word
There are several ways to leverage B2B customer support data to improve your business. We've provided five to get you started developing your own analytics plan. To put it simply, when leveraged properly, great support data means happier customers -- and that makes for a stronger bottom line.
Robert C. Johnson is the CEO of TeamSupport. In his career, Johnson has founded, invested in, and sold startups, has extensive board experience and has been helping B2B companies give better customer service for 10 years. You can reach the author on Twitter or LinkedIn.