Customer Support essentially means communicating directly with your customers about their personal needs. This can be a great opportunity to show them what your brand is all about. In order to properly do this, you need a good process in place. A strong process allows your customer team to know how to efficiently give the customer exactly what they need to have a good experience with your brand. In order to build this process, you must first understand your business through the eyes of your customer. 

This means digging into the user experience. What are the main ways that customers interact with your platform?

For a retail e-commerce site, this would, of course, include purchasing data. But it can also include questions customers might have about their account. For example what data is saved (such as credit cards and/or addresses), past experience with a vendor, product quality, or even fraudulent activity. The goal is to really understand the entire experience a customer has on your platform.

Try to map this out as thoroughly as possible. I recommend using a flowchart where you can branch from action to potential customer question and answers. Some ways to approach this include brainstorming with your team or user testing. User testing can be done for relatively low cost and is a great way to discover the natural questions that come up. It is important to map the customer flow through all various paths. Expand the flowchart by branching off the top questions for each stage. Below, you can find a brief example flow chart with a purchasing flow in blue. The red boxes include example customer questions and some data that the customer support team would need to be able to effectively assist.

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Understanding your user experience means that you can predict what questions they might have. With the user experience flow chart in place, you now know the top questions. Next, each question should have some number of critical data points that a customer needs and an agent must locate. For example order or shipment information. You will need to provide a central location where all of this business data is stored and accessible. This helps your team to be more efficient and cost-effective. It is worth the investment to create a database that agents can easily interact with. The best customer support processes result from accessible, understandable data. We will get into setting up such a database in later articles.

So let’s recap: to start building customer support you need to map out the customer experience. Next, you can map out the top questions at each stage. For each question, there is firm data that the customer support team can share with the customer. You need to be able to answer these questions. This is where you will start to think about the responses and how it should look like. Those answers can be used as templates for your customer support agents.

A common fear within startups is that building a customer support team means you are no longer controlling the voice of your company. However, with a thoughtful process, you absolutely can control the voice. When outlining major questions and providing answers, it’s your job to properly document what text creates that voice. In the next article, we’ll look at a training manual for support. You will see actual examples on how a training manual can allow agents to use your chosen brand voice.

While you work on mapping out the user experience, keep this question at the back of your mind: What is the best way for my team to handle customer problems in a manner that creates the brand image I want to build?