Does Your Support Team Know More About Your Product Than You Do?


Did you ever think to outsource customer help? Outsourcing customer support helps with getting replies. By working with a team that has an international reach, you will ensure that all of your customers are being attended to.

In part 2 of our Intercom World Tour recap, Sabrina shares her tips in creating a working customer support team that runs like a well-oiled machine. Her team closes loops in the customer to product development cycle.

Here's what we learned...

More eyes to find the details

“If you’re not looking at all the conversations your support team is having with your customers, you’re basically throwing all that information away” -Sabrina Gordon

What we learned: This quote sparked an idea that our team should have a document that tracks all of our client / prospect conversations.

By having a system where your customer’s feedback is easily accessible you will be able to better determine how your product should evolve. You eliminate having to guess what your customers want to see in your tool, and having to randomly find people to get feedback from.

Survey feedback vs. unsolicited feedback

There is a ton of value in getting these two types of feedback.

Survey feedback is what your research team is finding. It’s important, but it’s not really relevant to the specific context that might be more relevant to you. It is a closed conversation. Survey Feedback is scoped and your team asks about things they know they want information on.

Unsolicited feedback is found in the conversations your support team is having with your customers. Intercom Support gets information that is workflow driving, open scope, and open in conversation. This method identifies the blind spots you didn’t know were questions you wanted to ask.

Wisely, Sabrina says that customer support should be like recycling, in that you should be getting two uses out of it:

  1. You’re solving a customer problem
  2. You’re solving the product problem

Key takeaway: Avoid the mistake of only looking to solve the customer problem. It results in documents and auto-responds that don’t contribute to the product problem.

Here are a couple of examples Sabrina attributes to the challenges this method creates:

If your product team isn’t getting the feedback in the things they’re shipping, they’re probably shipping more things than they should be getting feedback on.

If they’re shipping more things that the customers don’t like or the market might not want, then your product team’s work is also deteriorating.

Getting the feedback your product team needs

In the following steps, Sabrina identifies how you can create an effective process to obtain and organize information that comes back to your product team.

  1. Tag every conversation with a team and category tag
  2. With the Research team, create dashboards for each product team and look at trends in the types of conversations that are occurring
  3. Find out what to do with that information and how it can inform your roadmap
  4. Ask yourself if the trend is just a spike or if it is consistently mentioned in high volume within one type of conversation
  5. Categorize these conversations and look at them individually

Sabrina’s Tips on Tagging

When you look at categorized conversations individually, a great tag to use is the unaware tag. What’s great about this conversation, is that it creates an opening for you to interact with a customer:

  • You are able to tell them that this feature already exists so there’s no waiting.
  • On the other hand, the customer needed to reach out to support for this issue, meaning that your products could be hard to find.

A Product Manager can then look at all the types of features that have been built in this tag, and can then work with the content team to either create more customer facing documents or tweak marketing content.

The Bug Report tag: with this tag, the Intercom team creates an issue on Github for their developers to fix, and then links this issue to Intercom. When the Github issue is closed, the conversation in Intercom reopens, and the support team is then able to easily follow up with their customer to tell them, hey we fixed what was broken, hope everything’s okay.

Final takeaway: Every business needs to listen to what their customers are saying. By listening, you show that you care about what features they’d like to see next, where you can then tag these conversations as a Feature Request.

The Customer Voice Report

The Intercom research team goes through the process of creating this report every quarter, listing the top 10 feature requests that people have wanted that quarter. Not every item on this list is built, but they are organized by severity to help prioritize what needs to be done.

What great service does for you and your customer

For Sabrina Gordon, a really good customer support team works closely with the product team. This will not only make your product and product team better, but it will also enable them to close that product feedback loop and iterate on the services that they’re sending to customers.

“With this process you will still inevitably ship things that are less than perfect, but if you can get that product through your product team, and then through your support team, everyone can still end up happy.” - Sabrina Gordon.

Part Three comin' up...

In the second instalment of this Intercom series, we learned about the importance of organization and feedback.

Tell us about a time when you got feedback that ultimately helped you in the comments below, and don't forget to share!


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Tags: Sales & Marketing, team management, business growth, consumer feedback, customer service, Customers, Metrics, product development, product marketing, product team, Small Business, smb, tagging, tags, task management, team, teamwork, Technology, workflow