Brian Gordon, Director of Customer Support, shares his learnings on using Intercom as a competitive advantage
I’ve been delivering customer-facing support for the technology space for more than 20 years. Technology has evolved so much over the years, but even with the incredible innovations, the need for technology companies to provide excellent customer support remains.
Looking back, I realize the process of providing customer support has evolved at every step. Traditionally, the customer reached out with a question, usually through phone or email. This request generates a “ticket” – a uniquely numbered problem report for the support rep, and then the support rep engages with the customer. This last step requires the support rep to capture lots of information, including the customer’s name, contact and account details, as well details about the issue and lot of context around the issue.
You can likely recall an incident when you reached out to a support rep and ended up having a lengthy exchange. For example, if you were facing an issue with your computer, you’d have to share what browser you were using, what computer you have, the operating system specifics, and a host of other technical details. You may have been left wondering how relevant the questions were and frustrated by seemingly extraneous questions. In business settings, the internal IT staff is often enlisted just to respond to the litany of questions. It’s incredible when you think about the amount of time and effort spent in just getting all of this information collected!
At Zenoti, we set out to ease each step in the customer support process. To do this, we set out to find a partner that was up to the challenge and that led us to the software solution, Intercom.
Zenoti clients know Intercom as the “blue bubble” that’s accessible from every screen in the Zenoti app. Intercom allows us to offer near real-time support for our customers, via an easily accessible channel. For spas and salons, the Intercom ‘messenger’ allows us to be sensitive to the needs of front desk staff who are busy with guests and can’t stay on a phone call. After all, what guest wants to see their spa receptionist fumble for a phone number, punch their through an IVR queue, and get on the phone with technical support? Intercom enables us to provide a discreet exchange.
Zenoti customers simply click on the ever-present blue bubble that’s available in Zenoti’s applications. They are connected to a friendly team member and have a “conversation.” No longer are you a number in our ticketing system, but a living, breathing person.
Much of the traditional back-and-forth exchanges are gone as Zenoti’s integration with Intercom automatically provides support reps with information about you. All those questions you needed your IT team to help you answer before, we have the answers without you having to think about it. The support rep knows who you are, what business and location you’re calling from, what browser you’re using, and even which page of the Zenoti application you’re on. There’s much more, and all that data helps the Zenoti team to get to a resolution quickly.
Another invaluable advantage we leverage with Intercom platform lies in us being able to communicate directly with every user. Zenoti users are accustomed to receiving release announcements through this channel already. We can (and do) leverage it for timely communications around other topics as well. For instance, if we were to experience issues with a credit card provider’s integration; we can push a message immediately to our active users to alert them of the issue. With the systems and tools from just a few years ago, this just wasn’t possible.
Some folks might say “that’s cool – but show me something really cool”. I can do that!
We’ve recently launched another aspect of Intercom called Educate. Educate is integrated with our knowledge base of help articles and our messenger, and uses machine learning to insert suggestions into your conversations. So, if you have a ‘how-to’ question, it suggests helpful articles for you. It gets smarter and more accurate with every conversation!
Customers interacting with us through Intercom will have seen a request to rate their conversation after a conversation with a Zenoti support member. We use these ratings to give us a pulse of our team and individual performance, allowing us to make quick adjustments when a customer indicates they are less than happy with a specific conversation. We use feedback to close gaps in our processes, provide additional coaching to our staff, and pass on relevant feedback to other teams at Zenoti. Our customer support staff even has a significant component of their pay tied to their scores from these conversation ratings.
It’s amazing how technology has empowered us to provide better customer support. We’ve moved to natural and successful support interactions through a combination of passionate support reps, a culture of customer success and the use of industry-leading technology.
At Zenoti, we believe in building a great product – and just as importantly, we believe in investing in a culture of customer success.