Improve Customer Focus with Whole Company Support

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Imagine contacting customer service and getting connected with
the CEO. 

That’s a real possibility if you reach out to customer service
software provider, Help Scout. CEO Nick Francis is one of many
employees outside the customer support department who regularly
answer customer emails and chats.

It’s a program called whole company support, and it promotes an
incredible level of customer intimacy.

I recently interviewed Kristi Thompson, a Culture Specialist at
Help Scout, to learn more
about how whole company support helps create a more
customer-focused company.

Kristi Thompson, Culture Specialist at Help Scout.

Kristi Thompson, Culture Specialist at Help Scout.

The Interview

We touched on a number of topics in our <20 minute
interview. 

  • What is whole company support?

  • What are the benefits?

  • How do you make it easy for people when support is not their
    regular job?

You can watch the full
interview
or scroll below to read a synopsis.

What is whole company support?

Whole company support, also known as all-hands support, occurs
when employees outside the support team spend time serving
customers via various channels such as phone, email, and chat.

At Help Scout, whole company support primarily involves
responding to customer emails. The advantage of focusing on email
is it allows people to take extra time to research and compose
their response and then check what they wrote with a support team
member before sending it to a customer.

Other companies include live support such as phone or in-person
in their whole company support programs. For example, hotels often
have members of the executive team stationed in the lobby to assist
guests during busy times.

What are the benefits of whole company support?

Thompson outlined four key benefits that Help Scout gains from
offering whole company support. She pointed out that the program is
not intended to supplement the support team’s staff. Rather, the
program is purely about maintaining customer focus.

  • It keeps the customer at the center of everything they do.

  • Employees develop a deeper understanding of Help Scout
    products.

  • It shortens the feedback loop when employees have a direct
    customer connection.

  • Work is more rewarding because you’re connected to your
    customers.

I can personally vouch for that last benefit.

One of my volunteer activities is performing trail maintenance
at Mission Trails Regional Park in San Diego. It’s incredibly
rewarding when a group of hikers passes by and they pause to thank
us for the work we’re doing.

Take Action

Flexibility is key if you want to run an effective whole company
support program. Employees will be more likely to participate if
they find it rewarding and helpful, rather than a mandatory task
that has to be crossed-off their to-do list.

Thompson shared a few tips on how Help Scout makes its program
work:

  • Incorporate it into new hire training for all employees.

  • Encourage people to schedule regular shifts so it becomes a
    habit.

  • Provide resources and assistance to make it less
    intimidating.

You can read more details about Help Scout’s whole company
support program from this
helpful article
.

Upcoming Events

I’ll be speaking at the following events. I hope to see you
there!

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