How to handle customer complaints effectively - Avoid escalation

Raise your hand if a support agent has ever told you, “Let me escalate this to an engineer…”

I think this is a risky tactic for the success of a customer relationship over time. I have an idea how to prevent it and I want to know what you think.

Hopefully you're familiar with our practice of All Hands Support. I'm proposing we take that to the next level with 'All Hands Ownership.'

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How to manage Customer Service during the holidays

Today's blog post comes from Olark user Timesheets.com who shares how businesses can prepare for balancing employee time off requests during the busy holiday shopping season...

Congratulations - Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over! But as you know, we're not finished with the holiday shopping season yet. As Jordan Vidra said in a recent Olark holiday ecommerce webinar:

"Customer interaction volume at Homage goes up starting with Black Friday and stays high through Christmas, and even after Christmas with returns and exchanges."

This sustained increase in customer interactions makes staffing customer service over the next month tricky. Many employees want to take vacation to spend the holidays with friends and family, leaving businesses with fewer staff than is ideal for helping holiday shoppers.

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[Video] Omnichannel retailer Homage shares customer support tips for holiday shopping season

This is part 2 of our holiday shopping season ecommerce webinar series. In part 1, StellaService discusses why retailers are discontinuing email support and instead adding more help on live chat. In today's discussion, Jordan Vidra of Homage talks about how his company creates unique connections with every customer, and how their lean team staffs accordingly to handle the holiday shopping rush. [-Karl]

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Step-by-Step Guide to Outsourcing Live Chat Customer Service Agents

Do you have enough staff to handle customer service?

Are you letting customers fall through the cracks because you can't respond to their questions fast enough?

Are you holding back from fully staffing live chat because you need all hands to focus on email or phone?

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How SupConf went from an idea to a customer support conference

Scott Tran, one of the main organizers of SupConf and founder of Support Driven, and I have been doing monthly coffees for almost two years. Over our usual Philz orders, we would exchange ideas, opinions and suggestions: his from from a product and support perspective; mine from HR and culture. One of the most memorable collaborations resulted in me making drastic changes to Olark’s new hire onboarding process and sharing those ideas with the Support Driven community.

During one of these coffee collaborations Scott asked me a simple question, "What do you think about Support Driven doing a conference?" Thus started a year long journey of seeing this conference grow from an inkling of an idea to SupConf 2016, a conference for support professionals. Before the conference happened on May 23 and 24, Scott and I chatted again to revisit how this vision has come to fruition.

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Why customers will spend more if you start with a smile

I met Richard Shapiro at a recent CX Meetup in NYC and was reminded that he talks at length about high quality customer service in his book, "The Endangered Customer: 8 Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business." As Internet talk of automated chat and messaging bots hits a fever pitch, I found this portion of his book prescient and, with Richard's permission, wanted to share it with you. -Karl

It all begins with hope.

It may sound obvious, but if you wish to make a human connection with a customer—in person, on the phone, or online—then the most important thing to remember is each individual’s humanity. Human beings come to you with hope in their hearts. They need or want something they haven’t found elsewhere, and they hope you have the answer. Perhaps they are looking for the perfect Valentine’s present, a watch for their son’s graduation, or a gift for friends who just moved into a new home. Your job is to give them hope that they’ve come to a place where their problem or desire will be addressed in a helpful, friendly manner.

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[Case Study] How The Black Tux does live chat customer support

Before you read further, please take two minutes to read this in-depth article about Olark user, The Black Tux. The article shares insight from The Black Tux on using live chat to train new members of the Customer Service team, and how the team uses chat data to load balance its service efforts. When you're finished reading that article, you can read about my experience with The Black Tux Customer Service team...

I spend a lot of time telling people what it's like talking to businesses that use Olark Live Chat. A few months ago, I got to have that experience firsthand with Olark customer The Black Tux.

I got married on December 31, and YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT...

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[Podcast] How one SaaS company provides Customer Happiness

If you like cat gifs, you're going to want to read on...

Kendall Burke and the team at Acuity Scheduling want to change people's mind about contacting Customer Support. While support interactions can, at times, be a downer, Kendall is working to make every interaction at Acuity human and fun.

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What to know about Elevate Summit

The Customer Support community is much different from other 'hard' tech communities because of the emotional involvement of the day-to-day work. Support can be very rewarding, but it can also be a grind. In a recent study, 45% of Customer Support professionals found maintaining and improving team morale challenging. (source)

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How not to get frustrated on customer support [Podcast]

Getting frustrated at work happens to everyone, and everyone should prepare their own survival tactics for feeling overwhelmed or frustrated.

When your work is customer support, and your job is to wear a happy face while dealing with angry customers, well it can be challenging to say the least. Heck, sometimes I get overwhelmed and frustrated when I get two chats at once and they're not both asking, "Where is your pricing page?" DO I LOOK LIKE I HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS PEOPLE?

I digress...

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