A totally biased guide on why Groove is the best customer service platform for small businesses and startups.
Like many startup founders, at his previous companies our CEO Alex had never used a customer service platform himself. But he knew it was crucial to talk directly to customers and hear their unbiased feedback in order to grow his business.
He tried using regular email. Then tested some of the bigger names on the market for customer support software. It was overwhelming.
This is where most founders will hire a customer service manager to take over the reins. Put them in charge of selecting the best customer service platform. Let them analyze customer data. Move customer service off the founders’ plate entirely.
But then all this talk of building a “customer-centric” company goes to waste.
If no one in your company knows how to use your customer service platform besides the customer support team, you can’t claim to be customer-centric.
So Alex created Groove.
Rather than provide a vague comparison list of customer service platforms, we’re breaking down how we use our own software as a growing business and how it could work for you too.
4 non-obvious ways we use our customer service platform
We’ll save you the time of wading through those bulky lists with no real discernable difference from one platform to the other.
Our customer service software includes all the essential functions a growing business needs. We just do it in a way that doesn’t alienate CEOs, product managers, developers, or really anyone who has never used customer support software before.
With the shift to remote work due to COVID-19, we’ve heard so many new stories about how people are using their customer support software in less obvious ways.
And businesses that never even heard of customer support software are finding Groove. They’re using it to help them collaborate easier and work through customer requests as a remote team.
We’ve been using Groove for more than customer support since day one. Today we’re sharing the specifics on how our non-support teams take advantage of a shared inbox.
1. Our developers talk directly to customers to fix bugs
We don’t have time for middlemen at our lean startup. For complex technical issues, customers can talk directly to our engineers.
This reduces the overall elapsed time from bug report to fix. It ensures that we resolve customer problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Our customer service agents file any crucial bug reports into the “Dev” folder within the inbox. We’ll alert our engineers to check this folder for detailed reports and user information as they resolve product glitches.
Our engineering team has a better understanding of the technology behind an issue. More often than not, they can quickly adjust something in the code and respond with a resolution.
When that’s not possible, it’s just as simple for our developers to explain exactly what the customer needs to do on their end or ask for more clarification. They can even follow up directly within our service portal to confirm that their fix did indeed solve the glitch.
This saves us hours a month on bug fixes. We eliminate unnecessary back and forth and resolve issues faster by connecting engineers with customers directly.
2. Our product team prioritizes changes based on customer data
Our Chief Product Officer knows his way around the inbox. He uses our reporting dashboard to decide which updates or features to prioritize.
To help him with this, our customer support team uses tags to identify the topic of each email.
For instance, if a customer conversation revolves around a new idea for our product, we add the tag “feature request.”
Our CPO looks at the tag insights on Groove’s reporting dashboard before every sprint.
He uses the “feature request” tag to plan for future work. And looks at the “NPS-Detractors” tag to prioritize improvements.
These tags help him understand what customers need and how badly they need it so we can focus on the most impactful work.
3. Marketing sets up customer testimonials
The “Marketing” folder within our shared inbox is one of the happiest places on Earth. It contains all our happy customers and NPS promoters.
After particularly good customer interactions, our support agents move tickets into this folder. Then, our marketing team reaches out for testimonials.
Rather than switching mediums, our marketers follow up on the same email thread used by support to increase customer engagement.
We found that using email marketing software in this case was not only unnecessary, but also simply not as effective. By continuing the conversation on our customer service platform, we nearly guarantee a response.
4. Our founder keeps his ear to the ground and builds our product roadmap
Our final use case returns to the idea of customer-centricity. It always starts at the top. In business, this points to the founder.
Our founder Alex is in the inbox all the time. Some customer support teams may shutter at the thought. But I counter that with the thought (and for most, the reality) of being an undervalued and neglected part of the team.
With Alex on top of customer satisfaction and feedback, we ensure the customer’s voice is heard and that the customer support team gets the resources they need.
As our CEO, he responds to everything from basic customer questions to new users testing out their Groove trial.
From a high level, he looks at the reports within our customer service platform to build our goals and vision for the future. The knowledge base report in particular helps him understand what customers are seeking.
He can use this information to assume what customers are happy with, what needs improvement, and what we should focus on next.
Since many more customers use our knowledge base for support (as opposed to emailing us) this report represents an accurate sample group. We can draw conclusions from this sample and confidently build our product goals for the future.
No time-consuming focus groups needed. No expensive market research tactics used. Just plain old listening to what your customers are saying.
The best customer service platform for small businesses encourages everyone to use it
We don’t have the luxury of siphoning off each department in a small business. The engineering team needs to know what the support team does. The marketing team needs to know what the engineering team does. And we all need to be able to step in and help each other when it gets tough.
It’s an all-hands-on-deck type of thing.
We love Groove because it’s easy to understand for non-techies and non-support people. It makes collaborating much easier when we can all point to the same ticket in a discussion. There’s no special access or knowledge required.
We work in the technology space where most companies are familiar with SaaS products. But with the changing landscape in the way we work due to COVID-19, we’ve heard some really interesting stories of non-tech companies finding use for our customer service platform.
A film festival is using Groove to coordinate online screenings. A brick-and-mortar retail store is moving to e-commerce. Restaurants are interacting with customers online and need a shared inbox to connect.
We’ll figure out this new way of working together. With the guiding principle at our core: If you focus on the customer, you’ll always win.