All hands support which basically entails developers, computer programmers, webmasters, online/social media marketing managers, management, and support staff coming together to engender exemplary customer experience, has generated a lot of buzz of late.
It does not need to be emphasized that customers’ queries and requests could be handled more efficiently if professionals involved with designing and developing the product (software or app) had the first-hand idea about customers’ issues. Unfortunately, in the majority of the SaaS companies and agencies, anyone and everyone who has a stake in providing commendable customer service, join hands only on rare occasions and that too, on an ad-hoc basis.
So, it is no wonder that customers of such service-oriented establishments are more often than not, left high and dry when it comes to responding to their enquiries and resolving their problems. Ideally, adopting ‘all hands support’ approach where each and every employee of the firm exploits the in-house knowledge base, may lead to a win-win situation, benefiting both customers and company. Theoretically speaking, if staff from all departments devotes some time interacting with customers, they’ll have a better insight about the latter’s problems, eventually enabling the former to improve the product further and also furnish high-quality services.
But the bitter truth is that such a technique might not deliver the goods in the real world.
Why ‘all hands’ support strategy will not work in reality
Top-level management and CEOs of many SaaS firms take it for granted that communicating with customers, handling their requests, and solving their problems do not call for specialized skills. To put it in the right perspective, it does not take much to make the best customer experience a reality if company administrators, managers, and head honchos are to be believed. Nevertheless, contrary to popular belief, dealing effectively with customers, and liaising with them to figure out their problems, could be as challenging as designing and developing a website or software.
Service and support teams attend to different categories of customers throughout the day. All these customers contact the support desk with various kinds of requests, enquiries, and problems. You need to have well-honed soft skills, a good sense of humor, and the ability to think on your feet to handle customers efficiently.
The computer programmer or software engineer may be lacking in communication skills, compassion, tenacity, perseverance, and presence of mind required for dealing with customers on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, it has been observed on numerous occasions that customers’ satisfaction levels plummeted considerably when programmers or coders took calls and attempted to help customers. By the same token, members of the support team will be making a complete mess of product development if they’re told to work alongside the developers and programmers or substitute them even for a single day.
Evidently enough, companies would be putting a lot at stake by implementing the ‘all hands support’ initiative-there is a high possibility of clients’ queries and requests being dealt with incompetently, ultimately leading to customers switching allegiance. Asking software professionals to stand-in for your company’s support team and vice versa would be akin to a case of ‘square pegs in round holes’. Constantly trying to make the most of ‘all hands support’ policy that in due course leads to customers becoming frustrated and upset mirrors shortsightedness on your part.
So what is the way out?
You’d definitely not want your support team to work in isolation, having no conjunct or association with other departments of the organization. So, how would you make the teams in all the departments work in close cooperation with each other? Of course, by getting the various units to join forces and pooling resources. Now that does not imply everybody will be engaged in the customer support department.
Support teams will continue to interact with the customers, endeavoring to get customers onboard by convincing them to subscribe to the firm’s service, and offering after-sales service as they’d been doing before. However, encouraging employees from the rest of the departments to stay abreast of customers’ problems in using the product, and product improvement feedbacks and suggestions tendered by customers, would be an innovative approach worth executing. Introducing this strategy would surely facilitate collaboration between and amongst the support executives, sales representatives, developers, programmers, and engineers, thereby promoting organizational growth and also keeping customers satisfied.
Teams working as a cohesive unit result in customers having a pleasant experience with your product or service. Teamwork achieves the best results when the teammates make optimal use of the organization’s knowledge base comprising streamlined internal documentation, work policies and processes. The time and effort employees of your firm dedicate towards improving customer service and satisfaction, will be put to better use if and when you rationalize and streamline their jobs.
Closing up, it can be expressed unequivocally that if you’ve to tap all hands support tactic, make sure the practice is orientated more towards your customers rather than your product or employees. You’ll perceive the incompetency and futility of the ‘all hands’ methodology when you take into account your company’s long-term or future growth and development. Rather, creating congenial conditions for fostering a work culture where your employees collaborate with each other and function as a close-knit team will positively work towards keeping your customers happy.