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A Five-Step Guide to Automated Customer Support for Viral Apps

06.27.2014
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Mobile apps are distinguished for unprecedented customer scale and growth that nothing else in web commerce and traditional retail can boast. There have been many cases when small unknown apps suddenly went viral overnight gaining millions of users. Thus, for instance, Instagram hit its one million users for 3 months and after a year accumulated over 10 million users.

At the beginning app creators are set for negotiating a good balance between maintaining a lean operation and providing service to their users. But as their app’s popularity grows, the most critical and resource-consuming task is carrying out efficient customer support. The more your user base is, the larger number of trouble tickets like phone calls, tweets, emails and messages from confused or upset users will be.

For mobile apps that anticipate rapid user scale and want to maintain excellent customer support, the key to success is support automation.

Why support automation?

The nature of customer communication is varied. Some customers want technical help, others provide feedback or try to learn about the company’s services. Thus, automating the process of questions and answers on the most common concerns reduces the number of tech trouble tickets and saves time and energy of your small team for its core business activities.

With the help of automating a trouble ticket part of customer communication developers are able to allocate more time to customer communication of higher value such as product feedback that may be of use for app development, inbound sales inquiries which can lead to future business avoiding the compromise of customer service quality, etc.

5 steps to successful customer support:

1FAQ

When users need help, tickets are created. To reduce the number of tickets, it’s necessary to let users find the answers themselves before their inquiry becomes a ticket. For this purpose you can create a self-service, user-friendly FAQ in your app to enable users to get help quicker and reduce the inbound tickets number.

2.  Shared inbox

Initially each customer support agent has a personal inbox where they get the issues assigned to them by the manager case by case. Such assignment process is resource intensive and leaves users waiting if a certain agent fails to respond. On the other hand, a shared inbox lets agents view the open issues and resolve them without such a human triage efficiently.

3. Sorting

Though it’s quite intuitive that customers waiting the longest should be helped first, this order is often neglected and some ticket queues get sorted chronologically so that the latest ticket moves to the head of queue rather than the bottom. So it’s essential to make sure the order of customer service is right and your inbox is sorted by both the time of ticket creation and each interaction’s date.

4. Bulk actions

With the user base growth similar issues start to emerge again and again, so it’s rational to use bulk actions for letting the support team respond all similar tickets the same way rather than managing each ticket individually.

5. Canned responses

Similarly to bulk actions, the method of canned responses enables small teams to answer the questions with a current knowledge base and avoid reinventing the wheel making up unique responses for identical tickets. Define the most frequent issues in the ticket queue and make canned responses which apply to appropriate user categories.

Executing top-notch customer support is a critical element of every company’s business success including mobile apps development companies. However, due to the potential for rapid user growth, the approach to customer service practiced by mobile app producers is completely different. If they want to rapidly grow, mobile apps should take extra measures to reduce the support tickets’ volume along with the customer support operations’ size and cost.

Together, the above five steps can help your mobile app business introduce support automation and carry out top-notch customer support while rapid scaling without wasting your time or resources on handling endless tickets.

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Andrew Smith.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)