IDC Reports: Endpoint Management Challenges Posed by Today’s Cyberthreats

The cyber-security landscape is ever evolving, and IT professionals must remain up-to-date with the current state of IT infrastructure to proactively protect themselves from threats.

To learn more about the current state of IT infrastructure, we reached out to an IDC Analyst, Phil Hochmuth, and asked him to evaluate 5 key questions related to effectively managing one’s IT infrastructure in today’s security landscape.

Download this report to learn: 

  • What are the key trends around endpoint management and the latest cyberattack methods? 
  • How are IT teams set up to handle sophisticated attacks?   
  • What are the biggest mistakes internal IT organizations can make in terms of endpoint management? 
  • What is the cost of making mistakes around endpoint management?    
  • What are the mission-critical capabilities that organizations should look for when evaluating an endpoint management solution?  

Download the report here.

 

 

         

Five tips for turning service incidents into sales opportunities

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Thanks to social media and review sites, when someone has a less-than-positive support experience, the experience is shared with everyone on the Internet. On the other hand, positive support experiences, while they’re not as likely to get as much publicity, can make your customers or prospects more receptive to upsell or cross-sell opportunities.

Check out these five tips that we have found to help improve service incidents:

  • Pull together an FAQ: Users may not want to read through a manual or an instruction site, but they’ll look through a brief list of frequently asked questions (FAQ). Chances are that a FAQ will have the answer they’re looking for. To jumpstart your FAQ creation, talk to your early adopters and find out what glitches they’ve found. We find it helpful to begin an FAQ when our product is in beta, and allow the FAQ to evolve over time.
  • Publish all your self-service items: Though FAQs are a great first step, publish your technical information for your more hands-on customers. This includes manuals, quick-start guides, and any applicable downloads (drivers, runtime modules). Even though some customers like the DIY approach – it definitely requires some support!
  • Offer multiple support channels: Some folks are comfortable with phone and e-mail, others prefer text and chat for support. By offering a variety of channels, the customer can choose the channel they would like to use, helping drive customer satisfaction.
  • Keep good support records: If you maintain detailed records of all support interactions, you’ll be better able to analyze the source of problems (and use the info to keep your FAQ up to date). A lot of remote support tools, like LogMeIn Rescue, can pull very detailed customized reports. This helps save your technicians time from having to manually document each session, and gives you the ability to quickly reference specific details from any session – even a session from over two years ago!
  • Show (don’t tell) your customers: Customers aren’t always good at explaining exactly what they’ve been doing or exactly what they’re seeing. Use a video-enabled remote access/remote control tool to see exactly what your customers are seeing, and show them first-hand how you’re fixing the problem for them.

While these tips may not look like they have a direct connection to selling opportunities, positive support interactions have a direct impact on customer loyalty. Positive support interactions will also increase the likelihood that your customers will turn to you for further products and services, and maybe even refer a friend!

         

Helpdesk Skills: Not sounding phony on the phone

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Companies often create scripts for their support reps to ensure that reps stay on brand, and provide the right support to customers in the right context. However, there is a downside – sticking too closely to a script may make your reps sound phony and robotic. Customers pick up on this, and that’s not a good thing. Who likes being treated like a robot? Customers don’t, and your support reps don’t either.

This doesn’t mean that you should do away with scripts; scripts are excellent guidelines and provide reminders to reps to be empathetic (e.g. “I’m sorry you’re having this problem,” “I understand completely,” or “Let me see what I can do”). These phrases don’t need to be delivered 100% verbatim, but there are times when your reps will need to make these points.

Educating and training your reps are important so they’ll get used to handling conversations that include both scripted and unscripted elements. Mock phone calls with their peers are a good way to practice. Mix it these mock phone calls with listening games and improv games to help your reps get used to handling situations that go off script. Don’t shy away from difficult conversations – your reps will have encounters with customers who are angry, perhaps even abusive, or maybe just hard to understand, and they need to be prepared.

Once your reps have worked through various support scenarios in mock environments, they’ll get used to handling conversations – scripted or not. They’ll begin to understand how to develop a real rapport with your customers, and how to express empathy for what they’re going through. Customers will be more at ease, and get the feeling that your support reps are on their side.

 

         

How to Find and Keep Brand Ambassadors for Your Business

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Many say there’s no better form of marketing than word of mouth, and while most business owners spend a lot of time worrying about the words, it’s also critical to consider who the mouth is. While negative word of mouth can easily hurt the reputation of your company, positive word of mouth can present opportunities that are critical to capitalize upon. A brand ambassador can help you realize those opportunities.

In simple terms, brand ambassadors are promoters of your company, product, or services – the kind of people whose words carry a lot of weight and have ample reach. While historically the term brand ambassador has referred to paid spokespeople, recently it has also come to encompass non-professional advocates who are so enamored with your company that they’re willing to spread the word on your behalf without compensation.

What Does a Brand Ambassador Do?

The role of a brand ambassador isn’t set in stone and varies considerably by company and or market. Since there’s no formal job description or (typically) compensation involved, you probably won’t be directing a brand ambassador, but rather, gently encouraging them. Ambassadors are generally managed by the marketing department, and can be sourced by monitoring direct customer feedback or through social media or community forums.

In a typical organization, brand ambassadors may post about your company on social media (either on their own accounts, on your corporate accounts, or both), serve as an informal liaison with customers about what’s working and what isn’t in your product line, and generally be a public, if unofficial, face of your company.. Ambassadors are often tasked with bringing in new customers, particularly when payment is involved.

Work with your ambassador completely informally or through a formal contract – specifying how often they’ll write online about your business, for example, and what compensation they’ll receive in exchange. If you do formalize an agreement, have a lawyer review it first, even if actual money is not changing hands.

Where to Find Brand Ambassadors

Brand ambassadors can be recruited from any number of places, including:

  • Your employees – This is often a first stop for new companies looking for brand ambassadors, as employees already have a vested interest in the company’s success and can be easily compensated through bonuses and other perks.
  • Your customers – The ideal brand ambassador often comes from your customer base, someone who is so passionate about your business that they’re willing to use their personal free time to promote it to others. This could be a regular at your café, a person who frequently answers community posts, or a person drawn from an analysis of who buys the most frequently from your online store. Groom these ambassadors carefully and reward them well.
  • Social media followers – Some ambassadors may be developed not necessarily from their business interactions with you, but rather from conversations you have with them on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media networks. Encourage these fans particularly to leverage their social media presence.

Discover individuals who are personally invested in or involved with your product, and utilize them to help spread the word. Positive mentions of your product that come from a voice other than the brand itself can often carry much more weight.

         

Four tips to understanding your customers and set yourself apart from the competition

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Support is an opportune time to build relationships with customers and get a better understanding of their pain-points (and how to solve them). Whether on the phone, interacting via-mail, using online chat, or conversing on social media, we’ve got some tips to help you more easily gather and leverage customer information.

Figure out ahead of time what your goals are

There’s a lot of customer information you could be gathering – but you don’t want overwhelm the customer or end up with useless information. Knowing what your goals are from the onset will help you identify the data you need, and to strategically get it. For example, if you aim to reduce call volume by improving self-service troubleshooting content, you’ll want to gather information around what problems crop up most frequently – and who’s experiencing those problems.

Fine-tune your data-gathering strategy to each support channel

Different support channels are suited for gathering different types of data. Email and phone are ideal for customer surveys. Your FAQ page is an excellent way to gather demographic data. Web analytics can provide data on which webpages or help sites are viewed the most. If you’re providing remote technical support, having a tool that can gather a system’s information will help you pinpoint problem areas (e.g., your company’s website is not working well with certain browsers).

Be upfront about what information you want

Your customers may find data gathering invasive, no matter which procedure you use. Technicians should be cognizant of that, and be able to explain why this information is being gathered and what it will be used for. Tie in examples where such information has impacted customers (e.g., with customer feedback we have been able to improve our services and support). When your customer knows that answering questions about themselves helps you to provide better support, they are far more willing to provide open, honest feedback.

Keep an eye out for new use cases

Understanding how your product is being used can translate into new feature ideas, new ways to talk about your product, and even new market opportunities. You can gather this information from basic surveys and customer interviews even by technicians ask customers what they were doing when the problem occurred.

Develop a plan that covers your identified goals. By identifying the types of data that would be most useful, and determining how and where in your support channels to capture it, you’ll be well on your way.

         

Managing Customer Feedback

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We all want customer feedback; it helps us stay connected to our customers, identify problem areas, figure out product and service enhancements, and even helps us come up with new ideas. But being organized about gathering and managing that feedback is crucial for gaining actionable insights. Here are a few tips on managing customer feedback:

  • Keep all your feedback avenues open, including support: Lots of valuable insights can be gathered from Google Analytics and social media analytics (Buffer Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Facebook Insights, etc.). Don’t forget about customer surveys, including those that are built into support solutions, including LogMeIn Rescue. These provide an avenue to ask specific questions to a targeted audience.
  • Keep feedback in the context and perspective: Feedback elicited in a customer support center may be colored by the fact that a support session is emotionally charged. Offering a discount or a prize may also impact an individual who fills out a survey – what are their motivations?
  • Keep the communications two-way: Feedback needs to be a two-way street. Thank your customers for offering feedback and follow up with them. Let them know which problems have been resolved and what enhancements are being made based on feedback, even if you’re not incorporating their suggestions at this time.
  • Keep things categorized: In the world of social media where data is unstructured, you’ll need a way to keep things organized. Start by using algorithms to help classify feedback and to incorporate emotions and underlying issues into your data. Algorithms can categorize data based on keywords, product names, and tags so you can search and filter through the content (similar to CRM systems like Salesforce). In addition, there are a number of textual analytics programs, like Crunchbase and Glassdoor, that apply textual analytics to unstructured information.

Feedback is crucial in improving your business – ensuring you have the methodology in place to capture and manage customer feedback is just as important.

For more tips, check out our blog series on support strategies.

         

Five tips for building and keeping customer trust

Customer trust matters. Earning a customer’s trust starts with the basics. Bloomberg columnist and sales consultant, Michelle Nichols, explains:

“When your customers trust you, you can charge higher prices than your competitors do, offer a different feature set than your customers are looking for, and require a longer wait for delivery—and customers will still buy from you.”1

Building off Nichols’ recommendations, we’ve created a list of five additional tips on how to build trust with your customers.

  1. Don’t make exaggerated claims about your products. Sure, you’ll want to frame things in the best possible light, but steer clear of making any statements that sound too good to be true – unless you can back them up.
  2. To thine own niche be true. If your products are aimed at a niche market, make sure that they serve that niche and are clear about serving it. And if your products are more general purpose, make sure that you’re always giving your customers a reason to choose you: price, quality, a special feature, etc.
  3. Be on time. If you promise a customer that something will ship by Friday, make every effort to make sure it does. And if you slip your date, let your customer know and offer them up a little something in return. Everybody appreciates a coupon!
  4. Fix problems. Quickly. This should go without saying. But maybe the problem isn’t something that will stop a user in their tracks and prevent them from using it. Maybe it’s a design flaw, something that could have been better thought through. If most of your customers are telling you there’s a problem, there is. Do something about it.
  5. Help your customers. Few things turn an customer into an ex-customer faster than poor support: long wait times, wrong answers, kick-the-can to yet another customer service rep. Make sure that your customer support center is trained and equipped to actually provide support.

Give your customers a reason to trust you and they will. Lose their trust, and you’ll lose their business.

  1. Bloomberg
         

Turn support into a friendly experience

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When customers first make a purchase, they’re happy. But when your support technicians hear from these customers, the mood has shifted. They’ve got a problem; they’re annoyed and frustrated and maybe even angry. Whatever’s happening on their end, they’re likely thinking that their problem is your fault.

Whoever’s at fault, your support technicians are the ones responsible for bringing your customers back to feeling positive about your company. That won’t happen if the attitude they’re conveying is impatient, accusatory, or if they are more interested in quickly closing out a ticket or casting blame onto someone else.

It’s not always easy for support technicians to stay positive. That annoyed, frustrated, and angry customer may be paying little or nothing for support, and you’ve got a budget to worry about. Furthermore, that customer’s problem may have no direct connection to your product or service whatsoever. No team or company is capable of supporting every conceivable issue; to attempt to do so would be an exercise in futility.

How, then, can one optimize the effectiveness of customer support?

First things first: try to figure out what the cause of the problem (even if you know it’s not your fault). Try to engage the customer on a personal level and help him or her solve the problem, even if you quickly ascertain that your product or service is not at fault.

Your organization will make a more positive impact if your support team can suggest a solution, provide the customer with helpful steps to follow, or identify right party to contact, rather than dismissing their request altogether.

If the problem is related to your product or service, the questions you’re asking or the directions you’re giving may increase the customer’s frustration and annoyance level, rather than alleviating it. A remote support tool that enables you to take over the customer’s computer so that you can see what they’re seeing, and show them how you’re making a fix, can make a world of difference. Better yet if that remote support tool has video capabilities, your technicians will be able to diagnose and resolve issues without having to rely on inefficient (and often erroneous and incomplete) verbal and written descriptions of what’s going on.  This lets you see problems that your customers might not have noticed.