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Infolink-exp expands its global presence with a new support operations center in Málaga, Spain.

Infolink-exp, a leader in global technology support services, announced the opening of its European office today.

 

SAN JOSE, CA, November 4, 2019. – Infolink-exp’s new office will be based in Málaga, Spain and will serve European and Asian companies, as well as North American clients moving into the European IoT market. “Some of our U.S.-based clients, companies out of San Francisco, the Silicon Valley, and New York City among others, are growing rapidly and expanding into overseas markets with their products. Often the first step in their expansion is the EMEA market, and we at Infolink-exp want to be in a position to serve them there and become a global partner to them in supporting their users“, says José Antonio González, Founder and CEO of Infolink-EXP. “In addition, Europe has a large and growing number of their own technology companies providing innovations in the smart home, automotive, healthcare and environmental spaces, among others. We also want to be in a position to deliver our customer support and customer experience solutions to them, as we help them scale”.

In recent years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been gaining ground with consumers, who are starting to see the benefits of using IoT devices to simplify tasks in the home and to manage things around them using apps. According to CSG, just in the smart home, adoption of devices is already in the mid twenties (23%), but expected to rise rapidly, and a strong majority of consumers feel that the most valuable attribute of IoT devices is to make life easier.

The Andalucía Technology Park (PTA) in Málaga provides the perfect environment for Infolink-exp’s landing in Europe, where the company will be able to tap into multi-national and multi-lingual customer support and engineering talent. Infolink-exp, with current operations in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and San Jose, CA, will be serving clients –B2C and B2B IoT brands– out of their Spanish operations center starting in November of 2019.

In the Media:

Markets Insider

PRWeb

RealWire

 

 

From Social Support to Social Customer Engagement

Customer support through Internet social channels is certainly not something new. It has been around for more than a few years now, with bulletin boards, forums and other open discussion sites being the original set of channels companies used. What has changed is the role of the people monitoring those discussions on behalf of companies. The community manager, mostly a marketing role in many companies, has now evolved into a more robust role, that of the Social Customer Engagement Agent.

Social Customer Engagement Agents (SCEAs) sit at the intersection of customer support and marketing. Customer service and support is indeed the “new” marketing. A good, hopefully great, experience is the only thing that keeps customers coming back to a brand nowadays, in many ultracompetitive industries. Therefore, SCEAs have a dual responsibility for monitoring social networks (increasingly through software to that effect), reacting to customers concerns, comments, rants and issues preemptively, leveraging the power of expert users and promoters help resolve issues and questions directly, but also carefully caring for your brand online with every post and interaction.

What does this mean exactly for Customer Support or Customer Success organizations? Well, it means that the people in charge of your social media support cannot have the same training/mindset/skills of support engineers responding to support tickets on e-mail or picking up support phone calls. The discussions are markedly different, and not necessarily issue or problem specific. Although it is plausible to have hybrid agents who do both, you should also consider specialized SCEAs, budget permitting, that provide those dimensions of online social literacy and CX/branding sensibility while engaging with customers. That said, the function of SCEAs is not magic, and must be designed and managed as an operation of its own, process and policy included.

Finally, here are some helpful facts about social networks, as it applies to customer support:

According to Pew Research Center’s Internet Project Library Survey (September 2013): 71% of online adults use Facebook, while 18% of online adults use Twitter.

Facebook is the preferred channel when it comes to social media support.

The demographics are:

90% of 18-29 years old use social media, while 78% of 30-49 years old and 65% of 50-64 years do.

Follow through, so simple yet…

It is quite common to “throw out there” idealisms on how much customers matter to us, it’s quite easy to say and even advertise the idea of how important our customers are, how customers come first, how customer service oriented we are. But just how true is that? Is this a reality all throughout the customers’ journey with us? Or is it more focused on the sales phase?

Engaging customers and getting them to adopt our product is just the initial phase of what can hopefully be a long term relationship. Now its time to follow trough with the promises we made.

Following through means making our customer feel appreciated, and when is our greatest opportunity to do so? When they reach out to us if issues arise, when they are the most vulnerable. That is the perfect opportunity to turn what can be a “sour” moment into an opportunity to provide them with great customer support that will keep them coming back for more of what we offer.

It is at this time when we can shine and make them feel that they got more than just a product or service, they got our commitment to helping them make their life easier. This is a no-brainer. Taking care of our customers and providing them with great customer support experiences is the key to customer loyalty and creating brand ambassadors.

Follow through means doing what we say we would do, being on top of customer issues and inquiries without our customer having to ask again, offering a bit more than they expected, surprising them with our follow up. Follow through needs to be a practice that we embed into our workflows and processes, not just a loose guideline, or something we leave up to the talent or discretion of each support agent. And we need to measure it.

And what are the benefits of designing your support around your customer? What does this mean in numbers? Well according to the Harvard Business School, increasing customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

So we need to start following through with our promises to our clients, their loyalty depends on it.

The importance of Proactive Support

A recent survey by InContact of more than 2,000 people, to see how they felt about proactive support, produced the following findings:

87% of the customers they surveyed said they want to be contacted proactively by a company; and
Nearly three quarters (73%) of those who had a pleasant surprise or positive experience with a proactive customer service call, said that they had a positive change in their perception of the business calling them.

Usually when we think of customer support, we think of the act of reaching out to a company that provides some type of service when things go wrong. For a long time, that has been the mindset of both the Service Companies and their customers.

But things are changing , and have been for some time now. We have to realize that our support organizations are our greatest customer loyalty asset. The concept of PROACTIVE support should become an expectation for your support organization rather than a random practice.

When we talk about Proactive support, we are not really talking about foreseeing and preventing every single problem your client might experience at one time or another. That is impossible. Nor are we talking about the traditional “heads up” automated email to customers when, for example, your server goes down, which is fine as a start of a proactive process. We are also talking about more than acknowledgement. Think about doing things like:

  • Following up after an automated email with a MANUAL email, call, txt message, etc.
  • Acknowledging the problem but providing most if not all of the following:
  • Details of what the exact problem is
  •  The status of our troubleshooting or fix
  •  If possible, sharing the plan or steps required to fix it
  • And, most importantly to the customer, giving him an ETA for the fix, whenever possible

Proactive Support is many times about how you REACT. It’s about truly caring for your customers and the impact they feel when there is a service interruption or an unscheduled event or failure which affects the full availability of the product. It’s about anticipating what they want to know and how they want to be treated, depending on the situation.

You will not always be able to provide all of the things mentioned above, in which case, KEEP IN CONSTANT CONTACT with your client. Letting them know that your support or engineering team is working on finding a solution is many times more than enough (within and up to an acceptable time frame of course), even if it’s with a simple “we just want to let you know we are still working on it”. It’s always amazing to me how support organizations don’t even do that many times.

There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than being left in the dark when problems occur, this creates the sense that the service provider (YOUR COMPANY!) is not knowledgeable about the services, technology or product they are selling, OR (which is worse) doesn’t care about the impact of a service failure on their customers.

Another form of Proactive support would be one NOT associated with an ongoing problem. What about calling a client just to ask: “Hi, just wanted to check if things are running smoothly”, or “we just wanted to make sure that the problem you experienced last week, month, quarter, has not reoccurred.”

Imagine the impact that would have on your client! And the way they would perceive your company’s level care for them.

This type of support is what can transform a customer support/care/service organization into the brand advocacy and customer loyalty machine it can be.

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How is support of SaaS/Cloud Products Different Than Traditional Products?

A question we get a lot is: “What is the difference between support for cloud products vs. traditional software products?” This question always amazes us, because at Infolink, as product support specialists, we believe the difference is vast.

Customer Experience is Key to the Saas/Cloud Business Model

To explain the difference between support for on-premise or perpetual license software applications vs. cloud-based software, let’s first draw the distinction between the two business models.

Traditional software vendors sell a perpetual license with a 3-year or less support contract. Sometimes customers will not renew the support contract, or after a period of time the vendor stops supporting the product because they have released a new version. Their previous version is now obsolete and it’s more expensive to support it.

The customer experience is not critical to the business model. There is no incentive to delight the customer. Once they buy the license(s), they own it, and that’s it.

Support for Cloud Products is Key for Customer Retention

But for SaaS software vendors, the user experience is a critical part of their business model. The distinguishing factor for the SaaS model is Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR). Most SaaS vendors have no long-term contracts (with a few exceptions). The customer can choose to end the relationship at any time, and the monthly revenue the vendor was relying on could be gone – forever.

Customer retention is baked-in to the SaaS business model. So key to cloud-app customer retention is driving great customer experience through all key touch points, or moments of truth.

Customer Experience and Moments of Truth

Jan Carlzon, CEO of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) from 1981-1994, introduced the term Moments of Truth in his book of the same name. Carlzon describes turning around the the flagging airline by focusing on delivering an above average customer experience through all their customer’s moments of truth. The lessons Carlzon introduces apply perfectly to SaaS companies.

But what are Moments of Truth? They are: “…any time the customer comes into contact with any aspect of a company.”

In the case of an airline, they could be when a consumer makes a reservation, checks their bags, checks in at the ticket counter, or when they board at the gate.

What are the Moents of Truth for a SaaS product? They are:

  • Sign-up
  • Onboarding
  • Provisioning
  • Training
  • Tech Support

Deliver A Wonderful Experience at Each Moment of Truth

Each one of these touch-points provides the SaaS vendor the opportunity to either make an awesome first impression, or lose the customer.

The customer care team now has to be trained to go beyond the break-fix model, and to comprehend their function as critical to user adoption and satisfaction.

In the SaaS model there are no significant consulting/professional services anymore. The customer care or support organization, starting with Tier 1, now becomes central to a high volume, high touch customer experience delivery situation, which directly drives revenue retention and growth.