Fast, helpful customer service is table stakes in today’s competitive, connected world. Eight of the world’s most successful startups share their advice on how to optimise your customer service operation, so you can keep more customers happy and grow your business faster than ever.

1. Make customer service part of your DNA

A truly customer-centric organisation doesn’t isolate its service team – instead, every part of the company is built around that customer and everyone in each team knows the customer.

“Everyone in your company – from the CEO to the receptionist – should play an important role in helping customers.”

—Brian Boroff, Head of Customer Success and User Operations at Asana

2. Build a customer service dream team

Hire for behaviour and a drive to provide the best CX, and teach the skills that will allow those smart, motivated people to succeed.

“When your company is big enough to hire dedicated agents, you need to make sure you hire the right ones. After all, you can train on the product and on the tools, but you can’t teach the desire to help people.”

—Linden Plumley, Director of Global Customer Support at Revinate

3. Have the right customer service tools

If you’re planning to grow (and who isn’t?), be prepared to – the business can only scale as fast as its processes.

“Many young companies start out by managing customer service through email, but all too often that system doesn’t scale.

—Duane Hunt, Vice President, Operations at Formstack

4. Aim for screaming-fast response times

Speaking of growth, customer acquisition, retention and advocacy are key. And the way to score all of the above? Providing customers with service on the channels they want to use, when they want it.

“Self-service lets customers find the answers they need 24/7. But sometimes customers still need to reach a real person – and they want to reach that real person fast.”

—Carolyn Hinson, Customer Service Supervisor at Kabbage

5. Personalise service to build a connection

Every interaction with a brand can build or diminish the customer’s relationship, and customers remember how a problem was addressed more than they remember that they had a problem.

Support is often an untapped channel for creating a closer connection to customers and for building a unique brand personality.”

—Dione David, Customer Happiness Manager at Shoes of Prey

6. Explore how you’re measuring service success

It’s time to throw out target call times – because why do you want your service agents to rush when they have the chance to provide great CX? Instead, consider rewarding feedback scores from customers.

“What if you encourage your service agents to spend time with customers? Will they become more loyal? Will they be more likely to recommend your company to others?”

—Thomas Staudte, Head of Customer Service & Social Media at Siroop

7. Gather insights from service interactions

Imagine you ran a customer survey, but never looked at the results – what information would you miss out on?

“Your customer service team talks to your users every day. They can be your best source for feedback and a key driver of product innovation.”

—Andrew Prelusky, Client Engineer at JW Player

8. Obtain a single view of the customer

It’s time to break down those siloes – stop making your customers tell you information about themselves that your organisation already holds, and start using the insights each team gathers to fuels the other teams’ success.

“Sharing customer information, product data and support metrics across your entire company gives everyone more insight into customers.”

—Dan Moore, SVP of Client Services at Jitterbit

Customer expectations are changing. How prepared are you? Download the Small & Medium Business Service Trends Report for help formulating your response plan.