Your helpdesk is a great source for customer data. Your customer success team has direct access to potential leads and customers before they buy your product, during the buying process and after the purchase.
This is gold.
You know what’s even better? Most of the time, it’s the customer who provides you with valuable information that you can then use to close a sale and you didn’t have to ask for anything to pull all that information!
Do you remember a few years back when absolutely nobody had an iPhone and the only two mobile devices that could send you incoming emails were the Blackberry and Palm.
And what was the difference between the two?
Simply put: Blackberry was using the push method to receive emails while the Palm was using the pull method.
In customer data, push is like the Blackberry. It’s when data and insights come to the device by itself without asking or triggering anything. On the other hand, pull is when you are actively trying to get the worms out of the customer’s nose.
Which one is gold? I’m pretty sure you understand the value of push customer data.
Just like inbound marketing, you have to use every small piece of information you have about a lead or customer to update his or her customer profile.
When a new user contacts you for support, he or she will most-likely start with something like:
I am trying out <<Your App Name>> in order to <<what they want to do>>.
And then, he or she will talk to you about their problem.
Use this data to adapt your nurturing emails to send them more specific tips and “how to’s” about what they are specifically trying to accomplish. The more specific you will get, the better on-boarding your users will get and the benefits of using your app will become obvious for them.
I am not aware of many companies that use helpdesk data to nurture new leads and this is by far one of my top recommendations: put into place a way to track customer data from your helpdesk. There is a tool for this such as Tropical.
Takeaway: Make sure your support team takes notes about their needs in your customer profiles.
This one is similar to the previous data point but mostly for current users and customers. When a user is asking for support regarding one of your app features it also, between the lines, tells you what he or she is trying to do.
Tag the user with the name of your feature. You will be able to use those tags to create new segments of users once you have updated a particular feature or release a similar one.
For example, last week I contacted the Moz support team regarding a weird behavior in the weekly PDF report I have set up in my account. Their support team replied with the correct answer. They could now use my email to tag me with “Weekly Email Reports” and send me future emails and similar software updates or tips on how to optimize how I use their app based on what I am really using.
Some software tracking systems such as Mixpanel or Kissmetrics can also be used to track in-app behavior but your support team is an excellent alternative if you don’t have any tracking currently in place.
Takeaway: Tag users with features they are using based on questions they have asked your support team.
Most sign-up flows are minimal and we tend to like having a spare number of fields necessary in forms. Most software only asks for an email and password before the user is ready to go.
When a user contacts your helpdesk by email, he or she is also including his or her email signature. The signature is filled with rich data about the user and the company.
Your team must use this data to update their customer profile. This information can then be used by other team members later on.
Most email signatures include:
Use the social profile to follow them. Most people will receive an email notification when they have a new subscriber. I personally appreciate when someone from the customer success team adds me on Linkedin or follows me on Twitter. It creates a feeling of proximity with the company and I know I can count on this person to help me in case I have any question in the future.
The role can also tell you a lot about the account- either if you want to define if their the one in charge of buying or upgrading the solution or to send technical API updates to a software engineer instead of bugging the wrong person and getting ignored. Bluesnap (previously Plimus) changed its name following by the URL to call their API. It took two email notices before the person in charge of the account forwarded the crucial information to the technical team. This might sound like a communication issue on our side but could have been resolve if Bluesnap sent the email to the technical since they were the ones who previously contacted their support team.
Phone numbers are for another fight. Most tech startups don’t have the resources (time, staff, money) or don’t like to do it, but contacting customers by phone is a powerful way to get in touch with them when they are slipping away, trying out your product, or when they have asked for help.
Takeaway: Save all information you can get from the user signature.
Sometimes (ok very often), technical support answer support emails stating they don’t currently do what the user is looking for. Fair enough. Your app can’t do everything. However, you must understand and keep track of the issues that matter most to users. And more than that, you have the responsibility to notify users once their feature or a similar one is released.
Your product is like an ice cream parlor. If you always ask for pistachio ice cream, you’ll be more than happy when it gets added on the menu, but you’ll schedule your night around delighting your next ice cream cone if they email you as soon as it’s available.
Useful insights will come from feature requests. Use this data to improve your product, announce new features, suggest similar or alternative solutions and more. Track down requested features in your helpdesk or CRM and don’t be scare to announce them; the user may be waiting for it to purchase your product or to simply be dazzled.
Takeaway: Track requested features and notify people who have showed interest in them.
You have to train yourself and your entire team to gather every bit of data and insight you can have about a potential lead or a customer. The more data you have on a lead, the easier it will be to personalize your message and close the deal. Same thing applies with customers; data will be useful to retain, upsell or make him or her a brand ambassador.
Remember this, your helpdesk is full of obvious or undisclosed customer data you can use to close more deals and increase your revenue.
This post was originally published on the award-winning Desk.com blog.
Go to salesforce.com to learn more about driving revenue with your customer service practices, or download the free e-book.