Customer service never stops. From the moment a new customer signs on, it’s your company’s job to support them every step of the way. It’s not enough to only engage customers when they send an email ticket or call a service rep; instead, customer service is an always-on operation.

With the help of apps from the AppExchange, you can ward off potential issues, handle issues when they arise, and gather feedback after issues are resolved to better your product and operations. Below are ways you can provide customer service before, during, and after customers have a problem, along with three apps to help.

Before: Proactively help your customers

No matter the product you sell, issues are inevitable. But one of the best ways to provide great customer service is to ward off problems before they become trouble. There are a number of ways to tackle this: from regular check-in calls, to improving QA processes during the product development process, to automating alert notifications for product errors before the customer even notices. Whatever your industry, using a combination of technology and customer success representatives will keep your customers happy.

The ServiceMax Field Service Management solution enables you to deliver smart, proactive service in the field for anything from an ultrasound machine to an escalator. A native Salesforce application, ServiceMax seamlessly interacts with customer information from Sales and Service Cloud, and provides mobile accessibility to field service technicians, all with the goal of perfecting the delivery of service in the field. And now with its new Connected Field Service offering, ServiceMax brings the Internet of Things to field service, so that you can be proactive, rather than waiting to things to "break" before taking action.

During: Support customers on their platforms of choice

Some people like talking on the phone. Others prefer email. Still others are too busy for both, and just want to send a text message. While it may sound daunting to have to support multiple platforms for customer service, the reality is that customers have come to expect the ability to communicate with you on any channel they choose. That means arming customer service teams with tools to handle claims made on social media, via the phone, through text messages, or more. If you are constantly listening for complaints, and respond rapidly with a way to help, you’ll turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one.

Using HeyWire LiveText Agent is one way to meet customers on their chosen platform. According to the company, 75% of consumers feel that two-way SMS text conversations with businesses serve to improve both customer service and brand experience. The app connects you with your customers in the moment with two-way SMS texting. It integrates with Service Cloud and includes automated workflow capabilities.

After: Listen for areas to improve

After resolving a customer service complaint, it’s easy to shift focus to the next issue. But completing a customer service interaction involves more than simply fixing the issue at hand; it also requires follow up to glean insights from the customer on how to improve. Surveying customers in a follow-up email sent immediately after case resolution can better your product, your customer service agents’ performance, and your customer service user experience. Don’t make your survey long or onerous, instead, include a few questions with optional open text fields for customers to add more feedback. By doing this, you’ll understand whether customers are satisfied or still frustrated. This data could mean the difference between churn or renewal.

Clicktools enables you to collect, centralize, and act on customer feedback using surveys, call scripts, and web forms integrated with Salesforce. With Clicktools, you can easily identify dissatisfied customers and create alerts to ensure that critical and immediate contact is made.

If you’re looking for more great apps, head to the Customer Service section of the AppExchange today.