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What does it take for a young company to become a breakout success? Most are known for thinking creatively, trying new things, and doing things differently. And it’s not just with their product offerings; it’s also with the way they treat their customers. Fast-growing businesses are our bread-and-butter at Desk.com, so we get a close up view of how they’re rethinking customer relationships. Here are four ways innovative companies are supporting customers differently (and how you can too):

 

1. Offer in-app help. In today’s hectic world, time is often the most valuable resource people have. You can show customers you value theirs by making it easy to access support. Start by adding links to relevant support articles in your web pages. Or if you have a mobile app, add a button to phone support within it. For an even better experience, give customers the ability to log new cases (or check existing ones) from within your app. Look at Hinge, a popular dating app that helps users find partners within their extended social networks. Hinge’s in-app help center gives customers the opportunity to find their own answers without having to leave the app – or having to reach out to the company at all.

 

2. Make reviews a support channel. It’s not enough anymore to offer support on Twitter and Facebook. Today’s customers don’t just share their thoughts and opinions on social media; they’re also prolific reviewers. Unfortunately, when app customers share negative experiences in the Apple, Google Play, or Amazon app store, most companies don’t have a direct channel to attend to them. But Appbot lets companies seamlessly integrate managing and replying to app-store reviews into their support team's workflow. Not only can companies identify potential problems or track feature requests, they can also identify specific reviewers, so they can engage in conversation and offer help.

 

3. Help customers via text. Texting isn’t just for teenagers anymore — more than 80% of American adults now send text messages. Companies can no longer afford to ignore text messaging as an important channel for customers communication. With apps like Teckst, innovative companies can bring this preferred method of communication to their customer care teams. Texts from customers are integrated directly into support agent consoles, and agent replies are sent back as text messages. Moving beyond email to support customers wherever and however they want it is key to driving satisfaction.

 

4. Support customers proactively. The days when your agents clocked in and waited for calls and emails from customers are long gone. More and more companies are creating connected products and wearables that initiate their own service tickets. In the future, companies will know when customers are having trouble and can reach out before they even have a chance to pick up the phone (and sometimes before they even know there’s an issue). Innovative companies are already doing it. Bitium, for example, a small business which provides single­ sign-on and identity and access technology for cloud computing companies, can tell when users are having trouble logging in and proactively reach out to help.

 

Customer service: An invitation for innovation

A happy, loyal customer base can be a secret weapon for new and growing companies. Try out these four strategies or look for other new and innovative ways to help customers and build lasting relationships. The door is open, and the phone lines are ready.