Providing customer support is hard work. However, customer support doesn’t always have to be provided by the company itself. A few years ago outsourcing was a trend, preferably to a country with lower costs so it was easier to deal with peak situations. After that, insourcing became a trend since customer loyalty retention and satisfaction were deemed more important. Now it’s time for the logical step of 'un-sourcing,' which leverages the power of social networks and media: Don’t do it yourself. Initiate peer support - customers helping customers and customers helping you.
If you are the one handling customer support, how much do your customers really care about you and your products or services? Or to phrase this less negatively: Exactly how easy to use are your products and services for the outside world?
For both questions the answer is most likely: not so much.
Your KPI should never be about solving complaints, nor should it be about solving complaints really fast. Complaints don’t fit in any equation; your product or service should work. Because your customers might spend more time with your products than you do, they are the experts on what can and cannot be done with them.
Your customers don’t have a vested interest in your company, they are most likely not biased and don’t benefit from other customers buying your product. They are the most authentic resource to help other customers solve issues, and by doing so they might become your best service people. This can take place on a platform that you own, but it is more likely that it happens on the platform of the experts, your customers, and therefore a platform or a place on that platform which you need to earn.
The best way to value your customer is by making sure the perceived value of your products and services is higher than the money your customer spends on them. When this is the case, the customer is more willing to go the extra mile. You might even consider offering incentives in exchange for the services of your customers. Since it is normal that you pay your customer-care agents, why not pay your customers if they take over this role on an ad hoc and per-case basis? "No Work" is not a cost-cutting program; it is about making people care enough about your company that they are willing to support it beyond the transaction.