Vanessa Subramaniam talks about the future potential of customer segmentation.
How do you view the future of support? And what are your plans for 2020? Comment below, and like/love/share/support if you found this inspiring, thought-provoking, or useful!
Charlotte Ward 0:14
Hello, and welcome to the Customer Support Leaders podcast episode seven. I’m Charlotte Ward. Our theme for this week is the future of support. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome to the podcast today, Vanessa Subramaniam. Vanessa, would you like to introduce yourself?
Vanessa Subramaniam 0:39
Yeah, thanks, Charlotte. My name is Vanessa. I manage the Customer Support and Sales team at TourRadar North America. I’ve been working there for about just under a year and a half. Prior to that, I worked in some enterprise and b2b software companies. So really excited to be here, Charlotte.
Charlotte Ward 0:59
Thank you for coming. Thank you for joining me. So Vanessa, the topic for this week is the future of support and seeing as we’re moving into 2020, which I feel I’m saying this to a lot of people lately is a year that ought to be in a song, you know, in the year 2020…. I need to stop saying it quite soon, I think. In terms of the future of support for this year, and maybe even beyond, how do you see customer support playing out as a practice and operationally in the future?
Vanessa Subramaniam 1:31
Yeah, I think it’s a really interesting time in our industry, to be working in customer support into 2020. and beyond. What I’m seeing a lot is people figuring out who wants a high level, high level of customer service and who wants more self-service. So I work in a B2C environment. And that gets me really close to that customer experience. And there are people who want to pick up the phone and talk to a person and they want to know your life story and they want to call you back and have you own their entire customer journey. That’s completely fine as long as that’s within your business model. But there is the other side of it, this other segment of people who they don’t want to speak to a person they want to self serve, they want all of the information that they have right in front of them. And when they speak to customer support, that’s already a failure of the company. Understanding what those folks need to be successful is very challenging because they don’t want to talk to you. So I see the future of understanding what that those two segments exist and figuring out unique strategies for both of those two areas. Now, on top of that, I think there’s a lot of exciting things coming along with AI and understanding our customers very well and positioning information in a way that they get the information that they need before they even know that they’ll need it. So it is very exciting. Even if you are a customer who wants to Be able to call and get on-demand service. When a company understands the whole journey very well, based on previous customers, I think you’re ultimately going to be happier with what you’re getting out of it.
Charlotte Ward 3:14
Yeah, yeah, I think that’s a good call – the absolute segmentation of two different audiences, if you want, for certainly two different types of customer base for support: the people, and maybe the industries possibly that want that really high touch support, really, you know, an empathic hand-holding level of support. And those who just want the answer to the question in the moment and move on because they really just want to get on with their day is we’re definitely moving into a one size doesn’t fit all year, I think.
Vanessa Subramaniam 3:51
Yeah, I think that’s very true. I, for example, work in travel and if there’s an avalanche coming down, there’s no amount of self-service that We can provide that’s going to make us happy is probably speaking with someone to tell you, Hey, get over here. But maybe I’m wrong, maybe I can send an alert to your phone right away and say, “Hey, I see that you’re in this location, maybe move over to this spot or we’ll call someone to get over to you.” There are more emotional moments where you just want to speak with someone, even if you are someone who prefers to self serve. And there are in the other way, if if you love speaking with people all the time, as your service, your service preference, that you probably would like an email once in a while with just information that you’d like to look over ahead of time.
Charlotte Ward 4:37
How do you think we identify those two different types of customer?
Vanessa Subramaniam 4:40
Yeah, I think looking at your previous data and previous behaviours of their buying activity is kind of key. With support, you’re lucky in the sense that they’ve probably already bought your product by the time they get to you. So it’s reasonable to expect that if they were a high touch customer during sales, they’ll be a high touch Customer post-sale, you can mitigate that by being a high touch customer during the sale, onboarding them very well. And then they’ll be a lower touch customer, but they’ll still like that kind of service based on what they did with during the sale cycle. If someone’s a bit more of an independent shopper, did a lot of research, just bought your product, I wouldn’t expect them to be calling you a lot unless there’s a major issue.
Charlotte Ward 5:22
And then you respond to that, knowing that that’s that customer’s pattern of behaviour. So there’s this particular person hasn’t contacted us before, maybe you escalate the responsiveness and the empathy levels, more, under those circumstances, knowing that this is a rare opportunity to speak to this customer and they really want to talk to you at that point. That then a customer who’s kind of constantly in contact.
Vanessa Subramaniam 5:48
Yeah, I think keeping a strong customer profile would be quite important for the duration of the customer relationship. I sometimes think about what my own profile looks like with businesses that I work with and it’s probably ‘keep your call time short with this one she doesn’t want the fluff’ and maybe that’s empathy with their, you know, companies that in the industries that we’re working for, but I prefer a short phone call. I prefer a chat, you know, function over anything else. Not every customer’s like that. But I would love a company to have a profile on me that says just send her a text. That would be the best way of reaching her.
Yeah, absolutely. I’m with you. I look for the chat button all the time. And I know people like my dad who hate the chat button.
Yeah, everyone’s different.
Charlotte Ward 6:40
Today, go to customersupportleaders.com/7 for the show notes and I’ll see you next time.
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