73: Support Contributing to Revenue with Craig Stoss

73: Support Contributing to Revenue with Craig Stoss

Craig Stoss describes how a request to change a button colour might not just be a request to change a button colour…


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Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 73 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is support contributing to revenue. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. Today I’d like to welcome back Craig Stoss. Craig, thanks so much for joining me again. Pleasure to have you back. This week we’re talking about support contributing to revenue. It’s something that a lot of support leaders are particularly keen to begin to get to grips with in their organisations. Right. So where do we begin?

Craig Stoss 0:52
I think with most support departments, you need to begin at the point where a customer comes into support, you know, the number one way I would say Export department contributes to revenue is through maintaining existing customers and supporting them through their troubled times. So they choose to renew. That is where you every company needs to begin. What do you want to be known for what told you your reps need to use? And and how do they use those tools that you give them in order to help the customer be successful, and therefore renew.

Charlotte Ward 1:24
So how do you correlate those behaviours and that style of service with for, for instance, that reduced churn?

Craig Stoss 1:33
That’s the problem, right? It’s it’s an interesting issue that I think companies solve in different ways. In fact, I’ve been at a company where if there was a conversation in support that led to, you know, a business discussion around a potential upsell or around feature sets that the customer says are very important and they’re struggling with those things can be marked down using tags or checkboxes to indicate Hey, I had a conversation with this customer that potentially could have gone so and I think this feeds into customer success as well. If you have the right set of tools within your customer success team to be able to monitor the types of cases that are coming in the types of conversations support is having with the customer. The customer success team is then able to kind of note Oh, well these customer contacted support a lot but still decided to renew or upsell or increase spend. This customer did not talk to the at all and they chose to churn and you can start to do some correlations between Support Activity and the actions of the customer afterwards.

Charlotte Ward 2:40
Should all of those awkward conversations you think live outside of support? Are we really there just almost as a kind of lead generation want of a better way of putting it?

Craig Stoss 2:50
I mean, I certainly hope not. I think supports main role is just to help support the customers through their difficult times. That doesn’t mean you can’t act as a business advisor. You can get more more context about the customer, you can get more understanding about what they’re trying to achieve, you can start to make recommendations that help their business succeed and might therefore help your business succeed. And that’s not a problem. I think that still comes from a place of support. And you can train your support reps to have those higher level conversations. I like to use the phrase don’t don’t answer questions, solve problems. And I think that that’s where that second piece comes into is you’re solving business challenges that are preventing the customer from succeeding with your software. Whereas, you know, a customer could call in and say, I would like this button to be blue. And you might say, Well, here’s how to change that button. Me blue, I’m answering your question. When really, it’s a larger conversation about accessibility options. You know, they have a colorblind person on their team and they need to be able to to adhere to certain accessibility standards. That’s a bigger business problem, but it’s a very different situation than answering the question how do you change this button to the colour Blue.

Charlotte Ward 4:00
Yeah, it’s really understanding the use case and actually the value that your product or service is bringing to that customer, isn’t it?

Craig Stoss 4:08
Yeah, absolutely. And and I think that you know, tomorrow a phrase from from a good friend of ours, every employee should either be doing something every day to retain existing customers or get new customers. And I really believe that I think that is absolutely true. And supports role in that is probably combination of both in some ways. Supporters can also drive revenue by identifying worrying trends, they they’re the ones talking to the customer every day and they can start to see negative trends in the product. The sentiment is going down about this feature. No one understands this use case and can start to fix those problems before they get mass visualisations like online or through social media. I think this is also true with larger organisations, the COVID-19 thing has really spiked up support loads and and you know, you can see online everyday people complaining about wait times and things like that. That doesn’t help customers be successful. And so you can help drive revenue through being able to as a support department, step up your game, you know, take take actions to, to make sure your customers are getting through these difficult times. All of these things are trends, that support is probably some of the first people in your organisation to see.

Charlotte Ward 5:22
And all of all of these perspectives need data, don’t they? I know you’re a big fan of data. And actually to understand how support can contribute to revenue, you have to be able to measure all of those things in different ways and find correlations where previous previously none have necessarily been taken. Right.

Craig Stoss 5:42
Yeah, I think that’s true, right? I mean, take a simple example of a UX problem that support maybe identifies up to the product team. Does usage of that feature go up after the fix, you know, you can you can have tools installed inside your application that measure that was used, it’s we’re customers Successful before or customer successful after. You know a lot of companies do a B testing Amazon is famous for their A B testing. You know, there’s no reason why support can contribute to that type of testing by saying, Hey, we think customers don’t like this thing. Let’s test a solution to it and you can prove whether customers are more engaged there. And yes, times this stuff to revenue is certainly not easy, but it’s also very easy to tie it closer to the other side. You know, if we don’t do these things, what happens to churn

Charlotte Ward 6:38
That’s it for today, go to customersupportleaders.com/73, for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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