Dream Support is a customer service outsourcing and consulting company which combines leading practices in hiring, training, management, and QA to build a strong remote support team. We spoke with Nikita Matveev, co-founder at DreamSupport.io.
The story started with the AI project, Iris – a chatbot designed to help e-commerce business sell and support through Facebook messenger. Having tested Iris, they found out that sufficient data for an AI to learn can only be driven by great human service.
Dream Support, an outsourcing company, was founded to research exceptional customer service. Their beloved clients and their heartfelt in-house support have built the culture that our remote teams proudly inherit. Staying at frontlines with customers, they accumulate unique experience they share with them, each Dream Support member brings his interpretation of great service.
Their methodology, human relations service, is focused on making customers seen, heard, understood while addressing their problems. HRS combines best practices you can implement in the company operation and culture to build quality customer service adaptive to growth.
Dream Support today is an entire operation designed to research and implement great human service.
Since you are outsourcing CS managers how do you get your first customers to trust you?
Up to this day, trust starts with the free trial. Building trust, as any relationship, is a process, we see trust going a very similar way with our clients, with clients of our clients (customers), within the team. I believe the best option to start is to create a “low risks environment” so we can get our “outsourced” part of the team running and see if we can entrust our customers to them.
Outsourcing companies seem to have more reasons to face trust problems, however, when we hire in-house members (esp. remote members), we have basically the same risks.
What does customer first service mean to you and why is it important? How should it be provided to the customers?
Our research shows that customer first service is when your customers are seen, heard, understood and their problem is addressed properly. Today great customer service is an important part of marketing strategy for most fast-growing companies you name.
The innovations in digital, mobile and social technologies make direct interactions between businesses and customers fast and easy. It takes us back to the way the human species has always prospered, to intimate relationships built on trust and loyalty.
What does good customer service mean to you?
It means building great human relations. My favorite example here goes back to the Middle Ages, probably, when customers knew their blacksmiths, bakers, and potters by name, where masters and their family members could personally meet and greet you. I feel today we tend to just “pass information” while addressing customers’ problems.
How does the support function looks like at your organization?
Basically, at Dream Support, everything is “the support function” 🙂
It can be divided as follows:
1 – Existing clients support service (incl. free trials) is handled by a dedicated project manager. We communicate through the channel a client prefers, Slack, Skype, for example.
2 – Intending customers support service (leads) is taken care of by our operation managers and one of our founders, Nikita, via live chat, email, phone.
3 – Internal support service, we have extended internal Dream Support training and shorter ongoing training for everyone in the company to complete. Our Trainers and QA team are in charge of most of the questions an agent may have.
When hiring customer support employees, a resume doesn’t tell you much about whether or not someone is going to make your customer happy. What are these essential customer service skills you are searching for?
We don’t actually that rely on a resume, previous experience or references. Live meetings matter most at this step, we look for emotional intelligence and advanced English. If a candidate feels he is a really good fit – we usually let him enroll internal hrs training and let him get fully trained. By the end of the training, both the candidate and the company gain the feeling.
There are many things you can measure customer support employees on, but ultimately, there’s one metric that matters most. How do you measure the success of your support efforts?
That’s a great question. I would choose the percentage of “wow-stories” because
a – these indirectly depend on most of the support metrics one can google
b – each conversation has its own “direction” and “mood”, I consider wow stories to be a true mirror of how good you were able to hear-see-understand this particular customer.
For long we were measuring support quality by Wow-stories, but the truth is every client has its own goals and one metric is usually not enough to measure the success of your support effort. To solve this issue, we introduced audits for every client we work with. The audit is a comprehensive set of rules on the project, set by our client and our expertise. So depending on the clients needs we choose what metrics we should be focused on most, it could be reply time, resolution time or word of mouth buzz etc. The key here is to understand what you want to attain with great customer service (like more sales, better onboarding rates etc) and find the right quality-ROI balance.
What have been the biggest roadblocks you had to overcome to provide great support?
As we work with fast-growing companies, the biggest roadblock was to build support operation that can easily scale with growing business (without quality problems).
What role does support play on your product roadmap, if any? In your case, it is a specific one I guess.
Support plays the main role in our product roadmap – we consistently research exceptional customer service in order to develop methodology and then to build AI to compliment exceptional human service. We see growing demand for great customer service from business and no options in outsource or software that could help provide them higher quality support.
What tools do you use to reduce customer support tickets?
Knowledgebase/Helpdesk updates. The tools ticketing systems offer – rules, saved replies, macros
What’s the role of self-help support in your support framework/tool?
From my experience, as both a customer and an agent, I can’t say self-service is popular. As an agent I can guide a customer to the article, it saves time. As a customer, I tend to spend 5 minutes at max to look for the article I need and then start seeking for help 🙂
How do you ensure that all your support team members are all in sync?
We use Slack to keep everyone updated and G-suite tools to keep things in one place. We also have weekly meetings (+follow ups) and stand-ups. As well as we have a dedicated person, the project manager, he is in charge of coordination. Plus, once we onboard, we use the tools our clients use.
How do you or your manager empower everyone with internal support documentation?
We have processes, procedures, training documented and stored in Drive/Helpdesk, including audits and meetings follow-ups. Again, the project manager is in charge of the documentation being updated properly. May sound like tons of paperwork, we keep it simple and straightforward 🙂
Do you localize your support team? If yes, in which countries?
Today Dream Support is based here in Minsk, Belarus (GMT+3). We do have agents in other countries and time zones, however, our members mostly live here, so it looks pretty “in-house” 🙂
What would be number one advice you will give to junior support manager before starting his or her position?
“You’ve been doing it for years, actually. Remember your friend asking how to get anywhere? Remember explaining him turn left-turn right? That’s pretty much what we need to master and I’m sure you’ll get there. Share, learn hard from the people you admire, practice, practice, some more practice again and you’ll get outstanding results. ” and I would share some scripts and articles.
One of the best ways to connect with prospects is by using stories from existing customers. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as saying “could you please provide a testimonial?” Sure, that’ll get you a testimonial, but it’ll probably be a weak, generic and canned-sounding blurb that won’t help you any more than not having testimonials. What makes a good testimonial?
You’re right, so if we reverse “generic, canned-sounding blurb” the good testimonial should be live and real. The best way to get a live-real testimonial is to become a journalist for a while and interview your clients personally or at least on the video call. Good when it’s text, better when it’s video (even not very professional). A video is the type of content people like most – https://research.hubspot.com/reports/content-trends-preferences
Where is customer support heading? How would you like it to change in the future?
I’m sure customer support heading towards a way higher standards because it’s easier than ever for customers to communicate with businesses and make their feedback and experience available to the vast audience.
Naturally, the majority of business would think of ways to improve customer service at the lowest cost possible. But as far as I can see customer support software got stuck with the current stack of technologies and the future is in AI (like deep learning) that will bring automation to the next level.
About the author: Nikita Matveev is a co-founder at Dream Support, a customer service outsourcing and consulting company, was founded to research exceptional customer service, develop methodology and build AI to complement exceptional human service.Subscribe to blog via Email