Has your startup outgrown Gmail as a customer support tool?
For a while, the Gmail method works great. And then one day the startup hits product-market fit, signups take off, and all hell breaks loose.They quickly set up a group email address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, and then have support emails automatically forward to their Gmail inboxes. When a support email comes in, someone on the team replies to the customer and BCC’s the other employees. Voila, free customer support tool.
The startup team starts to lose track of who’s replying to who. Two employees reply to the same email. Or worse, someone assumes that someone else is covering a support email and the customer’s question goes unanswered.
To avoid a fire drill here are some warning signs that your startup might be outgrowing Gmail support.
1 – More than 2 people need to be BCC’d when you reply to a support email.
BCC-ing multiple employees on support emails quickly becomes repetitive and annoying. It also inhibits collaboration because BCC’d participants no longer receive messages in the thread when the customer replies.
With a helpdesk ticket system in place, everyone on the team receives a notification when a new support request is received. They can also track the progress of the ticket as notifications are sent when new comments are added.
This means the startup can bring more of the team into the process so they can at least see the incoming support requests to get an idea of user feedback – this would quickly get out of hand with a simple Gmail setup.
2 – Multiple people are replying to the same support email on accident.
Usually startup employees share the load when it comes to providing customer support and as more support requests start rolling in, the more difficult it becomes to stay organized and not step on each other’s toes.
If you find yourselves replying to the same customer emails and duplicating efforts, it’s time to consider a help desk software.
With help desk software, a ticket comes in the system and is assigned to one person for resolution. That person is accountable for resolving the ticket and keeping the support team and customer informed of progress. This prevents duplication of effort and bystander effect, where all employees assume someone else is handling the support request and no one actually handles it.
3 – Hiring and firing is starting.
As your startup begins to have employees come and go, it becomes more important to have a centralized location to store all support requests and user feedback. The last thing you want is for an employee to leave the company and then someone has to sort through all their emails to see if they were in progress on a customer support request. Even worse, if someone deletes their old email account, then all the support emails and user feedback stored in their account will be lost.