Best practice of the week: 2.6.1 Customer support

86% of customers quit doing business with a company due to a bad customer experience. Support is now a major product feature, particularly for complicated items (like IT of all kinds) where a 3rd-party seller often has no further responsibility. Leading edge, customer-driven companies completely integrate support with their product mix. Because it’s so important, customer support is now a career path for top jobs. How understanding are your locked-down customers?


Definition of customer support: “Ensuring each customer knows how to buy and use your product or service in the way they need and want.”

Practice Summary

Recommended characteristics

  • Sequence: automated self-service first, then informed agents
  • Timeliness: 24/7 if possible
  • Friendly environment using multiple channels
  • Possible use of turnkey helpdesk software


  • Customer satisfaction
  • Net promoter score – likelihood of customer recommending your product
  • Number of contacts – indicator of product quality
  • Specific product feature feedback


  • Too long a wait
  • Too long a path of “press this, then that”
  • Call transfers causing customers to re-explain issues

3 Good Questions (discuss in a management meeting)

  1.   How can we use customer comments for product updates?
  2.   How can we meet customers’ communication preferences?
  3.   What’s the best way to educate our customers?

In this stressful crisis, the personability of customer support can create a lot of goodwill towards the company. But relevance also matters: if support content and processes are outdated, the customer feels they’ve not been heard, leading them to question all your organization’s practices and reputation.