This is a sponsored post by Aircall.

Subscription-based products offer great incentives to consumers. For one, no customer is required to live unhappily with a product that’s subpar or ill-fitting for their needs. At least not for too long.

On the other hand, the companies themselves must compete fiercely for customer loyalty and satisfaction. The biggest part of retaining customers and attracting new ones is to build a product that outmaneuvers and outperforms your market peers. However, engineering limitations, funding, and quality assurance processes will always be blockers to fast product solutions. And sometimes, fast isn’t fast enough — customers have become accustomed to the idea of immediate improvement.

However, what every brand can do is take the necessary steps to create the very best customer experience possible with the team, product, and infrastructure they currently have.

Using these four points, your team can create a customer experience that not only meets expectations, but fosters lasting relationships and more renewals. This starts with a Customer Support team that solves problems efficiently and completely.

(Bonus: Read How to Humanise Customer Experience Using Technology for precise technologies and steps your team can use to improve customer satisfaction)

1. Removing Internal Blockers to Customer Happiness

Many times, the solution to a customer’s issue is right in front of you. However, blockers such as complicated approval processes, inefficiencies, and miscommunication lead to slower, unsatisfactory resolutions. Improvements to internal operations can be the quickest way to improve your customer experience.

To improve communication, make sure your team has a documented and replicable note taking process. A customer’s support ticket will usually be handled by multiple agents across a few touchpoints. If all the history and previous actions are recorded in a way everyone can easily follow, it will lead to faster resolutions and less frustration on the client-side.

Additionally, not giving your team enough autonomy can leave frontline agents waiting for approval from managers to take action. If you empower your team with the ability to take action on higher-level issues, your customers will see marked improvements in time-to-resolution. If routine issues like refunds (provided they aren’t too large), payment processing, and data requests can avoid escalation, your team will operate with fewer blockers. As an added benefit, you will also be able to improve your customer’s experience.

How is this possible? Difficult and nuanced customer support scenarios should be built into your representatives’ training curriculum. Concrete guidelines can also be set to determine which types of issues need to be escalated and which can be taken care of earlier on. Most importantly, managers should trust their agents and give them the freedom to be imperfect. Complicated support scenarios may not have a totally ideal solution. If agents feel like they won’t be reprimanded for making a best-effort, they’ll be encouraged to escalate fewer tickets.

2. Humanising Your Approach to Service

Automation is helping modern brands handle higher volumes of customer support inquiries and while also keeping queue times short. However, this shouldn’t be instead of also providing a human interaction, if the customer prefers this route. Make sure to always provide a way to get in touch with a representative.

Chatbots, self-help libraries, and IVR phone menus can help solve the most simple tickets (for example, anything that can be typed using touch-tone keypads or basic voice/text commands). Your brand should be using some of these features to provide efficient, twenty-four-hour support.

However, customers will, at some point, need to talk to a human. If an issue is more nuanced than a straightforward information request, person-to-person empathy and reasoning is the fastest way to a resolution.

This is why — no matter how your customers choose to make contact — make the option to speak/text with a representative front and center. This may not always scale as well as artificial intelligence, empathy, understanding, and a live-agent’s ability to perceive how a customer is doing will go a long way toward making your customers feel like your brand really understands them as people, more than a mere sale.

3. Find a Tech Stack That Complements Your Strengths

New tech should not be seen as a miracle solution to your problems, but if utilized in the correct way, it can improve all major KPIs associated with customer experience.

For instance, internal communication and ticket handling can become major problems for customer support teams, especially when ticket volume increases. Keeping track of every customer support interaction is troublesome if there aren’t replicable processes in place (see point 1).

However, a lot of contact center tools have integrations with CRM systems that make automatic note syncing easy and highly-visible, for when multiple agents will address the same ticket over time. Aircall, for example, will send call information — like duration, a call recording, and agent notes — directly to the correct customer profile within the most popular CRM systems

Finding which tools give your team the most context for support or sales interactions will produce satisfied customers. Histories can be logged from the prospecting phase, through the sale, and onwards to the customer care level.

Aside from data syncing, many other tools give agents extra powers to solve tickets quickly. Screen sharing, survey tools, and analytics platforms provide team leaders with the information they need to make improvements over time.

4. Preventative Support and the Customer Onboarding Process

Improving the customer experience shouldn’t wait until there’s a problem that needs solving. Preventative support is the best support — every time.

Especially in the subscription software market, properly teaching your customers how to use and exploit the product for maximum gain will help keep future support volume low.

Many brands will send a welcome email with links to self-help and training resources when deals close, but continued proactive outreach to an account’s stakeholders will prove you are committed to their success. Seek out their questions before they become support tickets.

Naturally, high value and very large accounts will require more attention, but smaller customers shouldn’t be pushed aside. Assigning onboarding and support agents to various tiers of customers will provide consistent and thoughtful help, should it be needed. Scheduling onboarding webinars for deep-dive training can give smaller clients the opportunity to ask specific questions in a scalable setting for your team.

For a deeper dive into what top brands are doing to create the best customer experience possible, see the downloadable guide: How to Humanise the Customer Experience Using Technology. It features real-world insights and stories from industry leaders, as well as concrete examples of what technology and steps your team can leverage to find success.