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You Need a Support Funnel to go with your Sales Funnel


#1

I’ve been working on this idea that we as business owners need a Support Funnel similar to a Sales Funnel because support is usually there to serve existing customers. We spend tons of time optimizing our sales process but I suspect most of us put much less effort into our Support Systems. I know this is true for our businesses.

The idea of a Support Funnel basically a my way to explain how I think we should design our websites and support systems to best serve our customers. Here’s a blog post I wrote today.

Thanks,

Scott


#2

Increased efficiency is always a good marketing angle in customer service. Support funnel is just giving a better name to a well known process in customer service, but that’s why I really like the term (kicks self for not thinking of it) :smile:

Personally I’m not a big believer in the required check of an FAQ before submitting a support ticket, but some people certainly are so I’m sure there’s a market for it if it’s executed well.


#3

We’re the opposite to that assumption, we’ve been insanely focused on support from day 1, and until very recently haven’t considered our sales process at all! We have a website, people buy our thing from it, but an awful lot of the positive stuff we read about Perch talks about how great our support is.

I think our focus on helping people - who quite often have issues that aren’t anything to do with our product - has been a big part of our success.


#4

That’s great! From what I can see you guys have put a ton of work into the support site fo Perch!


#5

Maybe this depends what stage your business is at - if you’re getting 3500 emails a month, I can see you need to find ways to scale back the enquiries! But for a smaller / earlier stage business, you might want to have a wider funnel and proactively encourage customers to contact you:

  • Don’t assume your customers will come to your site looking for help first. My customers often search Google when they have a problem, so it’s important for me to get my support documents ranking there. (I can see this in the search term referrers from Google.)

  • Don’t assume customers will use your email address or find your support pages either. One of the best things I ever did was to add a support form to the bottom of every page of my website: “Have A Question For Us?” (I stole this idea from Writely, who eventually got bought by Google and became Google Docs.)

  • If you use unlocking codes (eg for desktop software), adding a page “I Lost My Code Please Email It To Me Again” is maybe the #1 thing you can do to reduce your support enquiries. (But I’m the only one left making desktop software, right? :wink:


#6

Thanks for support, Ian!

I don’t think my approach is appropriate for everyone. I think if you communicate that self service helps keep the cost of the service down and that they can probably get their answer quicker themselves than to wait hours or days for a response.

I think when you are dealing with a really large customer base you need reconsider what is appropriate. WooThemes recently blogged that an average support tickets costs them $5 and very roughly estimate our business it might cost us more per request since currently my wife and I answer all the questions; which might change soon.


#7

Thanks for sharing these examples. I completely agree that a small company it might not be desirable. I do think based on our experience and a bit of research I’ve done that a customer based business seems to need this roadblock type approach more than a B2B. I had not considered the “bottom of the page” but that could be a really useful placement.


#8

Thanks everyone for commenting! You’ve all given me much to think about and evaluate.