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Customer experience, or CX for short, is one of the latest “buzzwords” in the customer relationship industry. As a whole, a customer experience encompasses all of the areas in which a customer interacts with your company and how they feel about your company during these interactions. Do they enjoy looking at your site for information or does it frustrate them? Is it easy for them to contact you or is the process confusing? These are just some of the questions posed to the emerging “customer experience professionals” and what they face on a daily basis.

But what specific roles does your customer support operation have in the customer experience? Here are some of the key ways customer support impacts the customer experience…

Customer support is a “traffic cop” and points people in the right direction at the right time – Sometimes when customers reach out to support they are confused. Maybe they received the wrong pallet of products or they are unable to find information around a key process. This is where as a customer support department you add in the “human” element to your technology stack. Instead of making your customers feel ashamed to reach out to support, make the experience positive and work to resolve their issue in a timely fashion. If a customer has a positive experience with support, they are more likely to reach out again in the future for help and value knowing that your company has their back.

A better self-service experience means it’s easier for customers to solve their own problems – While having a strong human element as a company is great, you don’t want your support team being bombarded with simple requests. Not only can it frustrate customers having to reach out every time for something minor, but the repetitiveness of answering the same questions also wears on agents. Instead, work towards creating a self-service site that contains easy to digest information with intuitive navigation. This way, your customers can answer basic questions on their own time and at their own pace without the need to rely on customer support.

Offering on-site chat increases the stickiness and frequency of visitors – When a customer digs into a self-service site but they can’t find the answer they’re looking for, it’s easy to use live chat to simplify the process of reaching out to an agent. Not all inquiries are necessarily worthy of an email, making live chat important to offer so smaller questions can be answered in real time. If what seems to be a small issue on the surface turns into something much larger, customer support software that offers live chat natively can take a chat conversation and turn it directly into a ticket. This is also great for when a customer must suddenly leave so the progress made in the chat conversation is not lost and you can follow up via email to make sure their issue is resolved.

Customer support, as a last point of contact, can “save” customer relationships – This is arguably the most important impact customer support has on the customer experience because it affects the bottom line of a business. When a customer reaches out to support with an issue, it’s always important to have agents that are well trained to gauge the “tone” of the conversation. This training enables them to know when and how to bring in the right people to resolve not only the issue but the unpleasant demeanor of the customer. This level of intervention can range from including a customer retention professional to a senior executive, but the impact of having someone qualified to “step in” when needed and evaluate the status of the greater business relationship is important.

Customer support impacts the customer experience by making sure the alignment between a business and their customers is correct in all interactions. From facilitating digital conversations to being a “traffic cop” for customer needs, support improves the experience by making customers feel like they aren’t alone and they have the information required to be successful. Utilizing customer support as a last line of defense when needed can also save your business time and money; this is done by properly intervening with at-risk customers before the business-customer relationship becomes unrepairable.