A roundup of the best customer service articles from 2022—to help you learn something new, revisit long-standing topics, or simply enjoy.
Achieving stellar customer support is a moving target, involving a mix of strategy, processes, policies, analytics, and even a little art. It’s an ever-evolving field, which means it’s critical for support leaders to keep an eye on other companies’ experiences and trends.
In this always-changing universe of customer interactions, knowing where to go for resources can be tricky. That’s why we’ve rounded up this handy list, so you have all top customer support blogs published (so far) in 2022 in one accessible place.
Most of these blogs allow you to subscribe to their newsletters and publish new content regularly. If you want to stay on the cutting edge of customer experience knowledge, we highly recommend subscribing to each of these blogs. You can start by subscribing to the Nicereply blog for weekly content to help you become a customer support expert.
2022’s top customer service blogs
Why it matters: Popular automation tool Zapier has one of the best blogs on productivity. Zapier often publishes guides, including many excellent ones about customer support. This specific article was originally written in 2015, but it received a major update in 2022 and offers excellent tips for support leaders.
It’s chock-full of a ton of real examples from various companies on how to set up an impactful knowledge base. Help centers are vital tools in providing effective self-service to customers, enabling you to serve customers well while scaling your support team efficiently.
Key quote: “Help your customers help themselves. A help center empowers customers to use your product independently. When they need help from a person, your support team will be there, but they won’t have to rely on them for every question. That means fewer resources required from your team.”
Why it matters: Product adoption is when your customers start using your product as a solution to their initial goals. It’s important, because unless customers are engaged and actively using your product, you won’t be able to retain them. According to the Harvard Business Review, the retention of existing customers is 5 to 25 times cheaper than acquiring new ones. In this article, Stonly explains how your customer success team can focus on product adoption to drive retention and expansion, including the key metrics you can track to understand whether your customers are seeing success.
Key quote: “Many people think about product adoption during the onboarding stage, but adoption doesn’t stop with onboarding. While an account might move from the onboarding to retention stage, that account likely contains users at various levels of adoption. Even a tenured account likely contains some users you can influence towards greater product adoption. As your product changes and evolves, you’ll have never-ending opportunities to move users toward increased adoption.”
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Why it matters: Empathize, say sorry, offer an explanation, and fix the problem. It seems simple enough, right? And yet, many support teams struggle when it comes to apologizing to a customer. Research shows that a genuine apology is more effective in service recovery than compensation alone. It’s worth ensuring that your team masters the art of saying sorry.
Key quote: “If you feel you have to apologize to a customer for a negative experience in every second reply, there might be a bigger problem. Your support team shouldn’t be a shield for ongoing issues. Keep a record of customers who needed an apology and the reason for it. At the end of the month, if you’re seeing an ongoing trend, it’s worth bringing up to the rest of the company.”
Why it matters: This HubSpot article lists the ten core customer service principles every support team should adhere to. It’s also full of extra resources, just in case you want to dig deeper into any of them. Having a set of guiding principles contributes to satisfying your customer in every single interaction.
As a manager, customer service principles help define what customer service means to your organization. As a support rep, these principles shape your daily behavior to help you create customer-centric experiences.
Key quote: “Just like in life, it’s not enough to believe in your values — you have to act on them, too. As someone who is invested in customer success, make sure these customer service principles are baked into your company culture. And don’t just talk about it. Fully practice what you preach and encourage your teammates and colleagues to do the same.”
Why it matters: Every organization and support team will eventually deal with unhappy customers. Things can—and eventually will—go wrong. Customers complain, be it about a bug, a missing feature, or an undelivered product. An effective complaint resolution strategy is there to help you deliver the best possible service in these unfortunate instances.
Sometimes it’ll be about listening to what the customer has to say. On other occasions, it’ll be using a creative approach. Whatever the situation, the best approach to complaints is to proactively prepare for them. Do so, and you’ll avoid the risk of having a bad reputation or increasing customer churn.
Key quote: “If a customer is upset and you think you know why it’s natural to want to correct them or step in immediately. But that can cause more harm than good. A better approach is to start by asking questions. Most customers aren’t totally unreasonable. When they complain, they have what they perceive to be a legitimate reason for complaining. That means a support agent’s job is to uncover what’s causing that friction and figure out how to resolve it. The best way to do this is by asking good questions.”
Why it matters: Many support leaders struggle with having their voice heard when it comes to product decisions—which means the voice of the customer might get lost, too.
Key quote: “It’s easy to underestimate how much of an impact internal advocacy can have on changing the reputation of customer experience across your company. CX teams are often taken for granted and not given the attention of teams like Product or Sales. As a CX leader, it’s your responsibility to figure out what to do to promote the customer experience and set the tone for how CX achievements and feedback are perceived across the company.”
This article is about dealing with this frustration and finding ways to effectively “sell” customer experience to your whole organization. It covers everything from the problems you might run into to how you can best measure your success.
Why it matters: Keeping your customer support team engaged and happy is the key to preventing turnover, which is costly for any business. Customer service, in particular, is an industry with a lot of repetitive queue work.
On top of that, support agents regularly deal with emotionally taxing situations, like frustrated and unhappy customers. This article offers tips on how to detect and, most importantly, prevent burnout within your customer service team.
Key quote: “Want happy customers? Then you’ll need to ensure your agents are feeling supported, productive and prepared to carry out the responsibilities of their role. Preventing burnout should be a priority focus for any leader wanting to elevate their organization among a sea of competitors by delivering excellent support.”
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Why it matters: Sometimes, to visualize excellent customer support, you’ll need to first look at examples of what lousy customer support looks like. This Zendesk article does exactly that: it paints a picture of what lousy support looks like and, more importantly, how to turn it around so you leave your customers satisfied.
Key quote: “What was your absolute worst customer service experience? If you stopped doing business with that company and told all your friends about it, you’re not alone—and your customers would probably do the same thing. Loyalty hinges on delivering a great customer experience. It’s not enough to just have a good product—companies are setting themselves apart by delivering exceptional customer service.”
Why it matters: Last on our list is an article that might not teach you something new but is still worth a read. Teams that offer high-quality customer service often have behind them a business that is focused on delivering customer-centric experiences. In other words, excellent experiences are driven by processes and policies that support this strategy.
That means great customer experiences should be achievable for any business, without the need for “customer support heroes” to go above and beyond in their roles. Having said that…what if we imagine that there was such a thing as customer support heroes? What would they look like?
Key quote: “Yes, some customers will sometimes receive great service through the exceptional efforts of individuals. But a healthy, sustainable customer service department must deliver good service even when the lycra suits are all in the laundry and the big-name heroes are having a mental health day.”