Phone Support Vs. Email Support

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phone support

As the customer count grows, every company needs to think about how they will scale their customer support organization. Should they offer phone support or just provide email support? Should they charge additional for phone support to the lower tier customers?

At Ordoro, we decided to provide free unlimited phone support to all customers. All customers means all, not just the top level tiers, not just those who are paying us, but all customers including those in their 15-day free trial. Not only that, our customer support team is not measured on how many issues they resolve per day, or how fast they can get off the phone. Instead, the entire support team is encouraged to talk to as many customers as much as they can.

At the heart of this decision is that one-on-one interactions lead to meaningful customer experiences. What better way to connect with people than to have a conversation with them? Also, while our support site addresses the needs of auditory and visual learners with help articles and videos, others may learn faster through one-on-one conversations in context of their business needs. Our customers love this aspect and it differentiates us from all our competitors.

But it’s not just the customers who benefit from this level of phone support. We do too. It seems counter-intuitive, but offering unlimited phone support from the very beginning has resulted in lower support costs for us. Here is why.

Many tech companies shy away from phone support because they are afraid of the increased costs. But picking up the phone and talking to the person for 5 minutes in some cases is more efficient than spending time on multiple email exchanges. Because oftentimes the initial question that the user asks does not point to the root problem.  By having a phone conversation, we can get to the root issue and a resolution much faster.

In addition to faster issue issue resolution, through phone discussions we can learn more about the specific customer’s business and their shipping and inventory management needs. This knowledge makes answering their questions in the future easier. This deep understanding of the user’s needs also helps us build better features that solve their problems at a more fundamental level. In some cases, we offer a concierge mvp workaround for problems, and that in turn helps us learn more about the root problem.

And finally, we believe that charging additional for phone support sets the wrong incentives to our company. Our goal is to build beautiful, functional software that will solve the shipping and inventory management problems for all our users. Our ambition is to have hundreds of thousands of people using our software on a daily basis. Going back to the original point about scaling customer support, we want our incentive to be to build a product that requires minimal hand holding. Rather than charging the customer for support phone calls, our incentive should be to fix the root problem so that we don’t need to field so many “how does this feature work” kind of phone calls in the first place.

All those benefits add up and these daily phone conversations have helped us build better features more efficiently and helped us get smarter at what we do. As a result of this strategy, our support costs have been much lower than what we originally anticipated, and we have a whole bunch of happy customers. And it turns out that we are not alone at this approach.