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Support Agreement

For six years, we had a challenge on how to provide WOW customer service, without paying WOW bucks for it. I feel confident that we finally found the right system, and I think there is a lot to learn about how you can implement something similar in your own business by learning from our experience.

Customer Support

In 2012, we realized clients who were trying to launch by themselves tried for weeks, some tried for months, but they never launched it. Some of them took 5 hours of support from us, some took 50 hours. When we calculated the numbers we realized that if we put the total amount of hours we spent on customer support into completing the end to end process for our clients, we would have spent the same amount on payroll. Except we would have happy clients with live websites, and we would have an incredible retention rate.

As Seth Godin wrote,

The only purpose of customer support is to change feelings. Not the facts, but the way your customer feels. The facts might be the price, or a return, or how long someone had to wait for service. Sometimes changing the facts is a shortcut to changing feelings, but not always, and changing the facts alone is not always sufficient anyway. If a customer service protocol (your call center or complaints department or returns policy) is built around stall, deny, begrudge and finally, to the few who persist, acquiesce, then it might save money, but it is a total failure. The customer who seeks out your help isnt often looking to deplete your bank account. He is usually seeking validation, support and a path to feeling the way he felt before you let him down. The best measurement of customer support is whether, after the interaction, the customer would recommend you to a friend. Time on the line, refunds given or the facts of the case are irrelevant. The feelings are all that matter, and changing feelings takes humanity and connection, not cash.
Our competitors have HUNDREDS of customer service representatives on payroll doing USELESS WORK, and I mean useless as they deliver ZERO value to their customers because they cant truly help them. Helping customers would mean involving developers, designers, data managers, project managers, etc. the only thing our competitors do is stall the client from moving forward. Just because they answer the phone when you call, doesnt mean a thing.

Eliminate Customer Support

We wanted to eliminate customer support, so we decided that if we do ALL THE WORK for our client then 100% of the customer support should be eliminated. We thought, how awesome would it be if a client comes to us and requests 7 months of work, and we can deliver it in 30-60 days. Of course, we knew that wont happen overnight, but that was the goal. At the time, we only had 12 staff members, and in six months we scaled to 60 staff members to achieve these results.

We designed systems, software, processes, we hired extra staff, managers, etc., but we were still off target. The main problem was that even though we were doing all the work, we still needed to provide customer support. Clients had specific requirements, questions, etc. and we had to keep them in the loop the whole time to keep them happy.

The reason it took so long to launch was due to the communication delay between departments and the clients.

Email is Dead

When we would try to communicate with the clients via email, we had all kinds of problems

  1. Emails would not get delivered all the time or go to spam
  2. There is a minimum of 1 hour and up to 2 days delay getting a response
  3. Email responses would get lost
  4. Email responses would arrive to the wrong person
  5. By the time email was responded the dedicated worker was already doing another project

We had to get rid of the emails and think of something different.

Support Desk is Dead

Shopping Cart Elite has a built in support desk, so we spent two months overhauling it to make a CRM / PROJECT MANAGEMENT software out of it. It worked! But not for everything

  1. It was much more organized
  2. Emails would arrive to the support desk and never get lost
  3. Emails would merge into specific tickets which would be linked to the correct project
  4. Department Manager would own the tickets and assign staff to be accountable for the work
  5. A centralized daily and weekly report was created to show the big picture of all the projects for our COO to review

Everything seemed perfect, except we still had the same problem with emails. We would ask the customer to fill out help forms (tickets), and replies back and forth would take forever. We even implemented an email open tracker to confirm if the client viewed the email or not.

The support desk made us much more organized and well informed, but we were still very far from 7 days.

Telephone is Dead

We decided to hire account managers, which would be accountable to bridge the gap between departments and the client to try to get to that 7 day mark. What ended up happening was the Account Manager became an Account Messenger.

He would do USELESS work running after clients and being the broken telephone between the client and the department managers. Sometimes the client was busy, or not available, and the account manager couldnt keep up.

Skype (Chat Rooms)

The core problem was that even though we were doing all the work for the client, the fact that the client wanted to feel like they are a part of the team didnt change, and the client was RIGHT. He should be a part of team especially during the building stage.

In todays world, clients expect everything to be DONE NOW! We want fast food, fast delivery, and fast RESULTS.

So I figured why dont we replace EMAILS with SKYPE! Which will give us LIVE, ON DEMAND communication between all departments. We will allow communication between the Support Desk to work with Skype instead of email. This way whatever needs to be recorded in archives can be placed right into the ticket, and whatever is chatter can be ignored.

Fortunately we were already in developing an intelligent chat that would make Shopping Cart Elite work with Skype, so it was a perfect fit.

We made our clients go on Skype and be available all the time during the building stage, we created a chat room on Skype and placed all department managers, COO, CEO, account managers along with the client into each chat room.

If the client had questions, the right person was there. If anyone from our team had questions for the client, the client was available as well. IT WAS GREAT!

Immediately after implementing this new process, everything started to shine. I realized that the biggest factor for the delay was COMMUNICATION due to OUTDATED TECHNOLOGY.

In addition, the dedicated chat rooms allowed everyone to learn more about their departments. As I would reply to the client, or another department would speak to the client everyone was on the same page. I asked the account manager to start compiling frequently asked questions and making a document for the whole company to learn more about what clients ask and how to answer their questions.

Expectations

Prior to becoming a customer you would have been handled by a trial tech support personal. Once you become a customer the tech support personal will have the account manager in the Skype group take over.

The process usually starts off with an introduction to the group and who everyone is. You will be asked to fill out the forms located on our welcome webpage.

Please note that there will only be one person active inside the Skype group at any given time, and that is a level 1 tech support.

Level 1 Tech Support - This individual has at least 1 year of experience with Shopping Cart Elite and he is able to answer any basic questions about the functionality of the software. He is also able to bring in a question that you may have to the right manager. You should separate a list of questions about your project into the following segments:

  1. Software Questions
  2. Data Questions
  3. Design Questions
  4. Development Questions
  5. Setup Questions
  6. Deadline Updates

In the first two weeks we primarily focus on the scope of the work for Data and Design. That means anything related to setup, development, and deadlines are typically not looked at this time. Once the design mockup has been approved, we will start to implement it on the website. Once your data has been scoped properly we will start the work. Usually the design and data are both completed within 15 - 30 days.

If you have a questions about software, or require training you may arrange a series of questions and request to schedule a call to go over them.

You can also post or read questions on our Knowledge Board (question.shoppingcartelite.com)

NOTE: If the staff does not have enough information to come up with a deadline date, then they are not allowed to give you a deadline date under any circumstances. They are only allowed to give you next action date.

NOTE: If you start posting random questions to random people in Skype they will quickly get lost in the shuffle. It is advised that you speak to one person at a time, about a specific set of questions before moving to another set of questions for another person. If you have questions for a specific person you can post them in Skype, if you have many questions for random people you may ask to speak to different individuals one at a time, not together. Once your data and design are fully completed, it will be time to speak about setup and any kind of development. Setup is always scheduled as a remote meeting, and development is advised to be taken private with CEO and any other parties that need to be involved. You may request updates at any time, however please be considerate not to ask about them daily. We have two types of dates:

NEXT ACTION DATE - When will the next action take place to proceed to the next step
DEADLINE DATE - When the task will be done
NOTE: If the staff does not have enough information to come up with a deadline date, then they are not allowed to give you a deadline date under any circumstances. They are only allowed to give you next action date.

Support Types

CRITICAL SUPPORT

Critical Support means that you are experiencing something related to Shopping Cart Elite software and it will result in loss of 50% of business of the average daily gross sales within 24 hours. Such cases are handled within 1-6 hours during business days, and up to 12 hours during weekends. These case are not counted against your support cases. Ex: Downtime

NON-CRITICAL SUPPORT

Non-Critical Support means that you are experiencing something related to Shopping Cart Elite software and it will NOT result in loss of 50% of business of the average daily gross sales within 24 hours. Such cases are handled within 12-72 hours. These case are not counted against your support cases. Ex: Website feature stopped working

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

Technical Support means you have random questions about the software. We provide Level 1 tech support via Skype. You may post questions on Skype, however if the Level 1 tech support is unable to answer your questions, they will post your question on question.shoppingcartelite.com, the usual response time may be 24 - 72 hours. If you will demand an answer via Skype sooner, require remote assistance, or require Level 2 tech support we will count your request against your annual support cases. Ex: Install Google Analytics, Setup Filters, Easy Data Feed questions, etc.

TRAINING

You are welcome to do your own training using our PDF and Video tutorials at any time. Our setup and support agreement does include a number of training hours done via remote sessions. We do offer training after the completion of the setup of your website and not before. If you require training before the setup of your website you must notify your account manager to arrange it. If you will require more hours for training you can purchase them here.

OPERATIONAL SUPPORT

If you require help with data entry, image upload, file upload, filter setup, customer service, live chat, etc. you may ask for a virtual assistant referral that already knows Shopping Cart Elite and we will be happy to provide one. Unless stated in your agreement our technical support cant spend more than 30 minutes on your requests.

MARKETING SUPPORT

If you are interested in our marketing service you can go here to see the range of services we offer, and inquire with our sales team for more information. This includes conversion optimization, marketplace setup, troubleshooting conversion issues, etc. Unless stated in your setup and support agreement, or you are on the enterprise plan we do not offer free marketing support.

Going Live

Once you go live, you will have 72 hours to compile a list of issues that you want us to resolve under the free support. Whatever issue you find after 72 hours, will go against your support cases, or may be charged if it exceeds the scope of what is included in your support package.

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