In agile software development, the customer is at the front and centre of everything you do. Iterations of your product only add value to your business if there’s a clear benefit for your customers. Collaboration between development teams and the customer are essential to prioritize the work to be done in order to continuously improve your product. This essential colloboration is empowered by Customer Support.
Proshore’s sister company, Digital Product Labs, provides an integration which enables merchants to sync product data between Shopify and Etsy. When it comes to updating and uploading product information and real-time pricing, Etsy Integration & Sync is a niche Micro-SaaS which saves merchants time and effort. They only have to update information once, and it syncs across both eCommerce platforms.
The success and evolution of this Micro-SaaS is partly due to the ongoing dialogue between Digital Product Labs and its customers. Right at the centre of that conversation is customer support. In this blog post, HR Manager, Krishma Shrestha, explains the business benefits of customer support, and why it makes a great first step on the career ladder for future developers.
What is customer support?
Customer support is a team of people who provide support and guidance when a customer experiences problems with a product or service. Their role is to help customers find solutions as quickly and as efficiently as possible. In software development, customer support, sometimes referred to as technical support, covers a range of services from onboarding and training to troubleshooting and maintenance.
As with any eCommerce tool, merchants rely on Etsy Integration & Sync to give customers the best prices at the right time. Any disruption to that service can have a direct impact on their bottom line. So for Digital Product Labs, it’s essential to resolve issues as quickly as possible.
How customer support works at Digital Product Labs
By employing customer support staff in different time zones, Digital Product Labs is able to offer around-the-clock support no matter where their customers are based. They also take a tiered approach to customer support, so that simpler technical problems can be handled at the first point of contact. This could be via live chat or a support ticket.
If the problem cannot be solved at the first level, and a slightly more technical response is required, the case is pushed to a more technical team member with deeper product knowledge. Should deeper technical knowledge be required to resolve the issues, the ticket is sent to the development team for a more thorough deep dive.
This process ensures that simpler technical queries are handled within 24 hours, whereas high-level technical solutions are typically investigated, within a few days. Throughout this process, customers are informed by email, chat or video calls, so they stay regularly updated.
Customer support at Digital Product Labs includes the following features to ensure customer satisfaction:
- 24/7 customer support
- Support tickets and live chat
- Prioritization based on urgency
- Ongoing training and onboarding
The business value of customer support for customers
When you produce a software integration for an eCommerce platform like Shopify or Etsy, there’s a knock-on effect for the merchants’ business if something is not working properly or malfunctioning.
In the case of Etsy Integration & Sync, any interruption to the service can impact real-time data regarding stock levels and product availability. This could lead to issues with supply and demand, causing customers to cancel orders due to delays in availability, or backlogs of items which are appearing as out of stock on the front end.
If real-time price fluctuations are affected, then merchants and their customers are not always getting the best prices and the best time. That’s why customer support is so important. Customer support is the bridge between customers and the development team. It helps to keep both parties in the loop at all times, helping to resolve problems quickly and smoothly
Why customer support is important for product development
Agile software development uses a customer-focused approach so that it’s customer needs that really drive development forward. Without that connection, product development would come to a standstill. So customer support is really important for five key reasons:
- By building an ongoing and collaborative relationship with customers through customer support, new features can be added as a result of their feedback.
- Onboarding sessions can help users to understand how any new enhancements can make their life easier.
- When a new customer joins, customer support takes a very active role in onboarding and provides demos to help them get started.
- Constant feedback from customers provides a roadmap for new features and a process of continuous improvement, which can benefit, and help to grow, the customer base.
- It’s not possible for developers to be on the frontline with customers. Customer support is that important bridge between the two.
From customer support to software development
Customer support is the backbone of product development. Without it, new features could be added, but they might not necessarily fit with the customer’s needs, and they may not add any real value to the product. That’s one reason why anyone interested in a career in software development would benefit from experience in customer support.
By taking a role in customer support, future developers gain a first-hand insight into how customer interaction informs product development. It helps them understand the context in which developers work, and the value that the right enhancements can bring to both the customer and the business.
Customer support is a great role for future developers who need to gain experience of the industry, build up experience of the industry, and also see how customer feedback feeds into an agile product development schedule.
Thinking about a career in software development or customer support? Proshore builds, trains and coaches agile development teams in Nepal. View our career opportunities.