Alexandra Shiryaeva
Chief Customer Officer at UseDesk
Due to the nature of my job, I was consulting one of our customers, "Muztorg", on the questions related to UseDesk's functionality. I've noticed that the store stuff is being warm and polite with the customers, team members know the products in the details, and they are so nice and friendly, that you just would not want to leave without buying something. I was impressed - the large network of stores has such a high level of service! I was eager to talk to them and learn how it all works from inside.
Maria Sinotova
Head of the contact center at "Muztorg"
How many orders do operators process daily? What are the channels? Which one is the most common?
Currently, we have up to 180 conversations each day, and this number is growing month over month. UseDesk brings together the requests from widgets, messages from the feedback forms and from the social networks, and reviews. In addition, we try to utilize live-chat where possible. Further, we are constantly doing various surveys on the quality of service, and negative feedbacks go to UseDesk in the same way.

The main channels are widgets and the feedback forms, then - social networks.

Statistics and our work show that the customers more often prefer to communicate through text channels rather than via phone calls. It's fast and easy.
How many operators do you need to manage the flow?
Now, we have 3 operators per working shift, where one operator gives consultations related to the goods and services and takes the orders, and two other operators work with the customers' issues and claims. We plan to expand the team to 5 people per shift as live-chat requires more people to be involved because the number of conversations is higher but response time should be quicker.
I believe, an understanding of how this should work was not here from the very beginning. How did you handle the orders before UseDesk? Were you experiencing any troubles with that?
Before UseDesk, we communicated with the customers via email and kept the statistics and records of the issues in Excel file. Many would understand me: it is easy to work with such data but the Excel file is not suitable when several people need to have access to it.

The biggest challenge was that the conversation with the customer was not transparent. If the agent suddenly takes a sick leave, the conversation has to be paused until the agent returns to work. This is not the level of service we want to provide.

The more we focused on the quality of the customer service, the more clearly we realized that we need a specialized tool bringing everything we need together.
Have you noticed any qualitative changes upon the switching to the helpdesk system?
When we implemented UseDesk, our customer support center has finally turned to become a really centralized system.

I was looking for a solution that would not only provide options to communicate with customers through various channels but also brought together the communications among the sales department, the customer service department and employees of other departments in one place; a tool that allows having internal discussions and enables access to the entire history of communications with the customer. The history of communications, both internal and external, should be available in one place accessible by every employee.

Moreover, after we integrated UseDesk, the sales department has been enabled to monitor the conversations and pick the customers without losing time and data. We started to use the reports on SLA (response time) and CSI (customer satisfaction index), the statistics of the requests subjects topics, and data on workload dynamics. We are now able to track the conversions in a text channel. Obviously, when you have data and statistical information, you can use it to develop the department in the most efficient way, and not blindly as before.
After we integrated UseDesk, the sales department has been enabled to monitor the conversations and pick the customers without losing time and data.
That is true. There is nothing you can change, if you don't know the real numbers. Now, you have more than 40 stores in different regions of the country. How do you manage to keep everything on track and handle a complex customer support system?
The thing here is centralization, again. All incoming requests go into one system, which is easy to work with. The automatic rules available through UseDesk assign priorities and reply times for each ticket, and distribute the requests among the agents. We use canned replies, a simple and easy knowledge base, which also make our lives easier.

Actually, we noticed that the number of negative feedbacks changed. I can say proudly that we did a great job optimizing our business processes and established efficient communications with our branches and partners. That is why we do not have that many claims from the customers. There was a time when we were fighting a fire but then we began to work with every issue systematically, we identify the weak places in the processes and work on them.
How do you measure successes and achievements of the customer support department? Which indicators are the most important ones in this area?
Speed and quality of the response are the 2 factors incorporated in KPI, and they both are part of a motivational scheme.

At the same time, we are a store in the first place, and ranking on Yandex.Market is very important for us. In most cases, leaving a feedback on the Market is one of the ways to be heard by the store management, sort of a tool of influence in case a store ignores you. If we have the customer who reported an issue to the contact center, while we try to avoid such scenario, we solve the issue and help the customer quickly.

Of course, there is a type of customers who immediately go to the Market no matter what, and they believe that the seller is not going to react. Actually, it is a chance for us to affect customer's opinion. Usually, after solving the problem, the customer changes his feedback from negative to a positive one, and recommends us as a reliable and honest seller.

We add some manual work to the reports. For example, my supervisor and I randomly review the conversations to see whether they comply with our standards, we analyze the customer reactions and give feedback to the agents. This is still one of the best ways to improve the quality of the support service.
A musical instrument is not just a regular product. How do you solve the difficult situations with the customers in case something was broken during the delivery, or the customer is not satisfied with the quality of the product?
We are a very loyal company. Most of the issues are resolved in favor of the customer, even if the law does require us to do so. The reputation and customers loyalty are more expensive. Generally, I am sure that any, even the most difficult situation, has at least 2 ways out, so I recommend not to focus on just one, the most obvious solution.

The most important thing to do is to figure out what the customer really wants. You should listen to the customer carefully, find out what is his problem, and let him know that you do care, and do everything you can to resolve the issue.
We are a very loyal company. Most of the issues are resolved
in favor of the customer, even if the law does require us to do so.
The reputation and customers loyalty are more expensive.
Probably, the customers ask the team members very specific questions, for example, what are the differences between those two similar guitars. Do all of your employees know the answers, do they need to know the answers, or is there some secret to it?
We have an internal training platform, and most of the answers can be found there. Additionally, about 95% of our employees are musicians, and they have hands-on experience working live with products. They know all the nuances.

In this respect, we are lucky as a highly specialized store as we can build a team of enthusiastic, really interested guys. We even do not need to specifically look for them because "Muztorg" is known to everyone.

For example, I myself, when I was a teenager, used to go to "Muztorg" as it was sort of a museum to me. The atmosphere there and various instruments fascinated me. Of course, as soon as I knew there was a job opening, I applied to it. I was surprised by how special this company is.

Another side of working here is that, sometimes, creative people are not doing very well with the discipline. We used to ignore that fact; however, we overcame that issue long time ago. If you want to be a part of the team, you have to follow the rules. This is how it works.
This is a touching story! It's incredible that there are so many coincidences. Can you share one situation in your life, a particularly memorable to you, that is related to the customer support? As for me, once, someone pushed a huge armature towards me and since then, I try to resolve the conflicts even before they occur.
I can't remember any particular story but I can tell you about one situation that happened to me. One evening, a man called the sales department. He said that he was on the China-Russia border and that he was there alone, and had no one to talk to. He told that he ordered a master bass angler from us, and how much he loved it. That was a very warm conversation. Such moments make you think about what you do and why you do this, and why good customer service is very important.
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