Is customer success the same as customer support?

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Maintaining smooth communications with customers, guiding them at all times, and helping them make the most of a company’s product are some of the tasks that all businesses must perform in order to satisfy their users.

Customer success and customer support teams are charged with this mission. However, although these two concepts are often used interchangeably, the truth is that there are notable differences between them. In fact, the objectives of these departments, the way they work, and the metrics to evaluate their performance, are different. Here we discuss the different functions they perform.

Differences between customer success and customer support

In essence, we can define customer success as a business focus on using technology and users’ information to ensure that they continuously receive value from a product throughout their life cycle as customers.

Thus, customer success is a philosophy based on forging closer ties with users and interacting with them proactively so that their experience a the product and brand are as positive as possible. In short, pleasing customers is a good way to retain them, which has a positive impact on a company’s revenues.

Customer support, meanwhile, is geared towards satisfying the user when he has a problem. Thus, this team tries to remove all the obstacles that a customer might encounter, and provides him with the assistance he needs to enjoy the product or service he wants.

These are the main differences:

  • Being proactive vs. reacting. A customer success team must take the initiative, while customer support is based on a reaction to the customer’s needs: when a user requests help via any channel (email, telephone, social networks), he needs to be given an effective solution soon as possible.
  • A continuous mission vs. a specific task. Customer success is not a task to be carried out in a fixed period, as the relationship with the customer is an on-going one. Customer support, on the other hand, is provided in a series of isolated cases, each with a beginning and an end. They start with a customer’s request and end when his issue is resolved. While the former centres on the long term, the latter concentrates on the short term.
  • Impact on business vs. immediate effectiveness. The metrics that evaluate customer success are much more generic than customer support ones, as in the first case an attempt is made to measure the impact on the business in the long term, whereas with customer support quality and speed of response are evaluated.

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Metrics to evaluate customer support and customer success

As stated, the metrics to evaluate the results of each team are different. Customer success teams do not solve specific problems, but rather try to improve the consumer’s long-term experience. Therefore, the Repeat Rate (evaluating how many customers purchase again), CLV (Customer Lifetime Value, gauging the margin obtained over time with a customer) and Customer Retention Rate (the ability to keep customers; that is, the recurrence of purchases) are some of the metrics to measure this department’s results.

Customer support metrics are more specific, and can be evaluated after each interaction. The CSAT, or Customer Satisfaction Score, measures reactions to the service received; the Customer Effort Score (CES) evaluates the effort the user had to make to get his problem solved, and the Net Promotion Score (NPS) indicates whether the customer would recommend a product or service to those in his social circle.  

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How do I create each team?

Many companies have a customer support team, but they are less likely to have one dedicated to customer success. After all, Customer Support is a marketing field that has been studied for far longer, while the customer success approach is more recent and less defined.

In one way or another, the truth is that any company, in accordance with its size, should have a customer support team, and another customer success one, or professionals focusing on these differentiated approaches, with distinct functions and objectives. This does not mean that the two should not relate to each other. In fact, they should definitely communicate with each other to improve the customer’s overall experience.

These two teams interact with customers all the time, so they will both receive comments about failures and problems, but also advantages, detected by customers, which they should be aware of. A company will operate better if these areas work in a coordinated way, as customer support’s short-term work is complemented by customer success’s long-term vision.

Therefore, creating these teams, training their professionals, assigning them different responsibilities, and evaluating their performance with the help of metrics, is essential. Gmail Meter can be very useful in this regard.

Want to see how we help Customer Succes and Customer Support managers to get inbox stats and manage email success / support teams? Try Gmailmeter.com.

Is internal competition an email sales driver?

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Setting a goal to meet, getting motivated to achieve it, and striving as hard as possible to overcome the challenges along the way are some of the keys to success in different areas of life, work among them. When it comes to leading a team of workers, a manager not only has to follow this process at an individual level, but he is also in charge of conveying to others the objectives that must be achieved and the motivation necessary to make an effort.

In this regard, if you are at the helm of a sales team, you may wonder whether it is better to promote internal competitiveness on the team to motivate its members to try new sales tactics, or whether, on the contrary, competitiveness can be negative and end up generating discomfort and distrust.

There is no doubt that when you want to win a race, seeing the finish line and knowing that behind you there are other athletes running towards it too can spur your to pick up the pace. Similarly, in a sales department, promoting competition can encourage employees to achieve better results.

However, the strategy to promote rivalry must be well defined, to avoid creating an awkward work environment. Don’t make workers try to improve at the cost of harming others. Rather, encourage them to follow their peers’ example.

Rivalry is all right, as long as it is healthy

Healthy competition can yield good results, both individually and for teams as whole units. But, how can you promote it? These are some guidelines.

  • Be clear about the metrics you want to study.  Logically, in a football game, for example, the most important thing is to know the other team. But that’s not all. Measuring ball possession and shots on goal is also important. Similarly, in a sales department there are a few metrics that should be considered beyond total sales: sales by product or service, by the channel one has used to achieved the lead, sales to recurring customers, or to new customers, etc.

Obviously, comparing the results of each team member (individual sales, number of calls or number of customers contacted that resulted in sales) can also be of great help. 

  • Set the competition’s objectives. Logically, it is useless to measure the team without communicating the objectives that are to be achieved. However, it is not enough to set a quarterly sales target, or one for a specific campaign. You also have to teach the team how they can achieve that goal. For example, by following these guidelines you can teach them to write better emails.

It is also important that you explain not only what they need to do, but also why. This is the only way to ensure that competitiveness is beneficial for all the team members and does not negatively affect their motivation, or damage their self-esteem. Explaining to them in detail how meeting those goals will benefit them individually, and how it will also help to achieve the department and company’s mission, will strengthen their commitment.

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  • Make the winners public (and reward them).  Logically, as in any contest, it is important to recognise the winners and reward them adequately. Set aside any inadequate and obsolete strategies that involve rebuking instead of rewarding: a good sales manager does not publicly humiliate the loser, but rather encourages everyone to excel.

The best managers should not focus on negative results, but rather praise positive ones.  Public recognition, economic rewards and more original prizes (a gift, an office party) are just some of the ways to acknowledge those workers who have posted the best results or showed the most commitment to a project, without neglecting to recognise other members of the team for their merits too.

In the day to day, the most common thing is to have a board, physical and virtual, featuring data charting each team member’s daily, monthly or quarterly progress, to motivate them to move up in the rankings.

Doing so benefits not only the one who gets the best results, but everyone else too: seeing that the rest can achieve sales goals will make them realise that it is possible to do so, and motivate them to identify how they can improve. Every month the counter returns to zero, so everyone has the chance to move up next time.

  • Motivate and strengthen ties. Just as coaches analyse results after a game, sales managers have to evaluate their teams’ performances, both individually and globally. But when he addresses the team face to face, he should never pit employees against each other, but rather encourage reflection. For example, he can have the best salespeople share useful tips for everyone, and encourage an exchange of opinions on areas for improvement.  

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Digital tools, a tool to promote competition

Logically, to establish the parameters of the competition you must know that you will be able to measure all those results that enhanced competitiveness may increase. On the Web you can find a multitude of tools that help your company measure the performance of its sales team.

Stats showing a team’s email usage habits, at the individual and global level, are one of the metrics that help to improve performance in the healthy competitive environment that you have created.

Want to see how we help managers to get inbox stats and manage email sales teams? Try Gmailmeter.com.

Best practices for your email sales team

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Every day dozens of emails from companies, relatives and acquaintances arrive in our inboxes, which barely gives us time to read them all. This is why the sending of emails by companies’ sales teams, a business process essential to attract customers, must be properly monitored and managed. There are also certain practices that can be followed to increase the likelihood that a client will read and respond to your messages.

If a sales team receives leads (records of people interested in your products, having sent their information via a form) and starts a conversation by email with those customers, if they have to answer a question from the potential customer, or need to send a personalised mail, there are a number of recommendations that you should keep in mind. Here we run down some good practices that a sales team should follow when using email:

How to write successful sales emails

Every word that you write in your email matters, from the Subject line to your closing. Now, what is the ideal wording for an email? These are some of the guidelines your sales team should follow when writing them:

  • The Subject line of the email is crucial. No matter how appealing your proposal is, the user will not read it if he never opens it. Thus, it is essential that the Subject be recognisable and interesting, as the objective is for the recipient to click on it. Similarly, taking great care with the first sentence of the email is important in terms of getting it opened, as it appears near the Subject line in the inbox.
  • Write short and simple emails. Although it may be tempting to offer lots of details, so that the client appreciates the work behind it, it is not a good idea to draft long emails. Quite the contrary. Follow the premise that less is more, and get to the point, keeping your email short. And the message has to be simple: if it is full of details the user will likely delete it instead of stopping to read it.
  • Ask just one question, or propose a single action in each email. If you ask too many questions, the client is unlikely to answer any of them. Remember that the key is for the message to be simple, so you have to ask a question that is also simple, so that recipients only have to spend a few minutes of their time responding to your query.
  • Your mail must have a purpose. Do not waste the time of a client or a future client with a follow-up email that does not have a clear objective. Your messages should always have a purpose, and it must be clear.

Ask your clients to respond. Often users decide to put of responding, and the email falls into oblivion. Therefore, you have to make them feel that, if they do not answer, you will no long offer them the opportunity in question. Do it politely, but let them know that their inaction will have consequences.desk-2852986_1280

How to write effective response emails

Responding to users who have shown interest in your product is essential to turn them into customers. To train sales professionals to respond effectively by email, follow these tips:

  • When you have to answer a lead, time is of the essence. As we already stated, every minute counts when it comes to email. The faster you answer a lead, the more likely you are to turn it into a sale. Quickly answering any questions is also vital.
  • Customise your answers. Avoid canned responses that lack personalisation as much as possible, but if you cannot avoid sending an automatic response, gather all the information you can from the email you receive, or include the name of the recipient, or your company, in the response. In fact, the experts stress that personalising your response will make them feel engaged in the proposal.
  • Always include a call to action. The purpose of the email should be clear in the body of the message, and should lead to a specific proposal at the end. So, as a close to the message, and before saying goodbye, include a call to action that instructs the user to take the next step.

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How to manage sales emails

Following the above advice is useless if there is no proper management and follow-up of these messages. To manage your sales team’s emails, use technological tools:

  • Get your sales team’s email statistics. To determine whether your sales team’s emails are working, it is essential to have metrics. Using Gmailmeter.com allows you to track your team’s habits when sending emails, the number of emails sent or received, the total number of senders, and response times, among many other data. Analysing them and making decisions based on them, you can boost your sales via email.
  • Use smart automation. Using pre-tested templates to draft messages, and automatic tools to personalise emails can be very helpful. Further, keeping in mind the best time of day and the best day of the week to send emails is also essential.
  • Try, try and try again. Monitoring the effectiveness of messages and acting accordingly is also essential. To do this, you can use the well-known A/B method: send two similar versions of the same email, but with some different elements, to different groups of users. Then analyse the results from each one to hone your future emails.

Would you like to manage your sales email teams? We can help out. Give a try to gmailmeter.com to measure your inbox performance or send us an email to sales@gmailmeter.com. We’d be happy to help.

When is the best time to send an email to a customer?

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Every time we click on “Send” to send an email to a client, we tend to ask ourselves the same questions: Is this the best time of the day to write him? What time would be best, for him to open and respond to the message? What times should I avoid so that it does not end up lost in a sea of messages in his inbox?

Obviously, the best time to send an email to a client, partner, supplier or co-worker is whenever he will see it on his computer. It is only logical that you are more likely to get a response from him if he is at his desk, rather than checking his email on his smartphone while traveling to the office, eating, or enjoying time off.

Now, the difficult thing is to ascertain when those minutes of the day are when the recipient is more likely to be sitting in front of his computer and paying attention to his email.

The users of Gmail Meter have detailed statistics about habits when managing corporate emails, thanks to our platform. Based on our data from more than 55,000 users, we’re going to tell you about the best time of day to send emails to partners, clients and other recipients in different cities.

Mornings: the best time

Before showing you the graphs that will illustrate the perfect time to send emails, we would like to stress that to produce them we have taken into account the different time zones of the different cities that we are going to cover, as well as the hours of the day when the most emails are sent by our users. This will allow us to deduce the best time to send one and receive an answer: if users send more messages at a certain time of day, that time will also be the best time for them to answer.

We begin by learning the habits of New Yorkers between January and October of this year. Based on the information on our users in the New York time zone, we can see how the number of emails sent peaked between 10 and 11 in the morning (specifically, 1,876 emails in the period from January to October). Therefore, that will be the best time to send an email to a person who lives in America’s Eastern Time Zone, including the citizens of the city that never sleeps.

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We go west from New York to study habits in another American city: Chicago, in the state of Illinois. Based, again, on the total number of emails sent between January and October, we find that the best time to send them is also from 10 to 11 in the morning (more than 2,000 emails were sent during this time). We can infer, then, that the best time to send emails to any US location in the Central Time Zone is in the morning, but not first thing.

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We now head to California to take a look at email habits in Los Angeles during the same period, the first ten months of the year. Despite the fact that its people send large numbers of emails in the morning, it is not until 1:00 to 2:00 pm that the numbers top out (2,249 during that hour). So now you know: if your recipient is on the West Coast, it is best to send your mail an hour or so after noon.

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We now cross the Pacific and head for Tokyo. If you want to receive an answer from a client in the Japanese capital, corresponding with Japan Standard Time (JST), it is best to send it between 10 am and 12 noon in the morning. Gmail Meter users in Tokyo sent 1,265 emails every hour in the period analysed.

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Fridays: the busiest day of the week

In all the cities analysed, a quick glance reveals that the first hours of the working day and the late hours of the afternoon are best to send emails.

Even if you do not know the exact time at which it is best to send them, the data probably did not surprise you too much. However, you may be surprised to know the day of the week when the most messages are sent. What day will be best to send emails to New Yorkers, Chicagoans, Los Angelites or Tokyo residents?

Here you can see the data on NY users. As is evident, their favourite day to send emails is Friday:

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But New Yorkers are not the only ones who send a greater number of emails on the day that usually marks the end of the white-collar work week. The users of Gmail Meter in Chicago also opted to send more emails that day (as in the previous case, they sent more than 4,000).

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On the West Coast they seem to have the same tastes as in the East. Friday is also the day preferred by users in Los Angeles to contact customers and partners by email:

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Now, does the trend change in the country of the rising sun? It does not: Friday is also users’ favourite day to send emails in Tokyo. So, now you know. If you want to send emails to an important client, it is best to do so at the end of the week.

Learn about your email usage habits

Do you want to know how you use your Gmail account? Try Gmail Meter, your Gmail statistics tool.

Obsessed with emails: this is how we are using email in 2017

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A new message from a colleague at the office arrives in your inbox. The Subject line indicates “Urgent”, so you open it quickly, and respond in a few seconds, answering his question. You surely repeat this kind of action a few times over the course of your day, whether to chat with co-workers at the office, or with suppliers and clients. And this is not the only virtual mailbox that you check during the day. In your personal account you also receive promotional offers, confirmations of activity bookings, and data tracking your online purchases.

In recent years email has become an essential communication tool in both the personal and professional spheres. Now, how much time do we spend daily checking our emails? Do we send them at any time, or do we have a fixed schedule?

Adobe has just published a study on email use by 1,000 white-collar workers in the United States. One of the conclusions is that employees spend a great deal of time checking email: 5.4 hours on weekdays.

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The preferred corporate communication channel

The data is surprising, but it actually seems that workers are improving their habits: those 5.4 hours of email use per day are 27% less time than that invested in 2016, according to the previous email usage study carried out by Adobe. Despite this decline, which shows that the use of email is in greater balance with other aspects of life, 73% of respondents acknowledge that they check their mail more often than they should.

However, there is one kind of account that is used more than another: while professional email is used 3.3 hours a day (20% less than the previous year), respondents say they use personal email for 2.1 hours (a 36% drop).  Not surprisingly, according to the study by Adobe, email is workers’ favourite tool at companies: 52% of the participants over age 25 in the study indicate that it is their main corporate communication channel.

Clicking on an email and reading through it is a more frequent action if the message is related to work matters. The participants in the study reported opening 82% of their corporate emails, but only 60% of their personal ones. Of those they open, they read 83% of those related to work, and 64% from family and friends.

The appearance of smartphones, tablets and smartwatches has meant, logically, that computers are no longer the only devices used to send and receive emails. In fact, the smartphone is the device most frequently used to check emails, especially among those under 35 years of age.

Despite this, the truth is that we prefer to answer work messages using a keyboard and looking at a larger screen: 62% of respondents in the Adobe study say that a desktop or laptop is their main device to view their email.

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Young people, the most active group

In addition to using email several hours a day, many of these workers use it during working hours. Despite this, 37% of respondents say they check it while preparing to go to the office, or having breakfast, and 26% report out that they even check their inbox in bed, although that percentage is lower than the previous year. In this regard there are differences depending upon age: the youngest respondents are those who open the most emails while in bed.

Participants in the study ages 18-34 were more likely than those of other age groups to check email in all kinds of situations: watching TV, walking or even in the bathroom.  And the youngest users were those who are most on top of their email: 66% claim to leave their inbox totally clean; that is, answering, delete or filing away all emails, to prevent them from adding up.

Looking at ail while on holiday is also a common practice, although only 17% confess to checking it frequently while on vacation. 32% say they look at it occasionally, and almost a quarter say they forget about professional messages during their time off.

Besides using email very often for personal or professional issues, this tool is also the favourite of consumers for business communications. 61% of respondents prefer to receive offers by email rather than by other means (like SMS or via the social networks), and they prefer that the content of the emails be less promotional and more informative.

Do you want to analyse how you use your email?

The report on the use of email that Adobe has presented makes it clear that email continues to be an essential communication tool, especially at work: throughout the day, we check it on multiple occasions and spend a lot of time sending and receiving messages using it.

Moreover, users themselves believe that we will continue using email for professional purposes in the future: 57% of respondents believe that we will continue to check it as we have thus far for the next two years, and 20% believe that its use will increase.

We are experts in email technology and provide Gmail Meter users insights around their Gmail inbox. Want to know how you use your Gmail?  Try Gmail Meter now.