Hiring A Customer Support Person

8 replies
So I get about 300 emails a week from customers and prospects with questions/comments.

I sell a health/fitness related program on Clickbank which includes a weight training and diet program.

Does anyone have experience hiring a customer service person? If so I'm wondering what your experience has been and any advice you may have.
  • Should I hire in the US and pay more? Or hire overseas and get it cheaper?
  • Should I keep using email-based support which is more personable, or switch to an annoying "ticket" system?
  • Should I have the support person read the diet and training program and become knowledgeable on the subject so she can answer technical questions when they come in? Or should I have her offer an "email coaching" option where they can work with me 1-on-1 for $200? ...Or maybe sell them into a "coaching" membership site for $37/month where they can post questions that everyone can see and I can answer them publicly... They can also have a profile and keep track of their body weight, body fat, muscle, etc...
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
#customer #hiring #person #support
  • Profile picture of the author Kingfish85
    - I would say go with "fluent english", location doesn't matter I guess as long as it's fluent.

    - Using an "annoying" ticket system is better for tracking. Emails get lost and confusing.

    - Your support personnel should know the product they are supporting/selling

    those are my thoughts.
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  • Hi there, I do suggest to hire a customer support person.

    I have some inputs:

    1. If you want a little bit cheaper on the labor cost go for a person coming from overseas. However, there is a downside timezone. Some might be not adept in the English language.

    2. As for the system to use, ticket system or an email based support would not matter as long as the person you are going to hire is keen on details.

    3. You should let the person to be knowledgeable of the product you are selling. It would cost you in the long run if he is going to say total the opposite of what the product is all about.

    4. Hire someone who has been in the field of customer support at least there will be less training on your part.

    The good news is this, you will be taking off a big burden from your shoulders. Instead of doing it all by yourself, this task can be delegated and you can focus on more important tasks.

    I know someone who can do customer support for you. She may be the person you are looking for. Just contact me at ym for further details.
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    • Profile picture of the author GlenH
      You first have to realize that no one will do as good as you when answering the support questions you get from clients.

      That's just the cold hard facts, no matter how well you train them ( been there...done that)

      If you are a perfectionist like me, no one I ever hired kept up with the standards I wanted.

      It was likely different for me because I sell software products, and that takes a special sort of person to handle support for software.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    I would outsource it, use a ticketing service, and have them read the training material.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnsonT
    You can find ticketing service application in few sites like codecanyon. Track emails and customer contacts. Hire a person and train him or else it will be a huge burden for you.
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  • As long as you select people who are fluent in English and are already quite experienced dealing with customers then hiring overseas is a good choice; Also, hiring staff overseas is really a lot cheaper but it may be a bit harder to manage and train overseas than if you have your staff accessible physically.

    For the second query, since most customers seem to hate the idea of being dealt with using a ticketing system I suggest you have a email-based system that will deal better with your customer's issues. This is important because there are a lot of training and diet program providers out there and customers usually count support/after-sales service as a basis for choosing which provider to stick with. Just make sure that you make your support staff track issues accurately and effectively.

    Lastly, your support team is an extension of you and what you sell/provide, this is why most support personnel are called "representatives"; therefore, make sure that they are substantially knowledgeable about your product/service. Once your support personnel are ready to "represent" you, then you could start having them promote paid online coaching, etc.

    ~^_^~
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy Fletcher
    Originally Posted by InternetBusinessVelocity View Post

    So I get about 300 emails a week from customers and prospects with questions/comments.
    That's awesome. Shows you have an engaged audience. But yeah, time to outsource

    I sell a health/fitness related program on Clickbank which includes a weight training and diet program.

    Does anyone have experience hiring a customer service person? If so I'm wondering what your experience has been and any advice you may have.
    Just a little

    Should I hire in the US and pay more? Or hire overseas and get it cheaper?
    At DigiResults we opt to pay a bit more and get staff that can think for themselves and handle stuff.

    Should I keep using email-based support which is more personable, or switch to an annoying "ticket" system?
    You can have your cake and eat it too. Plenty of support desks (I use Kayako) allow the customer to see nothing but email but on the backend your staff work with a threaded ticket system.

    Should I have the support person read the diet and training program and become knowledgeable on the subject so she can answer technical questions when they come in? Or should I have her offer an "email coaching" option where they can work with me 1-on-1 for $200? ...Or maybe sell them into a "coaching" membership site for $37/month where they can post questions that everyone can see and I can answer them publicly... They can also have a profile and keep track of their body weight, body fat, muscle, etc...[/LIST]Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
    Now this is where we get to the meat of the question. Let me walk you through some customer service management 101.

    First of all, understand the level of support you're outsourcing. Most people hire level 1 guys and provide the kind of backup level 2 guys need. This is where it goes horribly wrong!

    Level 1 support - Entirely customer facing. May acquire product knowledge over time but is mostly limited to predefined email replies and needs to escalate any issue that can't be easily scripted into a reply. Expect to pay ~$5 an hour and hire from the third world.

    Level 2 support - Can be customer facing but also does back office work such as setting up predefined replies for level 1 support. Generally much more capable of solving stuff on their own and will have a decent amount of product knowledge but nothing deeply technical. Eg could log into a customer's WP blog to see if a plugin is install and run built in debug scripts but couldn't diagnose an issue if the debug output doesn't find the problem. Expect to pay ~$15 an hour and hire from the first world.

    Level 3 support - Only customer facing when absolutely necessary. Does back office work and is typically on the product development team. For software this is your development team. For info products it's almost always YOU. This is the person that solves all the new funky edge case issues where it's frequently cheaper to refund than solve it (sucks but its true). Expect to pay $LOTS or your time.

    Your best first hire is someone that can do level 2 support as you won't be giving them the kind of scripts and predefined replies that make a level 1 support person profitable/helpful. Someone that can do level 2 support will be able to create predefined replies for repeat issues and solve a lot of stuff without you having to get involved. When you have a bank of predefs you can consider cost saving via level 1 but many never bother (we haven't), just because the added value of problem solving is worth so much more than a few bucks.

    Hope this helps,

    Andy
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  • Profile picture of the author mrmarketer1
    I've had good experience with people from the Philippines - their English was fluent, their work ethic was unmatched - overall a great experience.

    The time difference could be a challenge, however if you use a helpdesk / ticketing solution and set customer expectations of a 48 hour turn around (for example) then having a person in a different time zone is usually not a challenge unless they need to talk to someone immediately.

    If you have the kind of product that could require immediate customer service, you may want to make that timely response a paid for additional service. If 24-48 hours works then someone in the Philippines would work fine.

    The rate is somewhere between $400 - $600 a month for 40 hours per week.
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