Opening Up to Live Support - a Hard Call to Make
It’s been over one year since I started hosting the Speedify LIVE weekly shows. Who would have thought that I would really just enjoy live streaming? Not me, for sure. But it seems that every live streamer’s main word of advice for growth is true: “Stream, stream, stream…”. And so we did.
We decided to have a live ‘live streaming’ support session. Quite a few of our corporate customers and company members thought it was crazy to open myself up to a live support audience. I love it so much that I wanted to share and urge other companies to do it.
Live Streaming Customer Support - the Cons
I think there’s no company which doesn’t cringe when talking about doing live customer support. It is a highly sensitive area - that’s where you get all the punches and are yelled at when your users run into problems. As we all know, people are more likely to communicate with you when they’re having problems using your product or service rather than praising you.
Furthermore, answering questions on the fly is hard. Sometimes you really may not have the answer right away and would need to research it. So you might just say “send an email to Support and we’ll get back to you!”. How does one react to this?
I had all these images of angry people bashing us during the live stream, and accidentally damaging our reputation instead of helping. Catastrophizing much?
The Pros of Live Streaming Customer Support
On the other hand, opening up to customers in a live stream could really mark some important points for us when it comes to building customer trust. Offering an open channel of communication could be something that could help sway the purchase decision of potential new customers.
Plus - it would make users and potential customers feel better and happier, as some of them could get their answers in a few seconds rather than going through email support.
How Speedify LIVE Office Hours Is Helping Customer Support
After weighing the pros and the cons for a couple of months, I finally decided to take the risk.
I was going to be live every Wednesday for 30 minutes, answering questions together with one of my senior developers. We called this livestream Speedify LIVE Office Hours - and that’s how it started.
Today, after about 6 months of doing this, I can definitely say we made the right decision. The benefits of us doing live streaming support vastly outweigh the risks. Here are just a few things we learned along the way:
- Preparation is key when it comes to live streaming to your users and potential customers. One should definitely look professional on any occasion when live streaming, but even more if your target audience is your user pool and potential new users.
It’s not just jumping on the live stream and answering questions. We want to look professional in every aspect. I wouldn’t trust somebody whose service I use (or consider using) if they were late for the stream, not answering my question or - even worse - if I saw their product being demoed live and not working…
Just so we can avoid awkward “crickets” while people start asking questions on the live stream, we pick a theme to talk about every Wednesday before the stream. For example - explaining the stats on the Speedify dashboard or the connection priorities. Starting from that, we get questions which may or may not be related to them. We answer them all, regardless.
- Focus on hot support issues to make the most difference. We have a list of frequent support questions and issues - we approach those with priority. As we live stream, we might get follow-up questions for that. But even better - the streams will be available for watching later on our YouTube channel by everyone - so they can check them out.
Bottom line - if this helps even “one person” (read - “all the viewers of the live and recorded stream”) make the most out of Speedify, I am satisfied.
- We’re all human; live streaming support helps build trust and grow the community. I have always appreciated companies with “faces” more than the others, even though some of them might be interpreted as controversial at times (e.g. Starlink / Tesla by Elon Musk). But - bottom line - it proves that there’s people behind the product / service I can relate to, should I have any issues or seek advice. We don’t have any forums or other discussion boards on our website - those require dedicated people to moderate and keep it clean. There is an unofficial Speedify subreddit, which has been gaining traction lately, where we hang around as well. What we’ve seen is people tune in regularly on Wednesdays. And it’s not just the people who have questions to ask, but also those that want to hear what we have to say. It’s possible they get ideas on how to better use Speedify to their benefit. Those people start following us on Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, reacting to and sharing our posts, interacting with us, etc.
- More business opportunities appear when you answer questions live about your product or service. Since we started doing these Office Hours, some of our enterprise clients and prospects have been tuning in to our stream as well.
I’ve had different people from the same company we were in discussions with reach out and ask more questions about specific inquiries that were discussed during the live stream. This translates into more business opportunities on the table for us and them.
- We learn about what our customers need. We get a lot of messages about new feature requests by email and by DM. We also get those during our live streams. By correlating them across the various channels, we can better decide what to prioritize in our development queue so that we make our users happy with our service.
- Live streaming customer support gets viewers quick answers and advice while you get valuable feedback from them. What I’ve seen so far in these live streaming sessions is there’s a high volume of people with advanced questions and setups engaging with us. This is probably because they either need extra validation for the solution from someone knowledgeable with a face or they find it more comfortable and quick to get their questions answered as they ask them.
Plus - it’s not all questions. Many viewers share their experience with the service, which is very valuable feedback we take into consideration.
These are the main learnings I have so far. Not all of them can be measured with straightforward KPIs, but upon talking to my team, our viewers and our customer, I can tell you that Speedify LIVE Office Hours is here to stay. Even if I have to go on a plane and answer questions from there…
My advice to you, C-level or other executives: there’s nothing better than getting feedback for your product or service directly from your customers themselves, whether they’re consumers or businesses.
Don’t just rely on those weekly or monthly reports that you may or may not read. Make the time and resources to dedicate one hour per week for a live streaming support session. Enjoy!