The Ultimate Guide to Customer Support
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The Ultimate Guide to Customer Support

Everything you need to give your customers the best possible support

About the Book

Explaining the same things over and over again is annoying at best. Yet it's an important thing to do—something that's critical to your business' success. As long as you have customers, you'll always have someone with a question to answer, a problem to solve, a bug they need fixed.

That's why you need to learn how to do customer support well.

Customer Support doesn't have to be a terrible, repetitive job. It can be the best way for your team to learn about your customers' needs, a crash course into every feature and problem in your tools, and one of the few ways to guarantee your customers are happy.

These benefits and more have kept customer support one of our most important focuses as Zapier has grown. In this eBook, you'll learn what we've discovered about customer support—along with ideas from the support teams at Intercom, Trello, HubSpot, and more—with tips to help you offer the customer support possible.

With roundups of the best apps and tools for customer support, ideas on how to automate tedious parts of support, tips on documenting your products well, and guides for getting out of the stickiest customer support situations, it's the guide you need to ace customer support from day one.

Who Is This Guide For?

Everyone does support, whether they want to or not. If you've ever answered anyone's question about anything relating to your job, you've done support. And at Zapier, we think everyone should do real customer support, to learn from the issues that come up and use that knowledge to do better work.

So whether you're starting a new company, have never answered a support ticket in your life, or are a customer support industry veteran, we think there's something in this guide for you.

Early Reviews of The Ultimate Guide to Customer Support

  • ”No matter how good you are at providing support for your customers and running your support organization, there’s almost certainly things you could improve on. Zapier’s guide is a nearly exhaustive list of ideas you can think through and adapt to your support organization to make sure your ship is running smoothly." -Justin Munson, Wistia Customer Champion
  • “If you have any dilemmas about your customer support department from the scope of your support team, which metrics to focus on, how to setup your Help Center, or how to respond in tough situations, this book provides practical solutions weighing the pro’s and con’s of each one. I have asked my whole team to read it, and you should too." -David Apple, Typeform Director of Customer Success
  • "Whether you do customer support for a living, manage a customer support team or run a company that values customer support, this is a must read. There are so many awesome practical ideas and workflows that I have already implemented with my team." -Hoon Park, Senior Technical Support Manager
  • “A great read for anyone building their customer support team from the ground up, full of inspiring tips and insight into how Zapier runs their amazing support!” -Sarah Hatter, CoSupport founder and Customer Support Handbook author

About the Author


Easy automation for busy people. Zapier moves info between your web apps automatically, so you can focus on your most important work.

Stick with the tools that work for you. Zapier connects more apps than anyone, and lets you link them together into automated workflows to use your favorite business tools' features together.

Your time is valuable. Zapier's app, along with our blog and guides to learn valuable productivity tips, find the best apps to use in your work, and discover how to get more out of your software, help you make the most of every day.

Table of Contents

  • How to Do Great Customer Support
  • Chapter 1: An Intro to Customer Support
    • The Basics of Customer Support
    • How to Do Customer Support
    • Where to Do Customer Support
  • Chapter Two: All Hands Support: Why Everyone–Even Executives–Should Spend Time in Customer Service
    • The Benefits of All Hands Support
    • The Challenges of All Hands Support
    • How to Set up All Hands Support
    • Further Reading
  • Chapter Three: The 9 Help Desk Metrics that Should Guide Your Customer Support
    • Support Metrics to Know
    • Volume
    • Response Time
    • Happiness
    • Product Trends
    • The Bottom Line
  • Chapter Four: 4 Rules of Improv and How They Relate to Customer Support
    • Rule 1: Say Yes
    • Rule 2: Say Yes AND
    • Rule 3: Make Statements
    • Rule 4: There Are No Mistakes
  • Chapter Five: How to Handle the 7 Toughest Customer Support Challenges
    • 1. Your Customer is Angry
    • 2. There’s an Outage or Other Crisis
    • 3. A Customer Requests a Discount You Can’t Give
    • 4. A Customer Requests a Feature You Won’t Build
    • 5. A Customer Asks a Question You Can’t Answer
    • 6. You’re Overwhelmed by a Backlog of Tickets
    • 7. You Have to Fire a Customer
    • Customer Service Challenges Won’t Go Away
  • The Best Tools for Customer Support
  • Chapter Six: The 20 Best Help Desk Apps and Knowledge Base Tools for Customer Support
    • The Top 7 Features of Customer Support Apps
    • Support Ticket Systems vs Multi-Channel Support Apps
    • The Best Ticket Support Systems
    • The Best Multi-Channel Support Apps
    • Pick the Best Customer Support Tool for Your Team
    • Add Custom Features to Your Customer Support Tool
    • Start Trying a New Support Tool Today
  • Chapter Seven: The Best Live Chat Apps for Customer Support
    • Why Live Chat?
    • The Best Live Chat Support Apps
    • The Best Live Chat Apps
    • The Best Help Desks with Live Chat
  • Chapter Eight: Support Your Customers Better and Faster: Lessons from the Pros at Trello, HubSpot and Disqus
    • How to Speed up Customer Support
    • Use Your Support App’s Best Features
    • Import All Your Support Tickets
    • Bring in Customer Data
    • Translate Support Tickets
    • Notify Your Team & Assign Tickets
    • Monitor Important Parts of Support
    • Solve Problems Automatically
    • Log Support Data
    • Build New Support Tools
    • Build the Best Support Workflow
  • How to Minimize Support
  • Chapter Nine: Everything You Need to Know about Support Documentation and Building an Effective Help Center
    • Why Documentation is Important
    • 7 Steps to Setting Up a Help Center
    • 1. Decide What to Document
    • 2. Structure What You Document
    • 3. Host Your Documentation
    • 4. Organize Your Help Center
    • 5. Surface Your Documentation
    • 6. Keep Improving Your Documentation
    • Now Start Documenting!
  • Chapter Ten: How to Collect Customer Feedback That’s Actually Valuable
    • Bridge the Divide Between Company and Customer
    • Customer Feedback is Oxygen
    • 6 Tips on Asking for Feedback
    • Finally, Treat Feedback Like a Hypothesis
  • Chapter Eleven: Start Preventing Fires: How to Implement Proactive Customer Support
    • Fire Prevention is Better than Firefighting
    • How to Implement Proactive Support
    • Big Steps:
    • Proactive Support is Support Done Right
  • Appendix: Additional Resources from Zapier
    • Support Roundtable: Pros from Five Apps Talk Tone, Tools and Traits of a Top Hire
    • Learn How InVision Built Their Support Team
    • More Ways to Automate Your Support Tools
    • The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work
    • Connect Freshdesk to Your Favorite Apps
    • Optimize Your Gmail Inbox with Zapier

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