The ultimate goal for any business is to make your customers as happy as you possibly can with the product or service you provide. That’s why some of the bigger companies invest large sums of money into customer service and utilise online help desks to provide prompt and thorough support. If your company’s just starting out, or you perhaps don’t have the funds to build your own internal website help desk or virtual support centre, there are a number of web apps that can take care of this for you.
One of these options is Tender. After the break, we’ll take a peek and see if this is the customer service app that can give your team a better customer service image.
Tender is a web-based app that provides a hosted website for all of your customer support needs. Its main feature is a support discussion board that allows users to post their queries or suggestions and, dependent on the privacy level chosen, have these answered by a member of staff privately or by helpful members of the community.
Reports can be viewed easily to analyse data such as the number of support requests at a particular time or the typical response time. In addition, Tender also provides a useful knowledge base feature so that support staff can provide articles that provide support for commonly asked questions or problems.
Tender’s pricing is based on the number of support staff, storage and discussion filters required. The price of the plans ranges from $24/month for the ‘Basic’ plan to $299/month for the ‘Max’ plan. Though the price for the higher plans can be a bit steep for small businesses, I suppose the logic is that the better support you provide, the happier your customers will be with your service. Plus, if your customers are willing to use your company again after you’ve helped them, the app will quickly pay for itself. Either way, it’s not a massive investment if you want to really go the extra mile with your customer support.
Registration is quick and simple and Tender offers a fully-featured 14 day free trial. Once you’ve entered an email address, password, and the name of your company or organisation, a subdomain is automatically generated. You’re then able to start inviting your support staff to the app. This ‘Get Started’ wizard also allows you to enter a URL for your website, so customers can easily return to your main website. Both steps can be skipped if needed, which is a great way to quickly try out Tender and then come back later and customize it if you decide to stick with it.
Tender offers a service similar to that of an online community or forum system, with various categories where users can choose the appropriate one and start their discussion. The categories can be managed inside the app’s administration panel and reordered to suit the needs of the company.
When discussions are started, users are given the option of choosing an appropriate category where they believe that discussion would fit and providing a subject line and a longer explanation of their query.
Files can also be attached to each discussion to better explain their problem and to resolve the issue quicker. In addition, the users are able to choose whether they want their discussion to be private or public, with the latter allowing for other members of the community to provide support or their opinion. When complete, discussions are then marked as pending and appear inside the administration panel.
Support staff can then attend to these with the comment system, re-categorise tickets, if appropriate, and keep the discussion going. Once the issue is resolved, you can close the case and even hide it from your support centre if you’re using the public support mode.
You can help to decrease the number of common questions that are needlessly asked through the discussion system by providing a knowledge base, where users can browse various articles themselves to find the resolution to their problems. Tender handles all of this itself and provides a dedicated section of the app to manage articles and the sections these fall under.
Before articles can be added, sections must be defined, and these are categories that each article falls under. Once added, the article can be written and formatted using the popular Markdown formatting that can also be used to format discussion posts. Keywords can also be added to provide more relevant search results.
Should you be interested in finding out the typical response time for support requests or the ratio of opened to resolved discussions for a defined period of time, Tender handles this too. Its ‘Reports’ feature (currently in beta) allows support staff to view the statistics for their Tender account to allow them to address issues such as extremely slow response times. Word tracking is also present, a feature handy for analysing common words found in discussions.
Though it doesn’t allow for this data to be exported like some other web apps do, it’s still quite a useful feature of the app, especially if you want to look out for certain trends in discussions.
Tender provides various options for customising the look and certain aspects of the app. You can reinforce your company’s branding with the use of custom avatars, domains, and styling, integrate with Google Analytics, and even add tickets to with its sister app, Lighthouse, as bug reports for your dev team. Tender’s design can easily be customized, with options for adding custom CSS code, favicons and even the Apple touch icon.
It’s clear just by using the app that a lot of time and effort has gone into making it as simple to use as possible while still packing in an array of features that would benefit support teams everywhere. It simply is one of the best support web apps and well worth the investment on the part of businesses.
However, a minor irritation with the app is privacy. Though it provides a simple privacy setting, all discussions are defaulted to public should the user not choose the private setting when posting. However, the administration panel allows the option of changing the default privacy setting for each category quite easily. This aside, it’s extremely useful and the well-designed interface makes performing each everyday support task a breeze.
Do you use a customer support app for your business? We’d love to hear your experiences with Tender or other customer support apps in the comments below!