How do you show your customers that you care?
Each piece of feedback that you receive from your customers provides an opportunity. Customer feedback offers the opportunity to deepen your relationship with your customers. You can’t call yourself customer-centric without spending the time and effort to appropriately respond to your customers.
We’ve all applied for a job at some point. Remember that time that you didn’t hear back from the company?
It leaves a bad taste in your mouth about the business. Even if you don’t get an interview, a response letting you know is a clear sign that you’re respected. You will likely still have a positive view of the company going forward.
How you choose to respond (or not respond) to each and every customer builds or breaks your brand, one interaction at a time.
Listening to customer feedback is only a superpower if you act on the feedback.
At GatherUp, we’re excited to launch Inbox. We’ve designed a brand new set of tools for you to effectively take your customers’ feedback, route it to the appropriate employees in your organization and empower them to connect with your customers in a way that signifies that you take pride in your services and that you care.
What is Inbox and how does it help you manage customer feedback?
Inbox gives you the ability to:
- Create tickets and assign them to your team
- Provide employees with templated responses
- Track the progress of responses from within GatherUp’s centralized Inbox screen
This allows your team to stay on top of your reputation and support. Think of it as your central hub for customer service.
If someone has a poor experience and they take the time to let you know, and then nothing happens? They’re probably not going to feel very confident in your service and that you care. The next time someone asks if they recommend your brand, you’re probably not getting that endorsement.
How can you prevent that negative customer experience? Now, you can take all of your 1st-party reviews and ensure that your customers get the specific attention that they deserve in a timely manner. With Inbox, the process of replying to your feedback doesn’t feel like a second thought.
A successful customer experience strategy depends on your ability to get the right feedback to the right employee at the right time. No customer wants to feel dismissed or ignored. When reviews don’t receive a reply, it can hurt your relationship with the customer and their perception of your brand.
Why did we build Inbox?
Inbox was built for all of our customers. Everyone regardless of company size or industry is going to benefit from this new tool. The functionality is impactful across the entire application. It’s tied to so many parts of the review management process:
- Customer activity
- Feedback replies
- and more.
It’s visible on almost every screen within GatherUp. You can’t miss Inbox!
The major benefit is closing the communication loop fully. Replying and communicating with your customers is something that GatherUp has done historically, but we thought it was important to construct a whole system behind it. Inbox takes GatherUp from being a notification system to a system of action and execution.
Prior to Inbox, if a new review came in, you might have sent an email, phone call, or slack message over to your support team to make sure that they followed up with the reviewer. Relaying review response assignments was unstructured, and allowed for some customers to fall between the cracks.
Now there’s an automated system that tells your employees there’s a ticket to take action on. We wanted to provide a better experience within the application for users to depend on a central hub. Inbox can be your source of truth for the customer experience.
Our customers that worked with larger organizations with a range of employees dedicated to the customer experience were asking for Inbox. Despite having the support available, they still found reviews were being handled by one person in the company. They needed automation features to accomplish more in bulk and increase their reply rate.
Now, ticketing and automated smart routing allow you to interact with your customers more efficiently and effectively. Ultimately, completing a successful end story where customers feel appreciated, heard, and validated.
Inbox can be configured for large-scale organizations to accomplish similar tasks in bulk like assigning tickets to the right managers and users in your organization.
Whether you’re receiving positive or negative feedback, or somewhere in between, you leverage a saved reply template to make sure that you’re consistently sending these messages in a timely manner and closing that feedback loop.
What problems does Inbox solve?
If you’re managing a company, a customer success team, or a client, and you want to standardize the way in which you reach out to customers that reflects positively on your brand, you want to empower the people you’re working with. They need the guidance, training, and tools, to properly respond to your customer’s feedback independently whenever possible.
You want them to feel confident and say, “Hey, I have the responsibility of replying to all of the x reviews. I want to reply to this customer. I can use the templates that my boss asked me to.”
Inbox aims to facilitate those review response conversations and spread responsibilities across the entire organization so it’s not necessarily on one person to make all of these replies and execute on them.
It will also help eliminate the stress of dealing with negative reviews. If we get a negative review, about either a product or our service, we can become defensive. It’s natural. With reply templates, we can now have some standards and operating procedures to rely on if our first instinct is emotionally charged. Counterintuitively, the reply templates make empathy easier. Take your own emotions out of it and put the focus on your unhappy customer.
For many businesses, there’s usually only one person that’s running the full customer feedback show. There’s a variety of reasons that we’ve heard from customers on why they haven’t gotten colleagues involved:
- No tools to help automate repeatable feedback reply processes. No saved reply templates. Other employees don’t feel properly trained on how to answer feedback.
- No automation tools for routing feedback reply responsibilities. In many cases, the primary support manager will just take on the responsibility themselves since it would take them too much time to assign manually. If they’re already in there assigning tickets, they may as well just do everything.
With these ticketing, routing, and saved reply templates, we’re hoping to take some of that load off of this business operations, customer success, or marketing leader who’s been tasked with the responsibility.
How do you use Inbox?
With Inbox, you can create tickets, automatically route them to the appropriate employee individually or in bulk, reply within the GatherUp application, and create reusable reply templates.
Inbox is similar to a ticketing system. We imagine a very straight forward process:
- A new review will come in.
- An administrator will manually create a new ticket.
- The ticket will then be manually or automatically assigned to a user of the business (depending on the routing rules created) to take action on it.
When a ticket has been assigned, the user will receive a notification via email to let them know that there’s a pending ticket for them to take action on. Our base level notifications can be found in Inbox > Settings. In Version 1, we’ve included an email when a new ticket is created and assigned or when the assignment has changed to a new user.
Let’s take a deeper look at some of the new functionality.
When you receive new customer feedback, you want to ensure that responding to the review, whether positive or negative, is completed by your team in a timely manner. You can now create tickets for every 1st-party review that comes in. The tickets have a status label depending on whether it’s new, open, replied, or closed.
Tickets will allow you to reply to feedback in-app and send an email to the person who has left the review. When creating your review response, you’ll be able to use a pre-made reply template, a user-specific pre-built signature, and update the ticket status. Your reply can also appear on your GatherUp review widget to showcase your response to others visiting your website.
Smart Routing Rules
Smart routing allows you to set up a series of conditions that send all newly created tickets to the appropriate user.
Routing rule conditions can be determined based on Net Promoter Score, review ratings, or Tags.
You can easily add multiple conditions for each rule. When setting up rules, there are a variety of ways that you can set up routing, but we highly recommend that you plan out your rules ahead of time.
You could keep things simple and create routing rules by sentiment:
- One customer success rep or the corporate team receives all of the positive feedback.
- One customer success rep of the manager receives all neutral and negative feedback.
You could create routing rules based on Tags:
- Operations receive tickets that are tagged with operational-related feedback (i.e. wait times, hours of business, etc.).
- Marketing receives tickets with feedback that mentions new products or services in a positive manner.
- Specific individuals like a sales or support representative that’s mentioned in a review receive tickets that they can directly respond to.
The way you set up your routing rules can facilitate ticket distribution that not only better serves your customers, but makes the job of your employees easier.
Types of templates to create:
When you’re setting up your templates, you know your business best. It makes sense to start out with general sentiment-based templates. You can easily create universal positive, negative, and neutral reply templates that can be modified for most situations to start.
You can then begin to think about specializing different sentiment templates:
- Happy customer – short and sweet for vague reviews from happy customers. Example: “Would definitely recommend!” Your template here could be a simple thank you.
- Happy customer – review mentioning something specific they liked. Example: “The bread was fresh and delicious!” This second template can have a place to specifically acknowledge what they mentioned.
- Unhappy customer – short and sweet for vague, but unhappy customers. Example: “Not a good experience.” You are just trying to apologize and gather more info trying to find an opportunity to delight them and turn their experience around.
- Unhappy customer – specific objections. Example: “The wait for my food was too long.” or “The server was rude.” Here you might have a template for your team that says “Sorry you had a poor experience with [Insert X] .”
- Neutral customer – short and sweet for vague, neutral customers. Example: “Everything was fine.” You want to acknowledge their experience and thank them for their business.
As you use your reply templates and respond to reviews more often, you can expect to see trends and create new templates accordingly. If you start to see common themes in your reviews (service or product-related), you can design properly labeled more specific templates that will save your employees time.
Industry-Specific Use Cases:
Depending on your industry, you might have different types of templates that might make sense for your business. Each industry has unique interactions with their customers. Each tailored workflow will require a different approach to managing all of your feedback. Larger companies might have more resources, but they’ll also have a more complicated distribution of locations, services, and problems.
The way that a law firm uses Inbox will likely differ from a Real Estate firm or a Landscaping company. The key to getting the most out of Inbox is thinking about the people you have available to respond to feedback, the types of feedback that you typically receive, and the way you currently communicate across your company.
Let’s take a look at some industry-specific examples.
Real Estate Firms will have two different types of customers that might require different reply templates and routing rules: Buyers and Sellers. Create reply templates specific to each of the needs of these audiences. You can also create a series of tags for your reviews that might help indicate which type of client they are. If you create a tag around the keywords buy/buying/purchasing, you can then route those tickets to one of your agents who primarily helps clients with buying.
On the other hand, you may want to create smart routing rules around the agent’s name. Set up tags with the Realtor’s name and easily route new tickets specifically to them when their clients include their names in the review.
Doctors, dentists, clinics, and hospitals all have a wide variety of reviews that they’ll see in a given time frame. The most important part about responding to healthcare-related feedback is HIPAA compliance. Using templates that have personalization options that focus on maintaining HIPAA compliance will help guide your staff to provide amazing customer service while not placing your practice in jeopardy.
Since many clinics will have multiple practitioners, you can create clear smart routing rules that send appropriate feedback that mentions the doctors by name to them while routing all other tickets to nurses, receptionists, or administrators.
When you’re running a home service business, you definitely have a range of services that you specialize in. You can easily create tags and reply templates around those services that will save you a ton of time for your staff. Maybe you even have a few reliable fixes for common problems that you include right in your review reply template.
If you have technicians asking for feedback, it might also help to have them respond to those tickets by routing them based on name tags or services.
The restaurant industry tends to get a very high volume of reviews. The nice thing is the trends tend to be consistent so reply templates can work well. If you have a specific popular dish or you are frequently receiving positive or negative reviews around delivery services, think about how you can create simple templates designed to answer those repeated comments.
Franchises and Enterprises
Due to the organizational structure of franchises and enterprises, Inbox solves a ton of problems. HQ can have more control over the brand message, response quality, and distribution of customer service reply tasks.
Inbox allows HQ to create, approve, and distribute reply templates that guide individual employees to stay on brand and handle common support issues in a manner that HQ deems appropriate. Now you can control your messaging more effectively from the top down.
For delegating responsibilities, specific reply permission levels are based on the type of user. In a larger organization, you can restrict access so only specific users have access to the review reply feature set.
The permissions allow HQ administrators to include as much or as little of the individual franchises and locations as they prefer. They control who can and cannot reply, but at the same time, can still automate routing so they can ensure all reviews receive the proper response and attention that they require.
Perhaps you set up smart routing to have someone at a corporate level respond to all vague and generic reviews, but send tickets with specifics in their reviews to the location manager. Distributing that workflow will save the team time and make sure no feedback is left behind.
One of the most valuable features for larger orgs is the ability to use filters and bulk actions to assign tickets. The person managing feedback can now select up to 100 recent pieces of feedback, create tickets, and automatically route all of them in bulk to the correct departments and individuals.
Next steps: Future Updates
Our new Inbox toolset is currently in public Beta. What does that mean? It means we want your feedback! We still have a range of dream features we will continue to add as we iterate, but in the meantime, we’d love to know what’s working for you and what we can improve.
As for the immediate future considerations?
3rd Party Reviews
In the first iteration of Inbox, you can reply to any 1st party review directly collected with GatherUp. Since we typically see more 1st party reviews among GatherUp customers, it’s a good opportunity to plan out how you’ll use the tool ahead of our 3rd party review functionality. But don’t worry, assigning tickets to 3rd party reviews is next up on the roadmap, with the ability to reply to Google reviews and Facebook recommendations directly in GatherUp.
One of the favorite capabilities of GatherUp revolved around our reporting capabilities. You can filter and report on your feedback in so many ways. Naturally, we expect our customers to report on Inbox ticket metrics. In the first version of the tool, you can see the number of new tickets, open tickets, and replied to tickets.
If you would like to see specific metrics native to Inbox, please let us know. We also plan on adding the ability to export data surrounding Inbox ticket metrics. We know this will be incredibly valuable for larger organizations with a high volume of tickets.
Summing it up
There you have it. A massive feature set that we’re proud of and excited to share with you. We’ve been working on this for a long time and we believe it will have a significant impact on the customer experience you provide. Your brand will benefit from the organization, communication, and scalability that Inbox offers to provide your customers with the care that reflects the supportive business that you run.