Proven Customer Support Tools for Startups With Plans to Scale
Daniel Weiss

In the beginning, you and your co-founders bootstrapped solutions and personally attended to each customer like they were newborn kittens. Your internal messaging system was a tap on the shoulder, and your communal desk doubled as a ping-pong table (or was it the other way around?).

Startup life can be gritty and romantic, that’s for sure.

But now the product is selling like hotcakes, you’ve been featured on Product Hunt, and venture capitalists are sleeping in tents outside your apartment. The demand is there, but support needs to keep pace.

Navigating this phase can be tricky. As the customer list gets longer so too will your help queue. Luckily, with the right toolkit, scaling support operations won’t be a problem.

Here’re a few helpful apps to consider.

Slite — A Communal Information Hub

Customers want their issues resolved quickly, and when assisting a large volume of clients with a small (but mighty) support team, it’s a good idea to make “first-call resolution rates” one of your top priorities. To succeed in this, however, the first step is to minimize ”escalating” issues beyond the associate level.

Here, as in most of life’s endeavors, information is power. Slite functions as a hybrid between Slack and Evernote as a way for teams to share large amounts of information in an organized fashion.

Agents won’t need to consult supervisors or colleagues when reviewing policies, or when uncertain about processes. By encouraging support reps to be self-sufficient, you’re eliminating call transfers and saving time.

Process Street — Onboarding and Workflow Management

Agent onboarding was easy when the support team was you and your co-founders, still easy when it was three people sitting at the table behind you, but suddenly not so easy when there’s a new employee every 2 weeks and your calendar looks like one of Mondrian’s later works.

Process Street organizes your essential processes for easy viewing, quick changes, and effortless implementation.

When your team gets larger, it’s important to give new employees a consistent and thorough onboarding experience. Uniformity will ensure all essential company information is communicated correctly, but, moreover, it also creates a sense of parity through shared experience.

With Process Street, you can create workflows, produce checklists for your employees, and monitor progress. It’s a multipurpose tool for making sure things get done right the first time.

Loom — Quick and Easy Video Tutorials

Imagine, you’re corresponding via email with a concerned client, but they’re halfway across the world. A quick screen share would fix everything, but coordinating schedules would mean sacrificing one of your nightly REM cycles.

Speed and simplicity are at stake, but Loom is here to help. Create a short — 10 min or less — video, give it a title, and send the shareable link. No uploading, editing, or downloads necessary. Videos are all recorded (and watched) in browser.

The only downside is the free plan only lets you keep videos for a set number of days, but depending on usage, a paid plan might work well for your team.

Zapier — Your Personal Integration Wizard

The applications you use to run your business are powerful, but — not unlike the Power Rangers — their real superpowers can only be unleashed when they work together.

Communicating information between platforms is simple but essential. Completing these tasks is simple, but to do them efficiently requires manual data entry or substantial coding knowledge — not anymore.

Zapier’s workflows act as a global translation tool for platforms that speak similar, but still quite different languages.

If your support channels are lacking built-in integrations, Zapier can be used as an intermediary to transfer notes, contact information, and other vital statistics between apps. Given the seemingly endless number of possible workflows, Zapier can be used to streamline almost any company’s (or department’s) operations.

Typeform — Listen to Your Customers

Your support team has added 5 new agents in the last month, and the website is experiencing traffic like never before, but customer service is not a deductive science. You have to ask questions to know if you’re hitting benchmarks or coming up short.

Typeform makes collecting user feedback intuitive and attractive. Through forms, quizzes, or surveys, you’ll be able to collect the information you need without making your customers go out of their way. Big names, as well as savvy startups, trust Typeform to collect accurate and meaningful information.

And while there are a ton of functional options out there for collecting user feedback, Typeform goes above and beyond to make their forms legitimately beautiful. Bravo!

GoToAssist — Provide Over-the-Shoulder Assistance, Remotely

It can sometimes feel like there aren’t enough words in the universe to verbally navigate clients through their issues. Especially at SaaS companies, support often means assisting customers “hands-on,” but house calls are simply out of the question (I need not enumerate the reasons why).

GoToAssist lets your technical support representatives — literally — take control of the client’s computer. It’s as close to “pulling up a chair” as you can get without actually being in the room.

Technical setups and fixes can be performed by knowledgeable representatives in a matter of minutes, saving clients from mental breakdowns, and your team from lengthy linguistic exercises.

Periscope — Actionable Analytics

Growth is good, but informed growth is what leads to sustainable, repeatable results.

Using accurate analytics from each of your support channels will help you staff smarter and train more effectively. But in a multichannel communications scheme, collecting this information seems to require a search party and a couple basset hounds.

Periscope centralizes various sources of data and enables users to make quick, readable, and responsive dashboards for easy consumption. Presentation-quality analytics are available without any development skills necessary, though an intermediate-level knowledge of SQL will help you take your graphs to the next level.

Mealpal — What’s for Lunch?

Providing high-caliber support can really build up an appetite. Afterall, you’re the first responders when things go wrong, and this hard work shouldn’t go unrewarded.

And leftover spaghetti at your desk might not do the trick…

Available in industry centers around the world, Mealpal makes it easy to add some variety to your day via a cornucopia of lunch options. Plus, pre-paying for lunch makes buying-lunch-out significantly cheaper than normal.