Each and every company has different departments that are devoted to making the machine run smoothly. From IT all the way to customer support, we’re a team of people with different abilities sent on a mission to help our customers. As a marketer who spends time mostly on analysis, research, social media, and writing, I have little contact with our customer’s problems. However, spending some time with our customer support team I have learned a great deal about how they work.
So we keep asking ourselves, how are we to provide five star support to these “outside people” and develop a long term relationship with them? Now, this text and it’s main points were laid out by Dominika who is a great “supporter” and I took it upon myself to search for more. And here it is – a list of 10 things I found to be crucial in good customer support.
Customer Support somehow became the unwanted responsibility that all the other departments task as something to do with the “outsiders”. At the same time customer support has so much power that, along with the product/service itself, it can crush your plans for conquering the world.
How to rock customer support
1. Invest in training
Make sure that you get the very best for your support team. Why? Because your customers deserve it! Every support team has to know how to quickly answer clients, it’s important to know how to help them without being confused. Whatever you specialize in, train your support team in that field! Make them experts at explaining what you do and how you do it. The more they know, the quicker they’ll help your customers.
2. Encourage team spirit
Support is not the easiest of jobs, you get tons of emails and phone calls with all sorts of questions. Your team has to be on their toes all the time, make sure to encourage them and help them bond to make communication easier.
3. Hire passionate people
Not everyone is support material! Don’t hire people who don’t like other people ;) Your support team should consist of those who not only want to help other but LIKE to help them. Passion is important here.
4. Be transparent
If you made a mistake, don’t lie to your customer. It is better to admit that there was a mix up or a problem than to annoy your customers by blaming them. Make it your priority to fix the problem and keep your customer updated.
5. Be accessible
Don’t ignore multiple phone calls, don’t leave any emails unanswered for more than 48 hours (better yet 24 hours!). Obviously if you’re sick or it’s the weekend you won’t be able to make yourself all that available.. but during work hours, customers are your priority.
6. Mind your customer’s mood
Customers may freak out because something is not working. Therefore, they’re not calling to chat, they’re unhappy and more often than not customers won’t be nice to you even though you’re not responsible. It is your job to calm them with your calm and assurance that they are your priority and you will find someone to fix their problem.
7. Know the product/service
As mentioned in number 1, you need to know your product to make problem fixing faster. You can’t leave the customer hanging on the line because you don’t know something. Being able to explain your product/service in a way that your customers will understand is important! Help in finding the best solutions by knowing them by heart.
8. Value customer relationships
Customer relationships influence marketing and PR. The happier they are, the more likely they are recommend your product/service. Also, it’s so much easier in helping them when you can communicate.
9. React quicker than your customer
When you see a problem don’t wait for your customers to start calling in. Let other team members know that there is something to be fixed. Work with your team to make sure that your product/service is top notch.
10. Send follow-ups.
Keep your customers updated, don’t assume that they know you read their email and are working on it. Let your customers feel that you remember them and are working to make sure they’re satisfied with your company’s product/service.
Customers, friend or foe?
You think 10 points is a lot, well I’m sure that if I had to I could list a dozen more points. For even more insight check out Help Scout’s 20 tips. These are all true and effective keynotes for all the “supporters” out there and their bosses. But why is it only their responsibility to care for the customers? Because they’re the life of every company.
I totally agree that customers can be rude and sometimes annoying, but there are also “golden customers” that are very open- minded, smart, and buy you flowers as a thank you. Whats more, each and every one of them is an immense source of information about your product. It is time we learn to value those officers on the customer support line.
What do others think?
I’m talking to all the people from different departments who advertise, code, develop, etc. the product/service. You do this not just for the sake of art, but for the “outside people”, who will use it and who will immediately know what’s wrong with it.
We should all work with customers from time to time. Make your marketing wiz spend a week or two answering emails, let the IT guys handle some IT-related phone calls. The better we get to know our customer’s needs the better for us! It will save us precious time spent on “brilliant” ideas and inept attempts for improvements. Some of us might just be in for a surprise. At first it may seem hard and impossible, but all great things come to those who work.