[Hold on, I’ll transfer your issue…further…]
Almost every head of IT support team service convinced that the customer was made to ask endless questions in chaotic random manner and after the product is sold – the main work just begins. Be honest with yourself – if you can get rid of support duties without harming your brand/product reputation – you will be in the seventh heaven of joy! But it’s not the way the things should be. You can get great benefits from communicating with your customers on the support field. Now in the 3.0. marketing era – the era of corporate responsibility you should move towards better satisfying the needs of your clients, demonstrate them that you are totally open to their problems and ideas, because at the end they can grow to the opportunities.
It would be interesting for you to know, that according to Forrester research over 72% of customers prefer self-service to resolve their support issues, rather than go to support. They are more technically savvy than ever and have come to prefer the DIY approach to solving their issues and answering their own questions. With proper organization of customer support process, we will get more advantage from communicating with customers than they from us. More interesting statistic comes from Coleman Parkes – 91% of survey respondents said they would use an online knowledge base and tailored to their needs.
We need to:
help our customer solve his problem!
get feedback and communication from him!
organize it in full and for the minimum time amount!
How to organize everything
Know the subject!
Every team member, responsible for his part of work should be able to find the issue and provide the suggestion, answer in shortest possible time in full.
Professionally organized documentation can safe much time and should be able to provide all needed information for customers. It should be written in plain speak, should be addressed to the low-skilled customers. Should have clear structure and should include good inner linking organization. Also you should always keep it up to date! All changes and fixes made on the product should be immediately reflected in documentation.
Divide everything into the logical and technical segments
Divide the incoming issues:
Level 1 – basic support & troubleshooting – so called “showstoppers” – problems, that can’t be delayed, that should be under the closest monitoring, tracking and testing. Issues that can affect your selling, rating, may lead to the further difficulties…
Level 2 – config issues, minor back/front end issues
Level 3 – issues requiring just clarification, descriptive assistance – setup help, explanation of the functionality and features
Divide the responsibilities:
Each issue level (see above) should have the team member RESPONSIBLE for this issue solving. The head of support team should pass the ticket right to that person. Don’t let the team decide for themselves. That might cause the mess, misunderstanding and time loss. If the responsible for the issue person has to pass the task further to the other member, he should notify that member and the support head, that responsibility goes to the other team member. Only in that case you can control the bug fixing process.
By status: thinking of purchasing, constant client, purchased, just gape-seeder
Try to organize the support exactly in that ordering. The advantage should go to those how are still in doubts – whether to buy your product or not, or to buy the product of your competitor. You need to get money from them. After the “potential customer” goes the “constant client” – but it’s not that strict – you can change places with the one that “purchased” – if you fill that your constant client already has that level of brand loyalty that will keep him in patience and confidence.
By and large – it’s very important to divide customers by their technical skills – to provide the answer in the same manner to speak in same terms, and be sure he understands you and is satisfied with offered help. But that becomes even more important – when it comes to Level 3 issues. Here the correct dividing of customers by their skills may save much time.
By technical skills:
advanced skills – these customers just need to be shown the direction. They can explain the problem on the technical language in few words. They often know where the problem comes from and what causes it. Ready to fix the issue themselves.
intermediate skills – these customers want to understand the core of the problem. Want support team to solve their issue and explain to them – what was that))
basic skills – customers who are afraid doing anything. They want support team to do all the work for them – as much as possible.
lazy customers – they just want support team to do all the work for them – because they paid money and they want to get as much as possible. Often they even don’t read the supplied documentation, manuals, don’t watch guides, etc.
Combine everything by the logical and technical segments
If you find yourself answering the same question for the second time – check your documentation – maybe this very question has bad or not clear overview. Or maybe some settings require more advanced skills that most of customers have. In that case – creating video guide might be rather useful.
If your support team have to deal with similar bugs or improvements on different products, or in several different places of one product – ask developers to dive into the problem and to check all the similar or related places, where this bug also may accrue. Also pay attention testing fixing one problem may pull out the other.
Set the communication process between the support team. Keep the ticket history carefully – mark it with tags – to orient in seconds. Provide the open access of all team members to this information. Sometimes the ready answers on the raised questions might be found in previous cases.
Never underestimate the ability of your customer to cope the problem himself. Organize the DIY tools: knowledge base, FAQ, instructional guides, webinars or step-by-step videos and you will feel the difference. If you are cool enough you can even organize your own community – where customers will help each other to solve the problems, at least those that are caused by the lack of user’s knowledge or skills. Don’t forget to encourage customers who actively participating in communications. Be grateful for any help or even desire to help.
How to talk with people
Keep in mind that the user contacting customer support has come with negative experience – he faced some difficulties he failed to overcome. Any request for support assistance causes in people discomfort feeling.
Let the customer know – you care!
First of all you need to let customer know, that his request was noticed and would be resolved as soon as possible. Better to mention approximate time of problem solving. But try not to set the deadlines. Remember that even the widest, constructive, comprehensive and exhaustive answer, provided too late – could cause the critical consequences. The user can write the unpleasant review, even a claim – you can lose your rate, and the potential customers trust. That is why you need to keep in touch with the person once he requested for support.
Prepare a few autoresponders – but try to avoid default official wording. Try to evoke the sense of real communication with this particular person.
One – that you have received his request, the other – in case of delay with the fixes or support answer, another one can be sent to find out the details of the problem, also, by all means try to collect the feedback and thank you message.
Please, while communicating use the “same language” as your customer. If you see, that the person speaks in free, common manner, like he is talking to friend of him – perfect keep the same manner. If he keeps the distance, and the conversation started in the cold, strict manner – respect the human will not to come closer.
And the last but not the least – never leave the user with unresolved problem if you are going to continue your business in that field.
How to turn fails into benefits
Listen to the clients complains – sometimes it is the best way to develop your product, to provide some additional features that will help you to increase the sails. Sometimes great ideas, that can move the product on the other higher stage – come from users.
What if you meet the person that just want you to make all his work instead of him?
Then you’d better either do that – if you have the feeling he could spoil your reputation, or you could offer him money back. Anyway – you should try all your best to solve the problem in calm manner. Remember – one bad feedback can make null and void 100 positive!