Throughout this process I have discovered that being super-good at support is important for getting and keeping customers and is an essential path to prosperity. Below I have assembled a short list of 10 things to keep in mind when supporting people through tools like Zendesk or Uservoice. If you have a support team, make sure they read and practice them during their daily routine.
Read between the lines
It is one thing what the customer asks for and another thing what he really wants. Learn to read between the lines to match your product with your customer needs – they will adore you for it!
Whenever possible, overachieve. If they ask you for one thing and it is cheap and/or easy for you to amend it with more information, tips and suggestions, then do it.
Respond as quickly as possible. Having a ticket waiting for several days is the worst thing you can do. Whenever you cannot offer a complete solution right away you must communicate consistently about its progress.
Do answer late at night or on weekends when possible. This extra effort can do miracles for your customers’ perception about your company.
Know your audience
A technical person needs a technical answer. A non-technical person expects less technical guidance. Know your audience and adjust your language according to their needs.
Do not lie. Do not promise something that cannot be done. Do not sound like a lawyer. Say no when you have to. Feel free to round the edges when you need to but never distort the truth. Do accept responsibility when something is your (company’s) fault; but make sure it won’t happen again!
Don’t be a nameless machine
Use your name and your social accounts on your signature. People want to communicate with humans and not nameless workers.
Offer concrete solutions. Good writing is like good programming. You need an exact number of words to do it properly – no less, no more.
Fillers are answers with little value for the customer that do not promote problem-solving but instead act as a delaying mechanism. Avoid them at all costs. If it is not clear what the customer wants offer draft solutions for major possible problems that you recognize.
Don’t lose control
Customers ask for support because they have a problem. It is commonplace for problems to frustrate customers which may make them bad tempered or even insulting occasionally. Also, a few support items may take long time to track and fix which may cause the situation to deteriorate. Under such a crisis situation, being calm and understanding can have a very positive effect on your conversation. It is not uncommon for an angry customer to turn into an evangelist for your product.
Control your time
Support is measured through time. It is important to be as organized as possible so as to spend as little time as you can with each customer (without compromising of course) – otherwise you might find yourself overwhelmed by the task. Create a database of frequently asked questions or templates with common answers. They will help you look professional even when you have only spent just a few minutes on each problem.
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