Customer Support – Getting Back to the Basics

 Monday, October 31, 2016

Have you ever walked into a big box business, local store or a restaurant and thought Im here. See me. Notice me. Help me. At times your thoughts may turn into Hello? Is there anyone here? In the fast paced, quick serve, I need an answer now world we live in today it seems like one of the core values of customer support has been left in the dust. The simple and genuine act of direct contact and acknowledgment with a greeting of Hello, how can I help you today? I want you to make me feel important. Make me feel like I made the right choice to walk in that door today or pick up the phone to call you about your product or service. Don’t let me feel anonymous.

It may be my small town Midwest upbringing, but the country girl in me truly believes that your first impression should be your best impression. Customers will never forget a bad experience. You must value making the person you are in contact with feel like they are the only one in the store or the only one who has called you today. Value them as part of your success. Acknowledge that you can’t have success without your customer.

In my day to day software customer support role, I have found it is OK to pick up the phone and call your client even when they submitted a case online. In fact, it’s more than OK. The world continues to spin while I take the extra time. Emails, notes or other written dialogue can easily be misinterpreted. Customers always appreciate a phone call to discuss direction or to clarify the case notes. In fact they often sound shocked at first when they hear me on the other end of the line. Wondering if something is wrong with their submittal or worse, the world has stopped spinning.

The best advice I ever received from a prior boss was Do not give excuses and do not leave them waiting. It’s OK to say you don’t have an answer for them or you need to look into their questions further. Set your standards early. Let them know that you will continue to follow up and monitor their case. The fact that you took five minutes to check in with them and follow up is an acceptable answer for now, but stay in the habit of following up quickly and often. Make them know their request is important. After all, we are all in this together.

My best advice is to put yourself in your customers shoes. What would you want or expect if you were the one walking into that store or picking up the phone? When you begin to see the experience from their perspective the effectiveness of your support will increase significantly. And the world will continue to spin, I promise!

 

About Author

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Author Becky Johnson

Becky Johnson is the Director of Quality Assurance for Provade Inc.