Building Success from the Ground Up
After the inaugural office tour on my first day at Amilia, I sat down at my desk and noticed a paper taped to my computer screen. On it were the following four words: witty, reliable, approachable, sharp. These words have become the foundation to my philosophy on how to approach customer support.
It’s no longer sufficient to use a pre-made script or generic email template when dealing with your customers. We are part of a fast-paced and technologically savvy generation. The standard for customer service has been raised, and clients can spot a generic response from a mile away. You might have an awesome product, but clients will always remember a bad customer service experience. It's why it's now all about customer care.
Whether you’re looking to invigorate your existing tech support team or just starting out, here are five tips on how to enhance your customer support team.
1. Communication is Key
There’s nothing worse than asking for help and not getting a response. When a client purchases your product or service, they are entrusting a part of their life with you, and expect a certain level of commitment even after the purchase is completed. Following the sales process, clients will usually deal almost exclusively with your support team, and those interactions will play a huge role in their continued satisfaction with your company.
The first step to ensuring a healthy relationship is communication. This not only includes prompt responses to customer enquiries, but also continued updates throughout the support process. While it may be a small technical issue for you, your customer might have their livelihood resting on your product. It’s important for them to know that you are working on their issue, but also, what steps are being taken and what progress is being made. This also means that you must ensure your support team is punctual. If you promise a response within 24 hours, you must deliver that response, even if it’s to inform them that a solution is not yet available.
Nobody likes to feel neglected, including your clients!
2. Don’t be a Robot
Have you ever been on a support call or helpchat, and you can clearly tell that the agent is using a script? What about receiving a generic email for your support request, with no hint of personality?
I think robots are cool, and I would love to have one to do my laundry. However, when dealing with support, I like to know that there is a real, live human being at the other end of my request. As mentioned earlier, your clients will be interacting most prominently with your support team. While the main goal of technological support is to solve the client’s issue, it is also a golden opportunity to express your company values and culture. Your support team should be engaging and interacting - working off a script cannot produce those results.
The happiest clients I’ve had didn’t necessarily have their issue resolved the fastest. They were the ones who I connected with more personally. Being able to express compassion and show genuine interest made that possible, and you should encourage your support team to do the same. Just be sure to check for spelling errors. It’s no fun spending time crafting a great response and then realizing you made a typo.
3. Be Honest & Open
We all love to give our clients good news. Whether you’re advising them that their issue is solved or that a feature they requested is now available, dealing with happy customers is the best part of working in support. However, there will most likely come a time when you’ll have to break some bad news to a customer. Those are the times when your customer support team will be put to the test.
Before anything, always be sure to look for an alternative solution. That extra effort shows that you care about your client’s needs and are taking their issue seriously. Once you’ve exhausted every course of action and it’s time to inform them of the outcome, I believe it’s best to approach the situation with honesty and clarity.
Being transparent with your clients builds trust. Take ownership of your mistakes (if you made any) and try to compensate in another way if possible. Take the time to explain why something wasn’t done, and show that you exhausted all possibilities in looking for a solution. You may not always be able to provide the ideal answer to a client’s request, but you should always maximize your efforts in the attempt to do so.
4. Don’t Outsource
In the book Delivering Happiness, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh tells of how the company moved from San Francisco to Las Vegas to improve and retain its in-house customer support team. While outsourcing was considered, Hsieh ultimately concluded that customer service was a core component of Zappos’ values, and that moving would be more beneficial for the company long-term. Zappos has since become universally renowned for its excellent customer service.
While this may be an extreme example, the core principle remains – customer service is too important to be outsourced.
It is impossible for your customers to dissociate your business and your customer support team. To them, they are dealing with a single entity, and every interaction contributes to their overall satisfaction with your company. If most of those interactions come through support, then care must be taken when considering who your customers will be connecting with. You must take the time to build a team that is representative of your values as a company, and that requires vetting potential candidates and ensuring they are a good fit for you and your team.
5. Stay True to your Culture
At my final interview before being hired at Amilia, I was greeted by a full table of my future co-workers. The point of this interview was to see whether I fit the team and the company culture. Now that I’ve been working here for some time, I understand the importance of hiring selectively.
To be clear, this does not mean that you should only hire people with similar interests and personalities. Having a diverse, dynamic team will better serve the company, as there will be multiple points of view when tackling different problems. However, you must ensure that everyone can work cohesively as a unit, and that the team’s collective mission correlates with your company’s principles. Having clearly defined core values is great, but you must ensure that you hire per those ideals. Even one individual who doesn’t fit your culture can negatively impact the entire team, and in turn, the overall quality of support offered to your customers.
Take the time to know your team and hire cautiously – your clients will thank you for it!
Honorable Mention: Have Great Coffee at the Office
I love stepping into the office and smelling a fresh pot of coffee brewing. Whether I’m tired or had a rough drive that morning, the moment I breathe in that sweet aroma, my problems dissipate and I’m ready to tackle the day.(Fun fact: Amilia has personalized mugs for their employees! Everything tastes better when you’re drinking from a cup with your name on it.)
Want to learn what Amilia can do for your company? Download our free brochure to check out all our cool features (including of course the best customer support! )