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Customer support has become the most important aspect of a Business-Customer interaction. In the past couple of decades, customer support has emerged as one of the key factors to determine the success of a company.
If you take a look at business strategies in the past, products used to be the benchmark for success. Based on the product and its features people used to get attracted towards a brand. But times have changed now.
Now Customer experience has become an essential component of the business world. How a company treats its customers determines how well the customers will treat the company in the future.
Today, Customers have the power to change the way market works.
Customer Support Tips & Tricks
Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.
– Paul J. Meyer
Providing a world-class Customer Support may not be an easy task, but it isn’t impossible too. Once mastered, it can prove to be the only thing necessary to make your company stand out among competitors.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you provide providing outstanding service to your customers. They will also help you understand your customers better and maintain a healthy relationship with them.
1. Invest smartly in your Customer Support
While managing a Support Team, it is very important to know that Customer Support demands a lot but smart investments. In that case, hiring members that are passionate about interacting with customers and helping them sort things out, is a must. Managing customers requires a lot of patience and composure. So choose your support staff wisely.
But it is better not to take things for granted every time. So even if your support staff doesn’t lack passion or experience, it is very important to train them. A formal training will only strengthen their skill even if they are already good at what they do.
Apart from that, the way you treat your support staff will be reflected in their conversation with the customers. To motivate your employees and to keep them happy you can celebrate staff member’s birthdays, achievements etc. This will give them a feeling that the company actually cares about its employees.
2. Empower your Customer Support
A company can’t rely only on the support team’s efforts when it comes to customer support. Empowering the support staff proves to be a helping hand in such cases.
Based on the company as well as support team’s needs, you can provide some tools to handle everyday work for the support agents. This way, they will be able to focus more on the customers.
These tools not only help make things easier but also ensure accuracy. Besides, support staff would feel more confident in tackling their targets as well as dealing with the customers.
Here is a list of some customer support tools that can help your support staff:
- Help Desk software(Zendesk, Help Scout, WSDesk etc.)
- Google Hangouts
- Team Viewer
And much more.
3. Make sure to engage everyone
Handling customers are not one man’s task. Sometimes it requires the support team to work together with other employees to be able to solve the customer issues. In that way, other employees of the company also get involved in the problem-solving.
It is moments like these, where a company should encourage participation of employees to help each other as well as the customers.
Be it problem-solving or any discussion, engagement of the employees should be encouraged.
4. Surprise your customers with Rewards
You can be the Santa for your customers….!
It has been evident that rewarding customers increases the rate of customer retention. This helps in maintaining a healthy customer relationship.
Keep your customers happy by sending them gifts. Let them know about the offer that will be there in the future. Providing discount coupons is one other way to treat your customers in a better way.
Giving a special treatment like this can be a big reason for increasing customer loyalty to your company.
Further, when customers see the company putting up so many efforts it is obvious for them to talk about it among others. This, in turn, creates a possibility that those people might become your customers in the future.
5. Monitor performance and learn from it
Handling customer support is not just about customer interactions. There have to be some goals and time frames to achieve those goals.
Monitoring performance based on these time frames can help in increasing the efficiency of the support team. It also helps in improving the quality of support provided to the customers.
Trying to manage the customer base without an efficient team is a useless task. An efficient team along with a strategy can achieve anything and everything.
6. Practice makes a team perfect
All these tips and tricks are not for one-timers. No Customer Support Team can be a success without practicing their skills. Be it their communication skills, problem-solving skills, understanding the issue or anything else, tricks like these can help. Your support team can reach a new level if these are practiced seriously and periodically.
A Guide to being a Pro-Support Agent
No one knows about customer interactions better than Support Agents. They are the ones who have a first-hand experience with the customers. So for a Support Agent, here are some things that will help:
1. First Impression matters
How many times has it happened that within 5 minutes of customer interaction, the customer makes a bad impression of the whole company..?
It is in those first few minutes that the customer will decide whether to invest in your company or not. Unlike businesses, customers have a choice to shift anytime. If your support agents are not able to make an extraordinary impact, the customer will surely leave for a better option.
So the agents need to focus on what to say for the first couple of minutes. Figure out how to make customers trust your brand. A support agent should be clear in what he/she is telling the customers. If the customer stays with the support agent at that time, there is a pretty good chance for that to happen in the future too.
2. Represent the Company
How an employee behaves with a customer reflects a lot about the company’s principles and work culture. When interacting with the customers, be it through a call or an email, make sure the support agents have a clear approach. An approach that shows how well the company handles its customers.
The way a support agent treats customers gives them an idea of how the rest of the employees will treat them. So they should make sure to provide an outstanding experience to the customers, as they are the ones who represent the company to them.
3. Keep Customers Posted about the Company’s Plans
Working as a Support Agent is not just about solving customer queries. It also means that they are a way for customers to remain updated about the happenings in the company.
Support agents should know their customers well and give them something to think about. They don’t have to talk just about anything or tell a detailed story about some product launch that may happen in the future. Just tell something that customers will find interesting. Be it a new feature or even a whole new product that the company is working on, the more it is communicated, the more it will benefit you.
Sometimes a customer can give a simple straight solution to some of the most tricky business problems. You never know what may happen.
4. Take a Calm Approach
While managing customers, patience is the key to provide the best Customer Experience. The customers know that support agents are the specialists. That is the reason they ask them to solve their issues.
Not everyone is tech savvy. Sometimes a minor issue can make customers a bit irritated. Being calm during such situations helps in handling the situation better and makes a very good impression about the support agent as well as the company.
5. Admit Your Mistakes
We all are humans. We can’t be right all the time. A customer may or may not know about how things work. But for them, a Customer Support Agent is expected to know everything. So there is no room for even a small mistake.
So whenever support agents commit a mistake, as minor as it seems, they should admit their fault. Apologize if necessary. It doesn’t matter if it was intentional or not.
This will not only help in building trust but will also let the customer know about their honesty.
6. Be Casual
There was a time when customers used to love phrases like,
Sorry for the inconvenience….!
How may I assist you..?
Or something like,
But now the interactions are a bit less formal. Support agents should try to address customers with their names instead of calling them Sir or Ma’am. They should be more personal and friendly to the customers.
Customers don’t want to just solve their problems. They want to learn how to solve the problem themselves. So in future, if needed, they could also solve the problem. So being a bit less formal and a bit more descriptive will make a huge difference.
7. Avoid Automatic Responses
Customers are not robots. They are humans. So treat them like humans.
Automatic responses do help in decreasing the time taken for various things. But try to minimize the use of automated responses to just sending the status of customer’s issue and other notifications.
Instead, provide customers with personalized responses. These responses will help customers to establish a stronger bond with the company.
8. Help Genuinely wherever possible
Helping customers, solving most number of issues and meeting the target is a very good practice. But this should not be done at the cost of customer satisfaction.
If there is an issue that a support agent is not supposed to resolve, he shouldn’t just pass it on saying, ” …I have reported your issue to the concerned department. You can further contact them about the status…”
Instead, he should make sure the issue is resolved. If it concerns some other department, he should inform them about this issue. Assuring customers by saying something like,“…even if I’m not able to solve it right now, I’ll make sure this issue gets resolved in a couple of hours…and then I will personally get back to you… “, can surely leave a positive impact.
A support agent should be true to his job as well as to his customers.
9. Be Positive about Complications
There may come a time when some serious issue will demand more time and effort. In such a case, the customers are fully dependant on the customer support agent.
So instead of telling customers,
“…I’m sorry…there are some complications…regarding your issue…so I will not be able to assist you right now… you will have to wait for the time being…”
they should tell them something like,
“I have submitted your request to the supervisor…we will surely take care of the issue as soon as possible… I will let you know regarding any updates…As it will take just a couple of hours…there is no need to worry…”
This helps customers feel secure and important. Customers don’t want to worry about complications regarding the issues. There is no use in letting customers know how complicated the issue was. Instead, let them know when the issue is resolved.
10. Keep your word
Customer support staff have a strong bond with the customers. This bond is based on the fact that the customers believe what the support agent says. Be it a solution to an issue or any important information, there is always a trust between the customer and a support agent.
But it is the duty of the support agent to suggest a well-tested solution. If somehow they need time to resolve the issue, they should let the customer know. They should not make them believe that the issue will get resolved quickly. It will only make things worse.
Similarly, it’s better not to make promises which they can’t keep. If they have already given a deadline to resolve customer’s issues, they should make sure to resolve it before that. Customer support is not about giving customers what they expect from your support staff but giving them something beyond that.
11. Be Responsible with the Customers
There are times when a customer can be a bit tough to handle. Be it their problem, behavior, the way they approach the solution you provide, or something else, it’s a support agent’s responsibility to help the customer.
Support agents should not just redirect the customer saying that they are unable to either understand or solve the issue.
This puts a bad impression on the customer’s mind that the support staff is not capable enough. Instead, they should be responsible for the customers. Either they can solve their issues themselves or can get it done by someone else, if necessary.
This extra effort can help customers create more than just a professional bond with your team and company.
12. Notice details about the customer
Customer satisfaction is not just based on the fact that customer support team was able to resolve the issue. Adding a personal touch also matters a lot.
For example, support agents can wish customers on their birthdays (the date of birth will be there in details) or ask them how their day was.
Remember the details that customers tell you. It not only gives a good impression of the company’s way of managing their customers but also shows that the support agents actually care.
13. Don’t forget to Thank Customers
Today customers are the basis of product development. They contribute a lot to the innovation and improvisation of the product. Besides, they are the ones trusting your company and your products. Thanking them out of politeness or courtesy isn’t too much to ask. Right?
Support agents should start by sending a personalized thank you note for the customers.
Even while solving the issues, they should approach them with something like, “… Thanks for your patience… I know this issue bothered you for quite some time now… I will make sure your effort and time, spent with us is worth the effort…”
14. End conversations on a High Note
Earlier we talked about the importance of a polite and nice beginning while talking to the customers. The same effort should be made while ending a conversation with customers.
Ending conversations by wishing them seems to be a very polite gesture. But support agents can go a step further by wishing customers a very happy weekend or a Merry Christmas, for instance.
It matters a lot to the customers when the company and its employees try something out of the box. By being more than just a couple of professionals, if support agents try to have a genuine conversation with customers they can truly become the pro-support agents.
Earlier we talked about the increasing competition in the business world, and the choices available to the customers. It’s very important to have a strategy to provide customers with a great experience.
These tips and tricks will surely give you an edge over your competitors. It will gradually increase the productivity of your support team and help them focus on providing best customer satisfaction.
A management that knows how to train the support staff, along with a team with a great attitude to deal with customers, is all it takes to go beyond customer expectations.
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