The evolution of digital ethnology and spread of fast internet service has come as double edged sword for most businesses, across the world. There is no denying the advantages the companies obtain by utilizing social media channels, selling online and deploying various forms of IT services these days. However, the flip sides are also there. The customers are now way better informed about things than the past and they have turned more demanding. To ensure the customer needs are met and they are satisfied businesses need to put in the best efforts. Using suitable help desk software is near mandatory for any company. Besides, it is also important that the businesses train the support teams properly. Along with training, it will be useful if the company develops comprehensive customer support guideline for those agents. In long run, using such well developed guideline in support operations can benefit both the company and its customers.
Things to include in customer support guidelines
A robust and well developed customer support strategy or guidelines can be immensely beneficial for the agents. With a detailed guideline in place, they can figure out the best ways to deal with different types of customers and complex situations.
Listed below are some major points that should be part of comprehensive customer support guidelines.
Importance of using positive language and approach
It is absolutely important that the support agents resort to using positive language and approach while interacting with the customers. They may have to deal with various types of customers and it is part of the job! Tricky and stressful situations are also not unheard of in this sector. However, the agents should not use any negative response. Even if they have to express inability to fulfill customer requests and queries, they should offer substitute solutions. Using positive response is directly related with company image development. This factor should therefore be emphasized in the support guidelines.
Calmness and patience are important
For a customer support agent, being patient and calm matters a lot. They will have to deal with irate customers and such customers often use rude and unprofessional language. However, the agents should not lose cool. Besides, they also need to be patient while dealing with the customers. During phone or chat based troubleshooting some customers may make mistakes or need longer time to understand. The agents should not lose their cool under such situations. They should use professional language and remain calm under stress. This helps in pacifying agitated customers – in most instances. This aspect has to be emphasized in support training Guidelines.
Enhancing and upgrading skill is prudent
For all customer support agents, it is important to enhancing their skill and knowledge with time. This is not necessarily applicable for newbies in the industry. The reality is IT services and related technologies keep changing fast nowadays. To cater to changing customer needs companies need to deploy new software and technologies. Even veteran support agents need to upgrade their skills to perform well consistently. These include customer service skills in networking, hardware devices and software services etc. Otherwise, they will lag behind the competitors.
Giving priority to logic over ego
When interacting with the customers it is very important that the agents act as per logic than ego and emotions. For seasoned support agents it is not uncommon to develop a feeling they can deal with any situation when interacting with the customers. This sometimes may have backlash effect! If they cannot feel the seriousness of certain situations and delay in escalating the case to management or apt authority- the situation may spin out of control. This can have serious repercussions too. So, the agents need to think logically and deal each customer case accordingly. This aspect should be included in the customer service guidelines.
Giving false assurance and making false promises not allowed
While treating the customers in a positive way is desirable, the agents should not resort to using lies to pacify the customers temporarily. In customer service, false assurance from the agents can be regarded as cardinal sin! Unless the agents are certain about an issue (product availability or delivery policy, for example) they should not assure the customers. Making false promises can make the customers angry and they may also lose trust in the brand. It is always imperative that the agents inform the customers about possible solutions with utmost honesty. They should differentiate between possibility and certainty while interacting with the customers. These have to be mentioned in the support guidelines with clarity.
Adapting to tricky situations is important
In customer service, the agents need to learn ways to adapt to tricky and unprecedented situations. It is not only about dealing with irate and impatient customers! The agents also have to cope with stress and workload from time to time. On some days, they may have to share workload when a few colleagues are absent. Occasionally, they may have to switch from one mode of support to another (for example, from email to chat). The support guidelines should include this aspect.
Using clear, simple language is imperative
The language and words chosen by the support agents when reverting to customer queries as well as grievances play pivotal roles. It is always advisable for the agents to use clear and simple language. Using too much technical jargons or difficult to use phrases can make things hard for the customers. Not all customers can comprehend jargons, as it is. This factor should be emphasized in customer support documentation. Using simple language also helps in troubleshooting.
Support channels can be used for promotion- indirectly
The ultimate objective of any company is making profits and growing revenues. That is the reason they strive to offer good customer service and support, as it is. The reality is the various modes of offering support to the customers can also be used for promoting service and products, in certain ways. For example, the agents can utilize the situation when the customers enquire about any popular or upcoming product- using chat or phone. They can update such customers about ongoing discounts and offers on the specific products. In case the product is out of stock, they can definitely suggest the customers about existing and alternative products. It is about using persuasive communication to good effect! This leads to surplus sales and the customers feel good too.
Thanking the customers is always necessary
Regardless of the reason the customer has contacted the support team for, it is necessary for the agents to thank him/her. This can be communicated either at the beginning or end of conversation- based on the situation. The agents should remember the fact that even when a customer grudges about any product/issue- he/she actually enlightens the company about loopholes and problems which need rectifications. This helps the company to take preventive actions and serve the customers better in future. So the necessity to thank the customers should be included in support guidelines.
Summing it up
Along with detailed guideline for the agents, businesses also need to deploy suitable, feature laden customer service software to meet its objectives. Both well trained agents and suitable help desk software are needed to offer exemplary customer service.