In the past, I’ve written about how Customer Support should be a part of your Marketing effort.
Customer support can make or break small businesses, and has a powerful impact on the outcome, successful or not, experienced by younger companies: every praise matters, and any customer with a high enough number of followers can help shine the spotlight on your product. However, this is a double-edged sword that can work against you, when vocal dissatisfied end-users ruin your latest product launch with just a few tweets.
Most businesses haven’t yet realised the opportunity that lies in developing a friendly proactive support team. A great customer experience is worth your time & effort, and this starts by making sure your staff is motivated to give great support.
Customer Support can differentiate between a good product and a great company
OK, so how do I offer great support?
It’s simple really: beyond the simple idea that they want their problems fixed, customers want you to meet their expectations: so start by caring deeply about your customers, and listen to their problems. If you pay attention to your end-users and how they use your product, you can better understand their problems.
And it’s likely that they will realise the amount of effort you put into helping them.
Chances are, they may even feel grateful that you’ve taken them seriously, and you could turn a bad situation (i.e. experiencing a bug) into a positive outcome (i.e. Turn the customer into a fan, or even an ambassador for your product), simply by paying attention to them and being open, honest, and transparent about their request.
Are they experiencing a known bug? Then, explain to them that this is a known issue, that you’re expecting a bugfix to go out soon (feel free to share a rough ETA), and if possible, provide them with a temporary alternative.
Are your customers experiencing a new problem that your support team hasn’t seen, yet? Then try to give very simple & clear steps to help them gather log files, screenshots, and as many details as possible so that you can then investigate what’s going on. Again, be transparent with your customers and try to give them an ETA or offer an alternative, if you can. And make sure to follow-up with them once you have a solution.
Is that it?
It’s a simple thing, but paying attention and listening closely to your users can get you far, whether you’re acknowledging a feature request or trying to fix a problem with your product. It’s the difference between a company & product that they use, and one that they feel they share a bond with.
If your company, through your support agents, is able to show empathy, be reasonable, and make some honest efforts with your end-users, you will start reaping the benefits. This will start with better, more educated customers, friendlier conversations with your existing & potential end-users, and an overall better mood across your team, when dealing with support queries. I wouldn’t be surprised if you started seeing your customers be more vocal and open about sharing the good word about you.