Every support specialist strives to keep up the good work and help others. Sometimes it is easy, but there are days when you just want to hang your earphones on a hook and take a break from listening to the customers’ issues. What to do to maintain good mental health and efficiently complete all of your tasks?
My name is Alex Campbell, I was one of the best help desk agents in my department. Then I became the Team Lead and influencer for my colleagues. So, here are my tips and lifehacks for anyone working in the support department.
One support session at a time
Each supporter’s primary goal is to part with a customer on a happy note, even if the problem wasn’t solved. And the key to customers’ happiness is the undivided attention the supporter gives to his issues. Provide service to one client at a time. Don’t spread yourself too thin over multiple chats/tickets/calls, but entirely delve into the communication providing instant feedback and commenting on your actions. If you have several clients on hold, one person may drown you in remarks and comments while another struggles to explain a big and complicated issue. You risk missing a critical bit of info from the second person just because that first one wants to chat, and, in the end, both clients will be disappointed.
I used to work for a company with unlimited parallel chat sessions. The rate of successfully resolved issues there was about 70%, based on client surveys. After setting a limit of one client at a time, we notice a significant boost in the performability of each session. Despite the increased queue time, more than 98% of clients were happy and had their problems solved.
Individual approach and patience
Remember: your client has no knowledge, nor need to know how many people you have to deal with and how rude and obtrusive those people can be. The only reason a client came to you is some issue he believes you can help him with. And that problem must be your main focus. Do not let the frustration accumulate and “shut down” any negative emotions the moment the session is over. Your goal is to help, not to shake it off and be done for the day. Avoid stock answers. Your clients will know what they are the moment they see them. Personalized communication is more likely to win a customer over. Plus, a positive communication experience with a new customer will help you feel better no matter how rough your day was.
Mind the details and use intuition
Nine times out of ten, your customer won’t even know what the problem is, let alone how to fix it, so that you won’t get any conceivable problem description. That’s why the most essential tool for every supporter is their intuition. Even if nothing the customer says makes any sense, look for any detail similar to the use-cases and questions you’ve encountered in the past, some kind of marker beacons. And once you’ve got one of those, you can follow up with the guiding questions until the problem is identified.
Keep it simple and clear
Your customers have very different qualification levels, so a brief explanation in dry technical terms may just not be enough. Try sticking to normal-people speak and offer extended clarifications using simplified terms where possible. Your aim is not just to solve a stand-alone issue but to help your customer understand every step you’re taking to resolve his problem. In this way, you’ll be able to estimate customers’ technical competence, form a better contact with them, and, potentially, help them better understand the software product. Thus they won’t be coming with the same problems over and over again.
Respect the privacy of communication
Every customer rightfully expects you to keep your communication private. Do not ever share any quotes from your client chat with colleagues unless you have the client’s permission to do that. Never discuss clients with your team! They may develop a preconceived idea about this person that can potentially have a negative impact on all their future interactions. And don’t forget to lock your computer’s screen every time you leave it unattended. Respect your customers’ privacy – that won’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Keep track of frequently asked questions and common problems
While two of your customers having the same issue may be a coincidence, three of them is more like a tendency, but more than three is a clear indication of a flaw in your product. It’s a good idea to have guides and articles addressing the most common issues published on your website. Sure thing, self-service is no plaster for all sores. But a link to a comprehensive manual will be more informative than your off-the-cuff phrasing in chat during a support session. Plus, if some issue occurs too frequently, the product developers sure need to be informed about it. Feedback from clients is the best driver of the products’ upgrade and optimization.
Take on any challenge
Do not cherrypick tickets with the issues you’re well-familiar with. Take every new challenge as an opportunity for your professional development. The monotypic problems will turn into a boring routine pretty soon, and you don’t want to find yourself mired in that quagmire. The more diverse tickets you deal with, the higher your technical expertise level will be and thus the more valuable talent you become. You need to grab every chance to show what you’re made of, be it stellar communication skills or ace tech knowledge.
In the company I’m still employed with, my first role was as an entry-level supporter. And I always did my best to use to good advantage all the tips mentioned above, win over every single customer, and successfully close 100% of tickets. So it wasn’t long until the Marketing department recognized my effort and I got a raise. After a few years of constructive communication with our partners, I became the Senior Marketing Specialist and the head of the marketing team accountable for several software products.
Be loyal to your clients, and they will be loyal to you.