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How To Provide Customer Support - Help Desk Excellence

I know this guide is to be about providing you with information about how to turn your support desk into a profit center.  

However, having no way of knowing if a reader of this guide has ever provided support through an online support desk for their business or someone else’s business, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least give include some idea of what’s required to provide really good support online.

Whether you are assisting your customers through your support desk email tickets, live online help chat, in a support forum or even on a phone call, all of the following are attributes a Customer Service Representative needs to develop and continue refining:

•    Relating with customers: being understanding of where the customer is coming from, or their attitude when submitting their inquiry.  Let them know you understand what ever their feeling and why they may feel that way, and that you are going to the very best you can to help them.

•    Attitude with customers: the ability to be positive, objective and tolerant.  For every customer you assist, there is an angel or attitude from which they are approaching the issue they need help with. It actually helps for you to physically smile as you are composing your reply, whether it is through a support ticket or actually on the phone with the customer.

•    Reading customer needs: the ability to see and understand the needs and interests of customers. Try to read between the lines if the customer is not making themselves clear in their request.  ASK QUESTIONS to ferret out the real issue.

•    Be patient with your customers: putting across the idea that you really don’t have the time or your in a hurry and need to get back to other things is one of the quickest way to alienate your customer.

•    Prejudice/bias index: the degree of prejudice or bias in attitudes toward others – Leave your prejudices at the door. There simply is no place for them in customer support. (Or any place else in my opinion.)

•    Valuing future business: the ability to have a realistic attitude about future business with customers is ABSOLUTELY necessary for you to consciously promote yourself and your company as having your customer’s best interest at heart.

•    Listening to customers: if your are reading a support ticket, again you need to try to see if there is more to the inquiry that just what is written.  On the phone, it is of course considerably easier to hear if there may be more behind the question.

•    Developing a response: how well one can construct alternatives which address issues in a clear, understandable manner is very important. This is of course where Pre-defined responses can help immensely. But don’t count on a canned response being the perfect answer every time. If you have a pre-defined response that seems to fit the inquiry, take the time to edit the pre-defined response so it really suits the issue and fits the customer. Personalize it with their name where possible.

•    Evaluating what is said: the ability to focus on crucial issues in an objective manner.

•    Handling customer rejection: whether a customer rejects your solution or a product you are recommending, try to get to the reason for the rejection or objection and formulate another solution.

•    Self-control: especially with seemingly rude or irate customers, (We all get them some time), you are the one that has to maintain control of yourself.  Let the customer vent if they need to and the calm them with assurances that you are going to do everything humanly possible to rectify the situation or provide a solution that will satisfy them.

•    Job related attitudes: attention to policies & procedures will prevent you from not only getting in over your head, (Escalate a ticket if you can’t solve the issue), but usually save you and the customer time in the long run.

•    Meeting established standards: you need to establish standards for how you are going to handle support for your business even if it is only you when you are just getting started.

•    Problem solving capacities: such as seeing potential problems, using common sense, evaluating what to do – all of this will help you head off future problems.

•    Attention to concrete detail: be as specific and detailed in your responses as necessary.  Short cutting a support reply to a customer only leads to more work when they not only feel like you didn’t answer their question, but only lead them to have to ask more.

•    Personal work attitudes: when working support, it’s better see yourself as a SUPER HERO because ultimately that is how you want your customers to remember you.


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