What skills do technical support employees need in 2013?

From the translator: Often I come across the fact that companies treat technical support of users as a secondary process, but high-quality technical support is, in official terms, “the basis for sustainable business development and customer loyalty”. In the United States and many European countries, user support has been erected by a “cult”, and when you compare how customers are supported “there” and “with us”, it becomes sad (but the situation is constantly improving). Indeed, to provide excellent technical support, knowledge of the subject is not the most important thing and additional communication skills are needed. But everything is fixable and in order

Customer support skills needed in 2013

At the moment, technical support for users is much more than just discussing a client’s issue by phone. Very important support channels have become: e-mail, specialized helpdesk systems, chats and social networks, although many customers still prefer to use voice and telephone.

From the point of view of the company, the telephone is not the most efficient service channel, especially in the case of large companies working with significant volumes of calls.

Interpersonal communication skills necessary for communicating by phone - empathy, empathy, the ability to “read” the client’s emotional state, adherence to accepted standards of etiquette, sociability and friendliness remain important, but in addition to this, new skills need to be developed so that the client can communicate through non-voice channels it was no less convenient to make a phone call.

Below we list the main skills that will allow us to grow technical support stars and how these skills are manifested when communicating on different channels (generally speaking, these skills overlap and can be used in several channels).

A. Telephone support

  • Just smile. A smile can be transmitted through the phone, it makes your voice sound friendly and warm. But, be careful and don’t “smile” at the angry customer - wait for the right moment.
  • Imitate the client in your communication. Try to imitate the tone and emotions of the client. This does not mean that if the client yells into the phone, then you should also yell, but an increased volume or strength in the voice will help start a dialogue. But, after that, it is important to quickly reduce the emotional level of dialogue. Be yourself, but try to reflect the client as best as possible in order to quickly establish an emotional connection with the client.
  • Think and justify. If the client is angry or very disappointed, he is not inclined to listen to the decision that you offer him, even if it is right. The first thing you need is to reassure the client by listening carefully to what he will tell you. After the customer speaks out, he will be much more receptive to your proposal.
  • Recognize. Let the customer know that you understand his problem and the reason he called. Make sure he understands what they heard.
  • Give the customer time. Even if everything is clear to you from the first second, do not interrupt the client, let him speak out to the end. Often, before continuing, people need to formulate a task in their own way.
  • Summarize. Rephrase what the customer told you, showing him your support. This will demonstrate that you understood it correctly.
  • Call Hold Before asking the client not to disconnect and wait on the line, make sure that this suits him. General rule: do not leave the client to wait more than 2 minutes, even if the solution to the issue takes longer. In this case, return to the client, inform that you need more time. If you need a lot of time and the client will have to wait a long time, then tell him as soon as possible. Try to arrange with him that you will call him back if circumstances allow.

B. Email and ticket support

  • Hone your writing skills. Tickets and e-mails require "writing" skill. This means that you must write the answers clearly, accurately and concisely.
  • Blanks, not templates. Do not use absolutely standard text when answering tickets. Start with a standard template, but personalize it for each specific support group and client as you work.
  • Be individual. Allow support staff to use their style and approach to resolving queries. Encourage them in their own way to express the identity and philosophy of the company in the course of communication with customers. Consider using different signatures and final texts depending on the tonality of communication and the progress of the issue.
  • Set a goal to solve requests in a clearly defined time. Make sure all tickets are resolved or escalated on time. The time until the first answer is critical and you need to correctly formulate the expectations of the support team and customers. To ensure that tickets do not “stale”, be sure to create a system of triggers and warnings about violation of deadlines. Also, a system should be built that will notify customers that their ticket has been resolved immediately after receiving information about this from the developers, product specialists or other internal services of the company.
  • Do not be a robot. Letters must be individual in emphasizing that they were written by a living person.
  • Imitate telephone support skills. Smile, imitate, take stock, etc.

B. Chat

  • Chat is very similar to telephone support in the sense that it is a real-time conversation . However, as with e-mail support, it requires writing skills.
  • Message tone is very difficult to embed in a series of short and fast lines. Nevertheless, one must be sensitive to what is written in the chat - the key to success is the polite and informative tone of messages. It’s good practice to answer your question: if it weren’t possible to insert emicons (emoticons) in a message, could the client understand your tone? And, of course, be kinder in your words.
  • A trained support employee can chat on multiple tickets at the same time, but this should never affect the quality of customer service. Take on exactly as much as you can take. If the client is waiting for your replica for more than 1 minute, then you essentially do the same as on the phone, leaving the client to wait on the line - if you need time, tell the client how much time to wait for an answer from you (see above).
  • Chatting requires you to be an attentive reader . As in the case of e-mail, the client often cannot express his problem and express his tasks as well as in person or by telephone. Read carefully and ask clarifying questions. Take your time to jump to conclusions.

D. Social networks

  • Inform customers that you are up to date with their public posts on Twitter, Facebook posts, etc.
  • Contact immediately. Contact users about their comments as quickly as possible (preferably within 10 minutes).
  • Inform the client in public that you will take action and process the problem or question described in the post (within 10 minutes).
  • After solving the problem described in the post, it is advisable to return to the social. network and write about it there (close the circle!).
  • For tickets (Tickets sent via Twitter):
    • Do not respond to bullying or attempts to drag you into a meaningless quarrel in public space.
    • Send positive feedback (Compliments, etc.) to the Marketing department so that they can retweet or contact the customer if necessary.
    • For incoming support requests, just reply via Twitter (instead of asking for customer contact information and contacting him through another channel). It is much faster.
    • If the client is dealing with a problem that requires proceedings or more personal information, then continue the dialogue in a specially created ticket , and send the client a link to it. In this situation, it is much better to communicate inside the ticket than to send information via Twitter. Just reply to the customer with a link to the ticket and continue the discussion there.

    General recommendation: Regardless of the communication channel used, always close the circle. This means that you should always keep the client informed of the actions you are taking, and after completing the request, you must make sure that the client is satisfied.

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