There is a lot being said on social media today about customer care: how to measure it, how to teach it, and how to improve it. Those of us who hire and manage Customer Support Engineers gather a wealth of information and buzzwords abound, yet sometimes simple common sense reveals what mountains of data obfuscate.
There were various adages in the world of retail over the years; for example “the customer is king,” and “the customer is always right”. The point of these sayings is that our customers need to feel that they matter to us as real people with real struggles. They need to believe that we, as software providers, have their best interests in mind, even when they are not on the phone with Customer Support.
When our customers call for emergency support, they want to speak to someone who understands their urgency. Yet more than that, they want to know that our support engineers are as concerned about their situation as they are, and that the support team is equally as committed to finding the final solution.
When our customers start viewing our Support Engineers as their advocates, believing they now have someone who will speak for them, even fight for them, then they begin to move into the realm of partnership. As a customer told our team recently, “I don’t need another vendor, I need you to be my partner and help me solve my problems.”
So how do we inculcate our staff with this view of Customer Support?
It begins with the hiring process. Customer Support in any high-tech industry is a demanding endeavour. Technical expertise is essential, and so are empathy and humility. Finding people with the ability to bring all three of these attitudes to work everyday requires a dedicated job search. Rush this process and we commit ourselves to future failures.
Having found and hired these unique individuals, we must treat them the way we expect them to treat our customers. Our staff must believe that we have their best interests at heart. Each staff member needs to feel that they are known and appreciated as unique individuals. They need to know we trust them to make decisions, and forgive them when they make mistakes.
Isn’t that how we all mature, both personally and professionally?