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What It Takes To Be Awesome At Customer Support

342167.pngIt’s so important to have the right people.

Not just the right people for your business, but the right people for the jobs you’ve assigned. You wouldn’t place a designer in your accounting department. You wouldn’t put an engineer in HR. So why throw just anyone into support?

Customer support is not for everyone.

It’s one of those positions that takes a special kind of person to do efficiently, effectively and build a community of loyal followers. What kind of person makes a great customer support agent? A person that has these qualities.

Empathy

The most important ingredient for good customer service is empathy. Empathy is easier said than done. We’re all human, and we all have our good days and bad days. Excellent customer service comes from being able to empathize, even when you have to dig a little deeper to do so, and from exercising the golden rule.

A good customer support person has the ability to listen, understand where the person on the other end is coming from, and have an honest desire to help the person – no matter what it takes.

Advocacy

Awesome support happens when you are just as much an advocate for the customer as you are for the company. You have a strong desire to take feedback and use it to improve your product or service and you have the customer’s back when it comes to policies and extenuating circumstances. Conversely, you act as an advocate for the company and seek to educate customers whether it be about policy or about features they may not be aware of.

Alignment

A good support agent knows how to align themselves with the customers and never assumes that anyone is tech savvy. You can meet them where they are at in terms of knowledge and walk them through a solution with patience and understanding. This means having the ability to drop the tech speak and instead take a plain language approach that the customer will understand.

Another way to align with the customer is through “lexical mirroring.” Lexical mirroring is the practice of finding ways (the subtler the better) to mirror not only the customer’s emotions but their actual words in your replies to them.

The Lexical part, the language part, is much easier to learn, but no less important. First and foremost, customers want to know that there is a human being listening. Mirroring language helps impart that; the more we mirror what they say, the less we sound like robots.

Discernment

Having discernment as a customer support person manifests itself in a few different ways. First, discerning what a customer really needs from their email. Sometimes what they describe is a set of symptoms not necessarily obvious right away. You have to be able to discern which things are most important.

Second, you need to be able to filter the data to see patterns and use that to discern which items to float up and which items to hold onto. For example, feature requests that can wait over bugs that need to be a priority. A good customer support agent can look at the customer data and feedback and discern which fixes or feature will make the most impact.

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