The catchphrase “customers are always right” is one that has always caught the attention of customers, likewise businesses. However, much thought isn’t given to the brain or the backbone that ensures that customers are treated right and are treated with optimum care and respect.
Businesses and organisations are built to cater to the needs of the client. The question here is, how much thought is given to customer service? How much resource is invested in the customer support department of a company? With the resource being invested in the support department, the question a lot of companies begin to ask is; Do We Even Need Support?
This article sheds on more light on this bugging question.
So, Do We Even Need Support?
What do you think when you hear “Customer Support”? What comes to mind? Taking customer calls? Resolving complaints? Responding to mails? Quite a number of individuals have the premonition that customer support revolves mainly around tech/customer support, picking and receiving calls. Although this is a part, it’s not all it entails.
While gathering relevant data and information, it was quite clear that individual and corporate bodies perceive customer/tech support as revolving around calls.
Customer support/service is a very vital part of every business. Some refer to support as the enabler of a business or should I say the eyes and the ears of business, more like the face of the business. Customers live in a completely different world and speak a different language than organizations. In fact, it can be defined as an opposite world. While organizations provide solutions, customers have needs that are accumulated in an “infinite capacity” pool.
According to the ACA Group, customer service is the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently give the customer what they want and need. Additionally, they define excellent customer service as the ability of an organization to constantly and consistently exceed the customer’s expectations. These needs and wants are to be satisfied by the company. But does the company even hear the complaints and needs of the customers?
Working as a Tech/Customer Support Staff
No one fully knows or understand the product like the Support staff. As a customer experience agent, you embody many skills. You are expected to be an expert communicator, a product expert, a problem solver, amongst all, be empathetic. Furthermore, as the support staff you have to think like the engineer, like the company and then think for the customer.
While creating a product, it is important to consult the support team, rather than train them on the use of the product.
Often times, in customer support, we find ourselves constantly responding to a lot of the same questions. This is inevitable. No product or service is perfect, and there will be issues that affect multiple users. As a tech/customer support agent, it is important to be able to identify patterns that uncover product imperfections. The more information you have about your customer, the more you can empathize with them. More often than not, in customer support, there are diverse macros to address specific issues. These are required to personalize and suit the customers need.
What makes a good Support?
“We take most of the money that we could have spent on paid advertising and instead put it back into the customer experience. Then we let the customers be our marketing.” - Tony Hsieh, Founder and CEO of Zappos
Good customer service is taking that extra step to help without being asked! It’s all about attitude and skills. Highlighted below are the basic points that make a good customer service:
- Personalisation: Outstanding service always starts with a human touch. A good tech/customer support connects with the customer, understands the customer, proffers solutions when needed, and be the direct link to the business. Personalized interactions can greatly improve customer service and make the customer feel like the company cares about them and their problem.
- Competency: Consumers identified competency as the key element that plays the biggest role in a good customer experience. To be competent, a tech/customer support representative must have a strong knowledge of the company and its products, as well as the power to fix the customer’s problems.
- Pro-activity: Amongst the key functions of tech/customer support, is providing real-time response and/or solutions. It is important for a tech/customer support representative to be on their toes in providing solution to consumer problems.
- Seamless Problem solving: Tech/Customer support function primarily to provide key solutions to problems faced by customers. Good tech or customer support functions to provide seamless solutions in the most simplest way for customers.
Having established what makes a good support, it is therefore necessary to establish who needs support and who stands to gain from a good customer support service.
Who Needs Support?
Everyone needs support.
All companies, businesses and organisations need support. Customer support helps organisations get optimal turnover at the end of a business year. Support is an essential part of a growing and successful business or organization. When an organisation provides great support, the company needs no advert, the success and strength of your support speak volume for the work you do.
Statistics to back this up
Out of every 10,000 companies/businesses that promise superior customer support, only 100 businesses actually provide superior customer support service. This accounts for about 1 out of every 100 businesses (Help Scout, 2012). It is also important to note that Millennials are willing to spend more money than they intend to, just to get the best support service.
To some people, customer support is the new marketing. Customers are more likely to tell 15 more people about bad customer service, than they would tell 11 people for the best customer service (Help Scout, 2012). Hence, the importance of support.
- A good customer support can determine the success of a project, product and company etc. Customer service is not only about individual responses, but also about how the organization delivers its product or service. Imagine ordering an item on Jumia and your delivery comes in late, imagine after the late delivery the wrong item got delivered to you. What would be your testimony of such product/service?
- Having good customer service gives a business/product/project a competitive edge over other businesses: Businesses with excellent customer service engage customers in the way other businesses can’t.
- Increases customer loyalty: From the previous example cited, a good customer service can retain and promote customer loyalty. When a customer/consumer is assured of premium customer service, then they are reassured of the authenticity of the product.
- Engineers cannot do it all: Engineers are the foundation of a product/service/project. But a good tech support understands the needs of the customer, and therefore, deliver based on that.
- Prevents business failures: As earlier said, a good tech/customer support understands the needs of the customer and delivers based on that, thereby reducing the chances of incurring cost on the business.
- Customer support culminates in customer experience. Hence, customer experience is a summation of the relevant components. That is, the effort of the developer/engineer summed up with the effort of the product manager and the project manager altogether with an efficient product support.