Defining Customer Support in 2021: How It Has Become the Key to Your Long-Term Success
Defining Customer Support
Customer support, as the name suggests, is aimed at providing support to customers, there are many channels to it like live chat app, social media channels, telephone, in person and many others.
Generally, customer support is provided when a customer has come across a technical problem and can’t find a solution independently.
Companies have now realized that putting their customers front and center is essential to short- and long-term success.
People are more connected, which means that any good or bad that your business does is conveyed almost instantly to other people across the globe.
Key pillars of customer support.
Here are the key pillars of customer support:
- Finding the right people.
- Training them.
- Turning them into leaders.
- Ensuring clarity and empathy.
Finding the right people.
Without the right people, your customer support will not be up to the mark.
During the hiring process for customer support agents, make sure that they are the right fit for this role.
Customer support is not easy, and it will get repetitive at times. After a while, agents might lose empathy or interest in solving the customer’s problems. When that happens, your business is bound to suffer.
Ensure that the agents you onboard care about people, are technically sound, and have a willingness to go above and beyond for customers. If your agents are taking such good care of your business, naturally, it is up to you to compensate and accommodate them accordingly.
Once you have hired the right people available, you will need to train them.
Customer support is a challenging area. It requires the agents to have a calm head above them, a reassuring personality, along with the ability to solve challenges.
Providing a training manual is only the first step in training a rockstar agent.
You can use an idea to train your staff to have them sit in and listen to real conversations with your customers. Your senior team can guide the new recruits on what to say and, more importantly, what not to say.
Spend a reasonable time on training new customer support agents as they are effectively going to be the face of your company.
Turning them into leaders.
As your customer support agents get more experience dealing with your customers and resolving issues, it might be a good idea to propel suitable candidates into leadership positions.
Having a sort of hierarchy within your support teams is essential as your business and team grow.
Leaders within your customer support teams will identify areas that need improvement along with client and agent needs that are not being met.
It is then the job of upper management of the organization to consider the findings from the team’s customer support and move forward.
Ensuring clarity and empathy.
Throughout the process of providing customer support, agents need to ensure that the customer is given clear instructions and solutions at all times. While doing so, it is also essential to have empathy.
After answering hundreds of calls during the week, with roughly the same manner of problems, agents may feel a lack of empathy towards the customer.
It is completely fine to feel that way, but it is more important to realize that other people and businesses depend on the agent for immediate support.
Every customer is different.
And while they may come across the same sort of issues from time to time, it remains vital that they’re valued and helped.
Why is customer support key to your long-term success?
- Helps build a positive reputation.
- Helps retain existing customers.
- Enables you to position your business as an industry leader.
- Brings in more potential customers.
Helps build a positive reputation.
Reputation is everything in business.
Everything needs to be on point, from the product itself to marketing, sales, and even customer satisfaction.
A positive reputation is the only reputation your business needs.
When your customers and potential clients hear only nice things about your business and its offerings, they will be less hesitant to give your products a try.
Once you get them into that funnel, it will be up to your team as a whole to provide the best experience possible.
By doing this, you will have played a critical role in creating an automated marketing and publicity strategy for your business. Ensure nothing breaks and that keep innovating.
Helps retain existing customers.
When they are growing, businesses might feel that they need to onboard as many new users as possible. When this happens, existing customers are often neglected.
Retaining customers is essential if you want to keep growing at a steady pace.
Excellent customer support helps retain customers.
When people feel that they are genuinely being cared for, they tend to stick around longer.
Your early customers can certainly help in shaping your product or service in the future. Listen to what they really have to say through your customer support teams, and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Enables you to position your business as an industry leader.
Nascent organizations or startups lack robust customer support, and it often comes as an afterthought.
By ensuring that your customer support is on point and up to or better yet above industry standards, you will be slowly positioning yourself as an industry leader.
Think about it.
Customers often try out different products before going all in. If during that initial phase, your support team can prove their worth, you will have made the final decision sway in your favor.
But as discussed earlier, looking after your customers is an ongoing process and is by no means a sprint. Enable your support agents, and they will help your business succeed in the long term.
Brings in more potential customers.
Having a constant flow of brand new customers is critical to business success.
Customer support plays a significant role in doing that and more.
By providing only the best user experience to your existing customers, you are not only retaining them. Still, you are also making sure that they have nothing but the best to say about your business.
When these potential customers reach out to your business during a free trial or something similar, your support agents can jump in and let them know all the pros of enlisting your business on their side.
How do you improve customer support?
- By being kind.
- By being knowledgeable.
- By being helpful.
- By ensuring the customer leaves the conversation satisfied.
By being kind.
Kindness will always be appreciated (even if people don’t say it out loud).
When someone calls customer support, they are probably stressed and feel like they are in harm’s way.
In these scenarios, you might not hear the nicest things from them. But that is understandable. Exceptional agents know that and reply with kindness.
Your customers might not notice the exchange at the time, but after their problems have been resolved, some people will look back and realize that their words and actions were not alright.
They will also remember that your support agents were kind and helpful even in that stressful situation, projecting a very positive image about your business.
By being knowledgeable.
Knowledge is power.
Ensuring that your support agents know the latest changes in your offerings is key to your success. You will also let your support team know about recent bugs and fixes.
Good coordination and communication are only going to help your customers get better support.
Support agents should also relay back information or suggestions from clients to the development team and management. Insights like these are truly hard to come by and will serve as a ladder towards your next product evolution.
By being helpful.
Remember that customer support is about providing solutions and not just reactions.
While it is important to empathize with the person at the other end, it will be in vain if your team doesn’t have the right solutions.
Sometimes, the problem at hand is complex and will take time to fix. Customers can be understanding if there is a legitimate reason for the discomfort.
Your team needs to let your clients know that they are being looked after and cared for. Reassuring them, but also making sure that they understand the severity of specific issues is essential.
By ensuring the customer leaves the conversation satisfied.
No sound support agent wants the customer to leave without having their issues solved or leaving in a bad mood.
If you find the majority of your clients metaphorically slamming the phone, then something is wrong.
Good customer support is solving the problem.
Great customer support is solving the problem while taking complete care of the customer’s needs.
Brilliant support staff goes out of their way to help the people they are dealing with. Another thing that you should keep in mind is that you should never promise what you cannot deliver.
It will put the business in a precarious position and not be great for the agent’s career.
Customer support, like other business areas, is changing and evolving.
In the past, organizations viewed providing support to their clients as an added expense and something they needed to do because everyone else was also doing it.
These days, the inbound methodology has made its way from marketing and sales to customer support. Now, most companies are starting to see the appeal of providing top-notch support.
If you’re a relatively small business, customer support might seem like an added expense and hassle. But in the final run, it will pay for itself multiple times over.