What this post is about
- Strengthen your customer support with the right support skillset
- Promote a goal-oriented approach to difficult cases
- Analyse weaknesses and strengthen strengths
- Train your agents with coaching and seminars
Communication and interaction can be quite tricky. Especially in customer support, different worlds often collide - although both sides pursue a common goal. After all, it is always about solving a certain problem.
But heated discussions, inaccurate information, or horrendous demands can also quickly put obstacles in the way of your agents. It is about defusing the situation sensitively and making the right suggestions at the right time.
These five support skills and qualities help you to meet the customer at eye level and ultimately take the lead in the conversation.
The ability to put yourself in another person's shoes plays an essential role in customer support. Those who understand the customer's problem know how to find a suitable and tailor-made solution.
Empathy, however, is not a quality that can be forced but arises from one's own will. It is therefore the basis for a positive and goal-oriented approach to customers.
Remember: Solving problems is one thing. Sorting them out because you care is quite another attitude.
- When have you felt you were treated well when dealing with someone else's support staff?
- How do you show genuine appreciation?
- Can you give me an example of when you defused a dicey situation in support?
Customer inquiries take time. Patient and balanced support staff benefit from their inner calmness, which helps them maintain focus.
It is certainly not uncommon for angry customers to drive support staff up the wall. However, your team members should take a breath in these cases, keep the focus on the actual problem and be aware of the distance to the customer.
No one wins a conversation that leads nowhere and in which the pulse hits 180.
- Can you tell me about a customer you found difficult to understand? How did you approach that interaction?
- What is the best way to approach a customer who has been dealt with by several agents and still hasn't been helped?
- Can you give me an example of a situation where there were major problems with your product or service and you had to respond without already having all the answers?
Customer queries rarely come alone. Via various channels such as chat, telephone, or e-mail, numerous tickets quickly accumulate that require parallel processing. And these are not always just small inquiries.
Individual topics or complex error analyses require flexibility and the ability to maintain an overview. Employees who quickly lose the thread or neglect open conversations get lost in the mass of incoming tickets.
Find out which systems best help individual agents stay on top of things. Don't be afraid to set internal best practices for this and adapt them, as new workflows become established.
- Have you ever had to bend internal support rules to help a customer?
- How did you approach your decision and what happened?
4. Company knowledge
A wealth of knowledge about your products or company-related information is the everyday tool for support staff. As the first point of contact with the customer, your team needs to have facts and figures easily available and know where to search for further information.
An internal knowledge base, such as the one supplied by Zammad, is helpful here. You can feed it with all basic information and process flows. If a support staff member lacks the right tips & tricks to solve a ticket, the internal knowledge base is the first and best place to go.
- Please tell me about a situation where a customer reported a technical problem that you didn't know the answer to. How did they go about it?
- How do you decide what information to include and what to leave out when responding to a customer?
- Can you give me an example of when you helped their team by doing something yourself?
5. Sales intuition
The main role of support is to be helpful to customers. But if you want to expand your support team as an extended sales channel, you should rely on employees with a flair for sales and additional business.
Products and updates that help avoid the same mistakes in the future can be subtly promoted. What helps the company generate additional sales manifests itself to the customer as recommendable support with the plus of the service idea.
- How can customer needs be sensed before they are even expressed?
- Have you ever heard of the "principle of reciprocity" from social psychology? (If you do something good for your customers, they will want to give something back to you - like buying a product).
Are you missing the employee who combines all the qualities in one person? Stay cool: You are not alone. The perfect support colleague who is naturally blessed with all the skills is rare. Nevertheless, you can rely on a strong team in customer support in which you regularly analyze potentials and build on strengths through coaching or seminars. Furthermore, regular feedback meetings help you to support your agents with tips.
But never forget: it's all about promoting and optimizing performance. Those who see a legitimate tool for monitoring in these methods should rethink their approach.