We here at Grokability frequently ask ourselves, “Are we a software company or are we are support company?” After all, our flagship product, Snipe-IT, is open-source asset management software that anyone can download and install for free, so what are folks paying us for? (Don’t get us wrong, we’re very thankful that you do!)
Of course, lots of Snipe-IT users just don’t have the time or the know-how to set up and maintain web-based software, so for some, our hosted subscription is just a time saver. But for others who may be new to asset management, when they sign up for a hosted subscription, they’re signing up for our support, and we couldn’t be happier to offer it to them!
And apparently, the feeling is mutual. With consistent customer satisfaction scores above 90% and never having fallen below 80%, we must be doing something right. So what’s our secret? What makes great support?
Like most everyone in the known universe, I’ve experienced my fair share of bad customer support. According to data and analytics research conducted by PwS, nearly 60% of customers will leave if they have several bad experiences with a company, and 17% will leave after only one bad customer experience. It’s likely most of us have fallen in both of those categories at some point.
Through my own experiences with less than satisfactory customer service and my 5 plus years supporting Snipe-IT customers, I definitely have developed some strong beliefs about what it takes to offer good support, and more importantly, what it takes to make good support GREAT!
1. Have compassion, even in the face of frustration
The true difference between good support and great support is remembering you’re not just there to robotically regurgitate information, you are communicating with another human being who’s come to you with a problem that you are uniquely qualified to answer. In a world with increasing reliance on chatbots, being a compassionate human offers a great advantage in making your customers happy.
The downside is that sometimes a frustrated customer can seriously harsh your mellow. This is where empathy kicks in. You’ve been frustrated, too, probably just earlier today. The bottom line is to have a little empathy for the human on the other end of the keyboard and exercise compassion in your responses. You can’t please them all, but you can certainly try — and try not to take it too personally if you can’t.
2. Be yourself, unless in direct conflict with #1
If you’ve sought out a position in customer service, you likely enjoy helping people. If you don’t, you should probably explore other employment opportunities. Be your authentic self when communicating with customers, and you’ll find they will, too, which creates a level of connection we don’t often get to experience through an email with a customer.
This not only makes for a happy customer, but it can also bring a moment of real connection in a world where connecting is sometimes difficult.
3. Be confident
Remember you know more about your product than anyone else. Although, it’s important to note the role your customer takes in their company and respond accordingly, don’t be intimidated by a fancy title or a big name company. Be yourself and be confident in your ability to help your customers.
4. Be psychic
Okay, maybe that might be a big ask, but you can be as explicit, concise, and as thorough as humanly possible in your responses to cover your customer’s would-be subsequent queries. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Whenever possible, involve your customer in their own solution. It builds their confidence using your product, makes them feel invested in mutual success, and they’ll be less likely to need support for that issue again.
This short list isn’t too far of a stretch from every other list you’ve read about providing good customer service, but these sorts of tips usually aren’t oriented around personal development.
If there’s a way to work on developing your compassion, authenticity, and confidence (let alone psychic abilities), through your day to day work tasks, that’s a worthy pursuit. Such a pursuit will not only inform your support work and cultivate happier customers, but also has the promise of flowing over into other aspects of your life for a much bigger return.