I know a friend who recently started a company. He created a financial product for the other startups. No doubt that the product was great and very useful. He kept on asking his friends for the feedback including me and we gave him generous feedback and helped him improve upon the product. Everything was done and he launched the product.
One thing that he never asked was what to do with the customer service? He was under the notion that customer support was just about defect resolving. Just 1 month down the line, he had to call me up one night and we discussed the requirement and benefits of effective customer service at length and that time I realized there was lot of myths around customer service that people had(just like how I had when I first joined the support team). Let me talk about these Customer support myths and bust the bubble!
1. Effective customer support means faster service.
One of the most important criteria for an effective customer support is to provide fast service .On the other hand , there is quality which is also highly important. Many a times we find ourselves in a situation where one takes the upper hand over the other.
For any good customer support , one of the foremost thing is to strike a balance between Faster service and quality .We need to plan and prioritise our work in such a way that customers get faster as well as high quality work
2.Tell the customer only that which he wants to hear
It is utmost important to be transparent to the customer with the delivery dates and the details of the fix . Its essential to keep the customer informed about the correct delivery date and even more important is to keep up the word and avoid false promises .You are not letting down your organization by owning up but you are gaining the trust of the customer
There is a huge myth that customer support means you need to please the customer every time by catering to his every need which is completely wrong . It is essential to do a cost-benefit and impact analysis before taking up any of his requests for implementation.
3. The job of customer support ends with the resolution of the issue .
Most of the companies do the common mistake of closing the case once the fix is tested and sent. The real test of the support team lies in ensuring that the issue never rises again. Its not a massive job as it seems to be. It just requires the support team to follow the issue on a regular basis and get regular feedback on the working of the fix. This simple step is a huge cost saver for your company. This not only earns the trust of the customer and makes him happy but is actually a step towards stabilizing the product and is a test of efficiency of the work done by your team.
4. The less you talk with the customers, the better it is!!!
One big thing that I learnt here is that customer support is all about communication. The effectiveness of your support depends on how clear and how often you communicate with the customer. One should trash the thought that, the more you interact with the customer, the more you will be bombarded with complaints. Being clear on what they expect from us and what we have delivered saves a lot of rework and effort spent in clarifying things. The focus should be on creating a good rapport with the customers wherein they feel comfortable in interacting with the support team at anytime and about anything and it need not necessarily be pertained to issues. Their regular feedbacks and suggestions are the biggest resource to strengthen our product. Similarly sending them regular reports on the defects and their resolution details will be of huge importance to them as well as us in order to track our efficiency and to identify our problem areas.
5. Customer support should be Reactive and dynamic
The statement is partly true but the problem in most of the organizations is that customer support team is branded as a “defect resolving team “whose job is to solve the issue as and when it happens . This is the functionality of a normal support team but the trait of a good customer support is being proactive and preventing the issue before it turns out to be a menance .Being proactive is a huge cost saver.
Any approach towards solving a problem is like a coin with two sides. One is the customer side, the other is the organization’s side. You need to think from both the angles for the best possible effective solution. From the customer side, you need to understand the business need behind it and from the organization’s side you need to understand the cost, impact and feasibility of implementing it on the product. The key lies in taking a middle road that benefits all the stakeholders. Achieving this is not an overnight process, you need to develop a culture wherein every problem is seen from the business perspective along with a technical perspective and a solution is designed keeping a long term benefit in mind rather than just focusing on bringing down the count and closing the cases.
The support team is not a cost center but is the largest knowledge mine of any organization. Every action of the support team, has a number of hidden benefits associated with it . The key lies in identifying it and making the best use of it .According to me, customer support is the heart of any organization, which pumps out the impurities and purifies your system. At the same time it’s the most fragile organ whose failure can bring the entire organization to a standstill.