In the world of modern customer service, technical support team serves as a lifebuoy for customers and as a brand identity for companies. This article is quite insightful for seasoned technical support engineers, beginners and IT companies which are struggling to improve their team’s customer support services. In fact, the technical support team is the backbone of every company.
Customer support agents are your brand ambassadors.They provide engagement with your brand and demonstrate who you are as a company.Brad Smith
Over the last few years, new technologies have dramatically changed the landscape of company-customer interaction. Not only does technical support team provide support to technical and non-technical end users but also documents and improves their company’s knowledge base. With demands becoming higher, many companies are lagging behind today’s customer service trends.
The magic of technical support team
Let’s face it: even the most efficient software crashes from time to time. That is why companies choose to rely on special crews of magicians – technical support teams. These technical experts perform real magic by solving the most challenging issues your clients face. And, what is more, they have the power to make a customer’s experience with the product outstanding despite any difficulties. Do you happen to know what makes an IT company successful? These are the following components: a powerful product, good marketing strategy and of course a professional technical support team. Whether dealing with internal or external customers, the technical engineers need to be people savvy, diplomatic, and have a high level of technical knowledge.
Benefits of providing good customer support:
- increased revenue;
- better branding and reputation;
- larger community of loyal customers;
- quicker hiring process;
- reduced turnover rates;
- boost in confidence and morale among employees.
How to define your target market?
Knowing your target audience is just the first step. If you are targeting a specific market, it doesn’t mean that you should exclude people who do not fit your criteria. With a clearly defined target audience, your company can boost its reputation, and therefore the revenue, much quicker.
Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.Seth Godin
Let’s consider some tips that may help you define your target market.
1)Who is your typical customer?
When building a foundation for your business, you should identify your typical customer and direct your marketing accordingly. As soon as you are armed with a professional technical team, the basic task is to figure out your customer types. By grouping customers into categories, technical support engineers are able to get much closer to satisfying each customer’s needs. The same tactic can be applied to B2B marketing, since these are people who you deal with, not companies or markets.
Customers can generally be divided into:
- searchers and gatekeepers;
2) Analyse demographics and psychographics of your target audience
Figure out the characteristics of your target audience, taking into consideration the following factors: age, gender, occupation, location, income level, values, interests, personality, etc.
3) Consider your own product/service
Try to define the benefits of your product or service to your target audience. It is important to think how you can improve your products/service in order to satisfy customers’ needs.
4) Check out your competitors
It is essential to know who your competitors are targeting. What are the pros and cons of their product/service? Never follow the same path, try to find a niche market that they have overlooked.
5) Draw conclusions
Once you’ve decided on a target market, evaluate your decision. Don’t forget to consider the following questions:
- Are there enough people who may be interested in my product/service?
- How can I reach out to them?
- Can they afford to buy my product/service?
- Will they see a need for it?
Try to start your business and you will see if it works. Otherwise, you will never know if you never try.
Tips for technical support team
No matter how great your product is or how successful your company is, customers are most likely to remember the direct interaction they have with your staff. In this section we are going to discuss how to improve your customer loyalty and create customer ‘wows’.
Here are some powerful tips for improving your customer’s technical support:
Cover all channels
Those times when traditional channels of communication were dominant are slowly dwindling away. Help lines and email support are no longer the only most widely used ways of communicating. Many customers spend most of their time on social media networks. Thus, it is believed that there is a need to engage customers on social media to solve their issues. Therefore, it makes sense for companies to invest in social media and be proactive there. Learn more, why social media is the future of customer service.
On the other hand, using a live chat option accelerates the exchange of information and is more convenient for people. When technical support team includes the link to a live chat page in their email signatures, customers can use it and get their questions answered immediately.
Customer service expectations are rising year by year. Dealing with complaints from customers is a part of the business. The key strategy here is to be straight with people. If you have goofed up, admit it, make an excuse and somehow try to compensate for it so that a customer doesn’t feel frustrated. In case a person is too pushy and abusive, never switch to his/her manner of behaviour. Technical support team should keep in mind the rules of professional conduct. If customers go beyond angry and become aggressive, you should personalise the conversation, set boundaries and try to find a compromise. If it doesn’t work, transfer the call to your colleague or manager. Finally, if the situation is desperate, just end the conversation, explaining that it is reaching a deadlock.
Provide a self-service option
Nowadays, many customers are quite tech savvy. They can quickly find the answers to their problems on their own if they have somewhere to search. The word ‘somewhere’ presupposes here not only the existence of some educational material such as tutorials, step-by-step guides, videos, screenshots, e-books, but also FAQs and customer forums. Such option will reduce the technical support team’s workload and drive customers’ satisfaction to new heights. However, it doesn’t mean that technical support team should be excluded from the process. They are to be available when it is needed.
Really listen to customers
It’s better to be straightforward and use plain language instead of sophisticated words and complicated structures. Being able to listen attentively to other people’s problems and understand the essence of each issue is a great quality of a professional support engineer. Indeed, empathy plays a crucial role in conversations. Looking at the problem through the lens of a customer can help to solve it and gain credibility, which may lead to a larger community of loyal customers. Learn more, why empathy is the key to excellent customer support.
Powerful tool for the customer support pro
What is a characteristic of excellent technical support team? The answer is – responsiveness and promptness. Depending on the level of its members’ professionalism, customers form their opinion about your product. As a result, your company’s representatives should be provided with all the useful toolsneeded to perform at the highest level.
Today’s customers are demanding and critical, expecting the process to be quick as lightning. That’s the reason they will not hesitate to show discontent when your support team makes them feel helpless, even if they realize “magic” teams are just humans. At the same time, support magicians go insane when the number of requests rockets. If only they had a superhuman speed superpower… But instead they just own unique knowledge which isn’t always shared the way it should be. This situation rings a bell, doesn’t it?
Don’t know how to use magic? There is a way out!
But don’t lose heart. There is always a solution. Even if customer support agents cannot use real magic, they can still learn some new tricks. One of such is, for example, preparing excellent documentation. This means they need to create an extensive help library consisting of short help guides with answers for both frequently asked and rare questions. This will give technical teams some freedom in their working process and every time a member of the team gets a similar request, he/she can easily find the answers and send it to a customer within minutes. In reality, however, the process of qualitative user guidescreation is believed to be quite time-consuming. That is why most of the teams tend to procrastinate and almost never come back to this task again.
StepShot changes the process of creating step-by-step help materials into an easy and truly time-saving one. The software is really user-friendly and doesn’t require specific skills to use it. Creating a step-by-step guide starts with pressing the “start capturing” button. The support agent just has to perform the solution and the software will capture it in steps. The technical documentation tool will also provide explanations to each of them. One click equals one step.
After you are done capturing, there is a possibility to delete unnecessary steps, replace some of them, add the new ones and also annotate the screenshots. The latter allows for blurring or cropping chosen areas, adding text or various shapes, sequencing actions and many other possibilities. An additional advantage is that you can create a qualitative guide once and refer to it every time there is a need to resolve the same issue.
For companies that use Confluence as the main platform for storing documentation, we have a specific solution as well. ‘StepShot for Confluence’ is an Atlassian Marketplace add-on that allows easy integration of an authoring tool and the knowledge management system itself. There is no need to leave space to create a guide – you do this all within Confluence and publish back to Confluence, saving every minute of your time.
We hope StepShot will help your customer support team to enhance users’ product experience and hope that the software has a great influence on your company’s image and reputation.
So, take these tips highlighted above and make them work for you! Remember that an empowered customer support team, where employees are armed with responsibility and feel that they are making a contribution to the company’s success soon translates into customer loyalty.
Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.Jeffrey Gitomer