When it comes to finding a software solution for your cloud-based contact center, there are two very important things to consider. The first is obviously whether the solution or technology offering fits your business needs. The second is the much less obvious, but ultimately just as important. What does this company offer in terms of technical customer support services?
What to Ask
You have the right to be delighted with your interactions with the customer service and technical support of a company.
There are three questions you need to ask:
- Is the customer support team accessible through multiple methods of contact at all times? Are they available 24 hours a day? Seven days a week?
- Are the support team members knowledgeable? Do they speak your language? Beyond being knowledgeable of their own systems, can they also simplify their explanations to walk you through your technical issues easily and patiently?
- Are they concerned with the quality of service that they are providing you? Do they check up on your level of satisfaction? Do they make surveys or a review forum easily accessible to you? Do you feel like you are building a relationship when you contact them or they reach out to you?
These questions cover the three main areas which customers or a business should be concerned with when dealing with technical customer support. It boils down to access and availability, actual helpfulness with a product/service issue, and whether they are furthering a relationship with you.
The Fourth Question
There is also a fourth question, which I believe can make or break your relationship with the company. It affects your satisfaction with all aspects of their customer support. How does the company support their support team? In the back of our minds, there is the instilled thought that happy employees make happy customers. You’ve heard it before, but it needs to be an aspect which you actively pay attention to when seeking out business relationship. As a customer or business partner, you will want to work with a company that ensures that its customer service personnel is happy (not complacent) and has the support they need to do their job best.
Supporting the Support Team
Customer service is the front line in communication with the customer. How a company treats their customer service members determines how well the customer service team is going to treat you. It determines how well they are going to be able to help you with their technical problems. The ideal technical support member is going to receive a great deal of training. They need to know every nook and cranny of the software their company offers, what causes any errors that may occur, and what strategies to employ when solving those errors or explaining solutions to contact center staff. Any software is going to come with a few technical issues or bugs, and any user is going to commit user error at some point, no matter how tech-savvy you are.
The customer service team also needs to be supported by the company structure and culture. Before joining 3CLogic in the tech world, I spent several years working in fashion retail, where I experienced the best and worst of customer service experience (and gained my sense of style). While working for a certain well-known high-end fashion specialty retailer, I encountered what they call an inverted-pyramid structure.
Customers are the number one priority; the enormous roof of the pyramid. Customer service, support and sales members, the largest part of the company and the first to interact with the customer, are next. Managers are beneath them, supporting them, and the directors and CEO are at the very bottom, supporting the entire group.
The ideal manager is there to support their team and act as a resource for them. If an employee has a question, they should feel welcomed. If a customer service or technical support member feels like they will be reprimanded for asking a question or that they will not receive any help from management, then they may not be able to best service a customer’s needs without that resource. A manager is not there to act as an overlord; however, overseeing the progress of an employee’s work and ensuring that a team is working together efficiently and resolving all issues is an important part of the role. A manager who listens and provides feedback is going to make their team happy.
Being the Best, Not Just Good
Every company should make it their priority to ensure their customer service team is the best, meaning the most helpful, the most efficient, and the most personable, that they can be. Heck, I gave up my window seat for one of our IT guys. Now he’s got a pleasant smile on his face while he assists a customer on the phone, watching squirrels chase each other through pine branches. It’s all in the name of providing excellent customer support. Customer service and technical support employees who love their job or take pride in their work are going to make you excited to deal with them even when resolving an issue.
Honestly, companies that focus on supporting their customer service and technical support personnel, make a more lasting impression than companies with the most brilliant marketing strategies and media campaigns. This is because customer satisfaction is contagious. Word of mouth marketing is the most effective type and excellent customer service means that customers will not be able to shut up about their great experiences with a company.
Remember that fashion specialty retailer? Hint: it starts with an N. They do no advertising other than in-store and by reaching out to customers; and they have been successful in expanding their business since the early 1900’s even through economic recessions.
It’s Up to You to Be Delighted
Want to know how your relationship with a software solution company is going to play out? Check out their reviews. If they are not being commended for their customer support, then this is probably not going to be the company for you. Even the best technology is no good if you don’t have the support you need to use it.
Aim for a software company whose technical customer support does not satisfy you, but instead delights you.