Answering customer issues and troubleshooting problems can be difficult to manage and very time-consuming. Whether you’re a one-man or one-woman show, responding to every customer yourself, or working with a team of support agents, these tips offer simple strategies to help you assist them more effectively.
1. The virtues of online support.
Handling customer inquiries through online support such as email and applicable messaging software is a great way to provide thoughtful answers and solutions, as well as to keep a written record of support conversations.
To get the most out of this method, it is necessary to set up notifications so that you can quickly respond. Responding to customers online, rather than over the phone, gives you a little more time to compose an answer for them; however, you should provide an answer quickly, clearly, and as comprehensive as possible, since you ideally want to respond only once, as to take up as little time as you can for each inquiry.
Support ticket software such as Zendesk can help to optimize your online support with user-friendly, organized ticketing, and built-in analytics.
2. Give them some literature for their own reference.
A big time-saver that you can utilize to satisfy the majority of questions is to build a library of informational support and FAQ documents on your website.
This way, if someone has a common question like, “How do I open an account?”, an answer is already prepared on your FAQ page; or even for more technical issues, such as cancelling a specific order—you can send the customer a link to a tutorial with step-by-step instructions on how to do it.
You can add as much to your library as you need, and the more support docs you have, the more efficiently you’ll be able to handle all of your customers’ questions.
3. Use shortcuts to help manage high volume.
If overused, canned responses can just irritate customers without helping them at all. If composed and used properly, though, having some preloaded answers on deck for common scenarios or questions can be immensely helpful and labor-saving.
As long as you provide the answer they need, canned or not, it’s all the same to the person on the other end.
4. Don’t let them get your goat.
Without a doubt, you will encounter people who are either intentionally difficult, or it’s just in their nature. Some days you find yourself answering someone accurately and politely, nevertheless somehow enraging this person. We all run into those conversations.
Just keep your cool, address each customer’s issue with equal attention, and you’ll retain business that you may have otherwise lost.
5. Always keep an open channel.
Customer support is one aspect of your business that can make your customers love you forever, if you do it excellently, or inspire hatred in their hearts if you don’t. This is why you should at least keep one channel open for any issues, gripes, or comments—all the time.
Even if you cannot respond to them immediately during after-hours, your customers will be much more comfortable if they at least have a way to get through to you.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.