We have all been on the receiving end of client support interactions, and the kindergarten adage, “treat others as you would like to be treated,” comes to mind.
Every Client Support Specialist (CSS) interaction is a review of your business model and reflects your company’s commitment to the client. A bad interaction could result in lost business and bad press that spreads easily.
What defines great client service? Is it all about the response or the solution? Here are some thoughts on this topic:
While email is an effective method of communication, it is always refreshing to have a support team available by phone during business hours ready to assist at a moment’s notice.
Each call or email received is an opportunity to learn more about the clients you assist. You can use this opportunity as a path to building a strong relationship with your clients, this will ensure future interactions go smoothly and ultimately result in clients that endorse your product, helping to develop future business.
In the SaaS (Software as a Service) industry, most CSS calls usually relate to how the software is performing for their business and their clients. Software typically is consistent in its performance based on the configuration and ancillary add on functions. Understanding the workflow and configuration of your client’s software is key to analyzing questions and concerns as they arise, this is where good investigative skills are necessary.
The first step in great client service is to know your client and understand their needs as a business and as a person. Following these simple steps should help ensure a positive interaction:
- Diffuse the frustration- demonstrate your sincere desire to help.
- Restate the problem for clarity- frustration sometimes clouds the problem.
- Ask about the business impact, specifically what operational process this is affecting?
- Understand the workflow/know your product.
- Review Configuration set-up and ancillary services to determine cause of reported workflow issue.
Provide clear and concise remedial actions.
- Use positive expressions during communication.
- Ask for help when necessary, inaction is not acceptable and does not resolve issues. Let the client know that you are adding another set of eyes on the problem.
- Do not end any call without positive confirmation by the client.
Every client service call has a cause and effect. While the average Client Service Representative will ask for the reason for the call and immediately try to solve the problem; a great CSS will listen to the problem, understand the effect it has on the client and demonstrate a willingness and a commitment to help the client. Quick fixes are helpful but long term solutions are optimal. Taking this approach will demonstrate a commitment to client satisfaction, and will ensure your client ends the call knowing you are there to support them and provide solutions.
Make sure your team understands that strong support equals client satisfaction equals great referrals = future sales!
So to answer the question, is the response or the solution more important? The response is just as important as the solution. One without the other is just not acceptable.