When you order customer support, the professionals take care of any problems. Having a great product is only part of the success; each and every person who uses the product needs to feel supported and taken care of. That’s why customer support is something that should be thought of at the beginning of the project and included in the budget right away.
Nowadays the reputation of a product is created by word of mouth, online buzz and reviews on the various platforms that are open to everyone with an opinion. If a product is not accompanied by customer support, you will either have to take on the responsibility of dealing with frustrated users yourself or when the negative reviews start rolling in you will run to the first amateur you can find who doesn’t know the product or the industry and can make matter seven worse.
When an online product crashes or if users are not sure how to use the product, a lot is at stake. In both cases, they may start panicking and leave bad reviews. Besides losing profit and customers, the reputation of the whole business can suffer immensely. Therefore, you should start planning customer support from the beginning, drafting documentation and gathering a team of professionals who are closely familiar with the solution they support and know the industry in and out.
Customer support is there to assist with technical difficulties. Even though the team is situated offshore, at the other end of the globe, the tech support specialists are trained to be the ‘eyes and fingertips’ of the client they are supporting – and fix the problem as fast as they can. One example of offshore customer support is a situation where one client had a server crash where all functionality failed. Unfortunately, the client did not predict such a problem and didn’t expect that direct involvement of customer support specialists would be necessary.
Therefore, the customer support package only included limited access to the client’s server premises. Despite that fact, the customer support team came to the client’s rescue in a critical situation. The client had to go to the data center to manually fix the problem, having the tech support telling him what to do to recover the information, using his laptop. It took long hours to fix the issue; besides, the laptop broke down, and the team had to communicate via mobile messages. The support specialists and the exhausted client worked together all night but were able to fix the problem against all odds. After this experience, the client took care of giving full access to their infrastructure for the customer support team.
Custom support is not only about giving technical tips to everyone but it is also about being there for you when you need someone to talk to. Business relationships often turn into personal relationships, where boundaries across borders and company positions are erased. Customer support is about human interaction, essentially. No online guide or mobile app will give clients genuine support, and not just with technical issues.
One example is a force major situation where people are looking for an emotional anchor. When hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern coast of the USA, customer support specialists ended up transcending professional relationship in a situation where they became so close to the client that they shared the dramatic events daily and dealt with them together. This is something that is only possible when a genuine human connection takes place, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch.
It takes a special person to work in customer support. The three cornerstones of the profession are knowledge, communication skills and resistance to stress. All of these qualities are necessary, because it is impossible to help you in a crisis situation when someone has the tech skills, for example, but cannot handle the pressure and stress of a situation where a cool approach is required. Obviously when something goes wrong with the product, you can be upset, and dealing with emotions professionally is important for customer support specialists. Those qualities are often hard to find in one person and have to be cultivated during training. Often the future specialists are chosen based on their potential only – their expertise will come with experience and further growth. Education and psychological development at customer support is on-going and never stops.
The democratic culture of the whole company is felt at customer support as well. Because flexibility is offered in terms of the schedule, the job is very popular among young passionate professionals. Customer support specialists grow all the time through trainings and courses, team building events, extreme sports gatherings, seminars, and so on. Non-formal team building offers a change of scene and breaks everyday monotony so that the specialists come to work refreshed and ready to attack any situation.
Customer support specialists should also know the cultural norms of the country they are supporting to avoid misunderstandings that are never good in business. That’s also part of the training: to be more worldly and open to new philosophies, cultures and ways of living.