Miller Heiman Group
May 15, 2014
A good tech support team will drive the reputation of a product, and it can be one of your most marketable assets – even if your product is priced higher than competitor’s products. If people are dealing with a technology they are not familiar with, or one that requires updates, knowing that a tech support team is available through multiple channels―such as e-mail, live chat, or online forums―can influence the sale―particularly when people know that the tech support is actually helpful.
Multi-channel support shines best with technical products and tech help, but it’s not as straightforward as you may think. Just because your customers are already online and can easily reach out to you online for assistance, doesn’t mean you need to forgo crafting a multi-channel strategy that caters to your tech support team.
Read on for four essential tips that will help your company’s tech support reputation excel―on every channel.
A challenge for tech support teams is over-using jargon. For people who understand tech, and who are immersed in tech all day, it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world may not understand how a DisplayPort is backward-compatible with VGA and DVI via adaptors. Make sure your tech support team can un-jargon their language and explain terms and ideas to an audience who may have little or no tech background.
On the other hand, if you have a customer who is clearly very tech-savvy and who can speak the jargon, knowing when to speak back with jargon is equally important; you don’t want to insult customers and “dumb down” your language if the customer has a strong understanding of the product and technology. Teach your team to discern when to turn the jargon off, and when it’s appropriate to speak to customers using jargon-y terms. Both types of customers will appreciate it.
Consistency in the customer support world is always a wise strategy, but with multi-channel forms of tech support, it can be easy to get sloppy. Whether a customer contacts your tech support team through online chat, e-mail, or through social media, they should receive the same advice and guidance. Keep in mind that a customer may contact you one day via e-mail and the next day via online chat, so it should feel to the customer like he is just picking up where he left off with the conversation.
Teach your tech support team to use the same protocols and language when troubleshooting, diagnosing, and explaining the product or service; this shared language will help ensure that customers receive the same type of help, regardless of which channel they choose.
Most companies have FAQ pages on their website, and it’s common practice to encourage customers to read the FAQs before contacting customer support. But why stop there? Go beyond the standard FAQ section and provide a knowledgebase section to help your customers. A knowledgebase consists of short articles (often third-party) that explain products and issues in more detail. Some companies even allow customers themselves to write and contribute to the knowledgebase articles―similar to a Wikipedia-style entry. This shared library of information and resources gives your customers a wealth of resources to look to when trying to find information, and it allows customers to answer each other’s questions.
If you do create a knowledgebase section that allows customers to answer each other’s questions and contribute articles, make sure you have the section moderated and reviewed by your staff to ensure consistent, accurate information about your products.
If you find that your tech support team is receiving the exact same question multiple times a day, it’s perfectly okay to construct a canned-response form that you personalize and adapt. When you are helping customers via chat and through e-mail, creating a form that answers the question will save your tech support team time, allowing them to help more customers. If you do create pre-written replies, make sure you follow these rules:
Regardless of how slick and seamless you make your multi-channel tech support program, remember to hire and train your reps well. Hire people who not only understand the product well, but who can explain it well and who are willing to learn along with the product’s evolutions. Finally, create a tech support training program that teaches and reinforces best practices in customer support.
Jodi is a Marketing and Customer Experience fanatic. Some might say "guru", but she prefers it the other way around, as there’s always something to learn and grow as it relates to Marketing and the Customer Experience, and how each is connected to one another. In the past three years, Jodi has dedicated her career to thought leadership in both realms through her work at MHI Global, and has earned honors as Top 100 Customer Success Influencer from Mindtouch, Top 15 Most Influential Customer Service Experts To Follow on Twitter from GetApp, and Top 50 Contact Center Thought Leader on Twitter from ICMI. MHI Global is a TSIA Program Alliance Partner.
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