Studies have shown that some words have a greater effect on people than others. Just as "free" and "sale" entice consumers to buy, there are key words and phrases that we as customer support professionals can sprinkle into our calls and online help desk responses to make customers feel as warm and cozy as they do in their Snuggies at night.
Without a Doubt
No one likes to hear wishy-washy answers to their questions. But when customers ring up the customer support call center to ask for assistance, words like "definitely" and "absolutely" are music to their ears and show them you've got the can-do positive attitude to make things happen.
Every second counts when you're in the process of helping a customer, and here at FuseDesk, we're fans of leaving the customer with a great impression of the company, from the moment your interaction begins, to the moment a support ticket is closed. Whether you're on a call or just typing a customer support response via email, there's a few things you can do to show your customers how much you care.
We often focus on the customers in need, those who are having a problem, the squeaky wheels. But how often are we simply reaching out with unprecedented customer support, just to check in on those who are ultimately responsible for keeping us all gainfully employed?
Sometimes a simple thank you email is the most influential thing a company can do to earn a customer's continued loyalty and support.
Recently, there have been a lot of companies under fire because of immature or burned-out employees insulting their customers. I'm sure you've heard some of the stories and they're really not worth repeating.
When you're in front of a computer or a telephone, you're in the position of power, but as Peter Parker's uncle once said, "with great power comes great responsibility." You might be forced to help a challenging customer that tests your patience, but before you step over the line by abusing your access to proprietary information or lashing out at a customer, the team here at FuseDesk would like to remind you of a few ways you can reduce stress during the work day so you can continue to offer your customers the friendly, helpful support they've come to expect!
Take Your Breaks
Common sense, right? And yet many customer support reps get so sucked into the job that they forfeit their right to tinkle at will. Or they consider staying at their desk to check email a break.
When we say take a break, we mean get away from the online help desk, go outside and take a walk. If you spend your whole day under the fluorescent lights without any fresh air or a change of scenery, pent-up energy and stress could take its toll on you. For your mental health, walk away and take those designated breaks. Indulge in your much-deserved free time, exhale, go scream in your car, sprint around the block, blast your favorite song in your ear buds and find ways to release your stress. Fifteen minutes is plenty of time to relax and rejuvenate for your next set of calls or emails.
Pick up a Stress Ball
Maybe you're having one of those weeks in which your breaks alone aren't cutting it. It may seem cliché or silly, but those little cushy stress balls can really help! When you feel like punching your fist through a wall, remember that A. that will hurt and B. upper management would probably frown upon that. So pick up a stress ball and squish the heck out of that instead!
Or, find other ways to keep your hands busy, like doodling on a note pad. As long as your stress-relieving hobby isn't interfering with your work, bothering your coworkers or negatively affecting the customer, then we say go for it! Anything to improve your mood and relax you so you continue treating your customers with the utmost respect and kindness.
Ask Not What You Can Do For Your Company
If stress on the job (or even at home) is starting to affect your health, then it's time to talk to your boss. Many companies have Employee Assistance programs that include complimentary therapy sessions, support groups and hotlines to help you talk out your feelings and stress with a great listener who may be able to offer some helpful advice.
If your company doesn't offer these types of programs, discuss taking some time off with your manager. Your job is not worth losing your cool over and you've got to protect the company at all costs. So if you feel like you're going to blow, step away from the computer, cool off and ask for help.
Accentuate the Positive
Managers and supervisors, there's an opportunity for you to help your customer support reps here too. Whenever a rep resolves a particularly challenging issue, make sure you give them the praise that is due for tackling that stressful situation head-on. Make their efforts known and use them as an example for other customer support reps. Put them on your office wall of fame or give them an extra break - just be sure to show them that their extra efforts have been worthwhile.
Remember, your job in costumer support is inherently more stressful than that of the general population. But while you have a responsibility to take care of customers, you also need to take care of yourself. So take your breaks - and just for the record, reading this article does not constitute a break! Now go on, get outta here!
When you're managing an online help desk, it can sometimes feel like you're a broken record, especially if your company has strict language that you must use when responding to customers, a la "Thank you for contacting 1-800-Support-a-Customer. We appreciate your business..."
But no matter how tedious writing customer support responses becomes, there's one thing we here at FuseDesk implore you not to do: please don't drop the ball.
Forrest Gump knew what he was talking about when he said life was like a box of chocolates. For customer support reps, some days on the job are like a rich truffle, while others are like those nasty drugstore fruit nougats. You may be nursing a killer headache, or falling asleep despite the 5-hour energy drink you just consumed.
But no matter how you're feeling, there's no excuse for dismissing a customer's concerns. If a chain of emails between you and a customer threatens to fly south for the winter, it's time to take a deep breath and bring in the big guns - the telephone. Let's break down a major customer support fail to see where and how the rep should have taken action. Documented on a blog called Technoracle, this customer support chain of emails deserves a place on the Wall of Shame.
When you need directions, you head to your favorite online map site and find the shortest route from here to there. When you can’t remember the whoshisface actor in whatchamacallit movie, you head to the Internet Movie Database for a search. But when you need help with a specific product or service, you head to an individual company's website where you can find answers to all of your questions – most of the time.
Have you ever gone to a company’s website and gotten so lost in the maze of their navigation that you never found the information that brought you to the site in the first place? We don’t want you and your business to end up in the same trap, which leads to frustrated customers that may lose faith in your company. Be sure to include all of the following on your website to offer the best customer support possible!
Little girls are made of sugar and spice; little boys of snips and snails (say what now?), but what are good customer support representatives made of?
If you've been in the business awhile, you know that dedicated customer service and support reps are hard to come by. If your new hire isn’t a "people-person," you’ll be interviewing again for the position in just a few weeks. Someone who gets agitated easily will end up screaming into a phone, sending out unhelpful emails, pawning work off on someone else or even worse – not responding to your customers altogether.
So how do you know when you’re interviewing a great rep? Here’s what we at FuseDesk think the best customer support reps are made of.
Some companies are really killing it in the world of customer support and satisfaction. Publicly striving to be the online service leader, retailer Zappos.com is well on their way. Their endeavors in the world of customer service are inspiring and we could all take a lesson from what they've achieved.
Get'er Done ASAP
One of Zappos' philosophies is to deliver orders as quickly as possible so their customers' wait time is minimal. Because let's face it, no one likes waiting in line for groceries; traffic jams are the pits, and even Sonic the Hedgehog in old-school Sega games would tap his foot if left idle for too long.
Whether or not you're in the business of retail, if you apply this speedy philosophy to your online help desk, you'll really reap the rewards. Wait too long to respond to an email and you risk the possibility that a customer will find a solution to their inquiry on their own. This eliminates their dependency on you, diminishes your value, and could even lose you some business.
Whether it’s within your online help desk or in emails, when it comes to providing information for your customers, there’s one hard and fast rule – make it short and sweet. Or, as my mother always says, “Keep It Simple, Shapiro.”
You may have a tendency to be verbose in person – who doesn’t like to talk? – but your customers want answers, not anecdotes. Over-explaining a simple task can make your instructions lost in translation.
Example: Those little tags in your clothes that tell you how to launder them. “Wash cold with like colors” and “Dry clean only” are direct and to the point. But if I instead explained that when turning on your washing machine you should set the dial to cold and flip your shirt inside out, then pour 1 cup of detergent in with other clothes before shutting the door and switching the machine to start, it takes much more of your time and energy to find the key word – cold.
Plus, when’s the last time you sat down and read a full license agreement when downloading to the latest version of iTunes or Quicktime? Most of us don’t have that kind of time on our hands, so you’ve got to assume your customers don’t either.