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How to provide kick-ass customer support: Part 2

Process/Customer Interaction Theme

This is the second installment of a three part series. You can check out how to master the tools in part 1, but here you’ll be able to more quickly work through cases.  But that’s not where the buck stops.  Being able to work fast is only half the battle.

Here we’ll walk through some key points to getting through to the root of the issue, as well as an important key factor to great support: thanking the customer.

Understand The Issue

I often get asked by colleagues and customers how I get through cases as quickly as I do. There's no real secret to it, there's no magic buttons on my keyboard, and my mouse moves at the same speed as everyone else's.

The biggest key advantage that you can have is understanding the issue. Reading fast helps, but if you have to read the issue four or five times, you'd likely have been better off just reading it slowly the first time around.

Reading comprehension is a huge part of being on a Customer Support team. Being able to get through the "fluff" of a customer inquiry and really get to the meat and potatoes of the issue will help you get the case resolved quickly, and help the customer get the support they need with very little back and forth.

Escalate The Issue

Every company offers support differently, that's no secret. There's no two companies that offer the exact same type of support with the exact same support policies and documents. This will vary greatly from company to company, but a good policy is to always escalate something you either don't know the answer to or simply can't fix yourself.

Some support folks get into a rut where they feel like they have to keep ownership of a specific issue just because they grabbed the case from a queue first.

My personal policy on this is that if I can't fix an issue or at least determine what the cause of the issue is within ten minutes, I ask someone else to take a look at it.

I call this the "second pair of eyes" request.

I'll hand a case over to one of the other awesome guys on our support team and ask them to take a look.

Sometimes you can stare at an issue for an hour and not see something as simple as an extra space in an email address. Someone else will have fresh eyes and could possibly spot that issue immediately.

Follow Up

This doesn't apply 100% of the time. Sometimes you're able to resolve a customer's issue or answer their question immediately in the first interaction. But if there's a situation where you need to get back to the customer for something, do it.

If you say "I'll follow up with you in two days", be sure to do that in two days.

You may forget about that case, you may completely move on to new cases, but that customer will not. They'll be waiting for your follow up in two days.

Put an event on your calendar with the details.

Add a task to your to-do manager.

Ask a colleague to remind you.

However you do it, do what you say.

Thank The Customer

It's always important to make the customer feel important. This is something that many support team members struggle with. Sometimes you're having a bad day. Sometimes the customer's asked you a million questions and you're exhausted.

It shouldn't matter. If that customer doesn't leave your interaction with them feeling 100% satisfied and appreciated even if you didn't resolve their issue they're going to remember that encounter.

Ending your email, phone call, or chat interaction with a thank you will go a long way. But the important part is to make it seem sincere. It always circles back to the fact that customers don't want to talk to a robot.

"Thanks for being a customer" isn't as sincere as "Thanks so much for being a loyal customer since December 2011! We really appreciate you sticking with us all this time!"

It's the exclamation marks that help it feel genuine.

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