Mobile and social media have dramatically altered how consumers interact with businesses, especially when it comes to support for products. Everyone has constant and immediate access to information. Which can be a good thing, as it means customers can search your knowledge base or ask questions on forums instead of calling your support team.
But it can also be a bad thing, as unsatisfied customers can take their ire to social media, slamming your company on Facebook, Twitter, and review sites. Just one or two pissed-off customers can ruin your reputation online. That’s why it’s vitally important that your customer support team understands how to provide satisfaction.
So what exactly IS a satisfied customer?
A satisfied customer is one who leaves any transaction with you feeling as if things are going right. You have solved their problem and / or made them feel awesome. There are different levels of satisfaction, based on what you’ve done for the customer and what they needed from you in the first place.
Levels of customer satisfaction:
- The customer knows exactly what they are looking for, so they go out and purchase the product that exactly meets their needs. You have no opportunity to add value.
- This is the level where your company provides value beyond the simple utility of the product. This might be advice or information, extra services, awesome facilities, or a simply
- At this level, it’s all about how your service makes the customer feel, and how the overall experience of dealing with your company improves their lives. There are many factors that must come together to place your service in this category: you pleasantness of your facilities, products, the reliability and friendliness of your staff, the knowledge demonstrated by staff, and a willing and caring attitude.
25 Tips for Mastering the Art of Customer Satisfaction
Your support team can provide additional support and service at all three of these levels, with the idea of transferring customers on level 1 right up to level 3. How do you do this? Well, here are 25 quick and simple tips to improve customer service at your IT firm:
- Use inbound marketing techniques to tailor messages customers receive to their individual tastes. For example, maybe you offer IT services to a variety of different retail companies, and you write blog posts targeting the different niches. Design your website in such a way that a customer who owns a diner can receive your latest restaurant-related posts via email.
- Use different types of communication to reach customers in the way they want. Fox example, texts or social media can work well for certain types of customers.
- Sponsor local community events and charities.
- Offer services or products not normally available from your competitors.
- Add “thank you” to your support ticket responses. A simple thank you goes a long way!
- Add the name and face of the customer service rep to your communications - it helps customers to feel as though they’re talking to a real person, instead of some anonymous internet bot.
- Give 24/7 support a go (if you haven’t already). Check out our post on offering global support for ideas on how to make this happen at your company.
- Always be learning. Read books about customer satisfaction, take courses and share development opportunities with your colleagues.
- Send out a quick survey to customers, asking how you can improve.
- Create a customer community - a place where your customers can talk about your products, ask questions, share tips and tricks. It could be a Facebook page, a private forum, or a LinkedIn group.
- Make sure your customer service team is being well looked after. Are they in comfortable chairs? Do they have enough coffee? Is there anything that could make their job easier, or more fun? Treat the people who deal with your customers right, and they’ll pass on that good feeling to your customers.
- Do something to thank customers each year - even if it’s just sending out a Christmas card, or a free company t-shirt for their first birthday with your company. Remind them that you’re thinking of them.
- Review the searches in your knowledge base that give zero results, and write some tutorials for them.
- What are the top 5 customer complaints about your product / services? Is there any way you can get these things fixed? DO IT.
- Scrap the script - if you do phone-based service, having scripts can be good for training, but they ignore the fact your customers are individuals. Just be friendly and treat them like fellow human beings.
- Offer discounts or other special deals to repeat customers. Build that company loyalty.
- Help other departments to understand they are part of the customer-service team, too.
- Have a central location for your team to share experiences and tips.
- Acknowledge stand-out customer service in your team with regular recognition and rewards.
- Take the focus away from speed, and on to satisfaction. Don’t create restrictive rules about how long it must take to solve a ticket. Focus instead on letting your support staff develop rapport with customers and solve their problems.
- Polish support ticket macros to ensure they include positive, friendly language. For example, instead of saying, “The new update won’t be ready for another month, but you’ll get an email when it’s arrived.“, say, “The new updates for this product will be available next month, and I’ll ensure you receive an email notification the minute it is ready for download.”
- Remove inefficient channels. Customers care less about having many support options, and more about receiving the right kind of support. If you have a channel that’s not being utilized by customers - for instance, you receive very few phone calls compared to email queries - then consider cutting it altogether and focus on making your main channel more efficient.
- Let them figure it out. Several case studies show many customers prefer self-service options. Always offer the self-service option as well as your guided support - you’ll be surprised how many people are keen to take it up!
- Create friendly communication. Customer service correspondence is notoriously dry and boring, and this makes the customer feel as if they’re a number in a queue. Address the customer directly and keep messages colloquial - like you’re talking to a friend. It can be useful to hire a copywriter to create some of your more common messages.
- Hire the best. Don’t skimp when it comes to hiring great IT support staff - here are some tips on Hiring the Best People on your IT Support Team.
For every IT support staff member, the focus on every call should be “How can I make this customer feel satisfied when they hang up?” Get your support team together today and start thinking about what you can do to improve customer satisfaction.
Want to find out how other IT companies add value to their services? Check out our customer case studies. Do you have any tips for improving customer satisfaction for IT support? Post them in the comments below!