When it comes to the world of technical support and customer care, I think it’s safe to say that we have all experienced horrific service at least once in our lives. And those experiences can stem from a multitude of areas associated with a company’s outward-facing brand.
Interestingly, companies that deliver bad customer service experiences are far more likely to fail in the coming years as the new era of personalization begins to take hold. Companies must now recognize that with highly customized marketing, omni-channel, personalization due to digital transformation, and more—the old way of handling customer service is about to be a thing of the past.
Making an experience easier for the customer—though it may seem like common sense—still eludes many large companies (and some small), forcing their customers to deal with poor experiences from beginning to end.
For example, how many of us have dealt with the frustration of trying to reach someone in customer service only to be forced to deal with the hell that is the auto attendant. The ability to simply reach someone to discuss an issue is seemingly impossible at times—the steps can be ridiculous.
Here’s a typical situation: You choose between a list of options that pertain to your service; then you choose from a sub-directory of options to narrow the field; then you enter your account details, phone number, and personal data only to be placed on hold waiting for the next available attendant. Then, of course, once you are connected, you repeat everything you just entered into the system as if it hadn’t mattered in the first place. Sound familiar?
Oh, but it gets worse. How about having a technical issue that is handled by someone who is merely reading from a script? For most folks in this day and age, the idea of not being able to troubleshoot the little stuff is pretty foreign. After all, we have grown up in a technological world where the majority of little issues can be solved by simply “turning it off and turning it back on again.” Therefore, I’m sure you have felt the pain of troubleshooting your own issue only to be told by so-called tech support to “Try turning it off and turning it back on again”—insulting and frustrating.
However, so many companies still have multi-tiered support that starts with bottom-level, no-tech-experience technicians that literally do nothing but read a script to get you through the basics only to be escalated once the script inevitably fails.
It’s this type of scenario that will eventually drive people away from brands. It’s not shocking to realize that people want answers quickly. After all, we can use our smart phones to access the world’s knowledge with the swipe of a finger, yet for some reason we are relegated to 1970s-style customer service for the majority of support experiences in our lives.
So, what can companies do to make experiences better? First, there is the basics of call routing. If someone wants to reach technical support just route them to technical support. The auto attendant should be no more than a few choices at best and voilà—customer service is on the line. Imagine, speaking with a human being in the first 30 seconds of your call … right?
Second, train technical support staff to be real technical support staff. When someone calls with an issue, the folks answering the phone should know how to solve issues without the aid of a script. If they are truly technical support people, they know their product / service inside out and can help on the first call.
I know for us it’s paramount. I can’t imagine our business routing calls to junior account execs with no knowledge of our service. For us, we pride ourselves on our ability to put a support professional on every call. So why more companies can’t—read as “don’t”—is beyond me.
In the end, it’s the little things that count—little things that actually mean big things to the end user. Making your brand more accessible by creating a faster and more meaningful customer experience is what customers now demand. And if you don’t meet that call, they will eventually call someone else.