If you run a support team, at some point in your career you will encounter an outage or another critical customer impacting event. As long as you have a game plan and good people in place, you will steer your company through this troubled time.
I prioritize constant customer communication and encourage my team to be as detailed as possible with regard to recommendations, current status, and estimated times of resolution. Transparency matters.
Once the event has passed, I like to draft up a detailed and well written incident report that includes corrective actions intended to rebuild my company’s credibility and reinforce our commitment to excellence. An incident that is well managed, well communicated, and properly closed out can reinforce your organization’s image as a dependable partner during a crisis.
Crisis management often gets all of the attention because of the chaos surrounding it, but the secret to maintaining positive customer outcomes on a daily basis can be boiled down to five rules:
- Rapid acknowledgement
- Effective and frequent communication
- Delivery of fast answers and resolutions
- Employee career focus
- Positive service experience
1. Rapid acknowledgment
Customers expect to know who is working their case and must have confidence it will be resolved in a timely manner. If your customers contact support and all they get is an automated acknowledgment that their ticket has been received—followed by lack of a timely response—they’ll feel neglected. I recommend pushing your team to exceed industry averages. At Distil, we acknowledge requests and assume ownership in under one hour for over 80 percent of customer inquiries.
2. Effective and frequent communication
Customer support teams need to be fanatical about communicating with their customers. Our team provides thousands of updates per month during the customer request lifecycle, which has conditioned our customers to expect substantive and timely updates for their support requests on a consistent basis. Insights, recommendations, and best practices are always appreciated and form the bedrock of successful outcomes.
3. Delivery of fast answers and resolutions
We use a team approach to solving customer problems. The collective knowledge and experience of the entire group stands behind all customer updates. This ensures every response and resolution is not only timely, but also resolves the issue to the customer’s satisfaction while providing the highest quality.
4. Employee career focus
Happy employees make happy customers. That’s why it’s important for companies to invest in support team employees’ career development. This may include promotions to other roles in the company, if that’s where an individual’s path leads. Ultimately, skills development and long-term career planning benefits customers by reducing staff turnover, keeping employees engaged, and disseminating customer support knowledge and experience to other areas of the company.
5. Positive service experience
Every customer deserves a “wow” service experience. Adding an experience wrapper around all customer interactions makes all customers feel welcome and important. Their experience begins with our collective service mindset that is embedded in Distil’s culture. Customers’ needs and their experience should always be at the forefront of everything you do. Focus on building the type of long-lasting relationships they’ll tell their friends and colleagues about.
While these rules sound simple, maintaining customer satisfaction levels of over 90 percent (as we’ve been able to attain at Distil) requires core principles and a lot of discipline. If you can adhere to these five rules, your support team will also be able to create positive customer outcomes on a daily basis.
About the Author
John Bishara is the Senior Director of Support Engineering c at Distil Networks. John has over 20 years of call center, tech support, and customer service experience. He has supported services in the security and internet space including Voice over IP (VoIP), DNS, DDoS Mitigation, Website Monitoring, Load Testing, and Domain Registry Services.More Content by John Bishara