10 Commandments to Become a Customer Support Rockstar in 2021
Gone are the days when customer support was just about resolving your customer’s issue. It has now become a key component of a brand’s overall customer experience and plays a vital role in differentiating it from the competition.
73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of friendly customer service reps, says a report by RightNow.
The modern-day consumer’s experience with your support team now defines how they perceive your brand, and thanks to social media, it has the power to influence the perception of a million others.
Want to know how you as a customer support agent can single-handedly ensure your customers have a positive image of your brand? Then read on.
In this post, we’ll cover the impact of customer support on modern businesses and take a deep-dive into ten best practices every support agent must follow to boost customer happiness and engagement.
1. Know your customer
Yes. The first step to becoming a customer support rockstar starts with knowing your customers. I mean, when your customer interacts with you via any channel: email, chat, call, or social media—you should know about their previous interactions with your company or, more simply put, their digital footprint related to your company.
Imagine a customer named John, who’s been a loyal customer of your eCommerce store for the last three years. John had recently placed five orders with you, and while he had received the other four orders, one order for a Blue Hooded Jacket, which was expected to arrive five days earlier, had not been delivered yet.
To know the status of his order, he raises a support ticket with you via chat that says, “Hi guys, I haven’t yet received one of my previous orders. Can you please let me know it’s delivery status?”
Scenario 1: As a follow-up to John’s query, the support agent asks for his order details. John goes through his order history, finds the order for the Blue Hooded Jacket, copies the order id, and gives it to the support agent. The support agent then responds with the cause of the delay and gives John a new ETA on the order delivery. Since John had no other concerns, the agent marks the ticket as resolved.
Scenario 2: As a follow-up to John’s query, the support agent cross-references John’s order history, thanks John for being a long-standing customer, and acknowledges that he hasn’t received the Blue Hooded Jacket yet. The agent then responds with the cause of the delay and gives John a new ETA on the order delivery before marking the ticket as resolved.
If you noticed, John got his query resolved in both the scenarios, but if I were to ask which scenario would you rate as pleasant? You would go with scenario 2, wouldn’t you?
A little personalization goes a long way in improving your customer experience. However, the key to successfully personalize the customer experience lies in making the data available in real-time across all the different apps you use.
The personalization in scenario two will only be possible if you have your customer’s profile and order history readily available in your customer support platform. That’s where automation platforms like Automate.io come in. They can help you keep Freshdesk in-sync with your other apps 24/7 and you can use that data to know and serve your customers better.
2. Empathize with your customer
Cambridge dictionary defines empathy as “The ability to share someone else’s feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in that person’s situation.”
When responding to a customer query, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Imagine how you would have felt if you were facing the same issue related to a product or service you purchased and then see the difference it makes in your response.
By doing this simple exercise, you open yourself up to building a genuine rapport with your customer, that rapport helps you build genuine empathy towards their concern, which ultimately leads to a positive customer experience that demonstrates you actually care about them.
The only question that defines your future relationship with your customer is, do you care about them? It’s backed by HubSpot research that says, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service, and customer empathy plays a major role in it.
Here’s how you can use empathy statements to win your customers.
3. Be your product champion
If you want to excel at helping your customers, you should first know your product or service inside out. Yes, all the nitty-gritty included. This will help you promptly resolve customer queries on your own and only leave the more complex ones with the response that reads: “I’ll check that with my team and get back to you.” In doing so, you also succeed in improving the bandwidth of your team.
Therefore, every company should set up an onboarding program for new support agents that equips them with the resources to understand the company’s products or services and provides them with extensive training.
Apart from that, every customer support agent should make it a habit to keep themselves up to date with any changes in their product or service. One way to ensure that happens is by scheduling regular knowledge transfer sessions with the concerned teams on recent updates.
4. Focus on how you communicate
How you say it is more important than what you say. This holds rather true when it comes to customer support.
As a support agent, you’ll be involved in delivering all kinds of news to your customers from good to bad, and most of the time, it’ll be a make or break situation which can lead to losing a customer. Therefore, it’s essential for support agents to master the art of communication.
“Be patient and hear your customers first. Read, understand, and then reply”, says Sagar from the Customer Support team at Automate.io. When the in-flow of support queries is high, even the best support agents might make a communication error, that’s where this simple mantra comes in-handy. It ensures that relevant and useful information is communicated to customers at all times.
Customer support agents should keep their responses crisp by only addressing what is required. Sometimes, communicating too much information can overwhelm customers and create unnecessary confusion.
Another way customer support agents can communicate effectively with customers is by using different content formats. In cases where a query can be resolved quickly through a screen recording, attach a simple video along with your response.
Always think about how you can make it easier for your customers to understand, and you will always excel at customer support.
5. Minimize your first response time
First response time is a metric on which many support agents are evaluated. It tells you how long your customers have to wait to receive an acknowledgment from you on their support issue. The average first response time according to a Freshdesk study is 7.3 hours. That’s a lot, isn’t it?
“A lack of response is a response. It’s a response that says, ‘We don’t care about you very much”, says Jay Bear, president of Convince and Convert.
A few ways you can improve your company’s first response time is through automation, adding community-driven support channels, prioritizing support tickets, and using message templates.
Looking for inspiration? Here’s how Freshdesk reduced their first response time from almost 8 hours to about 58 minutes.
6. Create processes to resolve tickets faster
Resolving tickets faster is a dream of every support agent, but we all know it’s easier said than done. More often than not resolving tickets is dependent on the response from multiple teams and data points instead of a single support agent. Therefore, support agents must work towards creating a process to resolve tickets faster.
Your company’s average ticket resolution time depends on your customer support platform, internal team collaboration, support team’s knowledge and data availability across multiple apps. A process that’s woven around these four pillars can be instrumental in reducing your ticket resolution time and boosting customer satisfaction.
The average ticket resolution time, according to Freshdesk’s 2019 study is 24.8 hours. Here are a few Freshdesk automations you can use to improve team collaboration, productivity, and resolve tickets faster:
- Get Slack notifications for new Freshdesk tickets
- Create Trello cards or Asana tasks from new Freshdesk tickets
- Create Freshdesk tickets from new Google Sheet rows
- Sync contact data between Freshdesk and Salesforce
- Create new Freshdesk tickets from new Typeform entries
7. Always keep your customers well-informed and in the loop
Whether it’s a bug fix, a new feature request, or any other support issues raised by your customers, as a support agent, you should always maintain transparency, set the right expectations, and keep them in the loop.
E.g., In cases where support issues might take longer to resolve, it’s better to give your customers a time frame and follow-up with updates than setting unrealistic expectations. Customers appreciate transparency and will patiently wait without getting dissatisfied if you keep them well-informed.
Don’t forget, your customers are humans too, and they understand not all problems can be solved right away, some need more time to fix. To keep them happy in situations like this, all you have to do is send timely updates.
8. Go the extra mile for your customer
50% of customers have left a brand for a competitor who was able to stay more relevant and better satisfy their needs, says a study by InMoment.
In today’s world, where customer service has become one of the key reasons to switch to your competitor, it has become all the more important for support agents to go above and beyond their customer’s needs to keep them happy.
When I speak of going the extra mile, you don’t always have to make grand gestures. Sometimes, it can be as simple as spending some extra time guiding your customers to resolve their issues. It’s the little things that count.
Make your customers feel exactly what they are to your business – important, and they’ll return the favor through repeat purchases and great referrals.
Here are some examples of businesses going the extra mile to wow their customers and how it worked in their favor!
9. Make your customers’ a part of your growth story
Your success is defined by the success of your customers. Don’t stop engaging with your customers once they’ve purchased from you or when they have an issue. Instead, create a customer feedback loop that encourages them to contribute to your product or service.
Invite your customers to suggest new features, build joint case-studies, and review your business. You can then use the feedback to prioritize the items in your road-map and use customer-generated content for social-proofing.
By getting your customers involved in the growth story of your business, you’re effectively increasing their loyalty towards your brand while also promoting their business through joint case-studies. It’s a win-win for both!
10. Do weekly sync-ups to understand customer pain points
Lastly, when you have a team of customer support agents answering queries day in day out, it’d be a wasted opportunity not to use their experiences and insights to create a better customer support experience.
If you aren’t doing this already, work towards building a platform wherein all your customer support agents come together to share their knowledge, identify new customer pain points and brainstorm on how they can serve them better. It’s a great way to get everyone up to speed and also helps in team building.
That wraps up our list of 10 commandments every support agent should follow in 2021 to become a customer support rockstar! Let us know your pro tips in the comments below.
Want to learn more ways on how Automate.io and Freshdesk can boost agent productivity? Check out our Freshdesk integration page.