If you have ever worked as a customer support agent (or actually, anywhere you have to deal with people, but we are concerned here about customer support) you have probably felt a lot like this:
When will these customers start reading the manual?!?!
Why is this customer giving me her life story?!?! I don’t have time for this!
Lady, could you check out the self service site before calling here? The answer is right there!
Mr Customer, don’t take it out on me that you sat in queue for a few minutes! And I also cannot help what that other agent said, we don’t do that. Policy reasons. Good-bye!
How does this happen? This is a customer support agent’s brain on efficiency metrics. If you monitor things like average handle time and put a quota on it, then ding people who don’t make the quota, who will suffer the consequences?
That’s right. The customers. And along the way, the business. If your business sees customer interaction as an expense rather than use it as a way to grow loyalty, then you likely measure the success of the customer support desk by efficiency ratings.
If you want those customers to stay with you, start looking at those customer contacts as ways to deepen the relationship with that customer. Fix their problem as fast as you can and you have a happy camper. In fact, this person is more likely to stay with you than a customer who never had to call in. Talk about win/win!
And don’t implement customer self service just to try to save money. That self service function is also a link between you and your customer. If self service doesn’t have the right answer, is hard to use, and makes it impossible to connect with a real person if needed, that customer will have to call in anyway. Or go with another vendor. When done well, self service is another way to grow loyalty because customers will know they have other channels of support than the phone.
Win/win strategies for your help desk are best developed by focusing on the customer, not inappropriate measures of customer service.
Reinforce customer-centricity with customer-centric metrics instead.
Make sure you are talking to your customers, not at them. Use Surveys and other feedback tools to help you find out what you need to improve.