When Calling “Technical Support” You Should Also Reach “Customer Service”

    July 23, 2003

Technical support has long been the department in corporations that offers guidance when end-users have difficulty with mechanical or technological processes. Most of us call a tech support department to ask questions about our computer, our VCR, our satellite dish or perhaps our Internet service. For those of you who manage a technical support team, let me make a gentle reminder that tech support should also provide customer service.

It is extremely difficult to help customers with technical issues without appearing condescending. The reason is that most customers already feel a little shy about calling. They couldn’t solve the problem themselves so they might feel incompetent prior to placing the call. When they reach a technical support person who adds to these feelings, conflict is going to be the outcome.

There are some special considerations that technical support professionals can adhere to that will allow them to provide technical assistance and customer service simultaneously.

1. Never be judgmental.

Basing your perception of the customer on the limited amount of information you gather during your conversation is a dangerous thing to do. Your caller could be a brilliant surgeon. However, this surgeon has no experience with computers whatsoever. Remember, everyone can’t be good at everything. You have the gift of understanding the product you’re providing technical help on. Your customer has gifts in other areas.

2. Always treat the caller as if they were your superior.

By putting the customer on the same level as your manager, or the President of the company, you are immediately setting up an atmosphere where they will receive the highest level of respect.

3. Assume your customer is a friend.

By taking the mindset that the next caller on the line is friendly, you will avoid becoming trapped in negative thoughts of previous customers who might have been negative. Never transfer your aggravation from one customer to the next.

4. Be patient.

Sometimes people just don’t get it! You’ve explained the steps over and over again but the customer keeps messing it up. It happens more times than we care to admit. Here is where your patience comes in. You are the professional. You are the expert. You hold the solution to the problem. Silently count to 10 and then try explaining it once more in a different way. If all else fails, ask another team member to help your customer. Often times people just communicate better with some people than with others.

5. Take a break!

Dealing with people and solving problems all day long is absolutely exhausting! Be sure to take regular breaks of 15 minutes in addition to your lunch hour. You need this time to reduce your stress and allow you to continue providing excellent customer service along with your technical support. If you aren’t allowed breaks, talk with your department head about implementing them.

These simple steps can help ensure that when anyone contacts your company’s technical support department, they will also reach a customer service professional.

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