Every morning on my way to work, there’s this barista who hands me my coffee with the absolute worst poker face imaginable.

This is a daily ritual for the two of us.

And if this particular coffee joint weren’t so conveniently en route to the office, I’d have probably switched my caffeine go-to-place a long time ago.

Now believe it or not, this barista actually has an equivalent in the online support community.

But because you can’t see poker faces during e-mail and live chat exchanges, they’re a little less obvious to pinpoint.

But trust me, they exist.

Good customer service is key for your business growth, yes. But just customer support isn’t enough.

You have to provide good service (if not excellent) that makes your customers feel important, because they are. After all, they’re why your business exists.

However, not everyone understands that it isn’t enough that customer service is merely provided without quality.

In fact, even if it’s a given that companies have support teams behind them, recent statistics show that 68% of customers leave a company because they don’t think that it cares about them (when it should).

But what is it that actually warrants good customer support, and how do you maintain it?

From a fellow support specialist to another, here are some key factors in keeping your customers — and by extension, your business — happy.

1. Take advantage of negative feedback

Whether it’s in the tech industry or otherwise, you’re always going to receive feedback regarding your product one way or another. But take heed: not all of them are going to be things you want to hear.

And you have to be prepared for that.

More than preparation though, what you need to do is to embrace and take advantage of negative feedback.

Sooner or later, you’ll be bombarded with complaints, feature requests, and comments of disapproval.

Take note of them.

It’s crucial to listen and be open about any and all comments that come your way– positive or otherwise. These comments indicate what your product or service lacks, giving you the opportunity to fulfill the needs of your audience or market.

For example, If you get numerous complaints about your user interface being hard to navigate around, then it means you have to change your user interface.

If this is the third time in a month that you’ve gotten a complaint about your product’s poor performance, then it’s probably a good idea to huddle up with your team and prioritize how to address said performance issue.

In other words, negative feedback is good. They’re opportunities for you to further improve your product; to draw inspiration from your customers’ disapproval. This will help your business and your product grow even further, and the more that happens, the happier both you and your customers will be.

2. Let them know that you’re human

One thing that really irks me is getting rigid-sounding e-mails that come off as auto-generated responses.

Huge companies usually rely on actual auto-generated responses and bots, but that’s because their brands are already well-established and trusted in the market.

Now, if you’re like us, who have actual people providing customer support, it’s important to let your audience know that you’re human too- that they can approach you, that they can ask for help, and that they can get a genuine reply that doesn’t sound like a copy-pasted, pre-formatted response.

For one-on-one e-mail support, one tip I have is to never say anything to your customer that you wouldn’t otherwise say in real life. That means it’s time to drop phrases like “Greetings!” or “We humbly apologize for the delay in response”.

Personally, I feel that the extreme formality gives off the impression that you’re not providing support because you care– you’re providing support simply because it’s your job and have to.

And that’s a huge no-no.

So unless it’s written in company policy, remember to make an effort to let your customers know and feel that they can talk to you. That you’re there to actually help, and not just spew out robotic responses because somebody else is paying you to.

3. Never leave them hanging

This one’s probably a no-brainer.

Never, ever leave your customer hanging without a solution- or at least a quick fix- to their problem.

Sometimes though, issues without direct solutions can be unavoidable. For instance, let’s say a customer inquires about a feature that you know isn’t going to be released any time soon.

What do you say?

“Sorry, we don’t have that feature. Bye.

Regards,
Support”

Well… that simply won’t do.

If you have to provide small alternative solutions, do so. If your customer is asking for something in pink, and you only have it in red at the moment, be honest, but also tell them what they can do in the meantime.

“We’ll contact you again once we have more colors available!” and follow through.

4. Fast responses are important- but so are efficient ones

Yes, it’s important to respond to your customers ASAP. But just sending out a reply isn’t enough.

Your responses should contain essence, and should provide your customers with a solution or an alternative for the issue at hand (see #3). Neither one works without the other.

Yes, your customers are in a hurry – but providing them with a half-assed response is just as bad as not replying at all (and it’ll probably even come off as worse, because once you hit the “send” button, there’s no going back).

5. Avoid making promises you can’t keep

“Don’t worry. We’ll have that fixed for you in an hour!”

If you take any longer than that, both you and your company’s reputation are doomed.

While it’ll initially sound appealing to your customers, not being follow through could warrant more damaging reaction.

If you know you’re going to take 24 hours to provide a fix, be honest, and tell them. They’ll be happier with a working product that takes a while to finish, than a rushed one that barely works.

Conclusion

So the secret to providing good customer support? Never underestimate it.

Your customers are your driving force, and are of utmost importance.

Treat them as such.

And the next time you seem adamant in investing on good customer support, remember these words from Neil Patel:

“Smart business owners know that every customer relationship lost, either to a competitor or otherwise, costs them an average of $289 each year.

And if you’re thinking you can just make up for that cost with new customers, think again. Turns out, it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one.”

2 thoughts

  1. As a small plugin business owner, I couldn’t agree more with all you’ve said Una.

    You might not be as big and financially buoyant as your competitors but you can win people to your product by providing exceptional support that they unlikely will get elsewhere.

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