I have been in the ISP industry for close to thirty years now. One thing that has changed very little is the customer side of technical support. What I mean by this is, no matter if it is dial-up or fiber optic, customers will still have issues. They will still need to occasionally call their ISP for support in one fashion or another. This article is to hammer home how you the customer should always have something positive they walk away with, even if you can not solve their problem right away.
Duh! you say. This is common sense, you say. After seeing many posts from technicians, I have come to realize technical support folks fall into a rut. Let’s face, being on the front line of technical support operations is brutal. From the irate customers to the ones who can’t turn on their computer, it is stressful. It takes a unique mindset to be able to do technical support. When I managed a team of customer representatives back in the dial-up days, I had one very strict rule.
At the end of every interaction with the customer give them something positive to walk away with
You hope each time the positive is you fixed their issue(s). That is always the goal. If you can’t give them a clear resolution you should always give the customer a time for the next contact and something you are going to be doing for them in the meantime. Let’s go into some scenarios below.
You determine the customer had a bad CPE/NID, etc.
What you want to be able to do is give the customer a timeframe at the very least of when a technician can be at their place, or a new unit mailed to them.
“Let’s schedule a time we can get someone out there”
“Scheduling will be calling you in the next couple of hours to schedule a service call”
“I will get a new unit in the mail to you in Today’s/Tomorrow’s mail”
Each of the above gives the customer something concrete they can expect. It might not be the answer they want to hear, but it gives them something that is a step toward resolving their issues.
The customer has an issue on their end (bad computer, bad router that isn’t yours, etc)
Reinforce with the customer you are not abandoning them, just have exhausted your avenues of resolution.
“I think it might be your computer. I can give you the names of some computer repair shops in your area. Once they take a look we are here to make sure you get back online.
“I think your router may be bad. We bypassed it and things are working. I would suggest a new router. We have a guide or can help you once you have the new one.
In each of these cases, the key is to let the customer you are not pushing off the problem. It is something you can not fix and is impeding you from helping them.
One of the phrases I heard on a message board from an ISP was “Don’t call us again if you have this problem.” I know sometimes this can be said in jest, and to the right customer, you are okay. But normally, this is something you should never say to a customer. It gives them the impression you do not want to help them anymore. I often see this used in the content of a recurring problem, usually at the customer’s own doing.
What you want to say is. If this happens again here are the steps you need to do on your own. This will save you time as you won’t have to call us. If you still need to call us after you have done this feel free.
So remember, when talking to customer’s give them something they can either look forward to or something they can do if you can’t fix it in one interaction. Give them a positive takeaway with defined goals or time.