High Quality Client Support for Workflow Management Software

I’m certainly not the first person to think that the calibre of customer service I receive is declining.  Could it be that in spite of increasing the quantity of customer service options – such as online help, 24/7 support lines etc. – that the quality has in turn diminished? What’s of particular frustration to me (and yes I realize I sound like one of those darn “old people” I swore I’d never become) is that what I consider to be common sense in client facing interactions, seems to have gone completely out the window.

After some recent great experiences at a local grocer, and horrid experiences with a local cell phone provider, I’ve brainstormed up a little list of what I believe are some quality service basics.

5 Tips for Providing Exceptional Customer Service

1. “I’ll Get Back to You With the Answer”

It’s alright to not know the answer. I had to learn this one the hard way. Giving the wrong answer in a panic, or no answer (probably also in a panic), gets you nowhere, and only creates bad blood between you and the client. I have yet to encounter any client, in any field who arcs up when told – “sorry but I don’t know that answer, but let me find out for you, and get back to you by such and such time and date.” Beyond that, I have had to make that follow up call, *still* not knowing the answer, and had happy clients. That I followed up when I said I would, makes up for any lack of information.

2. K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, silly)

I once shared an office with a lovely girl, who was making valiant efforts to handle incoming support calls. What killed me though, were her attempts to speak in a really formal way, and stumble over her words. I swear she broke the record on using the words pertaining and regarding in one sentence. I think the client would have felt just as cared for, and she would have likely been much more comfortable, if more jocular language was used. I’m all for expanding one’s vocabulary, but until you can comfortably use a word like defenestrate in a sentence, maybe just skip it.

3. Be on Their Side

Walk the line between knowing who signs your paycheck, and knowing who is providing you business. In client facing roles, this can be a delicate balance, but in my experience it is of great value to have clients know that you have their best interests in mind. Of course, you work for the service provider, and won’t throw them under the bus, but be willing to hear clients out when they have negative feedback, and offer to at least go to bat for them when applicable.

4. Etiquette 101

Remember your manners. I still apologize to this day to my mother, for giving her such a hard time about teaching me good manners. From writing thank you cards, to properly twirling spaghetti, to knowing how to make polite conversation, knowing my Ps and Qs has been invaluable. And I am amazed at the response I get from simply saying please or thank you, making eye contact, or saying excuse me.

5. CSR

Consistent. Sincere. Reliable. Three qualities that really won’t steer you wrong, and the very basics any customer facing department should be striving for.

This article was contributed by former Function Point team member, Jonathan Tsai.

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