Tough Call? Difficult Support Calls at Creative Agencies

In the technology business running an SaaS means that you support many different kinds of clientele. At creative agencies it’s very similar – not all clients you deal with are positive and easy (shock! but hey, ALL our fp. clients are fabulous! We love them. Enormously. And they love us too. Enormously.- they paid me to say that).

The point is, no matter who your client is, support is support. That means they deserve customer service first and the techy answer second. The client’s objective is to solve the problem, your objective is to convert a negative experience with the product to a positive one with you. The number one goal of all support, and the ideal situation, is: (and this deserves a drum-roll)…at the end of the call they should remember the ease with which you handled their problem more than their problem.

At fp. we have found that remembering the following points will help make that difficult call better for you and the person on the other end:

Greet and thank this person (“client”) for their call and contacting you. A pleasant welcoming voice will set the tone and you’ll want to start off on good terms to show you’re polite and understanding. If your client is agitated right off-the-top, let them vent and then simmer for a few minutes, this will help calm the situation.

Some people think they are right no matter what. Why fight them? Avoid letting your ego become involved in the call. Why not let them explain how they are right with out interjecting. Reiterate points that they mentioned so they know your listening to them. No matter who is right or wrong, it doesn’t matter because your goal is converting them to a better experience of you and your agency.

Always be considerate of the clients emotions and feelings, they are your clients after all and a good rapport is key to healthy relationship. Make sure that you show empathy – yes their problem has caused them pain and frustration, yes, that must really be hard to deal with. Many clients are reluctant to call at the beginning of an issue and wait until it has become a crises and may need to vent for a while before they can focus.

Even if the client is in a hurry, try to slow things down. Use a calm and slow tone of voice, modulate it to be warm and understanding. Spend a little more time with the client to fully understand the issue.

Echo and repeat back to them your knowledge of the issue to demonstrate that you have listened. Focus on solving the problem. You won’t be thinking logically if you are not in a neutral state of mind. After the call share your personal opinion with your co-workers if you desire, but not with the client during the call. Gently guide your client toward “solution thinking” and away from “problem thinking”. Once they are ready to embrace a solution move them toward the answer.

Answer. Solve their issue and show them how you came to your answer while you explain the route to (or “finds”) to the answer. If you only give them the answer, you’ll find in time they’ll come back with the same question again… and perhaps again! Remember your old math teacher saying “show your work!”? The same principle applies. If you don’t want repeat calls, show your work.

Related info. If there are further resources that this client could benefit from, be sure to remember to provide them with any related links that can further their understanding of the issue they are having. You can use the principle of teaching someone how to fish rather than just giving them fish. (Ok, so horrible overuse of metaphor, I know, but don’t send them fish, send them the rod, or is it no fish or rod just worms?) Just links to things they’ll find useful! In the long-run they will be happier and more independent and you can spend time with folks who really need the help. Or spend it fishing. With me.

Salutation and thank. At the end of the call ask them if you answered all their questions, since during the call tragectory either one of you may have forgotten an important issue they wanted solved. Finally, thank the client for their business. Wrap up by reminding them you are there to help and they can feel free to reach out to you.

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