Nailing a customer's first support experience

Matthew Brown

As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. Business-to-business (B2B) customers spend a lot of time working with their vendors, and a bad first impression from a support team can cause them to rethink their decision to partner with a particular company. Meanwhile, a good first impression assures them they made the right decision. That's why, when customers contact your support for the first time, you want to to be sure to provide them with everything they need. Here's how to nail a customer's first experience with your support:

"Customers want the correct solution as quickly as possible."

Respond to them in a timely fashion
When customers have an issue with their product or service, they want the correct solution as quickly as possible. Businesses that regularly handle a large number of customer messages with no method of organization run the risk of losing or forgetting about certain emails, leaving customer questions unanswered. Your agents need customer support software that can manage and sort the numerous emails they receive. Additionally, they won't have to worry about creating a ticket for each email since the software does it automatically. 

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Your customer support needs to make a great first impression.

The right support ticket software also assigns tickets to specific users or groups based on particular keywords through ticket automation. For example, if a customer sends in an email about customizing their user interface, your software can automatically assign the resulting ticket to a rep or group of reps who are particularly apt at helping customers in this area.

"Customers get increasingly frustrated every time you ask them to repeat themselves."

Keep the repetition to a minimum
Every time you ask a customer to repeat themselves - whether it's to describe their issue, what product or service they've purchased, or even to repeat their name - they get increasingly frustrated. They expect you to know this information already and feel they shouldn't have to repeat anything more than once, even if they talk to different agents. B2B customer support software keeps every customer's profile and tickets collected in one resource all employees have access to. Instead of asking customers for things like product versions, service contracts, and past support history, agents can find these answers internally. Collaborative customer support software goes a step further by including sales and accounting teams so support reps can also see subscription dates, payments, and more without having to ask the customer.

The right customer support software solution also has a customer alerts feature that reveals important information any time a particular customer is selected. For example, say a customer who uses a software as a service (SaaS) solution from your company has an older version that prevents him or her from installing the latest plugins. When this customer is selected within the support software, an alert will tell any agent of the customer's situation. This way, agents don't make the mistake of telling customers to solve a particular issue by using a solution that isn't implemented in their version and agents know to find another solution instead. Ross Clurman, an expert in customer service, noted that this feature helps you deliver a more personalized experience.

Stay consistent
Some businesses shuffle customers between agents to find the right fit. This is very disorienting for the customer. They constantly have to remember new names, and it can be hard for them to keep track of the solutions provided by different people they've spoken to. Instead, you should assign one rep to one customer and give that agent all the tools necessary to meet every one of the customer's support needs. This includes giving reps access to knowledge base articles, wikis, and other documents that can help them provide customers with solutions, especially when the subject is something the agent isn't overly familiar with.

Additionally, your agents need the ability to collaborate with each other in real-time through internal chat. That way, if an agent is stumped, they can quickly seek advice from a team member.

To create a great first impression, you business needs a way of organizing incoming customer inquiries so they are all responded to in a timely fashion with accurate information. Avoid asking customers the same questions over and over again, and try to keep customers with the same agent throughout the duration of their open ticket.

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