With technology taking the driver’s seat, there is no industry that can function without it. The reliance on technology is far too pronounced to ignore. Technology touches every realm of an organization and customer service is no different. In fact being able to provide technical troubleshooting is fast becoming a customer satisfaction and retention tool. Customer interactions are no longer limited to one or two channels. To stay ahead, companies are now updating the technology used and customer service teams must effectively use the software and programs to deliver tailor made customer experiences. The access customers now have, allows them to contact the company’s customer service staff at any time and from anywhere through the smart devices now in use. The expectation from customers therefore is that their queries or problems will be responded to faster and more effectively.
The customer service technical teams must have the capability and knowledge base to understand and analyse the customer’s issue. Effective technical troubleshooting is a vital differentiator between satisfied and irate customers. Prompt and focused troubleshooting enhances customer satisfaction levels by more first call resolutions, thereby saving the customer and the company time and effort. Customers who receive this level of customer service tend to trust the company and stay with them for a long time. Technical troubleshooting is a systematic and analytical process and must be approached methodically and fastidiously. In troubleshooting parlance this is called decision tree driven troubleshooting – where a logical series of questions and answers delivers a permanent fix on the problem. Customer service technical teams need to address the root cause of the problem instead of using guesswork and providing temporary fixes.
Like with all customer service skills, skills in isolating the main issue and troubleshooting for resolution need to be taught and constantly upgraded. Having critical thinking and problem solving skills is a key requirement for the customer service technical staff. Ensure that the staff understands the pivotal role they play in keeping customers satisfied and loyal – a necessary requirement for the company’s and their own success. There are some essential tips to enable more effective troubleshooting.
1. Without a proper analysis of the problem at hand, it would be detrimental to attempt to provide a solution. In the daily course of their work, technical troubleshooting teams would come across similar or even same issues and the instinctive thing to do is assume that a previously used quick fix solution can be provided. The basis of troubleshooting is applying a logical and step by step methodology and must be repeated with every issue, irrespective of how many times they are presented.
2. The technical jargon that the support teams can understand are not terms that customers can. They will express their problem or issue in plain words and a language they understand but may not necessarily be describing the problem as it actually is. Listening carefully to what the customer is trying to convey is vital for effective technical troubleshooting. Only when the staff is attentive and listening carefully will they be able to translate the customer’s words in to what it actually means in technical mumbo-jumbo and provide the exact solution. Careful listening will enhance the technical staff’s ability to ask the relevant questions and seek answers in a simplified and non-technical manner. You are trying to impress the customer with a resolution – not with the show of complicated and highly technical language.
3. Some technical problems are bound to be more complicated that what meets the eye immediately. There could be a number of smaller issues leading to the defect in the product and logically going through each troubleshooting steps will enable the staff to prioritize the steps that would lead to problem resolution. Practice restraint and avoid trying to immediately resolve the problem without going through the logical technical troubleshooting steps provided. The customer issue will remain an issue for longer leading to frustration and customer ire.
4. Once the technical support staff has been able to identify the problem through listening and careful analysis, it is imperative that this understanding is repeated to the customer. Once the customer confirms that the understanding is correct, the staff should go on to applying the systematic steps and processes with an aim to providing a permanent resolution. Troubleshooting is all about asking open ended questions and knowing how to apply the answers received to meet the customer’s expectations of an effective solution. Well-trained and well-equipped staff would appear more confident and be able to arrive at solutions quicker enhancing the level of trust the customer would have in them and the company in the long haul.
5. So there – the technical troubleshooting staff was able to provide a solution. However, since problems are not one time visitors and neither do the same problems promise not to return, it is important that the staff understand the problem, the troubleshooting steps used and the ultimate fix that worked. Understanding of the entire framework of problem resolution and knowing exactly why one solution worked and another did not, will save time and effort in the future. Also the technical team’s problem resolving skills will improve leaving customer’s happier and more satisfied. Your company will soon become the go-to company for customers seeking to get a solution to technical issues – great for the company’s reputation and chances of getting more customers.
6. Apart from technical skills and a technical bent of mind, the troubleshooting staff must know how to think on their feet. During the troubleshooting process and steps if there is something that does not help to resolve the customer’s issue, they must be able to make a quick analysis of the why and use the knowledge they have to provide the best solution. Although, most technical troubleshooting guides, videos or manuals are fairly exhaustive, there is always a possibility of some ‘unheard’ problem rearing its head. Using logic and interpretive conclusions based on the facts will enhance the technical troubleshooting abilities of your staff leading to better customer service.
It is advisable and forward thinking to have such decision tree driven technical troubleshooting guides easily available to customers. The self-help guides can be in the form of manuals with diagrams, interactive videos or walk-me through guides on the company website. These guides must be simple, minus jargon and comprehensive enough for customers to be able to even want to try and resolve the issue themselves. Your customer service staff must be readily available in the event that a customer still wants to speak to them for whatever reason.
Technical support is a crucial factor in the customer service realm. This team must have a good attitude, customer focus and a willingness to help the customers courteously through their technical knowledge and capabilities. It would be easy for this staff to develop the feeling that they are indispensable and so become indifferent and lack humility. Remaining grounded through proper training and understanding the importance of customer focus is vital to keep this staff engaged and ready to help. Company’s too must remember that allowing the customer service staff some flexibility and discretion would contribute to happier employees who will service the customer better leading to happier customers. While systems and processes are important, they must act as facilitators and not control the actions of the staff. For the optimized usage of the available advanced technology, the company’s strategies must also be focused on providing better customer interactions and allow employees to use the technology to the maximum. When customer service staff can clearly see that their company cares about them and is willing to invest in them, they are more likely to be engaged and geared towards providing the best levels of technical troubleshooting and customer service. As customer service levels and ability for technical troubleshooting is enhanced, customers feel more positive and develop trust with the company. And we know that happy customers are loyal customers who make a company successful.