Troubleshooting is a key skill for Customer Service

When we hear the term ‘troubleshooting’ we normally think of a technical problem with a product. Computer problems, car problems, electrical and electronic device problems are some of things that immediately come to mind. It is the ability of the customer service staff to help the customers to find a solution for a failed product or service. Troubleshooting is a reasoned and hard-headed search for the root cause of a problem in an attempt to make the product or service work well again. A customer interaction of this nature would occur when a customer contacts the customer service help-desk through any means available. Any product or service should have a sequential method of troubleshooting aimed at resolution. Customer Service staff must be adequately and regularly trained in trouble shooting since their perceived competence will lead to customer satisfaction. From a company perspective first call resolutions reduce the amount of resources necessary to respond to customer issues.

Related Article: How decision tree driven interactive guides help provide training on Troubleshooting through Customer Service?

Customer service teams at all levels must be skilled at troubleshooting and be able to instantly decipher and grasp the problem presented by the customer. Deft troubleshooting involves a concatenation of questions and answers that would lead to the quick resolution of the problem posed. Troubleshooting is a skill that is indispensable across all kinds of industries since it involves customers who have bought your product or service. Many companies have on their websites such troubleshooting documents with detailed questions and multiple answers to each question, allowing a customer to troubleshoot a problem themselves. This saves time and hassle for the customer and valuable resources for the company. To help customers help themselves, it is important that companies ensure that this troubleshooting service is made known to customers and where the can access it. Part of great customer service is keeping your customers informed and aware leading to their happiness and satisfaction.

“Customer experience is a catalyst of transformation. It directly impacts culture, strategy, structure and all parts of a business.” – Christine Crandell

Related Article: How call center agents use interactive guides instead of call scripts to provide training on Troubleshooting through Customer Service?

Effective troubleshooting would result in either a comprehensive and precise resolution request ready to be worked on or an effective resolution provided. What would constitute the logical steps of effective troubleshooting?

a. Actively and patient listening on the part of the customer service staff to understand the exact nature of the problem. This is an important step and must not be compromised. For the customer service teams the question posed could probably be a routine question and so very likely that they feel they know what to do. Without actually listening they could miss out on the fact that the problem comes with a twist! Once they have heard what the customer says, it is imperative to repeat their understanding of the problem to the customer. Proceed to the next step only after the customer has verified their understanding as being spot on.

b. Asking open ended questions to comprehend what decision must be taken. As we said, sometimes even a routine question could have a pertinent customer need. A skilled customer service representative would be able to adjust and tweak the answer given based on the customer’s need and expectation.

c. Assure the customer that you have completely understood the nature of the problem and convey what the root cause is. When the customer can feel the confidence and surety, he or she will be much more open and will trust you to resolve the problem. This would also serve to calm the customer, since customers facing a problem would normally be impatient, dissatisfied or even irate.

d. A customer service representative who is skilled at troubleshooting would be, at the end of the questions and answers, able to provide the best suited and most apt solution to the problem. It is possible, that more than one solution is possible but a skilled customer service representative would be able to do away with the equivocacy through additional reasoning. Ruling out the ambiguous and not so pertinent solutions, he or she would be able to provide a solution, what the customer would perceive as tailor-made. Instant customer satisfaction is what you have through effective troubleshooting in the customer service realm.

The main aim of the company would be to provide the best possible products or services. However, the role of human error or the breakdown of such offerings can never be completely ruled out. Providing troubleshooting through courteous, empathetic and well-informed staff, will more than make up for these inadvertent errors. It builds rapport and trust with the customers who will over time see your staff as dependable and skilled in providing crucial solutions. When your customer communicates with you, it is a good thing – it means they are still interested in maintaining their association with you. Their expectation is that your staff would be able to provide them with a solution which they are unable to arrive at on their own. Effective troubleshooting will drive customer behaviour to move towards trust and loyalty. They will also let others know of the perfect resolution they got and other customers would be more inclined to reach out for answers. A curious and questioning customer is always better than one who is unsure and decides to walk away.

Troubleshooting needs to be perfected to the level of an art form!

– Avoid the use of industry jargon when putting together the question answer formats. Using easy to understand and common place phrases and terminology especially for the self-help troubleshooting guides, is advisable. Keep it simple and user friendly! The self-help guides must be clearly communicated and easily accessible on all the channels used. Effective troubleshooting would be accurate, precise and attain the resolution required based on the particular customer and his or her need.

– Troubleshooting documents must be detailed without being laborious. They won’t serve any purpose if the customer finds them overwhelming to go through or use. The questions and answers must be cleverly worded in order to be able to find a solution at the earliest. The document must serve to help not confuse the customer further. Constant upgrading and tweaking of troubleshooting documents would help keep it relevant and make it easier for the customer service representatives to provide a higher number of first call resolutions.

– Explanatory diagrams or pictures of the product prove to be very effective in the self-help troubleshooting documentation. Ideally these should be provided to the customer at the time of buying. It would save the customer precious time and hassle of calling up your customer service help-desk. If the customer does reach out, a similar document should be handy with the service teams to take the customer through each step till a resolution can be reached.

– Going a step further from pictures and diagrams, would be troubleshooting videos that are interactive. These might cost more but are most effective since the customer can see the step by step problem solving and also hear a human voice. We have established in previous expositions, that customers are more comfortable when they are able to have a direct human interaction.

– Effective troubleshooting via customer service teams can also serve as a sale point of another product or service. The service teams could, at the end of effective resolution, suggest the use of another offering that could help produce better results for the customer. Remember to back off if the customer is not convinced – being overbearing or overenthusiastic would have an adverse effect.

Efficient troubleshooting therefore is the most effective method of providing customers with resolutions and gaining their confidence. It reduces the time and effort required on the customer’s part in getting the maximum advantage of the product or service bought. For the company it translates to having a happier and more trusting customer base. Great customer service as we know is the key differentiator between success and failure for any company. Customers understand that problems will and do happen, but do not understand a lackadaisical or indifferent attitude towards these problems. Get to the root of the problems and in return you have the all-important customer loyalty.

“Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you they insist that their friends do business with you.” – Chip Bell, Founder Chip Bell Group

Learn about a new approach to better customer service!

Interactive Guides for Superior Customer Service

Create interactive decision trees for customer service management, cold call scripts or self-service. Improve sales performance metrics and customer delight across your call centers.

Interactive Decision Tree