What does great support consist of?
First of all, it starts with attitude. As a company, are you bound and determined to do what it takes to help a customer? Or is support merely a business unit that you have to have while ensuring that your total bottom line doesn’t exceed X percent of revenue?
Which approach do you think will help you go viral?
How well trained are your support personnel? Do you have technical classes to train your support techs on the nuances of your software? Do the Tier Two and Tier Three techs pass along their hard-earned knowledge to the newbies?
If you’re providing support to the US, do your techs speak English like a native? If a tech says his name is Kevin, will a customer believe him?
How convoluted are your phone trees? When a customer calls in, how many menus does he have to navigate through to reach a live person? Do you dummy test your customer support?
In other words, do you have someone call in specifically to test how good or bad the support is, without support knowing about it ahead of time? Customers do when evaluating the product, particularly in the business world.
Do you work towards actual problem resolution or do you concentrate on closing tickets—and you count tickets as closed if you haven’t heard from a customer for a few days?
How serious are you about having your Support team help your customers?
Tech Support is a tough job. Not only do you have to take good care of your customers, you have to take good care of your Support staff. They’re on the front lines getting beat up by complaining customers and some of those customers are experiencing serious problems that are causing all kinds of grief.
Give your support staff perks: Gift cards to Tiger Direct or other tech store. Amazon gift certificates. Give them training. Provide career paths to move into development or Sales or Product Management. Lighten the mood with Nerf gun wars or other stress relief activities. If you take care of your Support staff, they’ll go that extra mile to take care of customers.
Most companies treat Support as a necessary evil, a drain on the profit margin. That kind of support doesn’t build great customer loyalty.
If you treat support as an extremely valuable customer touch point, one that wins you loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising, you have a chance. Back that up with training and the right vision, along with taking care of your Support staff and work hard to take care of the customers, then you have the third pillar of going viral in place.