At InvGate, our mission is to provide great service with every interaction, be it with our Sales, Support, or Customer Success teams. In fact, the kindness of our people is one of the positive aspects our customers always highlight in reviews. After all, customer satisfaction is a measure of how our products meet or surpass expectations, so we take it very seriously.
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together our top tips to help you provide an outstanding experience to YOUR customers – here are our 10 commandments of IT Customer Success.
1. Thou shalt not fail to understand customer needs
Active listening is the key here. Avoid interrupting and listen carefully to every concern and pain point your customer is having. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know what they need before they ask for it; sometimes they don’t even know the full scope of their issue, so you have to help them find that out.
Also, your time is as valuable as theirs, so don’t rush them off and book some time to have an actual conversation, especially when the situation needs a walk through or troubleshooting. During this conversation, try to minimize your multitasking so you can really listen and dig deeper. Plus, in addition to listening, you need to focus on asking the right questions, so you can get to the bottom of the issue as quickly as possible.
2. Thou shalt not blame the customer
The reasons why the customer might be having an issue are infinite. There might have been a wrong configuration or a failed attempt when following instructions on their side, but it could also be that a solution provided by someone from your company in a previous interaction or an outdated article is the root cause.
So don’t rush to blame the customer or find out ‘what they did wrong’. Instead, focus on solutions, explain any issues that led to the incident, and work to prevent them from happening again. If the issue was indeed caused within your company, such as a system outage or a bug, don’t blame your peers either. Apologize and find a way to manage it better next time.
Genuinely, if there’s something you need to apologize for, don’t hesitate to do it. An open and honest communication will make you appear reliable and calm.
3. Thou shalt not forget to be in their shoes
Remember that empathy is key when dealing with other people’s issues, so make your customers feel understood and taken seriously when having a conversation. Sometimes they think they know what they need, but you’ll end up with a lot more valuable insights on the situation if you ask the right questions (as mentioned in point one).
Look at the issue from different angles and remember they’re the ones feeling uncomfortable and looking for a solution. So put them first, work towards finding out how they use your product to achieve their goals, and think how you could solve that particular situation.
4. Thou shalt not forget to share additional resources
Added value is something that every customer appreciates, no matter the industry or product. At InvGate we go the extra mile to empower our customers by providing tools they couldn’t get elsewhere, or an unexpectedly easy solution.
Even more, if after providing a solution you share additional resources, such as how to’s, videos, or tips, you’ll give them a sense of control and the ability to accomplish a task without help. Thus, they won't have to reach out as often for assistance, and you’ll both save time.
Remember, in IT service management (ITSM), being able to share knowledge means you’re doing things right.
5. Thou shalt not miss any product update
Imagine how awkward it would be if the customer knew more about your product or services than you. You can’t miss the details on product updates, bug fixes, and new features introduced to your product; even more so, you need to be fully aware of how any new development actually works, in order to be able to answer any questions or give instructions.
It would be very damaging to tell your customer that their issue doesn’t have a solution, when it actually does and you just weren’t aware of it.
So have regular conversations with your Product and Services teams to be on top of any news, and don’t forget to read any new documentation your technical peers work on.
6. Thou shalt not leave the Knowledge Base unattended
IT service desk knowledge documentation is vital, because it reduces the workload, provides a consistent level of support, and empowers users with solutions at the tip of their hands.
It might seem like there’s never enough time to document things, but remember, this is a long-term investment. When you solve a particular request you see instant results, whereas when you document a process you’re not sure who and when will find it useful. But trust us, it’s still useful. The time spent collecting and distributing knowledge results in even greater time savings (plus the business-level benefits of quicker issue resolutions and provisioning, and a better experience for your users).
7. Thou shalt not forget to look at the logs
Logs oversee network activity, inspect system events, and store user actions, so they can provide valuable insight into what could have happened in case of a system malfunction.
When providing customer service in the software industry, logs are the source of many explanations, so it’s important to ask the customer right away for their logs on the exact moment they detected the issue, and use them as a resource for your research on the root cause.
8. Thou shalt not forget that each customer is unique
We’ve said that documentation is vital for faster solutions to common issues, but that doesn’t mean every customer scenario should be treated the same way. People like to feel appreciated and taken into account; so take the time to learn their names, where they work, their specific use cases for your product, and their overall business goals.
A personal and close relationship will be beneficial on the long term. Of course we all want quick solutions and would like to go straight to the point, but sometimes getting to know the background helps, because the more you know your customers, the more you can anticipate their needs.
9. Thou shalt not mistreat a customer
Never ever lose patience or disrespect a customer, no matter how tense the situation is. You have to be the focused party who sees the light at the end of the tunnel and will move the conversation forward to where it needs to go.
Also, be punctual and don’t leave your customers waiting. If you have an appointment, be there on time and, if you’re stood up, patiently suggest a new time letting them know this is a shared commitment. Doing business with you has to be easy, so keep your word and be present.
10. Thou shalt not forget to breathe, smile, and have fun
In the end, it’s all about helping people when they need you.So remember to enjoy every interaction, have fun, and share jokes with your customer(s) when it seems appropriate, and make them feel you’re someone they can always trust.
Attitude will always make the difference when it comes to keeping good relations with customers, so try to end every conversation with a smile on both sides. We know it will not always be easy, and that many customers can be unhappyor angry, but even in those cases, breathe, count to 10, and patiently walk them through the process of solving their issue.
Customers are the most vital asset to a company, so keeping them satisfied is what makes them recommend your product and helps your business grow. Good customer service is the groundwork for any company and, in order to provide a good experience, you need to truly understand who they are and what they need.
So these are our 10 Commandments for Customer Success. Would you add any more? Let us know in the comments.