What does good support look like?

What does good support look like?

It’s easy to talk about what qualities make a good technical support engineer, or team, or what deliverables and metrics are desirable, or what you might consider to be the measures of success for a support organisation. 

But think about that question again. What does good support look like? Flip your view from that of the organisation to that of the customer. Instead of inside-out, think outside-in. 

Positive technical support experiences are not so different to most other interactions we all have as customers every day. Every time you approach an organisation first, there are many parallels in play to a technical support or helpdesk call. So, the question is, what do YOU want, as a customer? 

This is my list:

  1. Easy access, when you want it, how you want it, at little or no extra expense over preagreed subscriptions or fees. NO premium phone lines, thank you!
  2. Minimal self-routing. I don’t want to be directed to call another number, use another channel, or make judgements about which is the right option to pick in a menu system.
  3. A single point of contact for each case. Someone I know is looking after me and my issue personally, complete with easy access back to that person.
  4. Little or no changes of ownership (while the relationship is working). Once I have that single point of contact, I really don’t want to be passed around like a hot potato.
  5. Ability to factor in business impact as well as technical severity. A fully rounded picture of the impact will go along way to helping you prioritise this issue within your support team. It also gives me, as a customer, the confidence that you understand the cost of the problem to my business.
  6. Good listeners who are able to understand the impact. There’s no point in having very junior people on the front line, or indeed your best engineers on the front line, if they are unable to translate that business impact into meaningful set of objectives internally.
  7. Not to have to explain things multiple times. This can happen in a culture of buckpassing, or indeed a team or process that is horrifically bad at taking accurate notes. As a customer I should only have to explain something once. Drilling down for extra detail is fine, but please don’t make me start again.
  8. Not to have to “work the system”, or even care what the system is. If I have to know who to contact, and how to contact them, and how to phrase my issue so that I will get what I perceive to be the best service, then something is really wrong. As a customer I do not want to have to work the system. The system should work for me.
  9. Resolution, above and beyond (added value by way of uplift). Fantastic! You fixed my problem. But what else did you do? Did you suggest other ways of doing things? Did you look at other features that I might find useful? We’re are you able to suggest ways that I might extract extra value from the service or system related to the reason I contacted you? Gold star for you if so. 
  10. Quick resolution. Actually, I don’t care if you break records. I don’t care if you solve my issue 2.75 minutes faster than last time. I don’t care if I have to wait 20 seconds longer. But inordinately long wait times will be an issue. Any waiting that appears to be inaction or lack of attention will irritate the customer.

What does good support look like to you?

This article first appeared on my Linkedin publications in April 2018