As a customer support agent, you’re a representative of a brand. Every interaction you have with a customer contributes to the business’s reputation and can either encourage or discourage customer loyalty. Providing exceptional customer support isn’t only of benefit to customers. It can benefit you too. Being the best customer support agent you can be can help you develop your career and provide you with skills that you can incorporate into many areas of your life.
At Influx, we know customer support like the back of our hands. In this article, we share 7 useful bits of advice to help new customer support agents.
Advice for new customer support agents
The following tips can help you deliver exceptional customer experiences that matter.
1. Listen actively
Behind every support ticket is a human who has a concern and needs to feel heard. Active listening is a developable soft skill that can help you excel as a support agent. It involves approaching a conversation intending to focus on the customer’s words and commit to understanding what they are trying to communicate. Some ways of practicing active listening can be to avoid interrupting, ask clarifying questions when appropriate, and summarise what you’ve understood when they finish talking.
2. Practice empathy
While we often perceive empathy as a skill one is born with, it’s a skill you can acquire and develop. Empathy involves putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and imagining how they might feel about the scenario at hand. Empathy is a critical customer service element that often promotes receptiveness in customers. It can also help de-escalate conflict and encourage enjoyable interactions between you and your employer’s customers.
3. Develop your technical skills
Customers may approach you with a range of issues. They usually have questions and expect you to answer them quickly. If you’re unaware of how to use the service ticket system and any other applicable software effectively, you’re likely to make the customer wait. Before launching yourself into client interactions, it’s essential to become proficient in any programs you may use for work. Learning how to type fast can also be helpful, especially if you’re a live chat support agent.
4. Get to know the products and services
To help customers effectively, you need to know the products and services they need help with - inside out! Familiarizing yourself with the offerings of the company you work for can be facilitated by spending time with the company’s product specialist or even experiencing the products and services first-hand. With a deep understanding of the products and services, you’ll be more confident in helping customers troubleshoot and providing them with helpful tips and tricks.
5. Speak positively
Using positive language when attending to customers’ issues can minimize stress for both yourself and the customers. Your choice of words can be a powerful tool when creating rapport with clients, whether or not they’re disgruntled. Make use of positive verbs by stating what they should do rather than what they shouldn’t do as part of the solution. For example, instead of saying “don’t click on the box on the left”, it can be a good idea to say “the box on the right is the correct one for you to click on”. It can also be beneficial to be genuine and calm, especially if a customer is upset about an issue.
6. Own your mistakes
There can be times as a support agent where you may misunderstand a client’s needs. As a result, you may cost them time or money or cause some other inconvenience to them. It’s important to remember, in cases like these, that everybody makes mistakes. Admitting your mistakes is always a great idea and often the fastest way to reach a resolution, positively! Sometimes, the mistake might not be yours, but that of the company you work for. In these instances, it’s still essential to ensure that customer knows that, irrespective of where the root of the problem lies, you’re dedicated to helping them find a solution.
7. Be open to learning
Nobody becomes great at anything overnight. It can often take days, weeks, months, and even years to master the art of anything. Being open to learning, though, can speed up the process. To become a great customer support agent, ask for feedback (and take it on board), develop your hard and soft skills that relate to the job, and listen to any advice given by more experienced peers.
Nobody is born a customer service wiz. However, the good news is that anybody has the power to master the art of delivering exceptional customer service. By utilizing the tips in this article, you can take your customer support to the next level!