What does it take to thrive as a customer support professional?
Could you handle being the person answering the phone or engaging in a chat with an anxious, frustrated or angry customer seeking a resolution to their problem or an answer to their question?
This is not a job for the meek. In order to succeed, a customer support professional requires subject matter expertise and the right tools, as well as a mix of fearlessness, personal empathy, and resoluteness.
Be the Expert
Great customer support pros have to be knowledgeable about the product or service they’re supporting and have an understanding of how that product or service functions as part of the customer’s connected world.
This is particularly true for support pros in the technology arena.
More often than not today, customers are interacting with a product or service that is connected to one or more third-party products or services. Support pros must understand how that interconnectedness might, or might not, be part of the immediate problem.
Master the Tools
Support pros need the right tools to do their job. They need the ability to communicate in the way the customer prefers — be that by phone, chat, instant message, or email.
And, beyond communication solutions, they need customer experience optimization software that makes them the smartest support pro they can be by quickly uncovering the most direct path to meeting the customer’s need.
Being on the other end of a customer’s call for help means accepting a healthy dose of the unknown. The answering support pro likely has little insight into the issue at play and no way to anticipate the caller’s demeanor.
Customer support pros with bravery in their genes push past fear and anxiety to guide customers to the information they’re seeking or through the steps required to fix their problem.
Have Personal Empathy
Support pros must also have the temperament of a personal counselor.
When a customer reaches out, chances are good they’re not happy. They’ve reached a point in their relationship with a product or service where something’s gone wrong, and they can’t solve it themselves.
It must also be remembered that this difficulty the customer is experiencing wasn’t expected, and it’s now happening in addition to whatever else might be going on that day.
A successful support pro will make sure the customer feels their frustration was heard and that someone honestly feels bad about the situation. When an apology is appropriate, the best support pros will offer one.
Lastly, an indomitable spirit is a dominant trait in every great support pro’s personal makeup. They must display all the attributes described above every single time they answer a customer’s call for help.
When they sit down at their workstation, they put aside their personal lives to take on the problems and questions of others. They become one of their employer’s most valuable assets and a customer’s hero.
Is Customer Support the Job for You?
Now you know the top five characteristics of a successful customer support professional. The next time you interact with customer support, ask yourself: could I do that?