I often wonder who the ideal client would be. A client who pays in time, does not get angry and he who keeps growing. Now the question arises, from where do we get such customers. And the answer to it is in my opinion is – We need to make them. I am reminded of JFK’s speech in 1961 when he said “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. “
I guess this holds true for all of us. The secret of success does not lie in our expectations but rather it our capability. We as a company would be successful only when our clients grow and for them to grow the only method is for their providers to be the best. Our company caters to the internet industry. And support, as in most other industries, is the key factor in the success of any internet based company. I did a small research to find what is expected of a tech support engineer.
A support engineer should be knowledgeable, honest, polite and fast. He should posses the skills needed to cater to his customers needs. An important point to remember here is that the support engineer must have more knowledge than the customers. The customer requirements needs to be defined first. The tech should then not only achieve these requirements but he should also delight the customer by going beyond the expectations. Give what you promise to give. This is the base customer expectations. One has to competent in what he is doing else whatever management system a company keeps it is just a waste.
A good support engineer must possess good communication skills which is a lot more than the correct usage of the language alone. It is how well you communicate with the customer that matters. It is also important to understand what the customer is trying to communicate to us. Good vocabulary and grammar are important. But it is more important to learn to communicate well.
A good tech should be very reliable. It is not enough to be good on one or two occasions. That is called luck. It is consistency that matters. A tech should also respect his customers. At times we come across groups where the customer support is just not bothered about the way the customer feels. A poor attitude towards the customer would surely mean that the customer would not stay with you even if your product is the best in the world.
One must know how to work under various situations. There may be cases when a tech needs to take a decision so that it is good for the company. Rather than wait for somebody higher up in the ladder. He should also learn to perform well under stress.
Good techs need a good company to work in. Let me now put in some points that the support team of a good company should have. A support team for any company must have a good communication system setup. There should be multiple channels for customers to contact the company and the customer must be made aware of these channels. Our clients can for example contact us via email, a helpdesk, chat and phone.
A good company should also have an escalation system. This is a simple chart which describes who can be contacted and at what stage. This gives the customer the confidence that he can contact the higher authorities if the tech is not helping him.
One should also set up a Guarantee policy. Life time warranty does not mean that when the product has gone bad and you go to the provider he simply says “I can see that the life is over of the product so the guarantee is over as well :-D ” . One has to backup a guarantee policy which gives something concrete in return.
Customer satisfaction is more important than the response times. Some times the issue may take long so the tech should update the customer about the status. This would make the customer comfortable as he would know that somebody is working on his issue.
From the customers point of view it is best for him to have a Single contact point with the company. For example, in our company we have many departments – techs, installations, billing, sales etc. I remember once a very good customer of ours got quite agitated with us as we did make a mistake of pushing him from one department to another. He straight away to wrote to me and I understand what he wanted. He wanted a single point of contact. No company which is slightly larger can have all things integrated. However it is possible for any company to have a single point of contact for a customer.
As my client said “When I am talking to Bobcares I am talking to bobcares not to the techs or billing or installations department. I want to send in the query and I want it to be solved. And if I ask about the status I should get it. “
I guess that is why we give more importance to the helpdesk system. A good helpdesk system can have multiple departments. So when a customer sends in a billing query, instead of telling him please contact sales. Just reassign the ticket (query) to sales and he’ll happy as long as his work is done.
I was once trying to set up a bank account in the US for our US company. So as we were using Citi bank here we thought we’ll go with Citi in the US as well. But it was a nightmare. They kept pushing me to different departments and banks that finally I gave up after calling atleast 12 different numbers. We then went to Fleet now a part of Bank of America. It was a real pleasure working with them. The moment we went there they asked us what we were looking for and straight away I was taken to one lady Jennifer who was an expert in the subject. She took all the paper and verified and took a copy and helped me fill the forms and gave me the account details etc. I was impressed. A single point of contact and competent person.
Jack Welch the former Chairman of GE gives the secret formula of success for any individual. He describes it as the 4E and 1P. I do firmly believe that these qualities are indeed make the real secret formula for success for any individual.
Energy – Have tremendous personal energy.
Energize – Energize your teams, and don’t intimidate them.
Edge – Have a competitive edge and a will to win.
Execution – Learn to complete an issue.
Passion – Have passion in what you are doing
And finally I’ll like to quote a great man. I quote below the Mahatma’s views on Service, Duty and Compromise
A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption of our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider to our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to do so.
Rights accrue automatically to him who duly performs his duties. In fact the right to perform one’s duties is the only right that is worth living for and dying for. It covers all legitimate rights. All the rest is grab under one guise or another and contains in it seed of Himsa.
Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.
Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.
Unwearied ceaseless effort is the price that must be paid for turning faith into a rich infallible experience.
All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.
That service is the noblest which is rendered for its own sake.
Note: This article is also published on hostpaper.com. :)