It’s hard to stay on top of your customer support game all the time – it can get stressful, chaotic and crazy. That is why I created this checklist for myself to ensure that I’m always doing my best with every ticket.
Are you angry\annoyed\tired\upset right now? Take a short break. Walk around. Grab a snack or a coffee. If you don’t take a break now it will only get worse. And you have a whole day of support tickets ahead of you. This will do wonders to the quality of your replies and for your mental state. Customer support is very stressful – take good care of yourself to avoid burning out.
Make sure you’ve read the request carefully. It’s always embarrassing when you scan through a ticket without paying too much attention and miss the actual question. As a result you miss important details, you ask for details that were already in the ticket or just answer a wrong question. It’s really tempting to scan through an email when you have 30 more tickets waiting to be resolved. I have to constantly remind myself to slow down and actually read it.
Use better language. Try not to sound like a robot. Just try to speak like you would to a person on the street. When you’re done writing a reply, read it again. Is it too official? Are you being polite? Are you too friendly? We have a bunch of articles to get your writing to another level: 7 worst tech support responses, 7 Things Customers Don't Want to Hear, Robotic 'enterprisey' customer support is not the worst kind, Better words to use in your customer support emails
Apologise for a delay in responding, if there was any. I got so used to this one I reply with a “sorry for the delay” in almost every ticket even if it was created just 30 minutes ago. It’s just a simple thing you can do to make a support interaction more friendly.
If you need more information from the user check their previous tickets first. You don’t want to ask them the same questions every time they submit a new ticket. This should be easy to do with your help desk. In Jitbit we have ticket history, user notes and user lookups to save us and customers some time.
Avoid half-assed replies. Instead of “to do that you can use this feature” say “to do that use this feature, here is how it works…”. Don’t be lazy. At least send them a link to a help article.
Do not play for time. The issue won’t resolve itself and you know it. Sooner or later you’ll have to find a solution, so why not do it now? The problem should be resolved in as few interactions as possible.
Do not pass users around. Instead of “you need sales department email them at…” say “I’ve transfered your request to the sales department and described your issue. They will take care of you shortly”. Check our definition of a great customer support
Is there anything you can put into your knowledge base? Speaking of help articles. It’s time to think about the future. Can you create a new KB article to avoid answering the same question over and over? Always be on a lookout for opportunities to improve your self-service portal. Here’s how to build your help section.
Can you WOW them? You can’t do it every time obviously, but is there any way you can go an extra mile to amaze your customers? Here’s how to WOW users.
I hope you find this checklist helpful. It certainly helps me to keep my head straight in dire times.
Max Al Farakh
Max is a co-founder/CTO of Jitbit with tons of experience in customer service.