Learn to listen for words the customer is saying and not saying and how to respond properly.
- The next key component to building rapport through writing is tone. Tone conveys our attitude toward the customer in the content of the message. Tone has three elements that should be considered. Number one, the purpose of the message, and number two, the audience of the message, and number three, the words used to convey the tone. For technical support, we must first understand who our audience is, and then, what is the purpose of our communication? Let's first start with the audience. It's important to know specifically who we are speaking to, and if there any support parameters to address, or to be taken into consideration.
Always verify the audience before responding. Keep in mind that your written communications may be forwarded to others past the original recipient, and can often become part of a permanent record. Here's a real-life story I'll share with you. I had a technician that responded to a customer via email using very negative language, and basically said to the customer, "I can't assist you". This email was forwarded to the CIO, and the technician was reprimanded and eventually terminated for poor performance.
Now, if the contact hasn't previously been validated, we may first need to research their service entitlement, as this may change the content of our message. For example, if we have a VIP customer, or customer who has paid for a higher-level of service, we might need to escalate the issue immediately, or handle it differently. Next, let's look at the purpose of the communication. Sometimes it's not easy to determine exactly what a customer wants or needs.
A customer could be contacting us about an issue or a simple request, or submitting a web ticket for technical support. Do your best to figure out the intent. We'll verify it with the customer in our response. Before we start to craft a response, we'll want to use the who, what, where, when, and how methodology. Answer the following questions: who is contacting the service desk? What specifically are they requesting? Where are they? This may not be important depending on the who and what answers, or the type of support.
By when does the customer or SLA require action? How can I best assist the customer? By answering these questions, you'll have all the information necessary to craft your response. Now that we've addressed building rapport with our tone, in our next movie, we'll take a look at our last component: the words.
First, Fancy provides guidance on how to use the right types of questions to gather information about an issue. Then, she explains how to professionally handle common customer service tasks, like escalating and transferring calls. Then, she shows how to hone interactions with customers by refining communications—acknowledging how tone and word choice can diffuse tension. She wraps up by covering common customer behavior scenarios in which the tools, techniques, and strategies from the course can be applied.
- Greeting and validating contacts
- Asking investigative and diagnostic questions
- Confirming and validating responses
- Reaching resolution and closure
- Using mute or hold on a call
- Escalating or transferring a call
- Building rapport over the phone, in writing, and face-to-face
- Refining word choice, style, and tone
- Managing conflict effectively
- Recovering unsatisfied customers
- Redirecting customers
- Identifying customer behavior