TMCnet Feature
January 26, 2021

How to Improve Your IT Support Service and Grow Your Business

Whether your company sells hardware or software, IT support is a major part of your business. And if, like many companies, you struggle on this front, reshaping your approach could have a dramatically positive impact on your company moving forward.

Why Good IT Support Matters

IT support is often viewed as an afterthought. However, this is a major oversight that’s typically rooted in a lack of understanding of the role IT support plays. So let’s begin by setting the record straight on why good IT support matters.

  • Acts as a stop gate. Information and opinions spread like wildfire on social media. And if you aren’t doing anything to provide good support for your customers, guess where they’re going every time they have a negative experience? Yep...straight to Facebook (News - Alert), Twitter, or a review website. But if you have good support, it’s much more likely that they’ll come to you first. This can serve as a stop gate for negative PR and provide an avenue for addressing the problem.

  • Experience is everything. We operate in an experience economy. Customers don’t just want good products; they demand high-touch experiences as a basic standard. And if you can provide an exceptional experience, they’re willing to pay even more for your products. Good IT support plays a key role in delivering a positive customer experience.
  • Loyalty breeds revenue. Good customer support breeds loyalty. And loyalty breeds revenue. (Keep in mind that it’s far less expensive to keep an existing customer than it is to obtain a new one.) In this sense, an investment in support is a direct investment in the bottom line.
  • Insights drive innovation. When you have a good IT support system in place, you’re able to collect insights on how your product is performing, what its flaws are, and where there’s room for improvement. This leads to innovation on multiple levels.

Once all decision-makers on your team have a clear idea of the value of good IT support, you can turn your attention towards improving this aspect of your organization.

Tips for Better IT Support

Enhancing IT support is a long-term investment that you’ll want to think long and hard about. Having said that, the following tips are certain to spark improvement right off the bat. Take a look:

1. Hire the Right People

You can develop the best IT support system and framework there is, but if you don’t have the right people on your team, you’ll miss the boat. Thus, hiring is key.

Hiring the right people starts with knowing what you want in an employee. Traits like attention to detail, empathy, good listening skills, and knowledge of the product are valuable.

One of the best suggestions for hiring is to adopt an ABS (News - Alert) mentality. This stands for “Always Be Scouting.”

“Basically, your ideal candidate isn’t always available when you’re looking to hire,” writes Brad Black, CEO of HUMANeX Ventures. “By taking inquiries all the time, you can find the best when they’re available. But an even better tool for finding great candidates, who are also likely to be good culture fits, is to encourage your employees to recruit their friends.”

Hiring is time consuming, but if done well, it’s very rewarding.

2. Empathize With Customers

Empathy is a very important characteristic for your support team to have. And it needs to be baked into your IT support strategy.

Empathizing with customers is basically the practice of putting yourself in their shoes and seeing things from their perspective. When you do this, it becomes easier to understand where their real need or point of contention is.

In order to properly empathize with customers, you have to understand who they are and what their experience is like. This is where customer journey mapping comes into play. When you know precisely where your customers stand, you can empathize and address the issue with less friction or kickback.

3. Practice Clear Communication

A big issue that you’ll see in IT support is an inability to communicate with customers on their terms. People who work in IT support tend to be very knowledgeable on a technical level. Customers, on the other hand, don’t always know the intricacies of the technology or the lingo surrounding it. This leads to friction.

When you train your staff, take the time to teach proper communication. Knowing how to dumb down complex topics without coming across as condescending is an art form. As your team learns to do this, you’ll see customer experience improve.

4. Gather and Measure Feedback

There’s a saying that goes like this: “It takes years to build a reputation, but just moments to ruin it.”

“The above quote effectively addresses the importance of keeping clients happy,” entrepreneur Snigdha Patel writes. “Customer service is a vital element of business processes that can impact your bottom line and affect how your company is viewed in the public eye. So, it becomes crucial to measure customer service KPIs and metrics.”

What should you measure? Start with metrics that give you a better idea of how you’re doing in three key areas: team performance, customer satisfaction, and customer retention. This includes KPIs such as first response time (FRT), customer retention rate (CRR), customer satisfaction score (CSAT), first contact resolution (FCR), average resolution time (ART), cost per conversation, and average conversion rate.

5. Lose the Battle to Win the War

As a general rule, you have to be okay with losing some battles in IT support. You’re going to have instances where dealing with a customer takes too much time and money to make any logical sense. And while you might want to tell the customer to take a hike, keep a long-term perspective in mind.

There’s nothing wrong with losing the battle to win the war. In fact, this is usually how it works. So buckle down, practice perseverance, and trust the process.

Make CANI a Priority

In the business world, the CANI acronym stands for Constant And Never-Ending Improvement. It’s the philosophy that companies should never sit still or accept the status quo – no matter how good or bad things are at any given moment. As you address your IT support, consider following the CANI principle. It’ll ensure you continually improve over time, and that there’s no room for backsliding.

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