Customer support services are one of the most crucial things your company will choose or design. It is by customer service that your company will be judged, far more than the quality of your product or service, or your company’s identity or reputation. Making poor choices for this aspect can be absolutely fatal, and are often impossible to recover from if severe enough.
There are many factors that affect customer support services, some far more severely than others, but all equally important. However, while many of these are widely known and often properly addressed by even the most incompetent CS professionals, there are some that are overlooked or often unknown. These are the snakes in the grass that will bite you if you remain unaware of them.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at four little known factors that can affect your support services, how they affect it, and what can be done to reasonably address them and minimize the damage they can do. Since we’ve room to only discuss four of these, we’ll choose the four most severe and fatal ones. These are the ones to really watch out for, they are quite serious.
#1 – Bandwidth
Yeah, this is often looked at as more of an issue for functionality or accessibility for web services or online constructs than it is for support services. It’s hard for many to imagine how bandwidth would actually affect things either way, but it really can.
If your customer support is entirely phone based, this is less of a concern, but since most companies use at least partial online solutions, this is one to talk about for a moment.
See, bandwidth is variant even within a region. Different platforms can access different speeds, and even single types of connections can vary wildly as well. As a result, help desks, live chats, FAQ and email systems may be slow and suffer from lag. As a result, live chat is best avoided altogether. This one hasn’t proven to work too well frankly. Help desks and FAQ need to be quick and powerful, but light on aesthetics. If a customer has a slow go of accessing help, bad things will happen.
#2 – Regional Linguistics
This one’s applicable to all forms of customer service, and it’s overlooked too often. No matter how fluent a support specialist is in a language, regional linguistics can throw them for a loop. In the united states alone, there are over 130 distinct regional dialects of US English with their own vernacular and colloquialisms. While another American would have minimal issues here, someone from another English nation, or even someone using it as a second language will experience communications issues which will make resolution a slow process.
This has been the cause of a lot of loss of first call resolutions over the years. Honestly, it’s best to just keep your support team constantly training and learning as many dialects of English on a general level as possible. It’s the best that can be done.
#3 – Technological Disparity
Some customer support services make the mistake of assuming everyone has or even chooses to have a type of technology. This can include things like Skype, instant messengers or a text-enabled mobile phone. Not everyone uses these things, and customers won’t want to have to acquire them just to access your support system.
Google is the most guilty of this, Gmail support requiring a text/SMS message when accounts lock up. When considering technological requirements and dependencies on the customer end, ask yourself, “would my iMac-using grandmother have this?”
#4 – Lack of 24 Hour Support
It can be expensive to provide 24 hour support, and so a lot of companies refrain from it, believing customers can be patient and wait until the next day or business day. Simply, they cannot. The problem here is that if they are particularly frustrated as ism and find out they now have to wait for business hours to come around (heaven help if this happens on a Friday evening), they may just become angry and cancel their account or choose to not use your service or product in the future.
24 hour support can be minimal, with a limited after hours staff, but it is important to reduce churn rates and increase customer satisfaction. It’s necessary, hang the expense.
These are the four biggest but littlest known factors that can make or break the success of a customer support system. These are the giant elephant in the room that should stop being ignored now.
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