Delivering Excellent Customer Support

Article written with Alix Penny, Customer Support Team Leader

Providing access to reliable and timely customer support is critical to the success of most staffing organisations and their clients, but even more so when you need to support business critical functions such as onboarding, online timesheets, payroll, and invoicing. So, my first piece of advice, don’t wait until you have a customer service breakdown to start thinking about how to handle difficult situations….it could be way too late.

And, if you are finding that the customer service you are delivering or receiving is unhelpful, unreliable, or just plain hard work, especially under pressure, it may be time to challenge the status quo.  Having excellent customer support shouldn’t be a far-reaching goal that needs to be attained. Actually, customer service support consistently stands out as the number one determining factor in any new software evaluation, so customer support models shouldn’t be something you only uncover someway down the track.

At FastTrack, our local customer support team spend a lot of our time liaising with customers, and that sometimes means you need to be a confidant, a friend, an active listener, and a product expert, it comes with the job…but customer support doesn’t have to be hard work all of the time. Delivering excellent customer support can be reflected in the tools, resources, and knowledge that you make available to your (internal and external) users. Remember, a staffing agency has many assets to support, not limited to internal users, candidates and clients that rely heavily on your expertise on a daily basis.

“As a customer support specialist I need to be ready for anything, every time I take a call. From that perspective, attitude is everything! And a positive attitude can change a negative customer experience into a positive one even, if the proverbial is hitting the fan”

Self-support resources are a useful place to start. Create a suite of readily available online help resources that your customers can access 24/7. These could include videos, factsheets, guides, and pre-recorded webinars. In-product learning tools are also becoming the norm and provide a great way for people to learn as they use a product or service. It is also important to ensure all resources have an owner and are well maintained and updated as your product and service evolves.

The next step is all in the detail. Encourage your customers to provide as much detail as possible when logging a support request. The more information they provide, the better you’ll be able to understand, evaluate and respond to their issue. If a customer includes screenshots and outlines the actions leading to the error, your team can investigate and try to replicate the issue much more efficiently and they will also be able to prioritise high severity issues. From that perspective, you need to ensure you have a process in place to quickly identify the real impact the reported issue is having on your customer’s business.  In the case of a business-critical incident, customers should know how to contact support and communicate the issue.

At FastTrack, we place a heavy focus on learning from our customers. They are our greatest source of intelligence and we are right to listen and learn and adapt accordingly. Over the years, many of the best features and product enhancements have come directly from customer feedback, so you should list too. After all, your customers are living your product day-in and day-out. Allow them to log enhancement requests and investigate any common areas of concern.

My final piece of advice would be to keep getting better! Continuous improvement is the key. As each case is closed, allow your customer to provide direct feedback on the service they’ve received and discuss it with your team. Ultimately, excellent customer support could be that you have to provide very little customer support at all. Self-service is a scalable, cost-effective way to make customers happy, so if you empower your customers and provide them with the necessary knowledge and resources, you could be on a path to excellence.

Remember, customer service excellence is something that takes constant attention and improvement. You don’t just provide a service or buy software and forget about it. Keep listening to your employees and customers and change your policies and processes whenever the situation demands it. Consistent and continuous improvement is how you keep your customer service at the highest level…but just in case you’re not there yet, I’m here to help!


Alix Penny

Alix Penny, FastTrack Customer Support Team Leader

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