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Customer support is another term for customer service. It involves methods that create a positive experience for a customer. A business needs customers in order to become and remain profitable, and if the customers are not happy, they will not patronize the business again and they might recommend that their friends also do not patronize the business. Good customer support involves responding promptly to customer questions and complaints, acting on every promise made, listening, being helpful and adding extra touches to the customer’s experience.
Few things are more frustrating to customers than when a business does not respond to questions, comments or complaints that they might have. The general rule of thumb for businesses to use when communicating with anyone is to return his or her correspondence within 24 hours. No matter the nature of the correspondence, responses should always be kept polite and professional. The ultimate goal is to win a new customer or keep an old one by righting a wrong or providing more information.
Businesses also must remember that if a promise is made to a customer, it must be kept. Customers are quick to remember each time that something has been promised to them, and they will expect those promises to come to fruition. Keeping detailed notes of some sort might help a business owner remember exactly what has been discussed with each customer. Customers will appreciate the attention to detail and might patronize the business again or recommend it to others.
Something as simple as listening to customers is another way to show good customer support. When customers are spending their hard-earned money, they want to know that someone is considering their needs and wants. This also might offer the business owner a clearer picture of what the customer is looking for and how he or she might help.
Genuinely caring for people might go a long way in showing good customer support. Customers enjoy feeling as if someone cares about them and their well-being, and they generally respond well to it. Guiding the customer to an item for which he or she is looking, taking the time to answer questions about the product or offering to order something that is out of stock are all ways to show good customer support.
Few things stick with a customer longer than knowing that someone took the time to add something extra to his or her product or service. This helps a customer feel as if he or she is getting added value for his or her money. It is not necessary to do something grand or expensive; things such as offering information about additional uses for a product, giving ways that he or she might save some money and still find what they are looking for or giving background information about a product are all ways to give the customer something extra.
I worked in the customer support division of a computer company for a few years, and I had to be prepared to answer all sorts of questions. Most of the people who call a customer support desk are needing specific advice for specific problems. I could usually walk those support customers through the process without much trouble. It was the ones who had no idea how computers worked in the first place who were the most challenging.
I think it's important for people to realize that a customer support service can only do so much for any customer. I could help someone reboot their operating system and wipe out a computer virus, for example, but I couldn't help them fix a broken motherboard. There are just some issues that go beyond the scope of a phone call to customer service or support centers.
My company purchased a new "all-in-one" printer, scanner and copier for my office last year, and for a few weeks I think I called customer support at least once a day. It wasn't that the product was defective or anything, but it was very complicated to use. Someone would try to print something from their computer at the same time someone else was scanning a document, and we had no idea how to fix the conflicts.
I will say the people at the customer support desk were usually very helpful and patient. They knew everything about that machine, including the things that might go wrong. They didn't try to hide the product's shortcomings while walking me through the repair process over the phone. I tried to be a good customer, but I'm sure they get their share of impatient or angry clients, too.