One of the best investments you can make working in customer support is taking the time to write appropriate, relevant responses to your customers. There are many ways you can improve your responses - using Macros or Triggers, for example - but your approach to addressing your customers can be just as important to them as the overall support you provide!
Here are a few tips for improving your responses as a customer, and providing a positive customer experience:
Ticket Responses Aren’t Just Text: They’re a Conversation
Too often, initial responses to customers are bland and do nothing to engage your customers. This can result in a poor first experience for your customers from the get-go, which is something you don’t want! The key part of a first response to a customer is to engage them in the conversation, and there are a number of ways to do this. I have two rules of thumb for initial replies:
- Make that first impression a good one. Make sure you are clearly communicating to your customer that you understand their problem AND you’re going to do something about it. Specify what actions you are going to take to start and - if possible - when you’ll be getting back to the customer with more details. If you don’t have a specific ETA, do your best to give your customer a general guideline or note that you’ll update them when you have more information.
- Get the customer involved if possible. Make sure you get any relevant information from your customer and have THEM take action to help you if helpful. Anything from gathering appropriate information to having them run a test or checking for errors can be that much less information you need to gather later. Even if it ultimately doesn’t help, it does help you coordinate your efforts toward the goal of fixing the customer’s issue! Remember, you’re a TEAM - you are faced with handling the same issue your customer has, so work together!
Don’t Just Read - React!
Contrary to popular belief, agents are not robots! One of the biggest frustrations customers have with customer support is the use of too many “canned” responses. They want to know they’re speaking to a person - not just receiving some message that may (or may not) be relevant to their problem! Here are some general guidelines on reacting and addressing your customers as you carry on your conversation:
- Macros are useful, but not in all situations! If you have a particularly unhappy customer asking for an update and you give them a simple macro without any real feedback to their previous response, they may be even more unhappy the next time around! Know the situation, and know your macros. One useful tip: force your Agents to customize their macros before submitting to the customer. That way, they can add their own voice and the response won’t seem “canned”. Macros can be your best friend - or worst enemy - when addressing your customers.
- Make sure to gauge your customers’ mood! Agents have different styles of replying to their customers. Some are more stoic than others, but depending on your customer’s mood, they may not be willing to add a smiley to the end of all of their posts. One best practice is to follow the customer’s mood and attitude: if they’re very serious about an issue (and in some cases, they aren’t!), address them in an appropriate, professional manner. If the customer comes off as less serious and more casual, feel free to address them in that manner! The best agents read their customer’s responses and react appropriately.
Situational Responses: Going the Extra Mile
In some cases, customers don’t really care what your workflows are - or even how good your responses are - they simply want their issue fixed (and let’s be honest, that’s our goal as agents). However, for a variety of reasons, not all fixes can be done immediately! This is where you need to be synced up, know the situation, and give appropriate feedback to your customers. There are lots of tools and methods of doing this, but here are a few best practices:
- Use internal notes to give yourself, or others, updates! If you’re working on a ticket and starting to lose track of where you’re at, give yourself a note within the ticket noting what you’ve found so far, what you’re working on, and where you believe the ticket will take you. You can also address other team members who are CC’d on your ticket internally, so you can get a second opinion if necessary!
- Sometimes, any update is better than no update! If you’re dealing with a long-standing bug or issue and a customer has asked for an update, do your best to reach out to the appropriate team working on the issue. However, if you still don’t get any feedback, respond! In many cases, customers like to know that - at the very least - someone is trying to look into the issue for them. If necessary, modify your workflows (especially your Business Rules - Triggers and Automations !) to use the Zendesk Support “Priority” field more efficiently in your views, so that long-standing tickets and problems can be more quickly and efficiently addressed. At the very least, tell the customer where you are in the process of fixing the issue - if there’s no update, there’s no update. It never hurts to give a response - even when there’s no new information.
- If a customer is clearly unhappy, reach out! One of the best steps you can take toward happier customers is identifying pain points in your own processes. When a customer submits negative feedback or has suggestions for you, thank them for their suggestions and bring it up with your supervisor. Make a View for tickets with Bad Satisfaction ratings, or tag tickets where customers have given feedback, and discuss them with your colleagues. That way, you can act on your customer feedback to make your support processes even better!
These are just a few things you can to to initiate vibrant, useful and pleasant conversations with your customers. Remember, even with the simplest support questions, giving the proper information in a positive manner can truly better your customers’ experience!