How To Build The Best
Technical Support Team

Technical support is the lifeblood of so many software and hardware brands. Still, it can be tricky to offer best-in-class customer care that balances resolving complicated technical issues while dealing with the pressures of time-based SLAs and KPIs. Here’s what to factor in to provide genuinely outstanding technical support that keeps customers happy and CSAT scores high!

Employ People Who Care

When building a technical support team, hiring great people will create a solid foundation for delivering five-star customer care. Frontline agents that genuinely care about your brand and enjoy caring for customers are going to make everything easier! Ensure that agents are ably supported by a leadership team that listens. Leaders should understand both agent and customer pain points and be able to turn problems into solutions.

Ensure that mechanisms are in place for agents to feedback to leaders about issues in the customer care value chain before any negative impacts are manifested in reporting. Agents that care will also passionately feedback product issues to accelerate product development and improvement.

Make It Easy For Customers To Contact Your Technical Support Team

All customers seeking technical support have the same goal – a fast resolution; however, they all also have different preferences for the channel through which they want to contact your support team. Offering multiple-channels (omnichannel) for support gives customers a choice of methods to suit their convenience. Telephone, live chat, and social media all have the expectation of immediacy of response which should lead to the fastest resolution. Web forms, email, and ticketing have the perception of a slower response and may not be ideal for solving urgent cases. A great technical support team should have several ways for customers to contact them and offer the same level of service across all channels. Solutions such as as Zendesk, Freshdesk, and Salesforce all offer this omni-channel capability with fast implementation.

Make It Fast!

The faster a response, the better. Fast response times are a crucial part of being seen to offer excellent technical support. Be quick to answer the phone, respond to an email, or engage a chat and work to get the customer the resolution they want in the shortest possible time. Set achievable SLA and KPI targets that are aligned with staffing capacity and budgetary constraints. Once established, objectives can be incrementally improved upon month-on-month as the team optimises their performance.

However, critical to this point is that you also need to get it right! Being fast means nothing if a customer has to call back multiple times to get a satisfactory resolution. Investing a little longer on calls in the first instance will ultimately deliver cost savings and save the customer from frustration.

Cross-Train Agents

Train technical support agents on as many facets of the support activity as possible. Cross-trained agents can avoid any silos or bottlenecks in workflow by picking up extra tasks as required, so resolution times are not impacted. These teams can also better handle spikes in technical support volumes than teams whose responsibilities are siloed.

Use A Variety Of Content, Develop A Knowledge Base

People understand and interpret information differently. One customer might fine with verbal instructions, while another could prefer a more visual method, such as a short video. Have a variety of mediums available to accommodate your customers’ preferences and their subsequent satisfaction. The key here is to make great content that answers your customers’ questions and then have it readily available to the support team. The best way is to create a knowledge base that works similar to Wikipedia – organised and clear. It should be easily updated by agents and reviewed regularly by agents and leaders.

One Point Of Contact

It’s not always possible to resolve a technical support request without escalation, if this happens, try to maintain a single point of contact with the customer and prevent them from being handed around to other agents. When one agent manages an open case, it saves the customer from the frustration of having to re-explain their case multiple times and taking even more time to get a resolution. A policy of ‘One Customer/One Agent’ also helps to build rapport between the customer and the agent. Better relationships facilitate more natural communication and can significantly improve a customer’s perception of the brand.

Keep Customers Updated

If a tech support case can’t be resolved at the first instance, schedule a follow-up call immediately. Set the expectation for customers that they will get regular updates and not be forgotten. If the customer has to call again to follow up on their case, then there is a problem.

Reporting Dashboards

Ensure the technical support team has access to real-time reporting dashboards. Large TV monitors are ideal for giving agents visibility across the team’s KPIs, SLAs, and individual statistics. Awareness is critical, and by measuring against a target, this gives teams the drive to achieve it even without even speaking to them.

Continuous Improvement Must Be Continuous!

As apparent as the headline is, it is vital that refresher training for both agents and leaders is scheduled regularly and that best practices are updated continuously. Ensure that correct 1-2-1 sessions are held to discuss performance management and find ways to close any identified gaps in those sessions. Support agents with volumes of positive reinforcement and understanding that mistakes can happen. Focus on correcting errors (and procedures where possible) and on never being upset that they occurred, treat them as positive learning experiences for all stakeholders.

Continuous improvement can be extrapolated to include the ongoing development of team culture too. A team with strong social bonds will always outperform one that doesn’t. Invest in small regular social events and see the difference.

Conclusion

ICON Communication Centres has been providing technical support teams for global brands since 2003, and the above list of actions are a recipe for success when it comes to keeping customers satisfied.