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Chapter 3 Customer Service Skills for User Support Agents.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3 Customer Service Skills for User Support Agents."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 3 Customer Service Skills for User Support Agents

2 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 2 Learning Objectives The importance of communications skills and customer service relationships Reasons for careful listening and reading How to build and communicate understanding Important aspects of effective speaking in a support interaction How to develop an incident management strategy Strategies for difficult clients Other components of excellent customer service continued

3 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 3 Communication and interpersonal skills are important to learn and use Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are often more challenging for new support workers to learn and use than technical or business skills!

4 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 4 A Customer Service Ethic A customer-service ethic an organization-wide philosophy shared by everyone viewpoint: client relationships and client satisfaction are the most important aspect of a business

5 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 5 Satisfied versus Dissatisfied Customers Satisfied customers are likely to be repeat customers Dissatisfied customer incidents usually take longer to handle Dissatisfied customers generate: Lengthy incidents Repeated help desk contacts Complaints and ill-will Incidents that must be rerouted Product returns and refunds

6 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 6 A Customer-Service Ethic translates into a commitment Provide users with information, service, or solution they need Explain to customers what can be done for them if the problem cannot be solved Treat clients with respect Communicate to clients when they should expect to receive the service or information they need Return calls or e-mails when promised

7 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 7 Communications Skills for Customer Service Three essential communication skills Listen carefully Build understanding Respond effectively

8 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 8 Listen Carefully Problem description Language used to describe the problem Clues to caller’s experience level How the caller describes the problem Tone of voice Use of technical terms Strategy: Look for a communication skills course to build listening skills

9 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 9 Build Understanding Develop empathy with a client Empathy: An understanding of and identification with a client’s situation, thoughts, and feelings Example: “It sounds like you’ve had a frustrating morning, but I think I can help you with this...”

10 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 10 Build Understanding (continued) Try to express the problem in your own words Communicate to a client that you view him or her as a person rather than a phone call or a problem Techniques: Visualization Inclusive language: We, rather than I Smile!

11 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 11 Respond Effectively Recognize the importance of a sincere greeting Icebreaker First impression Example: This is Joel in Computer Support. Thank you very much for calling. How can I help you?

12 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 12 Use Scripts Appropriately Script Prepared sequence of questions and statements used to handle parts of an incident May include decision points and branches to handle different situations Tip: Don’t read lengthy scripts or responses to questions; restate the response in your own words if possible

13 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 13 Use Tone and Style Effectively Use clear, succinct speech Speak slowly but not so slowly as to sound condescending Use short sentences Avoid a rising inflection at the end of sentences Avoid empty phrases Phrase communication with clients positively

14 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 14 Relative importance of elements of communication

15 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 15 Develop an Incident Management Strategy Incident management strategy Techniques, tools and strategies that support specialists use to move through an incident effectively and efficiently from initial greeting to the end of the incident

16 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 16 Goals of Incident Management Provide user with information she or he needs Manage stress levels for both the user and support agent Ensure that the incident progresses from start to finish in an effective and efficient way Make the user more self-reliant

17 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 17 Resources for Incident Management Organizational policies on incident management philosophy and expectations Strategies covered in training programs Observation and imitation of respected senior support agents Personal communication style Feedback on strengths and areas for improvement

18 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 18 Incident Management Suggestions

19 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 19 Customer Service and Personality Types Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) A test that measures basic personality on four dimensions

20 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 20 Customer Service and Personality Types (continued) Four Dimensions: Where do you direct your energy?  Introversion (I) versus Extroversion (E) How do you process information?  Sensing (S) versus Intuition (N) How do you make decisions?  Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F) How do you organize your life?  Judging (J) versus Perceiving (P)

21 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 21 Customer Service and Personality Types (continued) Use: to help understand how users and coworkers use different approaches to problems, communications, and learning Examples of 16 possible types ISTJ (Introvert, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) ENFP (Extrovert, Intuition, Feeling, Perceiving) Each person is a mixture of the 4 types No personality type is correct or best Most people are a mixture of pure types

22 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 22 Strategies for Difficult Clients and Incidents Difficult client is one who requires special handling strategies because the user is angry, not communicative, rude or abusive Focus on: the specific problem getting the needed information to the client providing excellent customer service in a respectful manner getting on to the next incident

23 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 23 Callers Who Complain Give ample opportunity for the user to voice complaints Use empathy Don’t take the complaint personally Tip: Remember that complaints can be a valuable source of feedback

24 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 24 Calls from “Power Users” Power user is one who is technically knowledgeable, or thinks they are, or who believes they warrant special treatment Use inclusive language that makes the user feel like a member of the team Use an authoritative tone

25 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 25 Incidents that Get off the Track Refocus the incident Apologize for lack of prompt resolution Summarize the basic problem information Offer to continue to work toward a solution

26 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 26 Users Who Are Upset or Angry Let users vent their anger Reassure user that the problem is an important one and that you are willing to help resolve it Remember that angry users may continue to vent Avoid defensiveness Don’t sound patronizing

27 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 27 Users Who Are Abusive Abusive user is one who is rude, uses inappropriate language, or makes personal attacks on a support agent Goal: First transform an incident into one where the user is just angry (no longer abusive) Then work to satisfy the needs of the user (result is a successful incident) Follow the support organization’s policies and procedures for this type of incident

28 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 28 Users Who Are Reluctant to Respond Use very simple language Avoid technical jargon Try different kinds of questions Give positive feedback when the user provides useful information Suggest exchanging information in a different mode (e- mail, chat session, face to face)

29 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 29 Users Who Won’t Stop Responding Use behavior that indicates the contact is over Summarize the incident and describe the conclusion Thank the user for calling Express your belief that the problem is solved Use short answers that don’t provide a lead-in to additional conversation or communication

30 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 30 Client-friendly Web Sites Support Web site is primarily a one-way method of communication via the Internet Cost effective method of user communication Customer-service ethic applies to Web site design Common purposes: Provide product information Take sales orders Contact technical support Provide software updates and downloads Communicate with end users

31 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 31 Criteria for Evaluating a Support Web Site Content Organization Format Mechanics Accurate Up-to-date Well-organized Avoids information overload Avoids graphics that download slowly Organized by clients needs Uses small units of information Effective navigation aids Correct spelling Correct grammar

32 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 32 Comprehensive Client Services Excellent customer service is based on specific values, attitudes, and actions Clients are the primary reason for the support organization’s existence Willingness to take extra measures to satisfy clients Ability to provide client satisfaction depends on adequate support resources (staffing, equipment, budget) Excellent client service skills apply to telephone, face-to-face, and written communications

33 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 33 Chapter Summary Communication and interpersonal skills are the foundations of excellent customer service Listen carefully to a user’s problem description, language and tone Build understanding by restating a problem and through empathy with a user Respond effectively with a greeting, use of scripts and an appropriate tone and style Develop a personal incident management strategy

34 Guide to Computer User Support, 3e 34 Chapter Summary (continued) Basic personality types can help explain differences in communication, learning and work styles among users and coworkers Difficult incidents and users require special skills and strategies A support Web site is cost-effective, but its design should be client-friendly All forms of communication with users benefit from a comprehensive approach to client services


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