Work The Bugs Out
If you sell software, your customers need support. Your customers expect that ongoing connection. In fact, many customers won’t even consider purchasing a software product without adequate customer support.
Software support does several things. First, it gives customers the knowledge they need to effectively use the product. It also gives customers an opportunity to request new functionalities and report bugs. Great software support can quickly turn a casual buyer into a dedicated lifetime customer.
When you provide software support, though, there are a few things you need to avoid at all costs. These can actually turn customers away from your company and ruin the customer experience. Here are the most common software support mistakes—and how to fix them—so you can deliver exceptional customer service every time.
Don’t treat support like an afterthought.
Software support is generally a necessity; that’s probably why you offer it. All too often, though, businesses treat support like an afterthought. No software is infallible. Even on release day, your product likely has issues that you simply couldn’t find in the testing process. Over time, users will find these problems and need your assistance. They will definitely notice if you take days to respond or fail to address the concern.
Of course, user error is a common problem, too. Even if it’s not an actual software issue, users expect help when they need it. As you release new features and fixes, make sure you also release documentation and training materials so users know how to access this new functionality. This helps ensure everyone is on the same page and cuts down on support tickets later.
Don’t waste time on canned responses.
If we’re being honest, no one likes automated responses. You feel like you’re talking to a machine, and a machine certainly doesn’t care about your problem. Canned responses are basically the same thing. Yes, an actual person may initiate the response, but that’s not the same as a real response.
That doesn’t mean you should never use automated responses, of course. They are a valuable tool when you need to save a few minutes. If a user’s question is a common concern, an auto response may be helpful and save a great deal of time. It’s best to use these types of responses to gather information about the problem and for simple questions.
If you go this route, though, make sure you personalize your messages so they feel more authentic. You should also refrain from using nothing but canned responses throughout a conversation. At some point, users appreciate a little bit of genuine human contact.
Most importantly, don’t send an auto response just to save time. If it 100% fits the question, send it. If you’re just trying to buy a little time, though, it’s better to ask the user to give you a moment and respond more appropriately when you can.
Don’t dismiss customers with poor attitudes.
That brings us to the next point: a bad attitude. We completely understand the frustrations of working in software support. Some of the questions are difficult. Some of the questions seem unnecessary. And sometimes you just get tired of seeing the same questions over and over again.
But please don’t let your customers see your frustration.
A poor attitude will quickly turn even the most understanding client against you. By the time they contact support, most customers are even more frustrated than you are. They’ve likely been dealing with this issue for a while, and they wish the software would just work. Even if the answer seems obvious or there isn’t a true problem with the software at all, try to stay patient. If you can’t be patient with customers, give yourself a little break to gather your thoughts before you return to work.
Don’t ignore customers who complain.
Finally—and perhaps most importantly—please don’t ignore customers who complain. This is simply bad business practice, and it may backfire. Not all complaints are legitimate, and you don’t necessarily need to admit fault if you feel the complaint is undeserved. But you should give yourself a moment to consider the customer’s perspective and then respond appropriately. This includes complaints made directly to your company as well as those on social media.
If you don’t respond at all, that may be the end of the conversation. Sometimes, though, the customer will look for another company to meet their needs. No one likes to be ignored. They may also tell their friends or post a bad review. People listen to word of mouth reviews more than any other type of marketing, so your business may suffer in this scenario.
You should also consider what could happen if you do respond. Your customer may love your response. Maybe it was a misunderstanding. Maybe it was a genuine error, and they accept your apology. Maybe you offer a great solution that works for everyone. You can often turn a negative situation into a positive customer experience when you respond to complaints. That’s a win-win for everyone.
If you’ve already made some of these mistakes, please don’t dwell on the past. You can correct your practices now and strengthen your software support services moving forward. The goal is to streamline your software support while also building a better relationship with your customers. We can help.