How Technical Support Impacts Customer Truth & Loyalty
August 16, 2012
August 16, 2012
Every technology company offers some form of technical support to customers and users. Some, obviously, do so better than others. So, what’s the difference between great technical support and “me too” support that leaves customers wanting more?
The answer depends on how well you integrate the three points of truth for your customers, which include:
• Brand – what your customers think of you, hear about you, and believe is true about you
• Product – what your customers get and use that your company provides
• Service – how your customers gain value from the personal interactions they have with your company
Many technology companies focus on brand and product, but often provide less than optimal service in support of both. Service is the one point that can have a major impact on the perceptions of brand and product that your customers hold as their “truth” about your company. It’s the only point of truth that influences the other two. The impact can be even more powerful when the service requested is technical support.
Consider what can happen when a purchase goes wrong:
The customer buys a product that they believe will give them capabilities that their current, similar product will not. But the learning curve is steep and they can’t get the product to perform as easily as they thought. The customer turns to the support center for help. The type of service they receive, concern of the agent for their problem, and getting efficiently to a resolution will shift their perceptions of brand and product as an outcome from that call.
Your customer will remember extremes. If the service was unsatisfactory and frustrating, your customer will remember it—likely with amplification. If the support provided was helpful, efficient, and solved their problems—and a few they didn’t even know about—they’ll remember it positively.
Obviously, you want your customers to remember you for the right reasons. But what if the support was bland, the customer felt like an account number, and the issue was resolved but took far too long, with multiple stints on hold. (We’ve all had those. In fact, they’re pretty much the norm.) The customer may have ended the call with the problem solved, but the experience is totally forgettable.
You certainly don’t want that outcome. That’s “me too” support that does nothing to increase satisfaction or build loyalty. Those are two of the factors that technical support must reinforce to keep customers from switching when a competitor’s next product comes along tempting them to defect.
You can see from this example that the quality of technical support can play a very real role in affecting your customer’s perception of your brand and product. If your support services aren’t creating memorable moments of truth for your customers, you need to gather input for improvement.
Look Outside and Inside to Improve Customer Truth
If you invite customers to speak to you and share their opinions, insights, and ideas, they’ll become distanced if nothing ever changes. But, once you know what makes a difference to them, you’ll be able to avoid costly investments that don’t provide a return and choose the simple things that make a big difference.
Let’s face it. Customers can buy a similar product or service from someone else. One of the biggest differentiators for technology companies is the support they provide that’s designed to reinforce their brand and products. By supporting a customer truth that builds loyalty and longer-term relationships, value is added to both the customer and your company.
An outsourced partner can put technical support services in place that build that kind of customer truth. The results for you include higher customer ratings, greater customer loyalty, more engagement with buyers, and an up-lift in sales and ratings.
What’s the truth about your technical support?