It’s 8 AM; you’ve just gotten into work. You grab your cup of coffee and turn on your computer. You settle in, ready for the daily grind. Your computer starts to turn on, but then makes an unusual noise, and suddenly a notorious blue screen appears in front of you. You’re not extremely concerned; your company has a great Managed Service Provider (MSP) that you can call and initiate a support session with. The question is, how do you ensure both you and your technician have the best support experience?
Technician: “Hello, this is Gloriann with Vision, how may I help you?”
Customer: “Hello, my computer has a blue screen. Can you assist me?”
Blue screens, or any other error that inhibits the technician’s ability to directly control the situation, are the most difficult to traverse. Technicians in this situation must not only have the ability to clearly communicate with the user, but also detect what level of technical familiarity the user may have.
Technician: “Oh, that’s not a problem, I’ll be more than happy to assist you. Please hold on a moment while I look up some information. May I ask your first and last name and the company you’re calling with?”
Customer: “Absolutely, my name is Mary Smith, I work with ABC Corp.”
It’s protocol to first open the ticket with the user so the issue can be tracked from the moment it is reported. Additionally, most tickets will have billing information associated with it. Many MSPs have different levels of support packages, and depending on which one your company has, the technician must take different steps.
Now, if you’re the customer, you already know you’re in for the long haul. You’ve heard of blue screens, and know that they can sometimes mean there’s a fatal problem with the computer.
The technician knows this as well. On the other end, they’re already thinking of the different troubleshooting steps they will walk you through, and the worst-case scenario. The worst-case scenario being that the technician will come pick up the laptop and set you up with a loaner or a ‘floater’. They are also conscientious that with each passing moment, the customer is losing time that would otherwise be spent doing important work.
Technician: “Thank you for being so patient. I have your information pulled up and am ready to troubleshoot the issue with you. Can you provide the error code on the screen?”
Now, to you, the customer, everything is an error code. There’s a big unhappy face on the screen and some text, and some other gobbly-gook down at the bottom. The technician senses your hesitation.
Technician: “The error code should be down at the bottom in small text.”
Customer: “Ah, I see. The error code is 0x00000007”
Technician: “Thank you very much. Please allow me to moment to look this up.”
Technician: “Let’s reboot the computer.”
Customer: “How do I do that?”
Technician: “Hold down the power button for about ten seconds until the screen goes black.”
Customer: “Okay. The computer is off.”
Technician: “Great! Now let’s turn it back on.”
You push the power button, the computer spins, makes the same noise and returns to the blue screen. You feel your hopes drop. It’s already been ten minutes since the conversation started and you’re losing time.
Customer: “The same error message appeared.”
Technician: “That’s unfortunate to hear. I realize how frustrating this must be. Please bear with me so we can restore your computer as quickly as possible.”
The technician is also feeling the pressure, but a good technician knows the difference between a customer and themselves; a technician deals with this sort of issue almost daily. There is no conception that the problem is unfixable; a technician knows in their mind that no issue is unsolvable given time and resources. To the customer, this is unusual and stressful. They do not know how or when the issue will be resolved. Therefore, a conscientious technician will always keep this in mind and keep cool no matter what problem is thrown at them. Even so, it helps if a customer is willing to work calmly with the technician.
In the scenario presented, an ideal situation would end with the computer being restored through advanced repair options built into the Windows operating system. (If you’re not familiar with that, here’s an article you can read on how to perform a System Restore on a Windows 10 computer). Unfortunately, it’s known that these ideal situations rarely happen. Wherever humans are involved, human error occurs.
What can we do — as customers and technicians — to ensure every ticket goes smoothly? How can we provide the best support experience for each other?
We compiled suggestions from tech blogs and business reviews alike to bring you the answers.
1. Brush Up On Your Phone Answering Technique
Before answering the phone, try smiling. Everything from tone to annunciation can affect the remainder of the call. Be cheerful and genuinely interested in the resolve of the customer’s issue. A conscientious technician states their name and company before answering the phone, so the customer knows exactly who and what they are dealing with.
2. Be Conscientious of the Customer
As displayed in the scenario illustrated in this article, not everyone can pick up on tech lingo so easily, because everyone has different levels of familiarity with technology. Breaking down each step before walking the customer through them. Creating and maintaining detailed documentation will help with this. Speaking clearly will help avoid any confusion as well. Lastly, being aware of the customer’s general age can help with communication as well. Studies show that different generations have different styles of communication.
Another tip that can improve satisfaction; if the issue is taking a while to resolve, but does not require customer input, ask if you can call them back. They may be relieved. Give them the ticket number for reference.
3. Be Detailed-When Documenting Tickets, and Inquire About Past Experiences
A Harvard Business Review article states that “organizations able to skillfully manage the [end-to-end journey] reap enormous rewards.” What does this mean? It means that customers often gauge their experience not with a single experience, but with the cumulative experiences that they have over time. If they have more bad experiences than good, then they will be dissatisfied. We can prevent this by:
- AAsking the customer at the beginning of each call, “Is this a new or existing issue?”
- Checking the ticket history to see what has already been done for the customer
- Detailing your troubleshooting steps and resolution in the ticket.
Being detailed in your ticketing can not only improve the customer experience, it can be helpful to other technicians when trying to troubleshoot similar issues.
4. Take Ownership
A conscientious technician assumes the action is on them at all times. Even if there is an on-going ticket that requires action from the customer, follow up with the customer regularly, even daily.
5. Know When to Escalate the Issue
Even if a technician has the right resources at hand, the second set of eyes with more expertise will provide a faster resolve. Ask the customer what the priority of the ticket is at the beginning of the call, and be conscientious of the time you spend troubleshooting.
1. Be Polite
The technician’s job is to help the customer, and if the relationship is symbiotic, the issue can be resolved quicker!
2. Be Prepared
If this is an ongoing issue, have the ticket number ready. The technician will be able to immediately pull up the ticket. If the issue only happens at a certain time or place, try to reach out to technical support with those conditions in mind. For example, if an issue only happens at home, but a customer calls when they are at work, the technical support may not be able to help much.
3. Leave Constructive Feedback
If the technician did not resolve an issue, the company can only resolve it or take corrective action if they know about it. At Vision, there are surveys sent out after a ticket is closed. Fill those out to help improve the overall customer experience.
If the technician did a great job, tell them! Odds are it will not only make their day, but it also creates opportunities for incentive within the company.