Leading a support team is not always easy. A support manager must have a lot of everything.
For support technicians or anyone working in customer service, it is necessary to know the company’s product or service throughout. In addition, you must also be able to handle customers in an efficient and empathetic way. Often there is also some time pressure involved in the mix, no company wants to let their customers wait. Today, customer service is an important foundation in all companies and the support team must deliver, at every contact.
To be able to lead a support team, everything is required above, and a little more. You must be able to motivate, keep together and help your team.
But how do you do to create a well-functioning support team? We have gathered the most important things you should think about as a support manager.
Always be customer-centric
By always starting from the customer’s wishes and needs, in everything you do, you automatically ensure that you work in the right direction. This can be anything from staff changes to training. By always listening to customers’ responses, you can know directly what customers want you to improve and what you are already doing right.
Do you notice that more customers choose to call instead of email, then it is obviously time to redistribute so more employees are active in different response groups and such. If you often get questions on the same topic then this may be something that you need to improve or clarify in your product or service.
Build and develop empathy
A dissatisfied customer wants to be heard and understood. If they do not feel that need is being met, it often happens that customers still feel dissatisfied, despite the fact that the error has been rectified. To be able to lead a support team, of course, the support manager must also possess this characteristic.
One concrete example is being able to get to know their customers’ starting point. Take us at Soluno as an example. We sell a fairly technical service, but at the same time the technical knowledge varies greatly between customers. This means that we must be able to meet different customers at different levels when they have questions or problems arise. Some customers understand complicated terms while some customers need support for more basic functions. By being responsive and empathetic, our technicians can put themselves at the right level to provide every customer with a good service.
Efficient and clear communication
But of course it is equally important that the customer get a quick solution to their problem. Effective and clear communication is crucial when it comes to building good customer relationships. Here, as a support manager, you must be able to help prioritize various issues to ensure that the most urgent is done first. Be clear about what is expected but try to keep the information brief. Embroidering a problem in a long mail is rarely effective, test bullet points instead. It is usually much easier to absorb quickly.
The same goes for your employees. They need to be able to communicate effectively and clearly with the end customer. Encourage them to ask questions so that they truly understand the customer’s problems fully before they start troubleshooting or remedying the problem. Often, those extra questions, asked right at the beginning, can save a lot of time in the end.
Keep your motivation up
Dealing with difficult cases or dissatisfied customers is not always the easiest. In order for a support team to perform at on top, they must feel good about themselves. Having a reasonable workload is extremely important. Support staff who have an overload of tasks will find it difficult to give customers good service. Make sure employees have time to take breaks and be able to talk to their colleagues.
You as a support manager must be resourceful when it comes to motivate your team. Feel free to start competitions that will be able to push them, maybe a prize to the person who takes the most calls or who gets the best rating from your customers. Try to keep it up-to-date, so that it will not always be the same type of competition or the same type of reward.
Customer service managers must live as they learn
“Can I talk to your boss?” When customers are really dissatisfied, they usually want to have contact with the person who is ultimately responsible. Therefore, the customer service manager often has to deal with the most difficult situations. A customer service manager needs to be able to live as they learn and handle customers just as well as their employees. Support managers need to be equally familiar with the systems, product or service and they need to be part of the gang of employees.
That said, being a support manager is not always easy. But with the right focus and energy, a manager can help lift a team to a whole new level.