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Help Desk Best Practices

Help Desk best practices: ways your Help Desk personnel can assure good customer service.

You have a good product. Sales are up, and you're user-base is growing. One side-effect of having a useful and popular product is the need for product support. Your customers are going to need support at one time or another. The more customers you have, the more time you're going to need to spend on support. As you can imagine, without proper management, your support burden can quickly get out of hand.

One way to ensure good support management is to ensure your support personnel use the best practices they can. Using poor support methods leads to lost productivity, incorrect solutions to problems, frustrated customers, and potentially loss of sales and repeat business. Here are some recommendations for how your support personnel can best support your product and provide an exceptional customer experience via your Help Desk.

Correct Problem Definition

You wouldn't believe how easy it is for a support professional to misunderstand the problem as described by the customer. When a customer contacts you for support, you need to make sure you understand the exact issue they're having.

One way to do this is to have the support professional repeat the problem, as they understand it, back to the customer. Write down the issue as soon as possible after the customer initially defines their issue.

Having more than one person working on a specific issue compounds the problem further. Having the problem definition written down in a clear and understandable fashion helps keep everyone working on the same issue.

Consistent Customer Communication

Regardless of how much progress you may be making on a particular issue, you need to keep the customer apprised of your progress as often as possible. Exactly how often you update the customer is up to you. One recommendation is to update your customer at least once a week for any issues taking longer than a week to complete.

If you don't think the issue isn't going to take long to resolve, you might want to give the customer a rough estimate of how long you expect to take to resolve the issue and update accordingly.

Communicate at the Customer's Level

You're not doing the customer any favors if they don't understand what you're talking about when you solve their problem. The worst thing you can do is make the customer feel stupid when they don't understand what you're talking about.

Evaluate your customer's technical understanding and communicate at their level. You'll be surprised at how effective this practice is at making your customer feel like they're getting excellent service.

Use Help Desk Software

Simply put, you need some kind of Help Desk Software to manage your customer support issues. For one, you need a place to store the customer problem definition. When you create the customer issue via the Help Desk Software, you can describe the problem in the issue ticket. Likewise, you need a way to monitor the frequency of customer contact. You can update the ticket every time you contact the customer. Finally, you can keep a log of the communication you have with the customer and review it to ensure you're communicating at the right level.

Combining a correct problem definition, consistent customer communication, talking to the customer at their level of technical knowledge, and using Help Desk Software are key ingredients of Help Desk best practices. Using these practices, you are sure to have a higher customer satisfaction rating, improve the value of your product to your customer, and increase sales of your product.


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