7 Expert’s Advice for Aspiring Support Agents

Customer service can be an amazing and rewarding but also a stressful and thankless job. But at the end of the day, support is all about helping people and making their day a little brighter.

You’ve probably came across the “anybody can do in support, because it’s easy” opinion, but it’s absolutely not the case. A customer service career is not without its challenges. Working on the phone all day, managing tickets and dealing with complaints can be hard, but the skills and competencies you’ll develop far outweigh those challenges.

To have a successful career in support, there is value in learning from those who have studied it longer and developed a true understanding of the absolute best customer service practices. And who can teach you better than long-time support experts who have encountered many situations in their careers?

So, if you want to kick-start your career in customer service or you want to improve yourself in a current job, here are a few fantastic advice from experts from all over the world:

Most onboarding into support teach you to triage as a way to get information. Triage questions are often very generic and rarely focused on the problem the customer is reporting. This results in the customer answering questions that won’t progress the ticket towards resolution.

I don’t like that approach. You have a good idea of what you are going to do with the information you are asking the customer for, so why not share that with the customer?

Learn to explain to customers your thought process, and set expectations up front. For example, Instead of asking “What do you see when you click the button?” in a single email, list the steps you expect “If you see A when you click the button, try unselecting B, if you do not see A, then try clicking on C. If neither of those work, send me a screenshot of D.” Taking the time to list out your thought process helps the customer take on more steps and reduces the amount of iterations with a customer. It also help to set the expectation if your steps don’t work, so the customer is clear on what they need to do.

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Our advice is to remember during challenging calls that it’s not personal and to seize the opportunity to turn the caller’s day around, we’ve all been in their shoes.

We are intentionally candid with our agents about worst case customer service scenarios before they ever hit the floor. We teach them coping mechanisms to handle angry callers with empathy and patience. How? By playing past call recordings that serve as good examples and also by role playing.

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To build a career in customer support, you need to start thinking about the bigger picture beyond the ticket in front of you.

Helping the person in front of you is great, but how can you stop the customer from having that issue in the first place? How can you stop the next 10 customers from running into this issue? Being able to think holistically about the customer experience and tying that back into business goals is what separates entry level agents from long term customer support professionals.

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The most important thing is to make the customer happy.

In the end it’s the only thing that really matters. If the customer is happy and satisfied with your service, you did your job. How you got there is not that important. It does not matter if you actually help the customer with his complicated technical issue that he initially contacted you about if he gives you a 10 out of 10 rating after you are done with him. You can talk your way out of any situation if you are good enough. Communication skills are more important than technical skills.

support advice

Focus on becoming a pro at identifying a customer’s issue, knowing where to find answers, and on quality. Speed will come as a result.

In my experience, it’s very tempting for a new support team member to focus on speed, attempting to ramp up faster than they should or are expected to. Oftentimes, this results in bad habits being formed early on and fundamentals not being honed during this crucial onboarding period.

If you can become a master at the more challenging part of the job, not only will your customers be more satisfied, you’ll be able to solve their issues with less back and forth. It’s also something that is transferable from support team to support team. The issues and answers might be different, but the logical reasoning and problem solving skills can be applied to your next role!

Don’t be afraid to dive into unknown tasks if there’s an opportunity to do so.

Even if a task usually goes to a developer, still try to solve the problem. The more questions a technical support specialist can solve, the more people are happier: users (because they get the problem solved fast), developers (because they are not distracted by other tasks) and colleagues (because the have a precious source of information).

A common mindset for entry-level support professionals is treating it like a stepping stone or “paying your dues” until you can move into another department. Don’t be that person.

Active listening, problem solving and understanding the customer mindset are cornerstones of support and absolutely fundamental skills to have in any role within an organization. Every single department has a customer base (internal or external) and provides support. If you set out to master support as a discipline, you’re building a transferable skill set as you grow your career.

Be patient with yourself and always keep learning and asking questions. There are hundreds of books, blogs and other resources dedicated to tips for improve your skills. Perhaps, you can start with subscribing to Nicereply blog with full of tips & tricks or joining Support Driven #leadership community with over 5000+ members from support world.

Good luck with your future customer service career!



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Improve your #custserv & #custexp with Nicereply - a customer satisfaction survey software, including CSAT, NPS & CES 2.0