by: Maureen Lobue
Support Professional: Is it plugged in? Customer: Of course it’s plugged in. I can see the cord. It just doesn’t work. I may be new to this job but I have used computers before, even though it was a while ago when you just had to type in the command and enter. How can I learn how to use your software when the stupid mouse doesn’t even work?
Support Professional: Ok, I think I know the problem then. There is a reported bug with a mouse driver and our software. I’d be happy to send you the patch and that should fix the problem.
Customer: Thanks, I appreciate your help. I need to get this fixed right away because my new boss wants a report soon and I kind of fudged on how much I know about computers and the program when I got the job.
Support Professional: No problem. Have someone help you load this patch and give me a call if you need anything else. I’m sure this will take care of it.
So, how well did the support professional handle this call? Was she professional? Did she solve the problem? Was the customer satisfied? It seems so. However, a short time later the customer calls back quite distraught when the patch unfortunately does not make the mouse work any better. Now the customer is quite upset because time was lost waiting for the patch and he still can’t produce the expected report. What went wrong? Read the second call scenario.
Customer: I thought you said that patch would fix my mouse. I still can’t make it work and now my boss is asking for that report. I’m going to be in big trouble if I don’t turn something in soon.
Support Professional: I’m sorry. I was sure that was the right fix because other people had trouble with the cursor freezing too and this patch fixed it.
Customer: It wasn’t freezing. It just wouldn’t move at all.
Support Professional: Oh, that’s different then. Can you describe what happens when you move the mouse on the mouse pad?
Customer: What mouse pad? What’s a mouse pad? I’m waving the mouse in front of the screen and the cursor just sits there no matter how close or far away I hold it!
What did the support professional do wrong? She didn’t listen to the customer in the first call, who dropped hints at his novice level. Instead, the professional jumped to conclusions based on other known situations and gave the wrong solution. The result was a frustrated customer and a longer resolution time than should have been necessary.
Experienced support professionals are often in danger of doing this because they have a high level of expertise and experience. But it is critical to listen to each customer situation and hear the clues they give. Use a comprehensive listening approach to determine the facts and get at the real issue.
Effective listening requires using the appropriate approach of five identified listening approaches and then following the other three steps in problem solving; understand, repeat, and educate. This requires the discipline of slowing down the communication to avoid jumping to conclusions.
The Certified Support Specialist (CSS) certification course, developed and taught by Service Strategies Corp., devotes an entire module to this critical skill. Many students comment after the class that this skill was one of the most valuable concepts in the class for increasing productivity and decreasing frustration and resolution time.
To learn more about how CSS can help you solve basic and complex problems successfully, contact Service Strategies Corporation via telephone at 800/552-3058 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.sspacertification.com to view an outline of the course.