IT support teams have a tough job. Fielding calls from frustrated, angry, stressed clients every day isn’t a career just anyone signs up for.
A well-running support team can be a huge asset to your company, though, whether they’re supporting your internal team or your customers. Internal support teams keep your business running smoothly and affect productivity in every department.
Customer-facing support staff can improve loyalty, serve as a valuable source of feedback on your products and services, and provide insight on shifts in the market.
It pays to support your support staff. Here are seven tips to keep the team running smoothly and serving your business:
Give them the proper tools: The proper platforms for ticket submission and management can go a long way in making a hard job easier. Whether tickets are primarily submitted directly from clients, or through phone representatives taking customer calls, choose a system that is a good fit for your business.
You don’t want a ticketing system full of drop-downs with options that make no sense and a workflow that’s not intuitive. You’ll end up with employees frustrated by poor productivity and customers who have to work extra hard to get their problems solved.
Interested in more IT tools? Check out our Useful Hardware and Software Tools for Network Managers.
Implement repeatable processes: As your company adds new products and services, your support staff’s responsibilities are likely to grow. Duties that were once occasional or one-off occurrences may become more commonplace. As much as you can, implement repeatable systems and processes, you’ll save time and money in the long run by not asking your staff to reinvent the wheel every time they need to accomplish a task.
Provide adequate training: Hopefully it’s a given that the service team has the technical knowledge they need to either solve customers’ problems or escalate them efficiently. Allow sufficient time for support staff to get to know the ins and outs of the products they’re servicing; so they can learn as many fixes as possible on the fly.
When designing your training plans, don’t forget to prepare support staff for all of the different kinds of people-related scenarios they may run into. Not everyone is a natural communicator on the phone or in writing. Some of your best tech support employees may benefit from some tips in these areas.
Knowing how to make customers feel supported and leave the conversation happy, even when the outcome isn’t what they want, is a trainable skill that can turn frustrated customers into loyal repeat business.
Act on their feedback: Your support team is one of the best sources of customer feedback you’ll get. By listening to reports they provide on the most common issues, you can gain insight on the market that will inform not only areas of improvement, but potentially future product and service development. Customer problems can be opportunities for your business to create solutions. Gather this feedback systematically and implement a system for evaluating its meaning for future planning.
Manage the cycles of the business: Depending on your industry, your support team might have seasons that are especially busy and some that are quiet and boring. Take advantage of seasonality to schedule important trainings and know when to encourage people to use their time off. Also get an idea of how much ramp-up time you need to onboard new or temporary staff for the busiest seasons so that you’re not scrambling to train new people right as the biggest waves hit.
Keep them connected: Establish good communication channels between the support team and the rest of the business. These need to go both directions. Company decision-makers and stakeholders benefit from knowing key reporting metrics for proper budgeting and staffing management.
When outages or slow-downs are expected, it’s hard to over-communicate to your users about what to expect and when. At the same time, keep your support staff in the loop about what other departments are doing that may affect them so they feel their contributions to the bigger picture. For example, if there’s a major product update coming up that could spike customer call volume, keep staff informed so they’re ready for longer or busier days.
Prevent burnout with proper recognition: All of the tips above, done properly, will improve employee satisfaction and reduce burnout. Support can be a high turnover business, but you can implement measures to minimize it by making sure employees know they’re valued. Setting measurable goals, providing proper recognition for good performance, and implementing transparent processes for promotion are among them.
Not all rewards have to be monetary to be effective. What’s important is to be clear about performance expectations, remove obstacles to their achievement, and acknowledge excellent work.
The support staff’s success can have a huge impact throughout your business, from internal productivity to revenue retention to new product development.
With the right tools and processes, adequate training, seasonality management, communication channels, and performance recognition, you’ll empower your support team to do their best work.