4 Ways to Empower Your Engineers to Provide Excellent Customer Experiences
Cultivating a great customer experience relies on a quality product. That being said, your team absolutely needs to provide excellent customer care. Unless you have a dedicated and separate support team, you need to train your engineers to provide excellent customer experiences.
Even though those engineers are most likely more focused on production than honing their softer skills, you can’t ignore this opportunity to elevate your business.
How do you empower your team to deliver a truly excellent customer experience, every time? Here are 4 ways you can boost your customer experience today.
1) Don’t turn customer support into a chore
When engineering teams have to provide support, it’s often seen as a chore. Your team wants to be building and working on their product, not helping customers. When they do have to jump on a call, they can be grumpy and short with customers who don’t understand the product. They just want to get back to building something.
Avoid this conflict by building a culture that has customer support at its core, where every team member is trained on customer support.
Forbes suggests doing this through “an ‘all-hands’ approach to solving customer service problems once and for all: encouraging involvement from all departments after a customer service mishap occurs, to identify what led to the problem and find ways to prevent it in the future,” including your engineers.
Build customer support time into each day for each team member. With a small team, it’s important to share the load equally. If your manager does not do customer support, that makes it seem more like a burden on your engineers. If everyone does support, it can be seen more as a common responsibility.
Obviously, this has direct value in improving results, but it also has the added benefit of improving your company culture.
2) Give your engineers the tools they need
Don’t put engineers out on their own. Instead, provide them with the necessary training and include everyone in the support process.
It doesn’t matter if your engineer is the one to answer the call if they don’t know what to do with it. Giving them all the tools they need to give great customer experiences is the first step.
There are 4 things that every customer experience management needs to provide:
- Availability – Answer emails, live chat and calls quickly, if not instantly
- Accurate advice and figures – Give everyone access to the right information
- Consistency – Offer advice, figures, and quality that does not change
- Partnership – Help the customer feel like a partner, not an annoyance
So how can you make sure that your engineers can provide these features on a call, even when customer support is just a small part of their responsibilities?
Give everyone a cheat sheet with all the relevant information, recommendations and company tone of voice. That way, everyone has access to accurate information at all times, that information is consistent and the way of giving it is consistent.
Harris Interactive reports that “If you offer some sort of live service (phone or live chat), it’s paramount that you get customers to a live person in 2 minutes or less,” or else you risk losing credibility.
While a script can be useful in that it provides all the information you need to help your customers, it can result in wooden support. Your customer will have the best customer experience when they feel like they’re speaking to a human.
The best way around this is to provide the essentials but not a rigid script and give regular training on how to give great customer experience.
3) Let engineers concentrate on their talents
One of the reasons why engineers often feel like doing customer support is a chore is because it takes time away from what they’re really good at: developing ideas.
So it’s vital that you give your engineers all the time they need to concentrate on their core job, which is making your product better.
After all, great customer experience relies on a great product. By letting your engineers concentrate on making your product as good as it possibly can be, you’re not only giving them what they want, but you’re reducing the time you need to spend on customer support in the first place.
The better the product, the less support is needed.
So how can you do this?
4) Bring in a customer experience team who are experts at what they do
There are two extremes many companies take when it comes to customer experience.
- Put their experienced engineers on customer support duty, taking all of their time away from their core job: building the product.
- Hire a customer support team who do not have the technical background of the engineers.
In both of these cases, the customer can get a customer experience that is less than perfect. Either the engineer is bored and distracted by having to answer simple questions, or the customer support worker doesn’t know the answer.
So what’s the solution?
Many companies offer answering services that completely take care of your customer service calls for you. Often, these companies even track the calls to email. But answering services are often staffed by generic telephone workers and lack the specialized knowledge that your engineers have.
On the other hand, a virtual receptionist service like the one provided by Answer 1 uses trained customer service representatives who have specific knowledge in your field. We also offer training on-site at Answer 1, training with companies via conference call or webinar, or training conducted internally by Answer 1 trainers. Conference calls and demonstrations can be scheduled between your team and ours as needed, so we are always up to date on your product and preferences.
This way, your engineers can spend more time working on making the product better and less time dealing with questions that a customer experience professional could better deal with.
Your engineers can now help train the customer experience reps, spend more time building the product, and are only directly involved in customer support when a problem needs an engineering solution, which frees up their time and makes them feel more important.
Your team should all be prepared to handle customer support, but it is no longer a necessity with a virtual reception service that is in tune with your businesses needs.
So there we have it.
To help your engineers provide better customer experiences to your customers, you need to give them the tools and the time to work on the one thing that has the biggest impact on customer experience: the product.
By building a company culture that has customer experience embedded within, giving your team the training they need, and outsourcing customer excellence when necessary, you can empower your engineers to provide the best quality of service and product possible.