Experienced agents and managers might think they know all about good customer support practices – and to be fair, experience is very valuable in this field. But it can also make us fall into bad habits and stagnant routines over time. And as the market changes, so do customer support. Therefore re-evaluating our approach is crucial. Let’s discuss common customer support misconceptions that should be avoided.
#1 No Complaints Is a Good Thing!
Our first customer support misconception is receiving no or a tiny number of complaints means the customers are happy. Bluntly, there are always ‘complaints’ as long as there are customers.
Not receiving complaints signifies that fewer people are using your product or service. It could be that it has not acquired enough customers or because they have silently abandoned your brand. It could also indicate that the communication route with your customers is broken and their messages are not reaching the support agents.
In any case, not hearing from your customers means that something is wrong and should be investigated.
#2 We’re Doing Something Wrong
Receiving numerous ‘complaints’ means that we are doing something wrong or our customers are unhappy. ‘Complaints’ is in apostrophes because most customer messages are not even complaints.
Customers contact you for various reasons, mostly to ask questions and information about your products or services. These requests are no-brainers that can be answered immediately by article suggestions in your help centre or FAQs. If you notice the same questions are asked repeatedly, it indicates it is time to update your product’s FAQ or implement an automated route to tackle common questions.
Remember, receiving many customer requests also means that people are actively using your product or service!
#3 AI Will Replace Real Agents
This was a concern a few years ago, but now we know AI has not replaced real agents. The use of answer bots, article suggestions etc., is merely an attempt to reduce the volume of requests received daily and spare agents the need to handle repetitive questions that can be answered via automation. They can instead focus on escalations and issues that require further evaluation or investigation. After all, AI cannot replace human interaction that includes understanding emotions and context, evaluating when a request needs further investigation or qualifies as an exception from the ‘handbook’.
#4 Customers Always Prefer Talking to Real People
What customers truly want is the answer to their questions or the solution to their problem now. If an automatic implementation can provide what they are looking for, they might prefer that over waiting for an agent to handle their request. Brands like to think that it is necessary to engage on a personal level with every customer request, but this can end up being exhausting both for the customer and the support agents. Personal engagement is surely the route for more complex requests or issues but for simpler requests, automation can speed up the process for both parties.
#5 Invest in Marketing Over Support
Another common misconception is that investing in marketing will bring more customers than investing in support.
While this makes sense, it does not guarantee that customers will stay. Building a very good product and a trustworthy support route is equally important. The customers will find you because of good marketing but having them stay and trust you is a different story. No matter how fun the marketing presentation might be, most people are not willing to put up with an unstable product or a questionable brand name behind it.
#6 We Must Exceed Customer Expectations
While this is a nice theory, it is nearly impossible to guarantee for every customer. ‘Customer satisfaction’ is what each customer perceives at a single time, not an objective truth. Furthermore, a satisfied customer is usually loyal only until they have a single bad experience with your product/service or they find a better experience elsewhere.
Overall, shift focus from exceeding customer expectations to meeting customer needs consistently and effectively.
#7 Let’s Do It Cheap
A common customer support misconception: a free support route (e.g. emails) is all you need to handle customer support. This approach can work for very small companies with a limited amount of requests per day. But in our experience, anything above 100+ requests per day will only make things complicated both for your agents and customers.
Investing in a good support tool is essential to organise your tickets, categorise the issues, and build and automate procedures and structures. Ultimately making your and the user’s customer service journey as smooth as possible.
#8 More Hands Means Faster Support
Last but not least, on our list of customer support misconceptions: do more hands mean faster support? Depends.
If you are understaffed, then this is an issue to be addressed. But sometimes, the pains detected in customer support are nothing more than the effect of a broken product, a team that does not know the product well enough to support it, or an ever-changing product whose changes are not documented and communicated.
Ensuring that you provide well-built and stable products and proper training to your agents is as essential as a fully staffed team.
Remember, the number of requests your support team receives indicates how many people care for your product/service. Furthermore, automation can help your agents do their job more efficiently but cannot replace them. And finally, investing in customer support in terms of staff, tools, and training is as essential for customer retention as a good and well-marketed product. And there we have our common customer support misconceptions.