Customers, either internal or external, are people first. Treat them as such and you will stand a better chance of providing quality service, even when things go wrong. Here are seven tips for IT service professionals to communicate with customers with empathy.

by Chris Hanna
September 22, 2020

Regardless of the role, everyone supports customers. While it’s not always apparent to everyone, there are two types of customers, too – internal and external. In many industries and businesses, technical support agents support both internal and external customers. Despite the best strategies and processes, it’s important to sometimes remind those providing technical support one crucial thing - all customers, whether internal or external, are people first.

Every customer has some common traits that they share. Chief among these is that everyone wants to feel important. Their reason for seeking assistance matters to them. To helpensure customers feel important, here are seven ways that technical support agents can make any customer, internal or external, feel important, told from the customer’s point of view:

Acknowledge me.

I know we are all busy. I also appreciate that sometimes there are things outside of your control, too. I know computers can be slow, or sometimes systems go down. Work piles up, I get it. When I ask for help, though, it would be great to hear back from you to acknowledge that you received my request. I don’t like waiting while not knowing what’s happening with my case.

Use my name.

I’m a person. I have a name. While you might have a case, ticket, or reference number to identify me, I’m still a person. I have a name, and I like it when you use it. If I have called you before, and you have my phone number or email address, you have my name, use it. With your best judgment, decide how formal or informal you want to address me.

Listen.

It’s important that I’m heard and that you actually listen. If you want to help me, you will do your best to listen. It makes me feel important, as it shows me that you care. I prefer to avoid any confusion or frustration, so if you are not sure what I have said, or if I am not clear, ask me to clarify.

Apologize.

Sometimes, I just want to hear a genuine apology. I know that you might be required to say certain things. We’re all evaluated at work in some capacity, I get it. Things don’t always go well, and since I am talking to you, please give me a legit apology. Sometimes, that apology can make all the difference.

Make it easy for me.

If there is a way to make support easier for me, I’m usually all for it. The smoother the support experience is, the happier I’ll be. Time is important to me, and by saving it for me, I’ll feel like you care. Set up my equipment completely, log in on my behalf, do whatever you can to save time for me, and make it easy. I’ll appreciate it.

Don’t leave me wanting more.

If I need something else to complete my request, let me know. I’m looking for a complete solution. I understand that troubleshooting can require some back and forth, but please give me what I need the first time I contact you. There’s only so much time available, and while I am sure you are kind, I’d prefer not to have to contact support again.

Thank me. If I have given you feedback that you requested, via your survey, take the time to thank me for it. If you don’t appreciate it, maybe I won’t give you feedback next time around. I enjoy being allowed to share my opinion when it is done the right way. If you want more details, ask me, but know I might not be able to respond right away.

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All customers want to feel important. With these reminders in mind, technical support agents stand a better chance of making their customers feel appreciated. The right processes and strategies are, of course, important, but simplifying support to treat customers as people is vital. Treat people as they want to be treated, and the support experience will create greater satisfaction and more loyal customers.


Chris Hanna has built and led teams that support the customer experience across a variety of different industries, including a global technical support team. He’s passionate about developing high-potential talent and game-changing cultures, through continuous improvement efforts focused on enhancing both the employee and customer experience. As the founder of Evolving Management, Chris provides solutions to help leaders and companies rethink and evolve their approach to managing. Chris also hosts a business podcast—The Chris Hanna Show—where he shares ways for leaders to improve their impact, productivity, and performance. Connect with Chris on Twitter @chrishannashow, Instagram , LinkedIn, or at [email protected].


Tag(s): supportworld, culture, service quality, customer experience, customer service, communications skills

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