Consumer technical support services and their types: Consumer technical support can be defined as the type of service provided by a company to resolve any technical issues faced by their customers, that can be from a simple login issue to repairing or replacing a system’s hardware. Some of the major consumer technical support services include:
- PCs with Windows and Mac OS
- Wired and Wireless Networking
- Devices like Smartphones and Tablets
- Mobile OS – Android, Blackberry, iOS, Windows Phone
- Consumer Cloud Services (Dropbox, iCloud, ShareFile, Cloud Me)
- Consumer Security Software (Antivirus, Spyware, and more)
- Schedule Tune-up Services
- Product Update Program
How to be a specialist in Consumer Technical Support Services?
Customer service is no longer viewed as a liability to the company, rather when handled by specialists it can bring a lot of value towards customer experience, which in turn will have a positive impact on the bottom line of the business. We can’t expect all our customers to be aware of our company’s products and services in terms of the specifications, functionalities, usage, installation, etc. Though every product comes along with product specifications and a user manual, it is very hard for most customers to do self-service, hence it is crucial for companies to have a dedicated technical support team to assist the customers.
Things expected from a Consumer Technical Support Specialist:
- A Tech Expert: This is a basic requirement for anyone to be a specialist in providing the best technical support. The employee or the agent should be technically sound, in terms of knowing the product or service comprehensively. Usually, the specialist has a technical education or training background, backed up by technical work experience (analytical and problem-solving skills).
- Effective Communication: Apart from the technical aptitude skills, a technical support specialist must communicate effectively, to provide the best support needed for the consumer. Communication will not just mean the language used to convey a message, but also the medium used for communication and how it is best used. Phone support, Chat support, Web or email support are some of the applications or technologies available to communicate with the customer.
- If a customer comes up with a technical support requirement, the first thing is to assign a ticket with a unique ID for future reference
- Every customer would like to be well informed about the progress of the solution provided by the technical team, hence leaving a note via email, chat or a call after progress is attained will provide a better customer experience.
- Try to provide a clear-cut date for the problem to be resolved based on the previous experience for a similar situation, this will allow customers to stay at ease.
- Being Empathy: Now, after having the qualities of technical expertise and communications skills the next thing on the plate is to possess empathy. A technical support provider should understand that all forms of customer exist in the market, it can be days when the agent will have to provide support to a consumer who doesn’t know the difference between a Microsoft Operating system and a Mac Operating system - below is a real-life example:
- Tech Support Specialist: “Sir, can I help you?
- Customer: “I need a cable.”
- Tech Support Specialist: “Ok. I’ll take you to our cables, what kind of cable do you need?”
- Customer: *getting angry* “These are not what I need at all! I need a cable! Are you deaf? I need a C-A-B-L-E. I need one for my computer.”
- Tech Support Specialist: “Sir, there are a lot of cables, if you could tell me what kind of thing you were trying to hook up?”
- Customer: “Is there anyone else on the floor that can help me!? Maybe one of the computer guys? You’re obviously too stupid to understand.”
- Tech Support Specialist: “Sir, I am the only one on the floor at the moment and I am trying my best to help you find your cable.”
- Customer: “Miss, why don’t you go back to the registers where you belong and bring me a computer guy?”
- Tech Support Specialist: “Sir, I am the tech person and would be happy to help you find your cable. Could you show me an example of what you mean?”
- (The customer, extremely agitated, goes to a display computer.)
- Customer: This is what I wanted! A cable!”
- Tech Support Specialist: “You mean a keyboard?”
- Customer: “Um…yes.” *sheepishly leaves the store* (Source: www.notalwaysright.com)
- Choosing the right tool: Technical expertise, communication, and empathy can be well endorsed by the tools used by the specialist.
- Software and Hardware Diagnostic: This is an inbuilt tool that helps to diagnose problems associated with software and hardware in your computer systems and prevents it before happening.
- Remote Connections: There are many tools that allow the technical support agent to connect with the consumers remotely and solve the issue, this helps to provide real-time solutions to various technical problems such as login issues, application issues, software updates, etc.
- Recording Faults and Solutions: Companies face a lot of repeated technical queries from the customers and the best way to handle, is to use tools which record the faults and remedies associated with the same, by doing so, the companies can refer to the previous tickets to tackle the problems more quickly.
- Chats: Chat options are classified in two ways, Live chat or AI-powered chatbots, in solving technical problems live chats are more preferred since in most cases, the agent should connect remotely to understand the problem to solve it. AI chatbots can be used in cases where it requires basic or generic responses.
- Phone Support: This is the traditional and most widely used method to communicate with the customers, calls can be both inbound and outbound. When a customer calls a technical support team, the agent answers the call and assist with the necessary support and there are instances where the customer support team calls the consumer to provide technical assistance. Example: Installation services after delivering a product.
- Web/Email Support: The company website owns a contact us page which allows customers to contact the technical support team, and email is another option where customers can reach the technical support team – depending upon the type of support needed, the company will either respond via email, chat or call to assist the customers.
- Other Tools: There are other tools that make the technical support team more effective and efficient, some of which are Virtual Network Computing (VNC), Monitoring tools, Task Managers, Fault Log, Multimeter, etc.
Six key factors to choose the Best IT Support company:
- Geographically near you: Though technologies these days allow companies to work from any remote location, it is best suggested to choose a company that is willing to set up a facility near your office location. Cases where your firewall fails and needs a replacement - It would be easy to handle these kinds of critical situations
- Industry Experience: When you are planning to offer the best tech support solutions to your consumers, the first parameter to check is whether the IT support company which you are opting for has the industry experience and knows from pillar to post of your industry domain.
- Expertise in all IT infrastructure: Most IT support companies are providing support for Microsoft OS, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems, but only a few companies have the expertise in all three infrastructures. Hence choose the company which can match your IT infrastructure and has expertise in it.
- Speed and Quality: Competition is massive across companies, industries, and business processes, hence customers these days are tuned to faster and better customer support. While choosing the company, these parameters are vital to providing optimized technical support to your customers.
- Manage your consumer base: Vendors can forecast and promise a lot, but it is essential for companies to verify and understand that the vendor you are choosing can manage your organization size to support consumers without affecting your present customer service and brand image.
- Certifications and Partnership: Quality and Security standard certificates are mandatory criteria for choosing the best IT support company. The key part is to ensure that these certificates are up to date, as they keep changing over a period. Another important factor is to find out their existing partnerships, clients to understand how well they are doing in the market
Following the above simple steps, your company can provide the best technical support to its customers which eventually becomes a differential factor from your competitors.