They say there’s no such thing as silly questions. There are when it comes to customer support.
An important part of customer retention is support. I think support is really undervalued by many merchants, and this is reflected in the staff they select or how they direct those staff to operate.
I don’t think I’d be Robinson Crusoe in saying that I’ve experience many incidents of less than stellar support from merchants and service providers – and it doesn’t matter what country the merchant’s support team is in.
It becomes particularly irritating when support people ask questions that are entirely irrelevant to the issue being reported. This indicates either:
a) They haven’t read the question properly
b) They simply don’t care and are using canned responses without editing them
c) They don’t understand the product or service they are meant to be supporting
.. sometimes it can be a mix of all three.
These issues usually occur with some “level 1″ support folks . These are the guys and gals that act as a filter; ensuring that only complex issues go to the level 2 support team, who usually have better skills (and are also more expensive).
But by asking irrelevant questions and not responding to a support request properly from the first contact, it wastes everyone’s time and money – the client, but also the merchant as both have to expend further resources in to and fro.
Level 1 support members can sometimes be looked down upon by their peers and are often poorly paid – and if you pay peanuts; well, you get monkeys.
More focus needs to be put on Level 1 support quality as customers will only hang in with a company until a certain point – and then they will bail; never to return. Even more damaging is that they will tell other people of their experience.
As the telecommunications industry is rapidly discovering; it is cheaper to retain a customer than acquire a new one – and a key to retaining customers is not to ask them dumb-ass questions when they report a problem.