Consumers will always need customer support technicians that are able to assist them with their technical problems. While assisting consumers the support technician needs to be aware that there will be times that communication will become difficult for many reasons. Some reasons why customers become difficult when communicating their technical problems are a lack of urgency, lack of knowledge, inactive listening, using unfamiliar language or jargon, not allowing the customer to speak, language barriers or accents, and high emotional response to an issue.
The three that I will focus on specifically are a lack of urgency, inactive listening, and high emotional response to issue. When a technician appears to be taking their time or not showing the customer that their issue is indeed an issue to be resolved immediately, the customer can get angry. When a customer becomes angry they might be more prone to stop communicating effectively because they could be fighting the urge to argue or yell. As a computer support technician it is important to realize that even if their issues are minimal, they are important to the customer.
The technician should take ownership and realize the customer came to them to resolve their problem and trust them to resolve it quickly and correctly and make every issue a priority. It is also important that you are able to adapt to the behaviors of each individual you encounter. Some customers may need you to slow down and repeat what it is that you are showing them how to do. This will require patience with the situation and you must be careful not to rush the individual.
There will also be times where the customer will come to you certain that they know the problem and simply need you to fix it; you should always follow your troubleshooting techniques to verify the exact issue including finding out what the customer is experiencing. You should never inform them they are wrong but let them know you were able to look further and find the exact root cause to their problem.
When a technician is not actively listening to a customer it is evident to he customer as they will become frustrated if they ask you a question regarding what they were talking about or if they have to keep repeating information you have already given them. This can cause an increased amount of frustration with the customer and they will not feel like communicating because they will feel it is pointless to discuss the problem. As a computer support technician you must take ownership of the issue and let them know that you are paying attention and acknowledging the importance of their time.
There will be times that even though you are listening to the customer, that even when you repeat the information the customer’s frustration levels may still be high and they will be frustrated that they have to confirm this information. The technician should still at all times maintain your composure and not get frustrated that they are taking it out on you. This is where empathy can be a great tool to use by ensuring to them that you understand their frustrations and will do your best to help relieve them.
As a technician you will learn to adapt to which customers need more empathy than others, some may feel as though you are patronizing them and that you simply need to resolve the issue without talking down to them or wasting their time. There will be times as a technician that you will encounter individuals that are more difficult to calm down due to a high emotional response they are having to the issue. You may not know the exact details to how urgently they need you to fix their computer.
The individual may have a term paper or a presentation they are working on and have a deadline to meet or their problem may be costing them significant amounts of money such as an online banking site being inaccessible. An individual who has information important to them such as family pictures or files that are missing or are unable to access them will also feel that sense of frustration. As the technician you will need to empathise with those emotions and take ownership of the issue as if it were your own problem as well.
By showing the customer that you understand their frustration and know how important it is to resolve their issue it may put them at ease. Some customers you will not be able to calm down and it is times like these that you take ownership of your own actions to not become defensive or enter the fight or flight mode that we would naturally go into.
By adapting to those situations you will let the customer know that you can handle a tough situation, and if there are any issues in the future they can be confident ou will be able to handle it for them. Once a customer also sees this they could very well be calmer next time because of the positive experience they received. Problem customers will also exist while assisting individuals with their computer support needs. These are customers that even with empathy, urgency given to the situation and even resolve to the issue will not be happy or calm about the problem they are experiencing.
As a technician it is important that you not only take ownership of the issue but also make sure you separate yourself from the emotional responses they may be giving you. By keeping your composure you will be able to focus on the task in front of you to get the issue resolved quickly. There still be situations where it is beyond your control and safety is in issue. Be conscious of your situation and make sure you do what is safest for you.
This may be as simple as getting a supervisor to step in to calm the individual down so that you are able to complete your work or in some cases it may be necessary to ask the customer to leave if they cannot calm down. In summary, some of the most difficult customers to work with will have technical problems accompanied by concerns of urgency, inactive listening, and high emotional response. Key strategies to work around these problems or solve them are empathy, active listening, taking ownership of the situation, remaining calm and in control of the situation, and treating each issue with urgency.