How to Make Software Customer Support Personal

Josh GordonCustomer support is crucial to a company's long-term success. While this is an obvious statement, it can be difficult to see that belief manifest itself in the actions of a company. We have all had bad experiences with customer support, and we all view it differently. Some folks like impersonal forms and email loops, others like the security of a real, living, breathing person to take us step by step through what we're trying to figure out. For any company, but especially software companies, it's crucial to have a good approach that works for everyone's needs.

Good software customer support (I never really liked the “customer service” term), at the end of the day, has to include some personal elements. Sure, automation is the name of the game, but not every question from a customer is answered in an exhaustive FAQ, a huge forum, or keyword auto-responses. Sometimes a personal touch is required. It can be difficult to adopt a personal approach for a software company – but it’s not impossible. It just requires a commitment to the customer beyond the standard hallmarks of the industry like a toll-free phone number.

Route the toll-free number to people. Get a call loop in place where if one person is unable to take the call, the next person in the loop automatically receives the next ring, and so on. This requires a rather large commitment on the part of the employees, which is why good training is necessary. Also, it’s important that training is for everyone, not for some. A good software company customer support team consists of a wide-variety of actual users or engineers within the company. A final tip to making software customer support personal is to pick up the phone quickly. At Knotice, it is company policy that the support hotline is picked up on one or two rings. We feel like that level of attention goes a long way to maintaining confidence in our customers, and reminding them that we are as invested in them as they are in us.

A personal approach to customer support in the software business not only gives customers the information they need, it also differentiates that company. Customers are able to get quick answers to questions, but a touch of personality stands out – especially in an industry where life is lived online.

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