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December 20, 2021

How the customer support team can peak load and overcome it

The support has two main troubles that give rise to a rush in applications: something is very broken or you have discounts (promo/promotions/free). The first catch up suddenly, the second is a little expected, but still, every time something goes wrong and it is difficult to remain calm.

The support has two main issues that give rise to a rush in applications: something is very broken or you have discounts (promo/promotions/free). The first catch up suddenly, the second is a little expected, but still, every time something goes wrong and it is difficult to remain calm.

Nothing works and you are inundated with incoming messages. Everything works, but New Year is approaching and there are more orders than members of the support team. Before you close and burn your work laptop, stop and count to 10. We’ve put together a set of tips and a guide to action to keep you from getting lost. You will meet the next (even the most sudden) hell in applications with your head held high and repulse any onslaught so that the head of the company will wonder why he himself does not work under the supervision of such a wise person.

1. Don’t panic

Maintaining moral balance is half the battle. In the first hours of an emergency it always seems that this is forever and everyone will die, but you yourself remember that this is not so, and this has already happened, so first of all, it is important for you to choose an effective mantra and repeat it before making decisions and immersing yourself in work: “Everything will be over soon. It could be worse. This experience is the most rewarding experience. Even if I’m wrong, nothing bad will happen. My clients are people. ” As soon as you are charged, power the command from yourself. Panicking support – support who makes mistakes and gets 2 instead of one problem – the client will be unhappy not only with the current situation but also with incompetent responses from support.

2. Automate

Special situation – special rules. When there are a lot of messages, every second saved in processing can help. Set rules for sorting incoming messages to avoid clutter and send customers to the appropriate managers. Set up prioritization so you don’t get lost and don’t miss critical messages. Immediately create several new template answers that the whole team can use – as a rule, on such days there are only several types of requests, for each of them there must be a prepared answer so that the manager spends a minimum of time and has a head start.

3. Warn

Warn customers about what happened. There should be several such statuses, and at least two: the first is about what has broken down and how everyone will continue to live, the second is about the fact that everything is over and what awaits everyone now. There may be a few more messages in between if fixing the situation takes too long.

Be sure to warn your customers that the response time of support will be increased – they should understand in advance that it is normal to wait longer, otherwise, you will get another reason to dislike you.

Proactivity is a magic wand that will save you from many troubles, if you wrote about a problem first – you set the tone in which this problem is discussed. And now you are already turning from a guilty person into a comrade-in-arms in the fight against a common misfortune – you and the client are united by a common goal to sort things out as soon as possible. In your appeals to clients, be sincere and accurate, do not promise results that you will not achieve, and speak carefully about the deadlines – it is better to take more time than to be late and fail expectations.

If the reason for your “deluge” is discounts or holiday excitement – just warn that you will respond longer than usual. Explain why and be sure to indicate what your deadline is so that the client does not bother and tug at you in advance.

Well-written messages will turn angry customers into grateful and loyal ones.

4. Plan and organize

Under the blockage of tickets, there is no time for reflection, so operators can get confused and do stupid things, your task is to protect them and customers from this. Along with the announcement about the situation as a whole, your team should definitely receive clear guidelines on what to do, what data from clients to receive, where to put these clients, what to write to them, and so on.

Well, for example:

Colleagues, since 5.12 our site is completely inaccessible, but the service itself works, however, failures are possible there as well. Right now, the technical department is working on a fix, and our task is to reassure customers and not lose a single call. We do not yet know the timing of the correction, we are focusing on 1-2 days, but we do not broadcast it to clients in this form.

To save your time, I have added several new template answers – about them below.

What to do:

◾️ Each message on the topic of a breakdown should be marked with a tag …

◾️ To assign such an appeal to …

◾️ If the client asks when it will be fixed, send the template …; if the client says that something else does not work for him – send a template …

◾️ If the client is very angry and demands to return the money – do not answer, appoint to …

◾️ If the client is promised compensation, save the link in … marked with …

◾️ Any special tickets that must not be forgotten, please save them here: …

5. Take into consideration

The likelihood of losing requests, questions, clients, or promises in such a stream is very high and dangerous, and we all know that there is nothing worse than a cheated client. Give the team a tool where it will be possible to quickly and easily record all non-standard notes to the applications. A common document in Basecamp or Google Sheets – the main thing is that there is a link to the ticket and a note with a comment that the client is waiting for something special (they promised to unsubscribe in advance, promised to compensate, must send something, and so on).

In addition, each request on the topic of a failure should be separately marked, for example, with a tag, by which you can then make a mass notification or mailing, so as not to waste additional time on this. It is a great idea to create a new unique tag (“hell 2021”) for this, then you can look at these tickets next year, but more on that below.

If you have the opportunity to organize separate folders for tickets (or their equivalent) – great, create a separate one for all these messages, let them not get in the way and do not get confused with idle inboxes.

6. Collect

Statistics. How many people turned in, how quickly the calls were closed, how satisfied were the customers, how the managers coped with the load – all this will be useful to you in the future in order to plan the load if it comes up again. This is especially true for the blockage of holidays and discounts – the dates are always known in advance, it will be much easier to prepare with an understanding of how everything went the last time. And of course: brag to the management, let them know how the support works, and thanks to whom the company is still afloat.

7. Participate

If something breaks and it’s not entirely clear how to fix it and what caused it, user data can greatly simplify searches. Check with the tech department about what to ask users to find the root of the problem, and then incorporate the questionnaire into the templates. You have a common project, in your interests, so that you can quickly decide. You shouldn’t wait for questions from management and development.

8. Don’t lose

Don’t lose charm, humanity, and empathy. Clients do not know if you have 100 applications per minute or if you have only one, so even at the peak of fatigue, do not allow yourself and your team to forget that clients, first of all, suffer very much – from a failure, or from the inability to order a gift here and now. … They get angry because they depend on you and your first priority is to give them care. Trump with sincerity and say that you have a lot of applications and therefore you are confused and answer for a long time, it is better not – you need to present this carefully and with an inept/inexperienced approach, you would rather get from the client “but I care, this is your job” understanding.

9. Motivate

A heavy load is exhausting both physically and mentally. Morally, of course, it is incomparably stronger. When the guys and you work for 12-15 hours in a row, then you sleep nervously, drink liters of coffee, and then work again and so on for several days in a row, it is very easy to forget why all this at all and why someone should suffer so much, work after hours, moreover, to love clients at the same time, because there is a life of its own, family and otherworldly joys. As a leader, it’s imperative that you remind the guys how much you value what they do and how important what they do is to the company as a whole. Show that due to force majeure, not only do they work in this mode. Ask them how they are feeling, cheer them up, bring them a croissant from the bakery, or just send a cute picture that everything is really good. When it’s over, try to organize some kind of reward for the team: extra weekends, bonuses or gifts.

10. Compensate

Just apologizing is not enough – words mean little to those who have suffered mental and material losses because of you, so be the first to talk about compensation. In this case, you will, first, show tangible concern; secondly, you will not fall for the bait of client blackmail and you will be able to set the amount of compensation yourself.

If customers have been waiting for a long time to resolve the issue with a discount or product, compensate for the wait with a discount on the next order or free shipping (there can be any option, the main thing is attention). If due to your failure, the client lost part of his work or could not use the service, more than compensate for everything with a renewal of the subscription, improved support, free additional options, and so on.

If customers have asked for a refund, do not rush to respond to them. Come back with comments when the time frame of the repair is clearly understood, and even then, with all the trump cards, ask for a second chance.

Final Thought

In short: take courage and courage others. This load is a good test for the weaknesses of the team and the product, which is sometimes useful. The main thing – do not forget to relax, because if not you, then who will love your customers?

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December 20, 2021

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