Forget about coal miners and security guards: Workers who provide customer support for technology users may have the most grueling, unsatisfying job. Whether they assist customers or internal IT users, such as employees, support agents routinely deal with the fallout of IT failures. They must satisfy frustrated, unhappy customers who are desperate to resolve a problem. And increasingly agents are expected to handle more work with fewer resources while managing complex and evolving technology. It’s no wonder that these workers are some of the unhappiest in the United States, with job satisfaction frequently rated near the bottom of all careers.
Fortunately, there are strategies and tools that can help you—the support agent – improve your job environment, feel more connected to work and customers, and boost job satisfaction. Here are the five suggestions for making tech support a career you’ll love:
Choose your best communication strategy: Different problems and clients require different approaches. Don’t get locked into one way of interacting with customers. Choose the communication channel that makes the most sense for each unique situation – for you and the customer – whether the channel is phone, chat, a talk feature, email or even social media.
Humanize the connection with your customer: Follow the Golden Rule and deliver the customer experience you’d want to receive. By treating each client with respect and care, you can create an engaging experience that allows you to be more human and less robotic. Forget about the number of transactions you can complete and concentrate on building a relationship with each person you serve. Your customers will appreciate being treated as a person with a problem, rather than as a person who is a problem. They may even be less frustrated and easier to satisfy, making your job more rewarding.
Ditch the script: Many organizations require their support agents to follow a script during all customer interactions. Experienced agents sometimes find that certain customer issues automatically trigger a “script” in their heads that they’ve used to solve similar problems. Yet you should resist the urge to automatically suggest a solution that helped in the past. By ignoring the script and letting the customer drive the resolution process, you may discover a different, more creative approach that enables a more satisfying resolution for both you and the customer.
Play to your strengths: Every person has what University of Pennsylvania researcher Martin Seligman calls signature strengths. Some people may excel at social intelligence, humor and playfulness, or diligence and perseverance, for example. (To determine your signature strengths, take this survey.) Make an effort to recast your work in a way that lets you best apply your signature strengths. By being your authentic self and using your natural skills to address tech support issues, your work will feel more like play.
Use technology to support a more effective interaction: Unlike older products that seemed to get in the way of support activities, today’s remote support solutions reduce impediments, lower customer frustration levels, and increase your productivity and satisfaction. For example, features such as easy session activation help customers quickly connect with your support system so you can rapidly solve problems. Highly available solutions automatically determine optimal connection paths and reroute traffic if necessary, helping you solve problems without interruption. Tools that provide a clear view of the customer’s screen or link to details of previous support issues give you a window into the problem from the customer’s perspective.
There’s no doubt that IT support is a stressful job. But by using proven techniques and tools, you can reduce the sources of job frustration, make customer service more rewarding and grow to love your job like never before.