Philosophy of Support

Philosophy of Support

Recently in discussions with other support professionals the question of a Philosophy of Support came up.  I always enjoy reading books and blog posts about providing the best support.  I will be creating a page providing a list of these soon.

After many years of working in varying support roles, I have developed my personal opinion on how support should be done.  I was recently referred to a few books to read up on support and clarify my own philosophy; such as, Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.  I was pleasantly surprised to find Tony’s opinions very much in line with my own.

I have worked in support centers where the number one metric was the average length of a phone call.  Those who could go from “Hello” to waiting for the next call in under 10 minutes, were the stars.  This did not work for me at all.  I believe in taking time with the customer and making sure the issue is resolved.  The philosophy of low call time, is a very poor metric to focus on.  Don’t get me wrong, someone who takes forever to resolve every issue, is also a problem.  However, pushing for short call times does not guarantee resolution of an issue.  Some calls need to be long and some can be handled quickly.

The two most important items when working through a support case is to understand the question being asked and to satisfy the customer in whatever way is available to you.  Hopefully you have many options at your disposal and great flexibility to make the customer happy.

Zappos does not focus on call time, but rather on a satisfied customer.  In Delivering Happiness Tony records a truly special moment, which I believe truly exemplifies the principle of making the customer happy.  Tony was at a Skechers conference and with a group of friends called room service to order pizza.  They were informed that room service had stopped delivering hot food several hours prior. Tony convinced his friend from Skechers to call Zappos to try to order a pizza.  The Zappos rep patiently took in all the information about the situation, put the Skechers rep on hold, and returned shortly with information on Pizza places near the hotel that were still open and delivering.

This is what it means to focus on customer satisfaction and not some internal metric like call time.  While I don’t recommend calling Zappos to order a pizza, I have told about my own personal experience with them in the past.  I continue to see a company that exemplifies the support and service values that I see as so integral to maintaining a strong customer relationship.

Have you developed a philosophy of support over the years?  Do you find your philosophy in line with mine, or opposed?  I would love to hear your opinion.

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