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December 28, 2010

The 10 Commandments of Customer Support

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4988548244 80b15c9bf9 m To my customer.
I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it.
I may not have the time, but I’ll make it.


Matthew Stein, manager of the HubSpot Customer Support Ninja Team, believes strongly in the power of words to satisfy customers.  Because customer satisfaction is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectations, Matthew and his team have developed 10 rules that the follow when helping HubSpot customers. These rules are a great guide for any business who has a mission of making happy customers.

The 10 Commandments of Customer Support

1. Listen - Listening is the first step to understanding. Everyone calling support has a problem to report. If you don't listen, you'll never find out the customer's problem.  Some customers can be frustrated and want to know that their pain is being heard. Allow them to vent, understand their frustration and let them know you heard what they said. After the emotions subside they'll be in a more receptive mood for advice. 

2. Teach - Knowledge is power. Teaching our customers how to solve their own problem empowers them, and gives them a sense of control.  Our goal is to help people transform their own marketing. We help even the smallest businesses take control of their website and their marketing efforts.  Teach them how to edit their own website, and instead of a frustrated customer, you put them on the path to control of their own marketing destiny.

3. Pay Attention - Multitasking is great for productivity, but never forget that the customer you're dealing with is your top priority.  If you miss the details of a problem, and the customer needs to repeat themselves, they will feel ignored.  Listening (see Commandment #1) isn't just about hearing what they say, it's hearing all of what they have to say.

4. Ask the Right Questions -   Getting to the bottom of the problem requires some digging.  Sometimes a customer will work themselves down a difficult path and only call about a solution for the immediate problem they see.  Find out what their larger goal is, and you can often make their life easier.  They may say they're trying to add a single line to a table today, but what they really need is a format to display their content in an easy to edit layout.  Get a big picture view of the issue and a more comprehensive solution can present itself.

5. Don't Interrupt - We're here to help customers on their timetable, don't rush a customer. 

6. Apologize - Even if it's not your fault, apologizing and taking ownership of a problem is one of the fastest ways to defuse an emotional situation. You don't have to assume responsibility to truly apologize.  Saying you're sorry the screw-up occurred doesn't mean it's your fault, it says how you feel about what happened.

7. Focus On Solutions, Not On Blame - HubSpot lives and dies as one team.  Never blame another department, instead focus on finding a solution that will work.

8. Put Yourself In Their Shoes - Get to know the customer's business. Sometimes looking at the problem from a different angle will reveal a solution.  Find out how the customer uses our products and their process might reveal a solution or new idea. Think about how visitors to their site flow through the pages and how that process can be streamlined.  Get to know the customer's business. Our customers are all different. Finding the right solution to their problem starts with knowing their business processes, and how they can work best with our systems.

9. Treat Free Product Users As Customers - They've already found our product, their first phone call could be our only chance to show them how good the support is that comes with our software.  

10.  Laugh, Smile and Have Fun - When appropriate, have fun with the customer. If they're smiling when they hang up, you've done a good job.

What other rules would you add to this list?

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