4 tips to avoid exasperating customer support

It’s fair to say that customer support for a product or service can make or break how you feel about pretty much anything. Unfortunately, we all have personal stories of terrible customer support, but it can be an actual pleasure to chat with genuinely helpful companies.

So before you take the plunge with a new piece of software, use these four tips to figure out how good the customer support is going to be.

1. Try out the chat function on the sales page

Even if you don’t have any queries, pick a feature that interests you and ask a quick question about it. Then see how they respond.

Do you get funnelled down to an unhelpful chatbot response? Or do you quickly get to a real person who understands your question and gives a helpful answer?

2. Check out the help pages

If these aren’t showcased, then you may find a link in the footer of the sales pages.

How extensive are the help pages? You may not know your way around the system yet, but follow a few links to see how deep they go, or type something basic into the search and see what comes up. By doing this you may be able to weed out a company that has covered the basics in their help pages but not done much else.

3. Join the support group for the system, often on Facebook or Slack. Who is running the group and how active is it?

Some groups are run by the company themselves and others are user groups, but may have a company member helping as well. Neither is necessarily better, as long as questions are answered reasonably quickly and by someone knowledgeable.

I once joined a company-created support group that had questions left completely unanswered because they had hoped that users would take over and do the work for them. Not a good sign.

4. Look at the type of questions people are asking in the support group

Is it full of people complaining about issues and saying that customer support never responds to them?

Are users asking very detailed questions, beyond the basics? This suggests that the basics are covered well in the help files or are easy to navigate without help anyway.

These four quick steps can give you insight into how much the company really values supporting its customers, not just what they claim.

Finally, when you do need help with a system, don’t be afraid to ask them stupid questions. I do it all the time – that’s how I learn!

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