Monday, April 25, 2016

How to Improve Technical Support Using Canned Responses

Tips and Tricks: How to Use Canned Messages for Help Desk and IT Support and When Not to Use Them.


For anyone in IT/Tech Support/Help Desk work, you see the same questions and responses repeating on a regular basis whether it's in email, live chat, or even Facebook support. Without software assistance, the sheer amount of time needed to type each response would overburden even the best staffed technical support team. Thankfully, this is where text expander programs like FastFox come in.

Commonly Used Support Canned Responses

While each company's common support needs vary quite a bit, there are a common set of responses that are nearly universally useful in technical & help desk support. The following, when used in conjunction with a readily available cheat sheet of information, will make providing support efficient and effective:
  • Greetings
  • Answers from company FAQ
  • Requests for customer information
  • Links to frequently used webpages
  • Individual product pages
  • Commonly needed tools, directories, parts
  • Support phone #s and email addresses
  • Delay/Apology message
  • Refund request response

How to Use Canned Responses Appropriately

So while text shortcuts provide much-needed relief for support members, all customer service agents need to keep in mind two things at all times when providing live support to avoid misusing canned responses:
  1. Information Flow
  2. Conversation Flow
When used appropriately, canned responses can be a helpful tool for agents to expedite the chat or to provide standard information. But agents must be sure that the information they provide actually addresses the customer’s question, and canned responses don't apply well in all situations.

Inappropriate usage of canned responses in response to questions can break information flow, which undermines consumer confidence that the agent actually understands the company products. It also puts additional responsibility on the customer to decipher the information to find the answer - any information that can be easily provided should be given without asking the customer to read through a webpage, e.g:

Customer: "What are the pricing options for [Service]?"

Bad: "You can find our pricing options here: website.com/pricing"

Good: "The basic service costs $X/mo, while our plus service costs $Y/mo. For enterprise applications, I will have to get you in contact with our sales team. To see the differences between the tiers, please read through the options here: website.com/pricing"

With the power of canned responses, both answers would take the same amount of time to type out, but the latter is significantly more informative and friendlier.

In terms of conversation flow, most help desk operators are usually trained to instantly open with a canned greeting the second they are connected in chat, e.g:

"Hello, my name is Nick, and I will be helping you today. What seems to be the problem?"

While it seems like a safe catch-all greeting, it fails to take into account potential conversation flows. Since many chat programs don't connect a user to support until they have placed the first line of text, many customers start with the problem first before getting connected.

If the customer has stated the issue already, and the first response is the one above, the "What seems to be the problem?" part indicates that the customer service representative has not read the customer's inquiry before responding.

Conclusion

Canned responses using text expanders like FastFox are a necessary and powerful tool for technical support staff, and when used properly, gain a customer's respect and confidence.

Click here for a quick lesson on how to set up shorthand text shortcuts for technical support responses.

Click on the link to download or purchase:

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