Building beautiful and functional things is only part of a web designer’s job. Maintaining and supporting our creation is also a key part of the equation.
This is often the most difficult task. After all, support can be a commitment that lasts for years. In addition, it requires both technical knowledge and human skills – an important combination.
The support also contributes to the development of customer loyalty. Even if you have built an amazing website for your client, poor support is likely to damage the relationship. This can be a deciding factor in whether they stay with you for a long time.
So what is needed to provide great support? Let’s look at a few ingredients to keep your website running smoothly and your customers happy.
Respond quickly to requests
Waiting is not fun – especially when you have a technical problem or question. Therefore, our first customer support rule is to respond quickly to the first message.
This does not mean that you have to resolve things immediately. The most common compliment is to let the customer know that their request has been received. Knowing they’re on your radar will help build trust and trust.
Ideally, a personal response is better. Bonus points if it adds additional questions to get the ball spinning to handle the request. But even a well-written autoresponder is acceptable.
The key is to confirm that you are aware of their message. This starts the whole support process from the right foot.
As the customer approaches you with the problem, it is easy to draw conclusions. Sometimes it forms the idea that you know the answer before they have even stopped talking. In other cases, you may quickly decline the claim due to a simple user error.
It may be due to good intentions (or a desire to return to your other projects), but it can rub the client wrong. You may be considered narrow or even rude.
Take time for that listen is a much more effective approach. While it may eat up a little more of your schedule, it shows that you care about what your customer is saying.
In addition, listening is the best way to gather information. You are not likely to miss important details that will help you solve the problem. And after that you can always ask questions.
Patience has many side effects. It helps to build a positive relationship with customers. And they will feel more comfortable with you when they run into a problem. This is especially important for those who are technically challenging and scared of the situation.
Avoid wild speculation
Customers come to us because they hope we get answers. Web designers can rely on convenience and security speculation. Making wild guesses about what is causing a particular problem or the timetable for fixing it is meant to bring peace of mind. The reality is that it is more likely to cause frustration if you guess wrong.
Of course, this does not mean that you cannot provide a laundry list for possible reasons. But they must be mentioned as opportunities – not as assurances. And until the correct diagnosis is made, schedules should reflect the investigation of the problem and not the correction.
In other words: speak in general until you know what you are dealing with. Don’t let what you want to please the customer interfere with honest answers.
Immediate solutions are not always possible. Fortunately, most people are willing to wait for you to research something or research a question. Give them (and yourself) a chance to do so.
Keep communication lines open
Solving complex problems can take a while. However, this does not mean that customers are left in the dark. Regularly reviewing the latest information (even if there are no new developments) helps keep everyone on the same page.
While this may sound relatively simple, it is not always easy. For example, we web designers often find ourselves acting as liaisons between clients and third party service providers. If the service provider does not keep us up to date, it will complicate our work a lot. It can also make us look bad.
Honestly, there is no need to protect service providers from liability. So if they are the reason for progress to be withheld, don’t be afraid to say so. Just remember honesty and fairness when reporting a situation. Painting an accurate picture is still important.
Regardless of who is responsible for resolving the issue, keep in touch with customers. They must be kept in a loop throughout the process.
Your customers are doing the right thing
All of these tips can be combined into one word: professionalism. We expect that from those who offer us support. And our customers expect it from us too.
It requires us to be honest, responsive, and willing to go the extra Mile. And most importantly, a commitment to keep customers up to date with events.
Of course, a lot of technical knowledge helps. But it has more than just knowing the code and design. People’s skills make it possible to build a good relationship. And the combination of both makes for top-notch support.
You don’t have to be perfect to succeed in this field. Rather, it is a matter of effort to take care of your customers. It can only make them stay with you for years to come.