Information Technology

Offering helpful human tech support

Slack CE agent Meghan Earley explains how she approaches her job with empathy and compassion

helping take down walls
Image Credit: Pete Ryan

A s a customer experience agent, you embody many skills. You’re communicative, empathetic, a product expert, a problem solver, and more. But above all, you’re human. People who are struggling with technology love the opportunity to get human help. So how can we provide human support?

So how do you continue to sound genuine when you’re heads down, responding to ticket after ticket, often repeating the same content?

Many of us who work in customer support find ourselves constantly responding to a lot of the same questions. This is inevitable: no product or service is perfect, and there will be issues that affect multiple users. As a customer experience agent, it’s rad to be able to identify patterns that uncover product imperfections. However, you’ll still find yourself repeating some of the same solutions or responses over and over and over. Eventually, you may begin to feel like a robot, which is completely understandable since you’ve written the same response 17 times.

So how do you continue to sound genuine when you’re heads down, responding to ticket after ticket, often repeating the same content?

The more information you have about your customer, the more you can empathize with them. Put together the pieces of context you can gather (without Internet stalking — we’re not trying to be creepy here) and create a little persona for your customer. Carefully read the entirety of their inquiry. This may seem like a drag, when a customer writes a novel and you have to read the whole thing, but any additional context is incredibly helpful.

 

humanize technology

 

Give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they appreciate your help, even when they don’t show it.

When you’re receiving similar inquiries, it’s tempting to create canned responses. DON’T DO IT. Unless you’re capturing a set of instructions that are difficult to remember, I wouldn’t recommend substituting macros for your own writing. It’s obvious when you’ve copied an automated response, rather than writing the note yourself — canned responses lack personality, empathy, and individuality. At Slack, we’ve created a plethora of macros! However, they all consist of the bare bones information agents need to address issues. None of them are intended to be copied and immediately sent as a response. We’ll use a macro as a starting point, which will then be crafted into a personalized response. Craftsmanship reflects that you’re a human who cares about their work, so be sure to craft each response for your customers.

Most importantly, successful human responses come from the genuine desire to help people. If you don’t care that Matt is having a difficult experience while trying to sign up for your app, then you’re going to have a hard time responding to him in an empathetic way. Most customers are good people and they are kind. They’re reaching out for help and they will typically be grateful for any assistance they receive. Even when a person is being a jerk, they may be having a particularly tough day.

Give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they appreciate your help, even when they don’t show it.

Occasionally, you may be surprised that when you respond to an aggressive inquiry with kindness, the person may change their tone entirely to mirror yours. A genuine desire to help will guide you to a compassionate response in the most difficult situations.

Your helpful human hand may even make someone’s day. [#

 

Meghan Earley thinks empathy is the key to success, but has a difficult time practicing it with her six siblings.

Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.