#51 – Is it ever okay to fire a customer?

We’ve all experienced exceptionally rough customers. When a customer is continually abusive or really high-maintenance, most teams look at some sort of way to drop that person as a customer.

Is it ever okay to fire a customer?

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From Wren:

Under the right circumstances, it’s absolutely worth while to fire a customer. Our team was hearing repeatedly from a woman who was unhappy with our product and incredibly rude to any phone support she worked with. If you reach a point with a person where they will never be happy with the product, it’s smart to let them go. In this case, it made our support reps feel validated and cared for to know that negative treatment like that wouldn’t be tolerated and the customer was happier in the end with a new product. We gave her a free month of support and usage of our system to give her time to find a new system and were happy to help with any info transfer she needed. Putting the needs of the customer first sometimes means pushing them towards a different product.

From Chris:

Absolutely, it’s ok to fire a customer. Seth Godin has a dynamite post about this.

Because if you want everybody to like you, nobody does

The firing might rival that of a middle school breakup, but hey, let it happen.

From Mariah:

The hours and resources it will take to change a users opinion and calm them down isn’t worth it to us due to the adverse effect the long-drawn-out conversation has on our team mentality. In the early days of RK Support, we spent a lot of time working with angry users to explain bugs and offer extended assistance until the issue was resolved, to which we were lucky to receive a mere, “thanks.” Catering to abusive users in a way condone’s their behavior, which is bad for all future support interactions with RunKeeper or elsewhere. We found the constant harassment on the end-user’s side would take a huge toll on our support agents. There’s only so much sass and name-calling one agent can take. Actually instead of “agent” I should be saying “person.” It seems a lot of the time users forget we are people too and we do empathize with their situation. Not sure what’s up with that, so we beat on.

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#50 – Saying “No” to Customers

This week, we’re talking about saying “no” to a customer. Ben Vance from Emma wrote in with a great question:

Something I’ve been thinking about recently that I’d love to hear your thoughts on: is it ever OK to say “no” to a customer? I know we all have tricks and tips on ways to say it without saying it, but do you think that there are ever support situations where the word “no” is really the word for the job?”

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How Important Are Job Titles?

Fantastic points from Mathew Patterson on the last episode:

Where would you rank the importance of a job title on that list? Job titles and team names matter, undoubtedly. It can be that extra little recognition of value and culture. They just matter so much less than everything else. If you’re in support and your company is doing all those other things up there, then you won’t care what your title is. You will know deeply how important you are and how important your work is.

I think job titles get too much attention. When you start seeing parodies like this one from Vooza, you know you’ve gone overboard with them.

Are they important? They can be.

Are they at the top of the list of what matters in your support experience? No.

Don’t get wrapped up in what title to give your team members. Instead, focus on making your customer experience the best that you can. With a solid customer experience, you can afford to put the final touches on it like unique titles.

#49 – Does Language Matter?

This week’s show is all about language. Chris Gallo sent in a great question last week – one that we’re devoting a full episode to.

Buffer calls their support pros “happiness heroes”. Wistia calls them “champions”. Does it matter?

Then there’s your internal lingo. Some of us refer to support issues as tickets and other teams call them cases. Do you call the people that pay for your product – customers, clients, or users?

All that to lead to the main question – Does language matter or is it just semantics?

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#48 – Is Email Still the Best Support Channel?

This week’s show is all about support channels. With companies like Automattic, Buffer, and even GoDaddy moving towards live chat over email, it’s a good time to take a look at that good old email channel.

GoDaddy rep Nick Fuller explained that email consistently finished last as far as their customers’ preferred method of help.

“After reviewing customer behavior and satisfaction scores we decided we could better serve people in ways they were telling us work better for them.

Customers love the ‘real time’ support experience. Email is not instantaneous and in fact many in the industry are putting an end to their email service as well because fewer than half of tech customers believe their problem can be solved by email – it’s sort of going the way of the cassette tape.”

So is email support going the way of the dinosaur?

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