Supporting Technologically Challenged Identity Management Customers

Supporting Technologically Challenged Identity Management Customers

Hone in on the right level of communication for customer success.

As technology changes and rapidly advances, all of us in identity management support work with customers who find themselves challenged by new and updated technology. As you might expect, a great deal of upset customers contact tech support. Many would rather cling to existing software versions and their technology ways. They generally consider the changes are not worth it. Comfort with the version you know trumps the potential value from a version you don’t.

Another group of people calling for help use identity management technology on a "need-to-know" basis, and feel overwhelmed and annoyed when it comes to anything outside their expertise. A professional line of communication means you willingly provide high-quality tailored support to every user, regardless of their level of expertise. After all, it’s customers who keep us tech support folks employed. No matter which way you look at the picture, all requests and the requestors are worthy of our time, respect and attention.

Handling requests from technologically challenged customers takes extra time and effort. In many cases, they call for assistance to get a solution, but instead become confused and irritated by complicated technical terms or complex troubleshooting process steps. Our job is to make it painless and easy without piling on more questions, concerns and frustration.

So how do you go about handling customer interactions of this kind? Without a doubt, you need to use the communication style that emphasizes patience and respect. By creating an individual approach for solving this exact problem, you satisfy exactly what the customer seeks. Just as important to remember, you should ask questions and break instruction into single-step pieces while constantly monitoring conversations for understanding. To ensure the right response, provide staff with useful tips right at hand so they can smoothly handle customer requests.

In this post I present some guidelines on how identity management tech support agents can best handle customer interactions with technologically challenged customers.

Narrowing down an identity management problem

When a customer reports a problem, the request may sound, like:

"Are you guys having your system or servers down???"

"Something went wrong, nothing works here!!!"

"Nothing has changed…It just stopped working and froze all of a sudden."

As you see, a call for help contains little to no information. Face the music. After greeting a customer, get down to business. As a rule, start by communicating and gathering information about the issue. To find out more about the case, start with:

  • Let me ask you a few questions to better understand the issue and suggest a solution.
  • I need to collect some more information. Let’s start by answering a few questions.

Then, proceed with figuring out what is happening and what is the cause of the trouble. Ask customers simple questions, like:

  • When was the problem first noticed?
  • How often does it occur?
  • How can it be reproduced?
  • What did you do before it occurred?
  • Were there any software updates installed shortly before the problem started?

For best results, ask these questions one by one. Don’t go further to the next point when you still have clarifying to do. In answering these questions, you receive more clues to further assist the customer and successfully resolve the issue. When you must escalate an issue to upper-level support technicians, collect important details that can help efficiently resolve a request.

As a common courtesy, ask customers for permission to switch to another communication channel and provide an estimated follow-up time such as:

  • I will need to report the problem to an upper-level tech support member.
  • May we follow up on this request via email?
  • Please give me the best email to contact you back.
  • You can expect to hear from us with an answer or status within 24 hours

Making the most of the info and technology available

No one benefits from over complicate responses when dealing with users who are already confused or upset. Avoid technical questions that require skills or knowledge beyond the requestor’s capabilities. Instead, make every effort to keep responses easy to understand. Fortunately, a lot of tools out there make tech operators’ lives easier. For instance in Live Chat, you can learn almost all-necessary information about the user making the request.

Getting back to identity management basics

At some point, we all deal with "too basic" questions. Remember to breathe and take it easy. There are no over-the-top questions in technical support. Do your best to tell customers what to do and how to do it in a way they can understand without offending anyone.

To sweeten the pill, let us share our favorite support methods all in one place. You are also welcome to share this post with anyone who will benefit from it. Hopefully, these techniques can help your tech support make tasks easier and customers happier.

  • Take screen shots
  • Locate the specific log files needed for trouble shooting
  • Send yourself a log file
  • Check account permissions
  • Check network connections

Over to you

Do you have any similar identity management support experiences? Tell us your story we would love to hear from you. We’d also love to hear how the Avatier Identity Anywhere (AIMS) support portal helps your technology challenged users. Thank you for reading our blog!

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Written by Roger Manson

Roger has served as Vice President and Director of Client Services for online payment processing, enterprise software and Internet messaging companies. As Director Client Service for Amplitude Software he successfully drove Professional Services, Technical Support and Hosted Operations which contributed to Amplitude achieving venture funding. Roger has over 20 years’ experience and previously held positions with Cisco Systems, Chevron Information Technology, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Labs.