Six critical customer support differentiators in cybersecurity

customer support differentiatorsRegardless of size or sector, excellent customer support is a major differentiator within any organization. In the cybersecurity industry, however, tech support is more than a differentiator – it’s a customer’s lifeline to protecting their most sensitive data.

This data can range from financial documents on a consumer’s home computer, to medical information within a hospital’s technology systems and intellectual property on an enterprise network. This sensitive information must be safeguarded, and end users – including IT teams – must know how to properly do so with the technology they have.

In cybersecurity, having a strong product portfolio is important, but these products only deliver the full value if there is a dedicated support team behind them. In order to truly stand out amongst the competition, cybersecurity firms must not only offer multiple layers of solutions, but also a multi-layered approach to customer support.

Once this is achieved, support dramatically improves, which translates into continued customer loyalty, high satisfaction and overall business success. To start, consider these often overlooked six key differentiators within support services:

1. First and foremost: The need for live support

Live support is critical in cybersecurity. While most customer issues can be easily resolved, sometimes a major concern will require a live agent on the other end of the line. This type of service should be easily accessible via multiple channels, including telephone, chat, email/web and social media. With various channels available to communicate in real-time, firms can rest assured customer queries – whether from consumers or businesses – are being addressed.

2. The dialect dilemma: A call for local language support

Once live support is fulfilled, it’s important to consider local language support. As customers, we’ve all witnessed firsthand the frustrations that can arise when finally reaching a live agent, but not being able to properly communicate with them. With local language support, customers can better describe the issues they’re experiencing, regardless of slang or background noise. This makes all the difference to achieve complete satisfaction and resolve outstanding problems.

3. Putting the “custom” in customer service

One size does not fit all in customer support. For this very reason, organizations should provide a varied selection of support offerings that fits the needs of customer segments in target markets. For example, a small business requires a very different level of assistance when compared with a large enterprise. Small businesses may want help beyond standard break/fix support, as well as access to senior technical support resources or a managed service provider (MSP), but their issues tend to be less complex than those of enterprise-size businesses.

On the other end, large organizations may require fast access to senior technical resources with 24×7 support availability for critical issues, as well as priority response and resolution. They may even require a dedicated on-site support team.

Service options can take on a tiered approach to meet the needs of all customers, but should include a range of offerings such as 24×7 availability, technical account management, remote assistance and more. Only through these custom options can the customer truly feel empowered and understood.

4. DIY: What’s needed in a self-service toolkit

Some customer issues can be easily resolved without having to contact customer support, and it’s often preferred to help empower end users and to reduce call volume (in order for support teams to handle more critical problems). In fact, research found that 75 percent of customers feel that self-service is a convenient way to address customer services issues, while 67 percent said they preferred it over speaking to a representative. As consumers grow more technically savvy, and enterprises increasingly rely on their IT teams, having self-service options is a game changer for a competitive advantage.

Elements within a self-service tool arsenal include the availability of an intelligent knowledge base search, documentation downloads and a moderated forum. If you give customers the tools they need to succeed, more often than not, their problems will be resolved.

5. Customer confidence via third party certifications

Within any industry, an organization will usually claim to have “world class” support, or the like; few, if any, will admit to providing a less-than-stellar customer experience. Therefore, it’s critical to seek validation from third parties through recognitions such as certifications and industry awards. Certifications to look for include ISO 9001, which is focused on meeting customer expectations and delivering customer satisfaction, and the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) Support Staff Excellence accolade. Through third party validations, customers gain confidence in the technology solution at hand and in the support team backing these products. Consider these certifications similar to verified word-of-mouth recommendations but from service industry experts.

6. Bonus tip: The power of feedback

Customer service requires communication, which is a two-way street. For this reason, it’s important to provide customers with the ability to provide feedback to a vendor in a systematic fashion – especially in an industry as important as cybersecurity. Through this feedback, organizations can gauge how to better improve operations or products overall, which makes all the difference.

The saying “the customer is king” will always be true. The reality is that end users will run into all types of issues with technology, ranging from easy to solve to more difficult in nature, and support teams have to be equipped to satisfactorily resolve these issues. With the above differentiators in place, cybersecurity vendors can provide quick resolutions and outstanding experiences, which leads to business success for their customers – and for them.

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