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Lessons That Babies Can Teach Us about Providing Customer Support

Time flies when you’re having fun. It’s hard to believe it’s now been almost eight months since the birth of our daughter. About four months ago, I wrote a blog post on the lessons babies can teach you about successful software implementations, so I’m back with a new set of lessons learned that can be transferrable to customer support.

Whether you’re a medical software vendor, a physician, a practice administrator, or a billing manager, everyone is in the business of providing customer support. Your audience and customer is the main thing that changes in each scenario.

In fact, there is a lot I have learned from my eight month old that can help me transfer lessons learned in the home to action items applied in the office. I’ve included three of those below:

1. Proactivity can eliminate future frustrations. As my wife and I have learned more about the habits of our daughter, I’ve realized that keeping her on a schedule is hugely important. She likes her naps (I would too if I got as many as she does in a day), and those help to keep her happy, grounded, and in a routine. There have been situations where we’ve been away from the house, and she gets off schedule and misses a nap. In many cases, this means a total meltdown. What could have been prevented by keeping her nap schedule at the time she’s accustomed to turns into her being off kilter and frustrated for the next few hours or rest of the day. Customer support is similar. If you have an issue that is routinely annoying for your customers, it’s important to do your best to fix it immediately. Customers deserve that proactive attention to detail. While it may take more time on the front end, you’re saving future frustrations for your customers and your business.

2. Arm yourself and customer facing employees with knowledge and training. With my eight month old, I’m still learning each day, but I certainly know a lot more than I did when I wrote my last blog post. I’ve read more books, I have more first-hand experience, and I can better anticipate the likely scenarios that may pop up with my daughter. Thus, I’m more likely to get ahead of any potential issues, but I’m also ready to respond when I see things like her rubbing her eyes and showing signs of being tired. I feel much more confident in my own abilities, and I’m typically able to resolve situations before they turn into big events. You know that feeling when you finally get someone on the phone, and it seems like you know more about their product or service than they do? That’s not a good feeling. Educate and train those that are responsible for being forward facing to your customers. It’s worth investing in that team to be able to field questions effectively and efficiently. Your customers will appreciate any questions being handled promptly without the need for escalation.

3. Follow through is critical. The human brain is incredible, and it’s so much fun to watch a child soak up their surroundings and learn from every interaction. From my child and others, I’ve learned that consistent follow through is critical for their learning. If you deviate from that follow through on what you say you’re going to do, they become confused, frustrated and difficult to manage. For me, the most irritating experience is when I’ve gone through explaining my entire situation to one or more support representatives, they put me on hold to change departments again, and then I get disconnected in the process! Now, I have to call back, start at the back of the queue, and explain everything all over again. It would make life so much easier if the last person I spoke with could just call me back directly. Customers commonly reach out if they have questions, are in need of help, or are frustrated with a problem. Go above and beyond to follow through on your customers’ needs. At pMD, we find that our customers appreciate our attention to detail with our customer support for our charge capture, secure messaging, HIE, and care coordination products. We work hard to build and maintain a reputation that allows our customers to know they can count on us to be knowledgeable to help, follow through on our commitments, and work with them to proactively address any other questions they may have.

After all of those lessons learned, I still like to remember to also thank those that are going above and beyond in providing excellent customer service. Since people typically only reach out to managers and customer support when they are having a problem or frustrating, I like to provide the compliments and appreciation when a person or business is doing a great job!