The Technical Person’s Guide to Customer Service

I have worked in the technology industry for my entire professional career. My first job was with a tech company and my current job is working with tech companies. While I would say that I understand technology, I am definitely not a technical person. There are so many people out there that know infinitely more about technology than I do and I respect them for that. However, technical people sometimes have trouble providing quality customer service service. It usually isn’t because the technical employee is rude or inconsiderate. It’s usually just because the person hasn’t quite mastered the “attitude” part of customer service.

Here are some tips:

1. Rule number one is there is nothing to gain by proving a customer wrong. You have a lot to gain by explaining an issue to a customer and perhaps even explaining why they’re incorrect, what’s wrong, and how they can correct it, but essentially nothing to gain by proving a customer wrong. Proving a customer wrong is completely ineffective on both a business and a psychological level.

2. Always try to use positive language. Positive language are words and phrases that make you sound happy. If you aren’t a jubilant person, that’s okay (neither am I). As long as you give off the image that you’re polite, willing to help, and patient. Use phrases like “All you have to do is”, “To do that, just go do this”, “I’d be happy to help you with that,” etc. Don’t order customers (never say “You have to”). Instead, suggest what they can do to get the solution.

3. Try to explain the cause and effect in simple terms. Customers are usually interested in what caused their problem and they want you to take a little bit of time to explain it. You don’t have to and should not go into the exact technical details, but you should try to explain explain things at a basic level that the customer will hopefully be able to understand and make sense of.

For example, instead of saying “Your order was delayed because our processing system did not sync with our order fulfillment processes, thus causing your order to be removed from the order batch that was run at the end of the day,” say something like “Your order was delayed because of an error in one of our internal systems.” (Both of those examples are entirely made up. I’m not even sure if that technical problem is even possible.)

4. Tell the customer what has been fixed and how you did it. For the above mentioned issue, you would want to say something like “I have corrected the problem by changing a setting on your account in our internal system and have expedited your order so you will still receive it in the same amount of time.”

5. Tell customers how to prevent the problem from happening again. An important part of customer service is not only fixing the problem, but ensuring it won’t happen again and/or educating the customer to prevent it from happening again. A ticket closed does not mean a problem resolved. It makes more sense to invest some time now and resolve the issue completely instead of investing a lot of time later to resolve an issue that was only half-fixed the first time around.

These should serve as some good general rules of technical people that need to provide customer service themselves. For more reading on this subject, check out this post (general) and this post (specific).

5 Responses to “The Technical Person’s Guide to Customer Service”

  1. James said:

    Sep 19, 08 at 3:00 am

    Hi, I found your blog on this new directory of WordPress Blogs at I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, i duno. Anyways, I just clicked it and here I am. Your blog looks good. Have a nice day. James.

  2. Wes said:

    Sep 22, 08 at 12:12 pm

    Nice sum up. I would add that if you can afford it, outsource your customer service. It’s always best to have a specialist when you can.

  3. MakeMoneyOnline said:

    May 01, 09 at 7:26 am

    There is obviously a lot to know about this.

  4. bo4610 said:

    May 27, 11 at 11:28 pm

    These are helpful ideas. I just though maybe I can print it and use it one f these coming days when I’ll give a training about service, thanks

  5. Jacob of Free Online CRM said:

    May 27, 11 at 11:32 pm

    thanks for sharing these wonderful tips. One more thing I may add if you’ll allow me is “keep your promises” if you are a CS rep and you told me you’ll call me back after X minutes or hours THEN DO IT! never leave a customer waiting for nothing