My sup­port phi­los­o­phy is sim­ple: approach every­one with love. There are no sit­u­a­tions in which love is not appro­pri­ate, and it is always ben­e­fi­cial to all con­cerned. There are times when a per­son does not reflect love back at you, but to me that just means that they need love that much more.

Stop right there, you might be think­ing. That’s just a lit­tle too “woo” for me. I need a sup­port tech, not some wishy-washy chick who is going to go all New Age and try to “get in touch” with the cus­tomers instead of resolv­ing their tech­ni­cal issues!

Bear with me, though. True love is a verb, a choice, not just a feel­ing. I don’t think any­one would argue that love takes ded­i­ca­tion, empa­thy, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, integri­ty, and flex­i­bil­i­ty. Those are the same qual­i­ties that are found in the best sup­port agents, because great sup­port is also a choice, and the very best sup­port techs approach their cus­tomers with love.

Dedication

To be a real­ly great sup­port agent, you need to be ded­i­cat­ed to resolv­ing clients’ prob­lems as effec­tive­ly as pos­si­ble. You have to be com­mit­ted to stay­ing on top of your game tech­ni­cal­ly and oth­er­wise, by stay­ing in touch with com­pa­ny com­mu­ni­ca­tions, read­ing indus­try news, improv­ing your skills, and tend­ing to your self-care so that you are able to keep on giv­ing to cus­tomers and co-work­ers.

Empathy

Empa­thy is a key mark­er of the real­ly spe­cial sup­port peo­ple. They can hear the ques­tion past the ques­tion, the real issue at the root of the customer’s deci­sion to con­tact sup­port. Empa­thy gives a tech the under­stand­ing that some­times a client is just hav­ing a bad day, or that the tech­ni­cal prob­lem is caus­ing so much stress that they don’t know how to cope with­out tak­ing out their frus­tra­tions on some­body. Some­times the end user just needs to know that they’ve been heard, and some­times they need some com­fort­ing. The great tech is able to han­dle the customer’s frus­tra­tions with­out tak­ing them per­son­al­ly.

Communication

Your best agents will have won­der­ful com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills. They will pay atten­tion to what the cus­tomer is say­ing, and meet the cus­tomer at their com­fort lev­el to answer ques­tions. If the cus­tomer talks about “the lit­tle pic­tures on the screen” instead of “icons,” a good agent will call those things “the lit­tle pic­tures on the screen.” If a cus­tomer clear­ly wants a pure­ly tech­ni­cal, no-non­sense answer, the agent won’t fill an email response with emo­ji. But when respond­ing to a long-time cus­tomer who is known to the tech, a good agent will take time to per­son­al­ize the answer a lit­tle more than nor­mal. And when deal­ing with an uncer­tain cus­tomer, your best peo­ple will take time for some reas­sur­ance and a lit­tle guid­ed learn­ing.

Integrity

Integri­ty encom­pass­es hon­esty, but it’s more than that. It also means to be eth­i­cal, decent, and sin­cere. An hon­est per­son will tell a cus­tomer the truth in response to a query (“Yes, you can do it that way”) but a decent, eth­i­cal one will give the cus­tomer the ben­e­fit of wis­dom as well (“but you prob­a­bly don’t want to do that, because doing so often leads to cor­rup­tion. May I sug­gest that you do it this way instead?”) And some­times, act­ing with integri­ty means say­ing “no,” even if you try to avoid using that par­tic­u­lar word in your sup­port orga­ni­za­tion (some peo­ple do, I know).

Flexibility

A great sup­port tech is flex­i­ble. If a cus­tomer doesn’t under­stand the way the tech explained some­thing, the tech doesn’t just repeat them­selves, they find anoth­er way to express the same concept—or even anoth­er, sim­pler way to accom­plish the same task. If it isn’t pos­si­ble to resolve a customer’s prob­lem one way, the agent finds anoth­er way to do it.

So give it a try. Rethink your def­i­n­i­tion of love, and your approach to sup­port. I promise that you won’t be sor­ry.