1:1 support sessions Most Memorable Mistakes.

My Most Memorable Mistakes in 1:1 support sessions

1:1 support sessions means you are devoting all your attention to a customer (it could be video, screen sharing or even just audio). And there are some errors to avoid when doing so. Here there is my ranking.

Note: If you first want to understand how to prepare these sessions, check this step by step handy guide. Or the above Prezi I made for the talk I gave in Support Driven Expo Europe 2019 in Belgrade:

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1:1 support sessions. How to avoid Epic Fails.

Avoiding 3 errors before starting the session

  1. Prepare the session. Checking as soon as possible what the customer wants or needs is key to understand their expectations and subsequently to plan the session to cover them. I once heard preparation is 95% of the success of any meeting. It’s radically true.
    • If expectations are not clear or you need any confirmation, ask as soon as possible.
    • Prepare good examples or prototypes to be used during the session.
    • Another good reason to check asap: the customer could not be eligible for the meeting. How so? In my case, their goals with the site could not adhere to the Terms of Service. Another case: they want something that cannot be provided. If that happens we must follow up as soon as possible.
  2. You don’t need to overprepare the session. There are no shows, the customer could come up with other questions or goals for the session… Take good notes about the session preparation, a checklist could help here, and rely on them.
  3. Don’t assume anyone knows what UTC is. Also: don’t assume anyone is in your same timezone.
    • If you send a message to confirm the meeting say something like “We’ll have our meeting on DAY at HOUR (THEIR CITY time)“. NEVER confirm a meeting using your timezone or, even worse UTC.
    • Sometimes it seems your customer mixed AM/PM (I have bookings typically from LA or NY at their 1:00-5:00 AM). If this happens a confirmation is a lifesaver. Something like “Please, confirm our session… at 2:00AM (NIGHT), New York time
My Most Memorable Mistakes in 1:1 support sessions

Avoiding 5 errors during the session

  1. Always start 1:1 support sessions reminding the expected duration or you’ll finish having problems with the following one.
    • You guessed it. Gently reminder 5-10 minutes before the end: “We have time for one more question…
  2. Be aware of the scenario importance. I could make a 100 items checklist here but let’s stick with the most common mistakes.
    • You are maybe at home, but grooming is important. Pro tip: Your legs are not expected to be visible, but they could be.
    • Your background talks about you. Better books than wine -at least in general-. My lead (*) has my favorite background ever: a big shelf full of ordered by color books.
    • Esp. if you work from home. Your kids are cool. Your cats… maybe too. But kids and cats and their noises on a video session aren’t.
  3. Always, be honest. Your professional advice sells by itself. Don’t try to oversell, don’t speak bad of your competitors, don’t cheat your customers. This is a long term relationship you don’t want to spoil with such an inelegant mistake.
  4. Always, be focused. Everything I said makes sense from the assumption that you are devoting your whole attention to the user. And the complete experience can be ruined if it happens that you’re not.
    • Special case. Avoid getting wrapped in user stress. Do they have a terrible problem? You’re here to fix it the best you can and this implies focus on the problem analysis and the fix. Don’t take rudeness personally because frustration is likely not with you. Don’t let user stress distract you.

(*) If you clicked on my lead link you’ve seen we have sabbaticals in Automattic. Well… We’re hiring 😉

After 1:1 support sessions. Just 1 error to avoid.

Just one, 1:1 sessions are not thought to say bye to a user. The aim tends to be the creation of a solid, long term relationship. Don’t forget to mention it!

This is not the end of our support relationship, we’ll be glad to give you a hand each time you need it. Just reach out to us using our 24×7 Livechat or emailing us to…

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