Optimizing for the best possible support experience
Finding the right tools for managing support issues starts with a fundamental question: What does the optimal customer support experience look like? The answer across a variety of industries and company types is the same. A great customer support experience is one where an easily accessible and knowledgeable support employee quickly and effectively provides a highly personalized solution.
Today, support issues can originate from a variety of different sources (email, phone, web forms, web chat, and in person requests). A complete solution will maximize your ability to receive, process, and execute a quality support experience no matter its point of origin.
A full support management solution provides a variety of benefits related to improved service, including:
- Decreased support turnaround times
- An increase in the percentage of successful support resolutions
- Better identification of common issues allowing for overall product and service improvements
- A promotion of access to self help resources
- The empowerment of support employees to find the right solution
- Better capture of opportunities for upgrade sales
- Increase transparency to improve support staff performance monitoring.
Features available in customer service/help desk systems
Managing your internal and external customer support requests can be a daunting task if you don’t have the right software in place. Here is a list of some common features found in many help desk solutions:
- Support tickets. Adequately documenting every issue is key to ensuring it is properly resolved. Ticketing features also allow a wide-view of the types of issues you are running into. Documentation offers the chance to audit your support records for improvement possibilities—and all documentation starts with the support ticket. With support issue ticketing you can track correspondence with the customer, attach documents, and provide issue records when escalating problems to a higher levels of support.
- Knowledge base access and administration. Access to support documentation allows your employees to more quickly and effectively resolve issues. But, managing support documentation can be cumbersome. Strong knowledge base searching and sorting capabilities are especially critical when support employees need to rapidly access info while in the process of working with a customer. Search mechanisms that allow help employees the ability to search previous positive support outcomes provide a way to turn a single employee’s knowledge into a corporate asset.
- Phone system integration. The ability to integrate your phone system with your help desk tracking system can be important for a couple of key reasons. First, it offers a chance to gather more information than could otherwise be reliably captured with notes alone. Second, it provides increased transparency for managers to diagnose previous resolutions in terms of identifying potential support improvements.
Live chat. Instant web chat features minimize the response time for customers looking for quick answers. There are several advantages to an online chat system:
- Representatives can more easily use common, pre-written responses by copying and pasting into the chat box, speeding the response time.
- Some users prefer the convenience and relative anonymity of an online chat, as opposed to a phone conversation. Offering a chat option can increase the percentage of reported issues. It’s impossible to solve an issue that isn’t reported so increasing the ease of reporting is an important aspect of an effective support system.
- Issues with language barriers and bad phone connections are not a problem with online chat.
- Support assignment. The human brain is a great problem-solver, but computers of course are better at remembering things. One of the things that can be hard to remember is the qualifications of various support employees. Tracking employee certifications and experience can help you more easily assign the right support person to the job.
- Alerts. Setting up tasks alerts is another important way to make sure that all required support work is completed.
- Automated follow-up. How effective was your support resolution and how pleased is your customer with it? You won’t know if you don’t ask. Automated follow-up processes can help you get follow-up surveys and thank you notes out to valued customers.
- Scheduling. Scheduling the right employee support helps ensure you have the right support coverage to meet customer needs. This can be more difficult to manage in organizations where different support employees have varying specializations and experience. Automated scheduling functionality can help make sure you are properly staffing your help desk at all times.
- CRM integration. The more you know about the customer whose issues you are trouble-shooting, the better positioned you are to serve their needs. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are used to track all customer info and engagement. By being able to access purchase histories and account notes, you can better understand which products or services your support customers have purchased and how that may affect their present support needs. CRM integration also allows information to flow from the help desk into the CRM system. Updating the CRM with support records helps account managers and sales representatives better meet customer needs and can be a great way to drive upgrade and add-on sales.
- Time tracking. Time tracking is an important part of quantifying customer service work. In some cases it can be needed for billing purposes. In most others it’s needed to track performance. Help desk software options often include both passive and active time tracking, where employees are respectively timed automatically from the opening of an issue/call or via self-reporting.
- Reporting and analytics. The ability to slice and dice your support records is critical for pulling real business information out of the raw data. Reporting tools can help track issue resolution along a number of dimensions, including by issue type, product, employee, customer, or location.
Internal help desk support
Customers aren’t the only users who might need support. Especially in a larger organization, it’s often very important to have a centrally managed help desk for IT or related support issues. Rather than increased customer loyalty, though, the key benefit of effective internal support is improved productivity. Essentially, though, the very same suite of tools can be deployed for managing internal support issues.
Taking the next steps
Finding the right option for your company can be a daunting task. Sifting through the dozens, if not, hundreds of options can take weeks or longer just to locate a handful of appropriate systems. We have developed a search service that allows us to gather your needs and have appropriate options for you to consider the next business day. Client/server solutions, cloud or managed services…we have access to all types of options. If you’re at the point you are ready to begin exploring good help desk support options, we’re ready to assist with our free software search service. Get started today!