Plainly stated, the scripted response is an impersonal way to do business, and in many ways it’s going to alienate customers instead of providing them with the solution they seek. TeamSupport is a support software company changing the way customer service is addressed, and recently CEO Robert C. Johnson spoke with TMC (News - Alert) on how they are ushering this shift.
Johnson notes his firm has placed heavy focus on collaboration and the ability to have an agent not respond with a scripted response but have the ability to reach out to a team member to find the desired solution.
It is more than simply removing scripted responses, businesses must move away from the tiered model in order to avoid putting agents in what Johnson describes an, “untenable situation” where, “issues are never addressed and results in poor customer service.”
The “hive” model is a more collaborative model to solve customer issues that TeamSupport is finding a great deal of success leveraging in its solutions. This more collaborative approach coupled with the growing adoption of self-service will reduce time and drive customer satisfaction.
By using a scripted response, firms are fooling themselves into thinking it will save time. When utilizing a more collaborative approach, agents will quickly get up to speed resulting in faster resolution because more agents are capable of solving the issue in question.
Traditionally, companies have sought fast resolution and low cost, whereas today Johnson proclaims, “I would say ten years ago most companies would say that lowest cost to serve is going to be the metric they think is most important. I would say today that shift is happening and happening rather dramatically going the other direction where customer satisfaction is a much more important metric.”
Johnson depicted three key points to collaboration. First, is the ability to track an interaction from the initial point of contact through resolution, regardless of channel. For instance, with TeamSupport software, if a query comes in all interactions are associated with that ticket and the experience of moving from channel to channel is seamless.
While in the B2C world, companies are interacting with many customers, it is typically a one-time interaction. In the B2B world, it is imperative to know one’s customer. And, over the course of the relationship a vendor collects a ton of information on said customer but more often than not support does not have access to all of this invaluable information. TeamSupport software offers context on previous issues. For instance, TeamSupport’s Customer Distress Index is a gauge that measures potential distress of customers to allow proactive outreach; and via collaboration is able to put data in context.
The third point to collaboration is it is not just in one department, to be successful you must branch out and include other depts. Johnson notes tying in product development can help to fix issues quickly but also prevent future issues. With TeamSupport it is not rare to see a developer aid an agent with providing the proper response to the end user.
According to Johnson, “Collaboration is one word, but is a whole big piece of what goes on in a support department. Or more importantly, what should go on in a support department.”
Aside from taking a more collaborative approach, another piece to the customer service puzzle is creating an emotional connection between agents and customers. On that note, Johnson offered TMC a look behind TeamSupport’s curtain at a couple developments not far off on the horizon.
The first is a solution that will mine publically accessible data sources to provide both agents and customers with a more ‘humanized’ experience. Johnson gives the example of pulling information from a customer’s Linkedin page. This includes company information, additional details about the customer as well as their image to be included on the ticket. In addition, when a customer service agent responds to a ticket, his or her image will be included in the reply—truly putting a face to the name. Johnson notes that relationship selling has not made its way to support, yet. He coined the phrase “relationship support” to provide a means to build a stronger relationship. Especially today with many firms are moving to subscription-based services this relationship becomes mission critical.
The second sneak peak Johnson provided has to do with the ability to add video into an action. An agent can include video in a customer response; imagine receiving a video response to reassure you that you’re issue is being addressed in a thorough and timely way. Johnson offered the example of a software company recording a screencast with narration to illustrate a solution for a customer.
Stay tuned, as TeamSupport may very well revolutionize the customer service process. And, for anybody who has ever done the do-si-do with a company’s siloed customer service department, the level of gratitude should be immeasurable.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino