Opinions vary on what makes a great customer support experience. Is it the quality of the support workers? Is it the support platform and the knowledge bases used to drive it? Is it the skills of the manager? While it may be any of these things, there is evidence that it’s a combination of all of them.
In a recent blog post, TeamSuppor’s Laura Ballam calls it the “Five Ts” of customer support: team, training, tools/technology, time and tone. “Team,” of course, means hiring the right people in the first place, and “training” is just as critical as hiring the right people. Tools and technology are more important than people might think. It doesn’t matter if you have the best workers in the world, if you’re providing them a substandard platform to work on, they won’t be able to support customers in a way those customers expect.
“Now that you've got the right team and they're properly trained, you need to make sure you provide them with the right tools and technology to do their job efficiently,” blogged Ballam. “Your customer support system should include detailed metrics, scalability, and integrations with your other business systems.”
This latter advice is perhaps the most critical. Customers expect to receive the same high quality support regardless of which channel they choose. They expect that companies will know all about their previous purchases, complaints, issues, returns or service sessions when they reach out again. Are your agents able to see – at a glance – the customer’s history with the company, regardless of what channels the interactions took place in? Are they able to see how those issues were resolved? If the customer is calling back regarding an existing problem, does the system reflect that? Will it bump the customer up as a high priority transaction so you don’t risk that customer hanging up in frustration…again?
When it comes to help desk software, many solutions manage tickets on a one by one basis, so support professionals lose visibility at the customer relationship level. This can lead support personnel to treating a customer who has already been through the mill like a first-time caller rather than a priority to be handled with care and understanding. The stakes become even higher when supporting business-to-business customers.
“When handling customer issues at a company level you have to manage multiple contacts per customer, multiple tickets for one company, and usually more difficult issues to resolve,” according to TeamSupport. “That's a lot of information to keep track of, and your customers expect you to know what's going on at all times.”
So be sure your agents are the right people and be sure they’re properly trained and aligned in a team collaboration way. But also ensure that you’re providing the right tools for 360-degree visibility into the customer relationship (regardless of channel). And ensure that you’ve got a way to view, track, monitor and analyze your interactions so you can make adjustments before the customer takes a walk, and not after.
Edited by Maurice Nagle