While customer support software resides largely in the realm of formal contact centers, any company that provides inbound or outbound customer service or support for customers can benefit from it. Even business-to-business (B2B) companies that generally believe they are too small to require the foundation that customer support provides can benefit greatly from it. Today, competition is fierce, and customers are not shy about airing grievances about organizations that deliver a less-than-stellar experience on social media. Customer support that is patch-worked from Excel spreadsheets, printed materials, scattered customer records and knowledge bases residing on individual workers’ computers can go catastrophically wrong, leading to lost customers, wasted time, long delays, duplicated effort and errors.
Most business-to-business providers still rely on the “trouble ticket” approach to servicing customers. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, per se, if the trouble tickets aren’t centralized and coordinated, then companies may find themselves in the unenviable position of having to solve customers’ problems over and over again. According to a recent article by Laura Ballam writing for Business2Community, having a software solution specifically designed for B2B customer support will help make sure that the needs of customers are attended to in a timely manner. These solutions can help ensure that trouble tickets are sorted and organized automatically, eliminating some of the administrative tasks that support personnel would need to perform with a more piecemeal solution. They allow the level of professionalism a company – even a small company – can offer to rise dramatically.
Another very valuable element a customer support solution can offer is increased options for customers to use self-service to either answer their questions, or check the status of a trouble ticket being handled by a live representative. Accordingly, this can also drive down costs significantly.
“According to Nuance Communications (News - Alert), two out of three customers would rather help themselves than talk to a customer service representative,” wrote Ballam. “Without customer support software, it is hard to provide people with a way to access the information they need on their own. A software solution can build a database of knowledge based on previous tickets and community forums. This feature gives customers a place to visit for any and every issue they may have. If they need more information, they can simply call in.”
A particularly compelling benefit of updating the customer support system is the ability for different workers to collaborate on solving a customer’s problem. Without a formalized system, employees are left to speak in person (or on the telephone) in a way that isn’t documented and can’t be added to the knowledge base to help a customer in the future with a similar problem. Couple this with the ability to run robust analytics and reporting to keep a close eye on the performance of the customer support center, and it becomes a compelling prospect for even the smallest of contact centers.
Edited by Maurice Nagle