So you’ve got a top-of-the-line customer support or help desk software solution available for your agents. That’s great…it probably puts you ahead of most companies. So the quality of customer support you are offering must be stellar, right? Not necessarily. Not if your solution isn’t properly integrated so that agents can’t reach knowledge that lies outside of the real of your support solution.
According to a study by customer service software reviews site, GetApp, a lack of integration is the third-most cited challenge when it comes to customer service. It doesn’t help if your agents are diligently providing customers with information that is wrong because of outdated databases, or because the most critical information to the support call is located elsewhere, with walls between in and the agent’s desktop. While certainly a cloud-based solution can make things easier, it’s critical that all help desks engage in test runs to ensure that information is flowing smoothly between the agent’s fingertips and the information that really matters. Aside from affecting the quality of the service call, it also eliminates duplicate efforts and costly errors, and reduces the average handle time of each call or support contact.
It’s not only about integration with other software solutions, however. Sometimes it’s about the way people use solutions. Take email, for instance: a great communications tool, but it’s not always used in the most ideal manner for keeping everyone in the loop, according to a recent blog post by TeamSupport.
‘Email is great for sending the same message to multiple people at once, but this practice leaves room for a lack of consistent communication - it's too easy for a person to hit ‘Reply’ instead of ‘Reply All,’ wrote the blogger.
Instantaneously, important people have just been left out of the loop, raising the chances that those people will begin their own duplicate efforts to solve the problem. It’s human nature to think of email as “personal,” and forget that in a collaborative support environment, one-to-one emails don’t help much with collaboration. TeamSupport recommends that help desks ensure their support solution offers integration with email marketing software, which saves time by automatically uploading contact information for customers into your mailing list. The same goes for any communication via social media.
“Social media accounts have long been part of an omnichannel approach,” wrote the company. “Integrating your help desk software with social media accounts enables you to connect social client interactions to their respective accounts. Service reps then see customer requests within their help desk and respond to the customer via their preferred channel, rather than having to use multiple systems which is time consuming and also provides opportunity for missed interactions.”
Of course, the biggest “elephant in the room” when it comes to a lack of integration is proprietary software. When you choose a support solution, be sure that the vendor is willing to work with you to enable a two-way stream of information, because the benefits are significant.
“B2B software companies that integrate their support software with their own proprietary software can see a customer's full history and account details in one place,” wrote TeamSupport. “They're able to observe start dates, upgrades, frequently used add-ons and much more.”
It’s critical to keep in mind that good support can’t happen in a vacuum. When you adopt a new solution, engage in a “house cleaning” process that centralizes and updates support tools and data so help desk workers don’t have to triple their work by first guessing where the information needed to solve the ticket is located.
Edited by Maurice Nagle