Business-to-business customer service has grown a lot since the turn of this decade. It may seem like everyone is anticipating what will come next – the promise of ever-faster broadband speed and the growth of mobile promised to 2020 and beyond – but B2B service is still grabbing onto the advances in information technology that have boosted it through the past six years.
TeamSupport, a developer of multi-channel customer service software for businesses, wrote in a recent blog post about these changes. It notes that omnichannel service, improved branding, B2B-specific software, advanced ticketing, and inventory tracking have all contributed to the present situation where businesses have it better than ever before.
The rise of cloud-based infrastructure and software plays a strong role in many of these developments. It may play no larger role than with the use of omnichannel support software that businesses can use to handle support voice and video calls, email, and web chat from anywhere. Employees can make use of their computers at the office or home and their laptops or smartphones while on the go; their reach to any client department or head of business knows no bounds. TeamSupport notes that omnichannel systems know how to handle multiple tickets from the same users and businesses so no duplication arises when dealing with complex issues. This can make even the longest or most multi-faceted calls appear streamlined to all involved.
All this capability leads into the look and feel of customer service that clients have come to expect. Clients want to know that they will reach support representatives quickly and that their problems will be resolved without undue hassle. The use of B2B-specific software, as mentioned above, gives not only that look but also that reality. It brings in advanced features such as video support and screen sharing so issues can appear manageable from the start. Representatives gain many more ways to look at an issue when they have access to all the information their clients do, and the only way they get to that knowledge is through multiple support channels that can be used in parallel.
The look and feel of that parallel usage is the shiny brand image that B2B support centers want to display and clients want to receive. The only way support centers can handle their glut of features, however, is through the use of advanced ticketing that understands the type of client issue at hand, the experience and capability of the client, the experience and capability of the support representative, and the available methods of support on hand.
Regarding, for instance, an odd-acting server on the client’s end, the situation will first show that various lights on the server are blinking in a way not similar to others nearby and that packets are not being routed correctly through its hardware. The individual who represents the client, a small business owner who has little experience with server maintenance, may have the knowledge necessary to manipulate power and access cords on the server itself and may have a smartphone as her primary support connection. Finally, the support representative may have experience with voice and video and may also know how to screen share with the client to see what her phone’s camera can see.
A careful use of screen sharing and speakerphone can allow the B2B representative to guide the owner through a series of steps that could include resetting the server and manipulating cords on the server’s exterior to get it back online. This service may even extend to other channels, such as web chat, when support moves to the small business’s office computer that can verify whether or not the server now works as expected.
If all goes as planned, that line of support could get the client’s server up and running. If not, though, it could call on the support representative to replace the unit, which requires a look into his company’s inventory. This fictional server manufacturer can track its inventory in a manner similar to its support tickets to show the types of products the customer has purchased in the past and which new products could be a suitable replacement for future use. This may involve an upgrade; in any case, the representative can see his company’s inventory in a matter of second, so the client will not have to wait on hold during this traditionally lengthy process. All in all, issue resolution is made much smoother and easier for the brand and the client – a lead into better future calls and overall relationships between demanding entities.
Edited by Maurice Nagle