Chapter 3: Six signs you need to improve your customer service experience.

We live in a hyperconnected world where unhappy customers are quick to share their experiences on Facebook or Twitter. Even a small misstep can have big ramifications for your business — and any delay in finding the right information can have a major effect on employee productivity.

But being able to improve your customer service experience isn’t just about the experience between your agents and your customers; it’s also about how to improve customer service in the workplace — that is, your agents’ experience. In order to provide great customer service experiences, your service agents must also have the right tools to make the most of their time with your customers.

That’s why customer service solutions, like a help desk app, are so important and can transform the customer service experience. If you have the right help desk solution, you can know your customers better, offer the products and services they really want, and quickly respond whenever they need help. And you can solve employee issues and get them the solutions they need — fast. Think you might need a help desk solution for your business? Read on for six things to consider as you evaluate how to better your customer service experience:

1. You’re outgrowing your current ticket management system.

Companies often start out with one person managing customer service or their internal help desk, and it’s not unusual for them to handle support via email or to track inquiries in a spreadsheet. 
 

DITCH THE SPREADSHEETS

Spreadsheets make it difficult to assign responsibility and ensure customers are getting the help they need. A help desk assigns customer requests to the right person on your team and helps you track how your support team is doing.
But when your business grows — whether steadily or rapid-fire — this quickly becomes a pain point. If multiple people work cases from the same shared email account, it’s difficult to keep track of who’s answered which case and which ones have been closed. A help desk app keeps you organized and on task by tracking and routing cases. And when your inbox overflows with requests, automation features streamline notifications and routing to improve the customer service experience for both agents and customers.

2. You have more than one person supporting customers.

When your business grows, you’ll need a team of people to help customers. The problem with email is that it’s designed to be used by one person. While it works well for one-to-one or one-to-many communications, a shared email account isn’t an efficient way for multiple people to communicate with customers.

When several people use the same email account, there’s no easy way to see who’s read a customer email, who’s looking for answers to an inquiry, or who (if anyone) has actually responded. It’s easy for emails to get lost and for customers to fall through the cracks. With email, there’s also no mechanism for routing specific cases to specific agents. This results in certain confusion, as well as something called agent collision, which is when multiple agents work the same cases.

3. You’re looking for ways to be more productive or make better decisions.

It’s vital to make sure your customers feel supported, of course, but a help desk solution provides other benefits as well. A help desk solution typically contains productivity tools to help you quickly route cases, find the right answers, and respond to customers and employees fast. And they usually have tools that let you automate simple requests so your agents can focus on the more complicated issues.

But beyond the customer-agent ramifications, the deeper business impacts are appealing. Most help desk solutions can give you reports on key support team and business metrics to help you make customer service improvements. You can track inquiries so you can spot issues early, or learn new features your customers want. If you get a help desk solution with integration capabilities, you can connect support to other business systems; this gives other departments a complete view of customer information, allowing teams to collaborate more efficiently to make every customer interaction a great one. And with the right help desk solution, you can easily add more agents as your business grows, so even during busy times, there’s no hiccup in the service you provide for your customers.

4. Your customers are reaching out to you on multiple channels.

There’s no doubt about it: We’re living in a social world. Customers don’t just call or email if they need help. They’re quick to go to social networks when they want a fast answer. Not only does failure to offer support on Twitter often lead to unhappy customers, according to Gartner, your business may encounter up to a 15% increase in churn. To make things even more complicated, many customers will reach out on multiple channels about the same problem, especially if they don’t hear back quickly from their initial inquiry. It’s important to offer consistent, helpful service whichever way your customers choose to contact you. 

5. You want to make it easy for customers to help themselves.

Self-service customer support is table stakes in today’s world, and it’s one place where email simply doesn’t deliver. Uber-connected customers like to find their own answers — on their own time frame — and most would rather use self-service than picking up the phone. And for small businesses, offering a self-service site is the most cost-effective way to offer 24/7 support and improves the overall customer service experience when they can get solutions on their own, fast.

With so many people using smartphones to manage their businesses and personal lives, it’s critical to offer a mobile service experience so your customers can also solve their problems on the go.

6. Your business is expanding.

Small businesses typically start out with one or two customer service agents who answer all of their inquiries, but as they grow they need to create dedicated teams for different types of requests. This is especially important for complex products and technology. Most businesses will have a first-response tier who will figure out what the problem is and route customers to the right agents. As a company gets even bigger there might be a third layer of experts who handle the really gnarly calls. Having a help desk solution is essential for managing all of your requests and routing them to the right people.
 

TAKE IT ON THE ROAD

Businesses today need to be able to help customers from anywhere. Email is a good tool for dealing with inquiries, but it can't give you access to customer data or case history. Help desk apps with mobile compatibility provide the full functionality of your support solution, wherever you go.
When your business expands geographically, a help desk solution becomes even more important. Different time zones mean different business hours, and you need staff who can be awake when your customers are. And you may need to rethink how you route cases to let agents just starting their days easily pick up cases from agents who are ending theirs. You may also need to localize support content for new languages or cultures, and have a system for keeping it up to date.
 

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Getting Started with Customer Service

Overview

What Is Customer Service?

Chapter 3

Six signs you need to improve your customer service experience.

Chapter 4