It’s no secret that great customer service is growing harder and harder to deliver. Customer expectations are rising and there is a lot of pressure for support organizations to deliver more with less. Surveyed IT support organizations report that ticket volumes are up 57% over the past year, and yet headcount has remained flat. In addition to having more tickets, the issues they are working on are becoming increasingly more complex as customers demand support across more devices.
The “do more with less” challenge can feel like an uphill battle for most support organizations, but there are ways to maximize efficiency. It’s all about working smarter and not harder. In this post, I’ll be sharing some steps you can take to get started in building a smarter customer support organization.
Step 1: Find Out What’s Holding You Back
Before you charge forward and make a flurry of changes, take a moment to direct your action. Rather than throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water, consider your barriers. Chances are some small changes could have a big impact. Are your tools holding your team back? Do they not integrate with each other? Is your agent turnover too high? Are your agents overloaded, or are they not being assigned tickets based on their skills?
Identify your top initiatives and then proceed with testing them one at a time. It’s important to know what caused any resulting change so that you can confidently build a more effective organization one brick at a time.
As you determine where to start, think about which area you need to focus on first. Do you want to deliver faster solutions? Are you primarily looking to cut costs? Are you hoping to better maximize the skillsets of your technicians? While the benefits these actions provide may overlap, it is important to determine which will have the highest impact as aligned to the goals you’re looking to achieve.
Step 2: Deepen Your Knowledge Base
Automation technologies like chat bots and smart-rule solutions may be the perfect answer to help offload simple queries. But in most cases, these technologies are only as good as the knowledge base that powers them. Managing tribal knowledge can be tricky to retain in an industry where the average tenure for agents is under two years. Having an agent portal or some knowledge-based tool will help support teams retain and disseminate pertinent information long after agents have moved on.
Having a strong, updated and searchable knowledge base isn’t just a good foundation for automation technologies, but can also help agents deliver quicker, smarter support to your customers–reducing ticket deflection and increasing first-call resolutions.
Step 3: Integrate Your Systems
It goes without saying that when business tools work together, users can be more efficient and effective. This especially rings true with support systems. Whether it’s an internal IT team or an external help desk, support teams can’t afford to waste time, resources, or customer patience by starting from scratch with every support call. The more data you capture from past inquiries, the better your reps will handle future issues.
Being able to integrate support tools with existing business systems should be a key consideration when choosing any support solution. Integrated systems can lead to lower costs, higher efficiency, and greater customer satisfaction. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Eliminates manually entering support call details, in turn saving time-per-call while minimizing the risk of errors.
- Provides detailed account history in real time, reducing call handle times with greater insight into previous interactions.
- Improves first-call resolution rates. In situations where calls must be transferred or escalated, an integrated system ensures each rep can pick up where the previous one left off rather than repeating troubleshooting steps.
- Captured support operations data provides insights to proactively optimize IT processes. Analyzing metrics such as the number of calls per rep, length of support sessions, and most common issues, provides insight into capacity and division of time spent on support vs. other tasks. This lets organizations without a dedicated help desk allocate available resources more efficiently.
In a world where immediacy has become the expected norm, and downtime can turn a customer away for good, the quality of support interactions has never been so critical to an organization’s success. While end-user expectations have increased, so have the ways in which support organizations can optimize their teams and processes to provide faster, more efficient interactions with their end users. Small steps can lead to great gains–you just have to identify where to start. To learn more about providing smarter customer support, tune in to our webinar, "Metrics That Matter: Important Support KPIs and Steps to Improve Them," on Thursday, September 7.
About the Author
Dave Campbell is Vice President of Product Marketing for the Customer Engagement and Support products at LogMeIn, which includes LogMeIn Rescue, Bold360 and GoToAssist. Dave joined the LogMeIn team in 2010 and has managed and led product direction for multiple LogMeIn businesses including: remote access, IT management and customer engagement. Prior to joining LogMeIn, Dave was responsible product marketing at Symantec for its Information Management business including backup, archiving and E-Discovery.