Most SaaS and cloud-based businesses face the challenge of accommodating an extremely complex customer support system owing to the sophisticated nature of customer queries they receive and issues they encounter. Considering that more than 80% of the customers expect an instant response, it becomes imperative for businesses to invest in a customer support system that delivers excellent results within the stipulated time frame.
Perhaps the best way to achieve that is by empowering the IT support team with actionable data and insights so that they know exactly what to do while catering to a specific scenario. This entails providing a 360° view of the resources, assimilating AI into the workflow, and taking advantage of advanced support tools.
The adherence to the above means that you're preparing your IT support team to be agile and creative. In reality, there's a lot more you can do to ensure that your team literally transforms into superheroes.
1. Provide a Holistic View of Customer-Specific Support
Maybe a customer previously raised a ticket for a faulty software update. Or maybe a customer has been struggling to log into the system for a while now. Gaining a comprehensive insight into the order and service history is fundamental to providing personalized customer service.
Besides, the assessment of the previously mentioned issues could be part of a larger puzzle since they could have originated from different parts of the business. For instance, the issue pertaining to a faulty software update could be the result of an infrastructure problem, whereas the log-in issue could arise as a result of a glitch in the authentication process. Even though each customer would likely portray the issue differently, the IT support team would have enough information to realize and cure the problem swiftly.
The preferred approach to deconstructing customer support issues and raising tickets would be to define a distinct problem statement for each ticket — something that can be carried out with the help of an AI-powered ticketing tool. The idea is to use a dashboard for gathering insights into everything that's happening pertaining to a customer's problem. That way, the IT support agents are able to have a bird's eye on support's functionality alongside adopting the granular approach of making out patterns and correlations to optimize the levels of customer satisfaction.
2. Improve Agent Experience
During COVID-19, some organizations witnessed 68% more case escalations, where issues were frequently routed to senior-level management. Part of the reason for such a whopping hike was a massive increase in customer calls. Naturally, the pandemic fueled difficulties in the SaaS sector as well, with more and more IT support representatives pressurized to deliver. However, such stressful conditions rarely foster a good agent experience.
Mostly, companies talk about enhancing the customer experience; however, their priority should be to create a soothing environment for IT support agents so that they can perform to the best effect — an indirect but successful approach to garner end-user satisfaction.
If IT support agents are to be on the winning side, there's a need to help them gain quick access to relevant information and ensure that they work proactively. For instance:
a. Conversational AI chatbots for websites can be a remarkable tool for the IT support team to incorporate into their web-based helpdesk. They can reduce the burden on agents by instantly handling issues and streamlining the support process 24/7.
b. AI-assisted recommendations can be an excellent solution to enhance agent professionalism in handling complex cases. For instance, if an agent doesn't feel confident dealing with an intricate customer issue, he/she can access AI-assisted recommendations to help them assess the problem and provide an appropriate solution.
c. The must-have knowledge base tools can allow IT support teams to troubleshoot and find solutions without necessarily having to open up a ticket — a strategy that can effectively save time.
d. A solid search engine can help the agents pinpoint relevant information. Agents are bound to waste time scrolling through lengthy articles or seeking specific information if the search cannot provide them with accurate results.
All these ways work in favor of improving the agent experience, which is essential for keeping them motivated and proactive in the prolonged run.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has given companies an opportunity to debug their customer service problems, big and small. Those that rise to the occasion will win the favor of their customers in 2021 — and beyond." —Christopher Elliott, Forbes
3. Assist Them Through Predictive Intelligence
The ultimate goal of any IT support team is to provide instant solutions; however, that's easier said than done. Fortunately, this technology-driven era offers a spate of tech solutions for streamlining the customer support process.
To keep up with the pace of rapid changes, there's a need to adopt predictive intelligence. It could be an invaluable tool for enabling your team to anticipate customer needs in real-time, develop proactive recommendations for customers, encourage efficient resource utilization, and optimize service delivery.
Here are some ways that predictive intelligence can make your IT support team super-human:
a. Analyzing End-User Behavior — identifying frequent cases and patterns of errors/issues, assessing the length of calls and the profitability of customer cases, and identifying the general structure of a customer's problem
b. Automating Tasks — optimizing the workload and making life easier for agents (e.g., drafting tickets faster and providing instant responses to customers)
c. Providing Guidance — boosting agent creativity and providing supplementary information to other issues (e.g., relevant articles)
d. Meeting Service Level Objectives (SLOs) — by providing appropriate guidance and recommendations, it's much easier to spot opportunities for supporting the end-users, reduce service gaps, and meeting the SLOs
e. Creating Predictive Models — identifying patterns that could help the IT support team to identify users most likely to encounter a problem in the future and create a solution for them
In the long run, it will be of significant advantage for IT support teams to apply predictive intelligence tools to guarantee high-quality customers.
4. Improve Relationship Between AI & IT Support Representatives
The vitality of seamlessly integrating AI with the workforce can't be stressed enough. It's not simply the matter of automating repetitive tasks but empowering the employees with an enriched, valued experience. The result? A highly productive and happy workforce! To achieve this, you should consider adopting the following strategies:
a. Use Chatbots For Better Customer Experience — AI Chatbot support enables your representatives to resolve queries instantly without having to wait on hold. They also offer more personalized experiences as they interact directly with customers instead of being routed through third parties. This ensures better communication between both sides, especially when dealing with sensitive topics such as privacy concerns or financial matters.
Considering that "hold times" have drastically increased post-COVID-19 (stretching up to 36 hours), implementing an effective AI chatbot for customer support is imperative.
b. Provide Real-time Training On How To Use AI Tools — Today, many organizations are offering free training sessions where their workers learn how to use artificial intelligence tools like Watson Assistant, IBM QS2, Microsoft Power BI Analytics, etc. Not only does this ensure employee retention, but it sets the stage for building trust among partners.
Simply put, when the IT support team feels confident about working within the environment fostered, they're likely to spend more time and effort in enhancing the overall customer support experience.
c. Encourage Employees' Creativity And Innovative Thinking — When AI solutions provide insights into the root cause of problems, there's no need for human intervention. As a result, employees can focus on solving the issue rather than spending time writing redundant reports.
More importantly, these solutions empower reps to think outside the box and come out with creative ideas that would have otherwise been difficult if done manually.
d. Provide the Company with Empathetic AI solutions — In today's dynamic world, we often see people losing patience due to poor response time from companies. While replying to emails, one may feel irritated by slow responses; however, they can find answers quickly and efficiently when interacting with AI systems.
However, the question is whether AI-based customer support is empathetic in its delivery? Not really. But, they can route queries agents' way when they get the sense of the sentiment being portrayed on the other end.
At present, most businesses rely heavily on AI chatbots for customer service, which helps them deliver exceptional service at scale. These programs understand each user's needs and preferences well enough to anticipate changes in behavior over time so that users get what they want even before they ask. If implemented properly, these features enhance productivity while improving the satisfaction levels of end consumers.
5. Open the Doors to Visual Assistance
With the increasing demand for live visual assistance, businesses need to re-design customer service processes keeping in mind the target audience's needs. For the success of the IT support team and the benefit of customers, the facility of live chats and visual assistance must be made available at hand.
How Visual Assistance Works and the Ultimate Strategy on Unlocking this Technology for Customer Growth and Success
Here's how you can leverage the potential of live visual assistance:
a. Offer Video Guidance During Live Chat Sessions — The ability of visual assistance has always proven beneficial during live chats since it enables the agent to view images, videos, documents, presentations, and any other relevant information needed to solve the problem.
For instance, you could share your screen and show screenshots of files containing important data. Or perhaps you could explain how certain settings work in detail. With the right technology, there's no reason why video shouldn't become part of every interaction.
b. Use Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality — VR & AR enable customers to interact virtually with the company representatives without actually having physical contact. This helps reduce costs as well as improve efficiency through faster resolution times. Not to mention that it also relieves users from the frustration of waiting on hold for hours.
Building a successful IT support team involves a lot of effort. Developing a culture that embraces change, facilitating a supportive environment, promoting abundant training & development, and investing in top-notch AI solutions are not straightforward tasks. However, with the right approach, they can be achieved and would eventually lead to better results. Isn't that what your business desires?
What are your views on building a successful IT support team? Let us know in the comments below.