Business growth is a sign of success. But for customer service teams, it’s a good thing that comes with complications. As the department brings on more agents and gets a higher number of inquiries, continuing to use the old processes that once worked often falls short. And if a customer service team used to success suddenly finds itself falling behind on goals because of the change, it’s bad for customers and agents alike.
As the job gets more complicated, you need a better way to organize your team and manage the inquiries that come in so you can streamline your process. Without that, you could be setting up good customer service reps for failure that’s outside of their control.
You can improve your internal process and deliver better results with two fairly straightforward steps.
Simplify the customer’s experience
Your customers are busy people. Contacting customer support when they have a problem is one more item on their to-do list for the day, and if they have to put much time and effort into explaining the problem, it just feels like that much more work for them. And since they don’t have the same knowledge of your products and services that you do, finding the right way to articulate an issue can be a challenge to begin with.
The first step to providing good customer support is getting the right information from your customer so you know how to solve their problem. If that step feels like work on their end, it creates a hurdle they have to get past before you can do your job.
How to do it: multiple forms and conditional fields
You can make providing you the right information easier on your customers with the use of web forms. When a customer comes to your website, they’re supplied with specific categories to choose from that describe their problem. This makes it easier for them to explain the problem, as you can give them helpful prompts to get them started.
Additionally, with conditional fields, when a customer selects a particular category, they’re supplied with a customized form that only asks for relevant information based on the problem. For a customer that has an issue with their shoe size, the custom form they see can request the shoe type and the size they ordered and won’t ask for irrelevant information like their tracking number. While for a customer contacting you about shipping issues, the form can ask for the tracking number without bothering them with requests for sizing information.
In an internal survey of Zendesk customers, 48% of the businesses we talked to expressed a need to create multiple support request forms in order to simplify the process of getting the right information from customers.
And using multiple forms doesn’t just mean less work from your customers, it makes sure your agents get the most important information they need to solve the problem. “The different ticket forms that we have in place ensure that we get the information needed the first time so that we can resolve the customers’ issues and get them on the right track” says Nicholas Webb, Customer Service representative for TurnKey Corrections & Three Square Market.
When your agents get the specific details they need for every customer request, it leads to faster resolution times. And we all know that means better customer satisfaction.
Quickly get every ticket to the best contact.
When you have a lot of customer support agents, it becomes a challenge to make sure customers can quickly reach the right person for the problem they have. And it will always be disappointing when the first response a customer hears from an agent is “sorry, I can’t help with that,” even if it’s followed up with the promise to forward the inquiry on to someone who can.
A common issue found in our internal survey was having difficulty getting the right ticket to the agent with the right skills to work on it. And the longer it takes for a ticket to get to the contact best suited to help, the longer customers are stuck waiting for a response. That leaves them unsatisfied and makes you look sloppy.
How to do it: use software to automate the process.
With a large number of customer service agents and a growing number of tickets coming in, making sure each issue gets to the right person becomes an increasingly complicated process—unless you have technology that does some of the work for you.
Assigning skills to your support staff—e.g. Carrie’s good at solving tech problems, and Joe speaks fluent French—ensures that the customer’s enquiry will always be sent to the agent best suited to solve the problem. The next time a customer has a question that involves technical knowledge, the tool automatically sends it to Carrie, so Joe’s not stuck struggling to figure out something that’s not in his skill set.
58% of customers in our survey said they benefited from improvements in their workflow once they had the right tech to get every ticket to the right person. For one VP of Customer Service at a telecommunications company, access to the right software “increased our productivity about 80% and decreased double handling, difficulty in finding related tickets, and the ability to assign tickets to the appropriate person.”
With the right tech, the problem gets solved faster and by the person who can do the best job with it. That improves both efficiency and customer satisfaction outcomes.
Create a more efficient customer service process
You’ve done the work of building a strong team of great agents. Now do the work of creating a process that empowers them to provide the best customer service they’re capable of. With a better process in place, your team can be more efficient and more effective. You’ll improve both customer satisfaction and the employee experience.