How a ticketing tool helps SMBs scale with growth
Every SMB wants to attract new customers while maintaining stellar service. Here's how a ticketing tool can help an up-and-coming business deal with the growing pains.
Published August 17, 2020
Last updated November 19, 2020
For up-and-coming companies, seeing the business grow can be immensely fulfilling. Yet it can also be a bit unsettling—as customer service requests increase, it often falls on a single employee or very small team to manage them all.
And for a business that’s working overtime to get a foothold in the market, going on a hiring spree doesn’t make much financial sense—and even if it did, that team likely wouldn’t have sufficient tools in place.
When companies rely on shared email inboxes and spreadsheets to fulfill their customer service needs, they undercut any benefits that additional headcount might bring. So what’s a company to do?
In this article we’ll explore some common pain points that small- and medium-size businesses face when attempting to provide the kind of service their most valuable assets—customers—have come to expect.
Whether it’s inefficient procedures, poorly chosen productivity tools, or a lack of visibility into customer service trends and performance, companies have an option that can get their support operations on track and ready for growth: the ticketing tool.
The ticketing tool: a gateway to better efficiency
Regardless of industry, small- and medium-size businesses tend to face a similar set of challenges when providing customer support.
And because employees in these growing companies often wear multiple hats, inefficiencies in customer support can be especially detrimental, creating unnecessary barriers for customers and damaging other areas of the business.
Here are a few common issues:
Repetitive and manual work
From repeatedly having to answer common questions to manually triaging support requests, this can impede productivity and lead to compromised service.
Overlapping functionality and unoptimized value
This often stems from use of multiple ad-hoc systems to provide support across different channels—and these tools almost certainly lack the ability to communicate with each other. For example, what if a customer sends an email and calls the business?
Take the dreaded shared email inbox—what might have seemed manageable in the early days of the business can become incredibly inefficient once multiple employees start answering messages. Without visibility into which requests have been handled—and by who or when—businesses can waste precious employee time, and worse, anger customers who would be justified in asking, “Is anyone in charge over there?”
Workarounds and limited tools
From messy spreadsheets to bare bones ticketing tools that offer limited functionality, the urge to “make do” can end up causing significant headaches down the road.
These common pain points are where ticketing tools shine. From automatic ticket triaging to visibility into the company’s communications with customers—including which products or services the client has purchased—a ticketing tool can help a burgeoning support organization get out of its own way so the focus can stay where it belongs: on the customer.
It has to be easy—to use and to set up
Making the decision to implement a ticketing tool should be a cause for celebration—but choosing the wrong product can introduce a whole new set of issues without addressing the original problems.
When evaluating solutions, consider the following:
Does it provide tracking of past customer interactions?
If finding past customer interaction history is a pain or simply impossible, your customers will end up repeating themselves (never a good thing).
Context is everything, whether it’s customer support or recognizing opportunities to upsell:
- Has this customer reached out before about an issue?
- Who handled that interaction?
Your business needs to know that information to create a positive customer experience.
What about reporting and analysis?
If your new system requires exporting CSV files and performing manual analysis through Excel, then employees will waste time that would be better used helping customers.
A well-designed ticketing tool should provide highly customizable reporting features that shed light on the efficacy of your support efforts, whether that’s agent performance or common pain points for customers.
Lack of insight into customer needs?
It’s crucial for businesses to stay on top of customer satisfaction and trends.
For instance, are your customers demanding a knowledge base so they can answer questions on their own? (Insights into how customers use a knowledge base can lead to more relevant content and improved product development.)
- A robust help center with regularly updated articles can deflect support requests that would otherwise have to be handled by an employee, often multiple times
- Or perhaps your clientele prefers chat to email or phone interactions—that kind of data can play an instrumental role in shaping how your business scales and pivots when new challenges arise
Easy to use and implement?
Don’t underestimate the value in consolidating tools under one vendor. Wasted time can cripple a small team and the business, and navigating multiple vendors rarely helps.
A single solution that enables agents to hit the ground running quickly—and that is easy to customize and stand up without hiring consultants—will pay immediate dividends.
Be proactive, not reactive
Scaling support can be intimidating, and the temptation to kick the can down the road to avoid short-term disruption can be powerful.
Yet the pain small business owners anticipate when considering implementing a ticketing tool often never materializes; in fact, it’s waiting until things go haywire—say, when a product gains serious traction or, worse, causes customers problems—that the real trouble begins.
With a little foresight and the right ticketing tool, however, up-and-coming businesses can be ready for any challenge.