Modern customer support is more complicated than ever before. Customers have a seemingly infinite number of options, and expect to be able to interact with companies however and whenever they prefer. Not only does this pose a challenge for companies to stay in front of ever-changing customer trends, it also forces them to become more innovative in dealing with growing ticket volumes across various channels.
Using innovation to reduce ticket resolution times in business-to-business (B2B) support allows companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
How? Through the simple three best practices below.
1. Self-service technology
Sometimes the best way to speed ticket resolution is to prevent tickets from ever being created. Self-service customer support lets your customer find the information they need when they want to without having to send an email or pick up the phone. According to the TSIA, self-service actually reduces a customer’s need for live assistance by 36%.
Two components in particular are important to a successful self-service solution:
1. Omnichannel access
“Omnichannel access” means offering self-service to customers not only across multiple channels (such as email, chat, phone, and online) but doing so in a way where all of these channels sync together to share information.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in customer support, it’s that agents hate asking for repeat information as much as customers hate providing it.
Create a central point for all information to be accessed from all channels, including IVR, suggested solutions via chat or portal, canned responses via email or chat, online FAQs, and knowledge base articles.
Creating these resources eliminates the need for repetitive information requests even if a ticket moves to a new channel because information is shared across all channels in real-time. For example, if a customer creates a ticket on the portal and continues the interaction via email, but then asks a question via chat, the information already provided in the customer’s previous interactions should be readily available. This means the chat agent does not have to asking the customer for information they’ve already provided.
2. Exceptional content and promotion
Two of the most important factors in providing a self-service solution are making it useful and letting people know it exists.
As a pilot, I liken having excellent self-service tools without any content to buying a new plane and forgetting to fuel up before bringing it to the runway.
The software needs the correct content and vice-versa in order to be successful and useful for customers. Most importantly, frequently reminding customers how to access it is key to getting a positive ROI. The “if you build it, they will come” mentality does not work; create awareness of the self-service solution by promoting it in emails and online (including your own site).
When you launch your self-service platform, send an email to customers announcing it and add a link to your website. Likewise, include a link on your FAQ pages and mention it in newsletters you send out. Customers prefer self-service, and by building this awareness you are letting them know they can get their questions answered when, where, and how they want to.
When you properly implement and maintain a self-service support option, it will pay for itself by reducing ticket volume and improving customer satisfaction.
2. Internal Collaboration
In this era of customer support, especially in larger B2B organizations, it’s impossible and unsustainable for one person to have all the answers for every customer. Collaboration between customer service agents is essential to closing tickets and keeping customers happy.
In my opinion, there is one key that organizations should embrace to be successful in customer support: Cross-team collaboration via technology.
The era of thinking a customer support team can handle all customer issues is over. Forward-thinking companies are providing internal chat technology so fellow employees can ask each other questions and get quicker responses, sometimes even while an agent is working with a customer.
Leading companies in the customer support space are taking this a step further by including sales, marketing, and even product specialist or developers in these conversations. Many companies have also launched internal social networks within their customer support software to collaborate among and across teams. Enhanced collaboration also makes it easier for newer agents to shadow experienced agents and learn how to answer similar questions.
This new method of collaborative customer support is effective at reducing overall tickets and improving ticket resolution times, but it gets a turbo boost if all of these solutions are integrated within your core ticketing software.
After making these changes, companies really start to notice tickets are getting closed faster as agents don’t have to transfer information and switch between applications to complete the same task. Many of our customers report that they were able to reduce the amount of time spent resolving tickets by at least 20% after implementing collaborative customer support.
3. Visual Support
What do Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and Periscope have in common, other than the fact that they’re social networking apps? They’re all designed to facilitate sharing images and videos, not text.
The world is becoming more visual. People know you can get a lot more information across using images and video than using text alone.
In support, this change can make a world of difference for speeding up ticket resolution.
Here are several ways visual support is helping to solve tickets faster:
In-Ticket Video Recording
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then video can be worth a million.
For more complicated or technical issues, sending a video directly in a support ticket can drastically reduce resolution times by preventing hours of back and forth email between a customer and an agent.
For example, a tool manufacturer can respond to a customer ticket with a video showing the customer how to correctly assemble or use the tool, rather than trying to explain it in an email. Likewise a customer can submit a video ticket showing the exact issue they are experiencing.
How many times have you had a conversation with someone where you’re trying to explain an issue you’re having but they don’t understand? Being able to send a recording of exactly what’s happening eliminates that confusion and provides clearer communication.
In-Ticket Screen Recording
Similarly, screen recording (aka screencast) is a highly effective way for software companies or divisions to solve tickets faster. For example, a software provider can respond to a customer ticket with a video showing the customer exactly how to configure their user settings or where to find a specific feature.
As Donna Flus from DMG Consulting said recently, screen capture “is a highly effective method for providing structured oversight for the non-phone-based interactions that are increasingly flowing through organizations.”
This structure can be important to replicating a website issue or walking a customer through the steps of how to accomplish a task. Instead of sending time consuming step-by-step instructions, agents can quickly perform the task themselves, record their screen, and then send the video to the customer to review on their own and as often as needed.
A great way to speed ticket resolution time is to embed instructional videos into support tickets on your website (think FAQs) and on self-service platforms (like your knowledge base). These videos can demonstrate the proper configuration of a product, or provide visual instructions on how to solve common problems.
This personalizes the interaction and can be a better way to learn than digging through a huge amount of text.
And, of course, there’s video chat, one of our experts’ top help desk tech trends for 2016. According to Gartner researchers, more than 100 of the 500 largest global businesses will introduce video chat for customer service by 2018.
There are several ways to cut ticket resolution time. One of the things I find to be true about this process actually comes from customer service expert Shep Hyken:
By teaching and enabling the customer to solve their own issues, whether through self-service or visual content, the customer comes away from the experience with their issue resolved and feeling confident about the company.
Not only does faster ticket resolution make your customers happy, but quick resolutions lead to increased revenue as well. And solving issues as a team through collaborative software increases the average knowledge of your support team. This success makes both the customer and company happy – a tough combo to beat in the world of customer support.
For more information on improving clarity with visual support, check out this video: https://www.teamsupport.com/visual-support-video
Do you have methods that you like to use to resolve tickets faster? What tips did I miss? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!