Let’s talk about customer support software
Your customers are the most important part of your business. Customer service software is how they can stay better connected and get the help they need. It takes trust and communication, two things that businesses are enabled to build with customer service software. In order to build that trust, there needs to be plenty of open lines of communication. That’s tricky with so many digital means for customers to get in touch. Providing a modern customer experience—something we’ll talk about a lot in relation to customer service software—means being able to utilize all of those communication channels for customers to get in touch.
What is customer support software?
Have you ever seen a “get help” button on a website? Maybe a chat window that connects to a customer service agent? How about a company’s knowledge base filled with helpful articles on a variety of different topics? Those are all examples of excellent customer service software deployed. Even the classic method of contacting customer service—talking to a representative over the phone—is connected to customer support software.
Customer support software is the means that a company uses to set up their customer service in the digital age. It enables them to stay current with various communication trends and channels beyond traditional email support. For example, many options for customer service management software offer the ability to communicate through social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. As messaging channels have grown in popularity, there are now options for customer support software that can handle apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
What exactly does customer service software do?
In a nutshell, customer service software allows businesses to track requests from customers, like support inquiries or questions related to what the business does and how it operates. It enables businesses to resolve the customers’ questions or problems both efficiently and effectively, with a variety of tools designed for specific use cases.
When businesses handle customer inquiries properly and quickly, it provides the customer with a satisfying customer experience and saves the business both time and money. The overall benefits of customer service software are necessary during the era of the modern customer, where convenience plays a major role in customer satisfaction.
How can businesses support their customers with customer service management software?
Here are the ways that customers can be supported with customer service software:
- Ticketing: Ticketing system software turns a support-related customer interaction into a ticket (often referred to as a “support ticket”. Ticketing systems simplify how tickets can be tracked, prioritized, and solved by customer service representatives.
The best kinds of customer service software with ticketing features is able to create tickets out of interactions from anywhere. That means whenever a customer has an issue during their customer experience, a support ticket is created. The way that workflows are built around support tickets can be customized to the needs of the business and configured to specific agent’s roles and preferences. That flexibility is made even more dynamic when a variety of external integrations and apps are available, such as for time-tracking, video conferencing, and other internal workflow tools.
- Chat: One of the most popular forms of customer service is offering support via chat. Live chat software enables agents to communicate with customers in real-time. It can be done easily on desktop or on mobile.
Live chat is an integral strategy for customer support. The chat option can be placed at opportune moments in the customer’s journey, like right before they’re about to make a purchase or if they’re stuck in a help guide. Customer service agents are also enabled to be proactive with live chat—they can reach out before the customer does to provide a better customer experience or increase the chances of conversion (customers are 3x more likely to make a purchase when a rep reaches out to them over chat).
- Phone: A phone conversation is still an effective way to solve a customer’s problem, even in the digital age of email and social media channels. It’s sometimes more effective then drawn out email conversations or even real-time chatting, thanks to the personal touches that come with a phone call (like tone and voice).
Call center software enables businesses to make use of customer phone conversations with a ticketing system, which allows support teams to work phone calls into their modern customer service workflows. It also makes it possible for customer service representatives to be more strategic with their phone support, especially with features like call recordings, smart internal routing, access to the full customer history, and automatic ticket creation. Modern advantages have enabled customer support software to offer texting services as well, which can automate alerts and allow agents to send proactive messages.
- Knowledge Base:
A knowledge base is where a business can utilize the knowledge about its products or services in a way that can help customers. It can be via a customizable help guide full of helpful articles, an online community, and a customer service portal that enables customers to reach out for help.
“Self-service” is a term associated with knowledge bases—it means gives customers the means to help themselves rather than communicating with a customer service agent. There are many use cases when self-service is an appropriate form of support, especially considering that 81% of customers would rather figure out an issue on their own. That can be accomplished by making sure customers are seeing relevant answers in the knowledge base and setting up self-service initiatives that make it easy to share that knowledge. That can be done by capturing your agents’ collective knowledge and leveraging artificial intelligence to automate resolutions for low-touch tickets.
- Messaging Apps: The proliferation of messaging channels—like with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat—has changed the way that people get in touch. That convenience factor has made its way to customer service as well. Now customer service software allows customers to get in touch over the same messaging channels they use to communicate with friends and family.
The benefit of using customer service software to communicate over messaging channels is the ability to keep all the information together in a centralized location. If resolving the customer’s issue starts with a message, then necessitates a follow-up phone call, all of that information is logged within the same support ticket. It turns the customer service software into a unified workspace for support teams, no matter which channels customers prefer to reach out on. The best customer support will also include help from the provider’s messaging experts to show you how to engage customers effectively.
- Artificial Intelligence
As mainstream as artificial intelligence is now, it’s not always clear how it can be used in a practical way for businesses. AI plays a key role in customer service software, and in ways that you might not be aware of.
The most obvious example of artificial intelligence for customer service is chatbots. They can be used to automate interactions with customers and solve low-touch tickets. AI is capable of much more in customer support; for example, it’s able to act as a virtual customer assistant and recommend relevant help articles to customers. It can also employ predictive analytics to determine if a customer will be satisfied or not, and it can find opportunities to optimize help articles with specific topics that customers have been asking about. AI can also assist agents in compiling their knowledge to be used in their own help desk.
- CRM: CRM and customer support go hand-in-hand—they’re both important technology tools for creating better customer experiences. As companies evaluate with customer service software to use, how they utilize CRM will likely be a major factor.
A CRM system is often tied to the sales process—incoming leads, following up on prospects, and closing deals. That data about customers can provide critical information related to support, like who they are, what they do, and how they use your products and services. Having connected capabilities between CRM and support makes it easier to tie critical interactions together that result in better customer experiences. The best customer support software will offer flexibility beyond CRM and tie in external information for even more capable customer service.
What kind of companies can use customer support software?
There are different options for customer support software for companies of different sizes. The best customer service software vendors will offer different options and pricing for these different companies, but still provide them with an exceptional product that can scale to their needs.
Small-medium businesses (SMBs)
SMBs are in important growth stages that require simple, yet effective, customer support. They likely need to accommodate a wide range of customers from specific industries, the type that often has a preferred method of contact. SMBs can use customer service management software to be tailored to how they want to grow and with various integrations that will help them provide fast support.
Enterprises have very specific needs for customer service, and as such, need very flexible customer service software. They also are sticklers for reliability, with requirements for uptimes and compliances that will suit their support of a massive customer base. They need powerful customer service software that can help make millions of customers feel like they’re the only customer that matters during a support interaction.
While startups are focused on showing proof of their product and gaining market share, they still need customer support to assist and retain customers. It can be as simple as a ticketing system with email support for a single agent to manage, and then they can add on chat, phone, and social support as needed. Ideally, their customer support software can play well with other simplified tools and external apps to meet a small operation’s needs.
What are the main things to look for in customer support software?
Easy to implement Businesses should be able to start supporting their customers right away, with software that fits well into a technical infrastructure. Easy to use It shouldn’t be hard to provide support. The best customer service software is simple to use and easy to understand. Easy to scale As a business grows, so should its customer service. Support software should have options to accommodate a growing company. A seamless customer experience Agents’ workflows should be efficient as they provide customer support, and customer conversations should flow easily across different channels. Analytics & reporting Analytics help a business understand if goals are being met and if strategies are working. Reporting makes it so every necessary stakeholder sees what they need to. Customization & personalization The most flexible customer service software is built on a flexible platform that allows form more personalized customer experiences and developer options.
There’s a lot more where this came from. Keep exploring the world of customer service management software, global customer support, and CRM.