Effective customer support may start with helpdesk software, but often needs more. . .

Helpdesk Software – cornerstone of effective customer support

Organizations’ reputations can be damaged more by their customer support performance than by problems with the performance of their products and services. We all know what it’s like to wrestle with an automated call routing system which after endless selections from menus of choices doesn’t in the end offer an option relevant to our needs. Equally off-putting is to be put through to a call center operative, or any member of staff, who knows nothing about the history of our complaint and asks us to recount it all over again. “Product is fine, but the service sucks.”
No call center can provide efficient customer service without a foundation of helpdesk software with the key capabilities to ensure the organization responds effectively and creates a beneficial customer experience. That list of capabilities can vary greatly depending on factors such as scale, breadth of products and services supported, and technical challenges in dealing with issues. Not every installation will need more advanced features such as team working, knowledge base and automated email routing

SLA support – a fundamental HelpDesk software function

Even in the smallest, simplest scenario, with no special phone line for customer support, and just one or two people providing the support, armed with intimate knowledge of the products and services and their problems, there is a core need to ensure all customers are dealt with in a timely manner. A basic form of SLA (Service Level Agreement) support should be in place that ensures issues are dealt with within time limits. SLA support enables each new customer problem to be categorized with an appropriate urgency. If an issue breaches a time limit at any stage of the resolution process, it should be escalated to that customer’s account manager, which may be the VP Sales and may even be the proprietor of the business.

HelpDesk integration with SIP VoIP systems

Customers instinctively distrust organizations holding personal data. Quite apart from the risks of that data escaping to where it should never go, there is a sense of ‘big brother’. However, we all expect the organizations we buy from to use whatever information they have about us to create a positive customer experience. This can start with automatic caller identification, so that even when phoning some faceless call center number we can be greeted by someone who already knows who we are.

So a first level of integration between a phone system and a help desk system such as Vector HelpDesk would mean that each new call showing up in a queue already has the caller’s name attached. The routing of that call can then also be automatically optimized by placing it in the queue of whoever last spoke with that customer, or to a member of staff trained especially in ‘first-call handling’.

More detail is available on HelpDesk integration with SIP VoIP systems.

HelpDesk integration with Great Plains Software

A more powerful second stage of helpdesk automation is often available following automated caller recognition, which is to interrogate the data held in commercial systems such as Microsoft Dynamics / Great Plains and provide the call center or support staff with up to date account information before they take the call. Equally, for first calls when the caller’s identity is ascertained during the opening moments of the call, the support staff should be able to interrogate customer records for the same information – for example to ascertain if this is a registered customer, if their product or service purchase is registered, whether their account is up to date, etc.

More detail is available on HelpDesk integration with Great Plains.

My point is, that although helpdesk software is vital to provide the core issue management, providing the best experience for the customer usually means looking for integration of the issue tracking function with other elements of the organization’s ICT.

We’ll try to provide some examples in later posts to this blog.

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