Magazine article CRM Magazine

Leverage Your Team's Collective Knowledge for Better Customer Support: Utilize SaaS, Social Networking, and CRM Integration in a Collaborative Service-Desk Environment to Improve the Customer Experience

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Leverage Your Team's Collective Knowledge for Better Customer Support: Utilize SaaS, Social Networking, and CRM Integration in a Collaborative Service-Desk Environment to Improve the Customer Experience

Article excerpt

Industry experts have aptly described this era as the age of the customer. Customers run the show today because in our lightning-fast, digitally connected world, they have so many choices. If your support team doesn't deliver a great customer experience, another supplier is just a few clicks away.

How does this affect the support desk function? Essentially, it requires agents to understand your customers' various needs and provide the best level of personal support. However, there are times when the best solution can come from another member of your team.

That's why the most successful firms use communications and collaboration technology to create a team approach that leverages company resources and knowledge to the max. Instead of agents resolving tickets through tiered support, one-to-one communications, or a rash of desperate emails, collaborative support connects team members for faster and more effective issue resolution. A ticketing tool that supports team collaboration makes it easy to bring all stakeholders into the discussion to solve the customer's problem. The result is better customer support.

"We strongly believe the best customer support experience is rooted in team collaboration," says Robert Johnson, CEO of TeamSupport, a provider of support desk software. "Working together delivers quicker access to the expert, thus reducing the cost per incident and resolution times and improving the customer experience."

Collaboration offers cumulative benefits by raising the collective knowledge of the support team, in contrast to tiered support that locks agents into their level and kicks complex issues upstairs. The collaborative model encourages agents to tap the best minds to resolve complex issues while educating themselves in the process. Collaboration can also engage sales, marketing, engineering, and executive management in the support process. Their input enhances support while new insights help them understand customers better.

With collaboration closely tied to an excellent customer experience, progressive firms are embedding it in their support processes. The best approach is to deploy service-desk software that is hosted in the cloud and which features a rich toolset for social collaboration. Also essential is integration with CRM applications to link support with other business functions.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) connects far-flung support agents with the team whenever and wherever they are online.

A side benefit is the pay-as-you-go subscription model. Not only is it cost effective and requires no dedicated infrastructure, but the service provider automatically delivers bug fixes, new features, and upgrades. …

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