Just a couple of decades ago, a business could get away with giving their customers just the bare minimum when it comes to post-sales support (Poor use of Customer Service Software).
Nowadays, though, the bare minimum just isn’t going to cut it. Not when a lone dissatisfied customer could tank your company’s sales, especially if you’re running a small business.
In fact, Accenture estimates that in the United States alone, customers switching due to poor service cost business around $1.6 trillion.
Plus when that customer leaves, you’ll have an even harder time getting new customers to sign on. According to educational company Pearson, you’re 14 times more likely to sell to an existing happy customer than an entirely new one.
Customer service has definitely become a big deal — perhaps the biggest — for all companies great and small. So how do you step up your customer service game? By effectively and efficiently managing your company’s support queue using WORKetc’s customer service software for small business. Read on to learn how.
Don’t Leave Customers Hanging – WORKetc Customer Service Software
There are few things more frustrating for a customer than waiting too long for a reply from support. WORKetc helps reduce your support team’s response time by letting you create auto-reply emails, standard responses, and email notifications.
Auto-reply emails help in two ways: they let your customer know that their email has been received and noted, plus allow you the opportunity to more carefully manage your customer’s expectations by letting them know when to expect a more detailed response.
For example, a client emails your software development company about a possible bug in your new app. You’ve already crunched the numbers and know that bug-related emails are answered by your 24-hour support team within 4 hours on average.
You can then include something like the following in your auto-reply email: “Thank you for contacting Acme support. Resolving your issues is our top priority. Expect to hear back from us within the next 5 hours.”
You can set your own auto-reply message in WORKetc by heading to Settings > Support Tickets and scrolling all the way down to the Support Ticket Auto Reply Message box.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel Every Time
Another way to reduce response times with WORKetc is by making use of standard responses. These are phrases, sentences, or whole blocks of text that you find yourself using repeatedly.
Let’s say you give your clients access to a knowledge base through the WORKetc customer portal. You can create a standard response that includes a link to the knowledge base so you don’t have to retype it every single time you need to mention it in a support case reply.
Alternatively, you can use standard responses to insert a link to a new promotion or discount offer that your company is running. The possibilities are practically endless.
Keep in mind that standard responses aren’t meant to be used by their lonesome to answer support cases. They’re meant to save you time while still giving you the flexibility to make your responses timely, personalized, and focused on the issue your client is experiencing.
You can create and edit your standard responses in WORKetc by heading to Settings > Email or clicking the “Manage Standard Responses” link in the email composer. You’ll find the Standard Responses section at the bottom of the page.
To insert a standard response into any email you send from WORKetc, simply choose one from the dropdown box in the email composer and it’ll automatically be inserted into the email body. You can also just type in the title of the standard response — for example, “Graphic” — to make finding it easier.
Get Immediate Alerts
Email alerts are a convenient way to not only notify your support team of any new tickets or replies, it’s also a great way to keep everyone in the loop.
For example, a customer you’ve been helping sends a reply to your last email. Depending on your WORKetc settings, you can immediately be notified of the reply, letting you get back to that customer immediately.
These can be especially useful when you’re working on a particularly tricky and time-sensitive support ticket.
Alerts aren’t just for support tickets. They can also be used in projects, sales, calendar entries, and discussions.
To make sure you’re set to receive alerts, head to Settings > My Settings and navigate to the “Alerts” section right under the email address box.
Not All Tickets Are Created Equal
A support ticket is a support ticket is a support ticket, right? Wrong. Some support tickets can be left in the queue for a few hours. Some need to jump the line and be dealt with ASAP.
To quickly see at a glance which tickets need to be handled first, you can use custom priority flags in WORKetc customer service software for small business. The default options are High, Medium, and Low, but these can easily be added to and customized.
These priority flags are shared by several activity types: projects, events, tasks, leads, and support cases. You can customize them and create new ones by heading by heading to Settings > Tasks.
Assign Tickets to the Right People
It’s important for a support team to know exactly to whom they should assign or escalate tickets that are beyond their levels of expertise.
For example, you might need to loop in a senior support team member or even a developer for tickets with very specific questions about how to make use of your app’s open API. Facing a customer on the verge of canceling a subscription is a similar scenario; for this, you might have to bring in a member of the sales team.
By creating workgroups and support tiers, you can make sure that every support ticket is assigned to the correct person for the job.
Let’s say you have a six-person support team, two of which are relative newbies. You can create a “Tier 1” workgroup that includes those two new members. You can quickly assign easy-to-handle tickets to that workgroup without having to select the same two individuals each time.
You can them further divide the remaining four members into two more workgroups, Tier 2 and Tier 3, according to their levels of expertise. Tier 2 could have more experienced people while Tier 3 would be those two people who absolutely know all the ins and outs of your company’s services — maybe even more than you do!
Any tickets the “Tier 1” workgroup can’t handle, they can escalate and reassign to the “Tier 2” support workgroup. The “Tier 2” guys, in turn, can re-assign those tickets that absolutely need top-level attention to the “Tier 3” workgroup.
You can create workgroups by hovering your mouse over the Contacts tab on the main toolbar and clicking the “+” icon next to Workgroups. You can also easily add or remove people to workgroups in Contacts > Workgroups and clicking the workgroup you wish to edit.
And speaking of support tiers, you can also use custom support statuses to let your support team quickly filter for any support tickets that need their attention. Simply create Tier 1, 2, and 3 support ticket statuses in Settings > Support Tickets. Your team can then filter support tickets according to status.
If you’re using the customer portal but don’t want to show the details of these statuses to your customer, you can simplify how they’re shown on by specifying a portal label. For example, in the screenshot below, both the “Open” and “Replied” internal statuses will both show up as “In Progress” if a customer checks a support ticket on the portal.
Workgroups also work well with email alerts and notifications, since you can set things so that everyone in a given workgroup will get an alert whenever a new support ticket is assigned to that particular workgroup.
You can also loop in entire workgroups into discussions, making it even easier to gather more information, suggestions, and general input on any support ticket.
Keep Track of Every Interaction
Here’s a scenario that might send chills down the spine of anyone who has ever worked support.
There are only two of you in your support team. Your colleague has been handling a particularly tricky but very important customer for the past few days. They’re almost ready to resolve the customer’s issue when they suddenly decide to quit abruptly.
It’s now up to you to take care of that customer. The problem is, you don’t have any idea what your colleague has already done for that customer. Your colleague is the only one with that information, and you unfortunately can’t get in touch with them to ask.
Now, do you know the only thing that customers hate more than not receiving any help at all? According to research by Aspect Software, it’s having to answer the same bunch of questions again and again. Customers these days expect your support team to be able to pick up where they last left off, regardless of who is handling the ticket now.
Fortunately, WORKetc’s activity history makes the above hypothetical scenario remain just that: hypothetical. Since every piece of correspondence with a customer is automatically recorded in that customer’s activity history, anyone in your support team can pick up where the last person left off.
There’s no need to track down the last support team member who talked to the customer and ask what they’ve done so far. Everything is already in that customer’s activity history. Emails, discussions, tasks — you name it, and chances are it’s there.
Help Customers Help Themselves
Here’s an interesting statistic. According to Microsoft‘s Global State of Multichannel Customer Service report, 90% of all surveyed customers expect brands to have a self-service support portal or FAQ page.
You can whip up a simple FAQ for your website if you have a little html knowledge, but if you’re using WORKetc then you already have a much better option: the built-in knowledge base and the customer portal.
You can easily create rich knowledge base articles in WORKetc by going to Documents > Knowledge Base. Each of these articles can be set for internal use only (such as an HVAC company’s installation manual or a set of file compression guidelines for a graphic design company) or shared with customers via the customer portal.
By providing access to constantly updated knowledge base articles, you can help decongest your support queue by giving your customers the option to try and resolve their issues first.
You can even use custom contact tags to control which knowledge base articles your customers can see. For example, if your digital agency offers both web hosting and design services, clients with the “Web Hosting” tag will only see articles about your web hosting services. Those with the “Web Design” tag will see articles pertaining to web design.
Another way to use tags in conjunction with knowledge base articles and the customer portal is by giving customers access to a custom support webform.
Let’s say you have a few preferred long-term clients you’ve tagged as “Platinum Client”. You can set it so that all clients with the “Platinum Client” tag have a support webform on their customer portal that will let them send support tickets tagged as “High Priority” and automatically assigned to a specific support team member or workgroup.
These are just a few of the ways you can use WORKetc to get a leg up on the competition when it comes to customer support. And remember: when you help your customers, you’re also helping yourself.
The use of the knowledge bases is a good point. We use them internally, but haven’t used them for any customers yet. Here’s my other tip for providing support, make sure you get a good SLA from your customers. The last thing you want to do is spend more time not getting paid!
Thanks for the article – I hadn’t used the Workgroup feature before. And these custom statuses are already coming in handy.
There’s one step I’m missing: the way we’re organized, the workgroup is determined by the creator of the ticket, so ideally there would be a setting in WorkEtc that could automatically assign it.
The discussions above will give our company some new ideas to try to better our response times to customers. One idea we use to help to get information to the proper technicians is webforms. we have created specific webforms for certain customers and allow them to fill them out on the customer portal. when they are submitted they are sent directly to specific work groups. in this way it is assigning specific customers to specific technicians. It also make it easy for the technicians to handle the tickets for their specific customers. Works well in our environment.
The auto response feature is a must. It lets the client know you got the support ticket. I set reminders for myself when a support ticket has gone to long without a reply. I always at least respond to it the day of. However if it is a long time before a resolution is found I like to at least give the customer a call and let them know I am working on it.