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INEXCUSABLE MISTAKES IN THE ORGANIZATION OF CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Katerina Vinokhodova
UseDesk Co-Owner
Today I, instead of Alex, will tell you meagrely and briefly (actually not) about the essence of the customer interaction and the way companies act to make this process outrageously bad. I will describe it in simple diagrams and words.

The reason to handle the customer requests

When we were in IIDF acceleration programme, sales experts asked us: why do you spend so much resources on support? Why do companies respond to customers at all? Try not to answer and see what happens. Perhaps, nothing will happen.

We are brave and risky guys, so we tried to answer customers during 1 day instead of 1 hour as usual. The result: the next day we had to gain the upset customers' favor with discounts. Those clients who didn't excuse us just left immediately. There were 2 companies that acted this way.

Conclusion: it is necessary to answer clients' questions not to lose money.

However, the price of customer support for the company should not exceed the cost of customers who will leave the company without such support. Top performance means building the support that brings money but this topic will be described by Sasha next time.

Also, we wrote a separate article about the cost of the bad service.

Universal Request Processing Scheme

The request processing consists of 5 stages. The task is simple: make sure that everything is fine at every stage. It sounds easy but in reality very few companies can do this. Here are the reasons.
1
Channels
You have clear and convenient channels of communication with clients on your website or somewhere else. You know how to record all messages from these channels and don't lose them.
2
Categorization and Prioritization
You sort the requests by topics and set the priority of processing.
3
Routing
Depending on the topics, you redirect the messages to the appropriate specialists.
4
Knowledge Base
The specialist who accepted the request has the correct and quickly available data to respond to the client.
5
Analytics
You see all the process statistics. You set KPIs, make sure that they are achieved, change the process in the bottle-neck, and check the figures again.

Communication Channels

You may think that I will write that the clients should contact you the way the feel comfortable. Actually, no. Customers should contact you the way to get qualified support without additional efforts.

So, provide the customers with such channels, where you can provide such support.
For example, we don't have telephone support because I have no idea how this type of support looks like:

— I've got an error here, a red square…
— In which corner? To the left or to the right?

It is much easier to write the letter with screenshots and in a couple of hours receive the thoughtful and verified answer with screenshots, arrows, and video.

Conclusion: the client doesn't need an additional channel if he can't receive help using it.

Social networks are a different story. They can't be ignored. Even though you would like to fence yourself off, the clients will still write something despicable (actually, quite reasonably in most cases). That's why it is necessary to monitor these requests and provide support right there.

First of all, in 99% of cases you will be mentioned due to a certain failure, so you will need to deal with the negativity from those who will come to comment the post. Secondly, it is always a great opportunity to give a masterclass on solving conflicts with customers and gain some positive points to your karma.
Mistakes
1. Several e-mail addresses in the website. It is hell, please, don't do this. Unexpectedly, customers will write to the wrong address. Then the message will be lost inside the company as a result of multiple forwarding. The processing time will increase, and the price of the request will consistently grow.

2. There are many channels on the website that are actually useless. Sometimes it is not even clear where one should write, and nobody answers from the proposed channel — it's really bad. Confused and abandoned.

3. Unrelated Systems: mail, chat, phone, social networks — everything is separate and has its own tool. This scheme is suitable if you have up to 20 messages a day because the larger amount of requests will be lost. Lost message = lost client.

4. Helpdesk that is not integrated with channels. A letter comes to Outlook, the employees copy it to the helpdesk. Then they leave their internal comment there but still respond in the mail client. I am sad, when clients tell me such stories at meetings. This double work takes so much time, so many clients requests are lost. No kidding, millions of rubles are lost.
Advice
  1. Implement a multi-channel helpdesk system, use the monitoring system for mentions in social networks, and use a separate task-tracker. Everything automatically goes to the right place, and nothing is lost.

  2. Assign a true response time for every channel.
The options are simple and clear. Near them, you can see the average response time, which will help to set the priorities and will be decisive for someone.

Categorization and Prioritization

Customer requests are handled differently: 1, 2 line, involvement of other departments and partners. The faster we determine the parameters, which influence the processing, at the entry, the faster we will process the customer request. Divide and rule is the main principle of support.

Spoiler for the lazy ones: sort cases by topics and other important parameters (client type, claim or question) and set priorities.

The reasons to do it:

1. Categorization will help to route the request to the right specialist and clear out the queue without losing the quality of answers.

2. Count the reasons of the requests and send them to marketing experts, product specialists, general director, in order to understand what is going on with the product, where and why the company loses money.
Mistakes
1. Client-Side Categorization. In the contact form, the client is suggested to choose the reason for the request from the list. That's good. It's bad if there are 100500 variants, and you and the client understand these categories differently. General questions or Technical questions – what's the difference? It's easier to choose "Other" and not to waste time on it. Nobody will do the work for you.

2. Categorization according to the scheme "we keep it in mind": company employees "approximately" know, what kind of questions clients usually ask, but don't record it. This doesn't work.

3. The division is too general. If you divide requests just for Questions, Claims and Gratitude, there is a little sense in it. You can partially solve the routing problem by doing this but such a division is useless for statistics. It's impossible to see where the problems appear.

4. The categorization is too detailed. So, that some categories are not used at all, and the level of detail is so high that it is hard to see the general picture.
Advice
1. The task of categorization should be divided between the client and the company. Important rule: it should be simple and almost unnoticeable for the client. You can add 5 categories maximum to the contact form or make it so that the destiny of the request is clear according to the channel or website page from which it came from.

2. Automate the assignment of categories. Simple rules of helpdesk will help to set the category automatically depending on the topic and text of the message.

3. Add extra parameters to the requests for more detailed prioritization. Just topics are not enough to determine the sequence of work with the requests. The priority will be affected by the channel of the request (mail, social network, chat), client type (potential, current or VIP) and so on. Anything that affects the process of the request processing should be recorded.

Routing

As soon as we have assigned the category to the request, we forward it to the person who can answer it. Here three aspects are important here:

1. In which channel the request is forwarded.
2. In what form the request is forwarded
3. How quickly it is done.
Mistakes
1. Send the request over the disparate channels:

  • by feet to the next room
  • by phone – and nothing is recorded on the other side
  • in Skype, WhatsApp, mail – without a certain order
  • on paper – forests suffer, and paper disappears in a trash bin

The result: requests are lost.

2. Send requests without the context of the client's message, without the necessary data. As a result, the request is returned to the second round to clarify the details. The processing time increases, everybody suffers.

3. If priorities and categories are not set, the requests stay unprocessed until their turn comes. So, they will be transferred to the specialists only when the client's patience will run out.

4. Hire a special employee who deals only with routing the requests.
Advice
1. Automate routing depending on the category of the request. Rules in helpdesk will help to do this.

2. Work in a single interface according to the same order. It can be helpdesk with internal comments or Slack, JIRA, Asana, Telegram – it doesn't matter. The order of the requests forwarding should be assigned and unquestioned. No notes on computer and calls without recording a specific task in writing.

3. Gather everyone in one helpdesk interface is a hard work but we solved this problem. The notification of the ticket appointment comes directly to the e-mail, and the employee can answer the comment right from the e-mail without going to Usedesk. The employee's answer is automatically added to the ticket as an internal comment. The chain of the solution is kept in one place. Hooray.
Depending on the incoming parameters, the automation rules send the request to the right specialist.

Knowledge Base

By the knowledge base, I mean all the information that is needed to solve the client's request. Knowledge of the product, procedures, customers – all of them must be stored centrally and easily accessible to support specialists.
Mistakes
1. All answers are taken from the employee's head, а знания новичкам передаются устно. До двух человек в компании это работает, но как только придет время нанимать новых сотрудников или менять процессы — будет больно и вам, и клиентам.

2. Employees keep personal instructions and templates in Word and Notepad. The management doesn't have a tool to keep track of what their employees answer. It turns out that the client receives outdated or incorrect information.

3. There is no single history of customer requests. This leads to the fact that the requests are not solved at the first attempt, and clients request again and again. The company spends more money on processing the repeated requests.
Advice
1. Use response templates and knowledge base in helpdesk. All data for the replies are stored and edited centrally, errors are impossible.

2. Take into account the history of the previous communication with the customer. It is bad if only one manager knows about the client's situation. It is good when any employee can conduct a dialogue knowing the details.

3. Integrate helpdesk with CRM, so that employees could see more information about the client – their orders, payments, bonuses. This will shorten the processing time of the request.
The speed of the response is higher if an employee sees the customer card with their history and contacts.

Statistics

The main mistake of the companies is that they don't count anything. All customer communication should be digitized in all directions because the main and the most important information you have is in the support department. The algorithm for working with statistics is simple:

Assign KPIs related to business → View statistics → Analyze bottle-necks → Change processes to achieve the targeted KPIs.

Total

For the high-quality request processing, use the right tools that help to build the right processes at every stage.
You have read the entire article, are not frightened and are going to improve your support, right? Great, we will help you. Email us at team@usedesk.ru with the subject "I want the super-support and discount", and we will show you UseDesk and give 30% discount for the annual rate.
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