A little technology can help customer service.

I’ve worked with a lot of third party helpdesks over the last few years. They all are essentially the same, but do vary. A lot of billing systems have integrated helpdesks, but many of them aren’t too good, so companies use more powerful ones. That’s the standard setup with a lot of small to mid-sized technology companies: help desk, billing system, product. They are all separate systems. However, that presents a problem.

None of the systems are integrated. An integrated system makes things easier. The problem with many integrated systems, though, is that they either lack power or are too bloated. So, what are the advantages of an integrated system? Here’s an example:

At one company I worked with, they used a third party helpdesk, in addition to their billing system. The billing system (UberSmith) is one of my favorites for small to mid-sized companies that do recurring billing (service providers like web hosts, software subscriptions, etc.). It’s easy to use, nice looking, and functional. It has the right mix of power and simplicity.

Like many billing systems, UberSmith has an integrated help desk. In general, it’s terrible. It lacks a lot of features and I seriously doubt it could ever meet the needs of a large company. It’s just terribly inefficient and lacks a lot of options. However, there is a plus.

The system integrates client data. For example, I set it for the client so that all employees had to do was click a drop down box for “standard email” and it would automatically do something like:

Hi -first name-,

Thank you for contacting Company!

Text

Sincerely,

Support
Company

Your current balance with Company is $0.00.

The fields for first name and the balance were automatically filled with the customer’s information. This helped automatically do things that I usually try to pound instill into customer service representatives. For example, addressing the customer by name and thanking the customer for contacting the company. The balance and the signature are just nice add-ons.

Perhaps the biggest benefit, though, was that all staff members had to do to learn everything about the customer was click on the client ID. They were able to find out what services the customer had, if they paid their bill, what their login information was, any notes on the customer, and so much more. The system made it so easy that no one even complained about looking something up and had the information to start with (as opposed to just asking the customer for the information).

Customers had to login to submit a support ticket, but by doing this, the customers didn’t have to worry about account verification. I’m sure a programmer could match the emails with the client IDs and have it do the same thing via login (without login). It’s also possible to make it so clients who would rather just email support@company.com from a different email address can do that, too. It’ll take them longer, but it is still good to give customers the option.

Essentially, the system made it dead simple. And, the simplicity for all parties (staff and customer) made the customer service experience better. As a result of the nice blend of technology and customer service, there were fewer unnecessary replies, customers appreciated the little differences, and there was less time wasted. Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

Does your technology work with or against you?