One of the most critical decisions you’ll make for your company is technology to help customer service operate at peak levels.
Customer service technology is software that assists customer service teams in achieving customer and rep success. These tools improve workflow efficiency. That means, they make it easier for customer service agents to provide solutions and play nice with the enterprise technology backbone.
The opportunities provided by customer service technology are meant to solve issues that customers and reps encounter. For example:
- streamlining processes,
- improving efficiency,
- enhancing field experience,
- identifying underlying challenges, and
- ultimately supporting growth and revenues.
Similarly, your decisions demand technologies customers and reps use for other reasons as well. For instance, they need to interact with their peers and customer service agents to share advice, best practices, and how-to information. It includes the technologies used to voice opinions and concerns regarding a company’s products and services, often over social channels.
Every company needs the right technology suite for customer service agents. After all, their job is to keep customers and reps happy. So, how do you know which technology mix will work for the customer service team you are building?
Here are the three questions in action:
First, does it do what you need it to do?
Customer service technology should propel agent productivity. This includes a speedy response to customers and reps. In other words, agents should stay on top of all tickets and emails and work collaboratively with teammates. That will allow them to efficiently answer questions and resolve issues.
You should never allow your technology to tell you what you can and cannot do. It’s your job to build a customer service team to fit your culture and your strategic plan. Certainly, it’s your job to select service technology that matches what you need it to do. Therefore, the first question you should ask is: “does the technology do what I need it to do?”
Customer Service Technology Solution Features
As you prepare to explore service technology solutions, compile a detailed list of specific features you need to fulfill your vision of the service experience. Your ServiceQuest consultant can provide an exact requirements list. Here is an overview of some examples:
- Contacting & Multi-Channel Access: Email, Tickets, Phone, chat, social media, chatbots, web, and WhatsApp.
- Ticketing: Automation, canned response, content detection, routing, and status,
- Issue Resolution: Collaboration, huddles, linked tickets, issue classifications, and resource links.
- Workforce Management: Service groups, tasks, sales team support, and field leader engagement
- Team Productivity: Triggered automation, load allocation, and ticket/issue assignment.
- Self-Help for Customers & Reps: Knowledge base, help widgets, auto-suggestions, and forum links.
- Metrics & Reporting: Reports, issue trend tracking, dashboard, and satisfaction ratings.
Of all of the questions you can ask the service technology partners, the most important should be whether the solutions play nice together, scale, and will your customer service agents “love” or “hate” the tools you require them to learn and utilize.
The top providers of enterprise technology are very skilled in integrating service technology, enhancing the overall user experiences.
When you schedule a demo with a service technology company, ask yourself: “will this service technology help me keep our distributors and customers happy by keeping my customer service agents happy?”
Second, are you telling it to do the right thing?
There is a difference between what you need the technology to do and the right thing to do.
Your service technology is the vehicle you use to deliver service and get your message and culture to your distributors and customers.
Technology providers can enable and empower your growth, but ultimately the right thing to do comes down to best practices, company culture, and service strategy.
For example, you work hard to set up rep policies and guidelines. Suppose that you choose to trust reps who tell you that an item has imperfections, so they request exchanges and refunds, and you respond without delay once you have the supporting documentation.
This policy approach reflects a belief that 98% of reps will be honest, but you also know that 2% will take unfair advantage of your goodwill. To offset the risk (while treating everyone with the highest degree of trust), you set up a process for noting all accounts that claim refunds, with alerts for abusers. The notation process (including quick access to the notation history) becomes a requirement in your service technology.
For a deeper dive into customer service best practices and requirements for direct sales service teams, refer to the service articles archive or contact a ServiceQuest consultant.
Third, does it point me to what I should do?
The customer service workload in direct sales is demanding and exhausting. If asked what their biggest challenges are, at any given time, a customer service agent will tell you that the calls and tickets they handled in the past hour are by far the most urgent. It’s how the human brain works—fresh in mind, loaded with emotion from the caller, and, therefore, the most important.
But if you are following the two-step method used by the advanced service teams:
Step 1: your agent will solve the immediate problem in front of them and wrap it up
Step 2: they will capture, track, and quantify the issues.
Regular evaluation of issues and classifications (whether captured with ticket identifiers, agent selection, “tick sheets” at the desk, etc.) are useful indicators of trends. Many trends point to problems that can resolve at a root level through field training and thought leadership. It all begins with confident agents who have and use the right tools.
Access to the right reports will tell you how to think about the next steps. You can’t decide based entirely on gut feeling. You need the numbers to pinpoint and quantify weaknesses and opportunities.
For 30 years, we’ve guided direct sales companies to make the crucial decision of service technology partners.
Whether it’s the enterprise software or service technology tools, you need the freedom to answer these three questions: does it do what I need it to do, am I telling it to do the right thing, and does it point me to what I should do?
In the end, it’s your technology partner’s job to make technology work for you!