Customer service, or rather the quality of it, is one of the most important success factors today and is crucial when it comes to customer loyalty.
Customer service or customer support is primarily about answering customers’ inquiries and supporting them when they need help, i.e., assisting them in solving their problems. Customer support is also often the first point of contact for potential customers and is thus practically the figurehead and first impression of a company.
The tasks of a customer service department essentially include
- Answering inquiries by phone, email, chat or in social networks
- Processing of tickets (monitoring, classification, assignment)
- Maintaining delivered products or supporting customers in this process
- Creating a knowledge database
Just by looking at the many ways in which contact can now be established, i.e. the use of such different communication channels as Facebook or Twitter, you can see how much more extensive the work of a support team has become. Customer needs today are significantly different from those that were standard just a few years ago. Demands and customers are changing much faster as technology increases.
We know this for ourselves too. We have long since become accustomed to online orders being delivered the same day or the next day, to information always being at our fingertips, and to our lives being simplified by technology. It is becoming more and more natural for automation to take certain work off our hands and generate a whole new service culture.
A greater focus on customer experience has evolved and is practiced primarily by large corporations. But the expectation is increasing in general, putting pressure on many smaller businesses, which unfortunately often can’t keep up.
At the same time, customer service is one of the biggest growth opportunities for companies today. Customer support is no longer just a “problem solver,” but is an essential pillar when it comes to increasing customer satisfaction and retaining customers in the long term.
So that means that addressing customer service challenges is not only nice to do, it’s a must do.
Growing companies, in particular, should pay close attention to service teams. Growth is often accompanied by a significant increase in the number of customer inquiries, which usually has to be handled with the same number of employees. This is where a customer service software helps, which supports your service team optimally.
It's becoming more and more natural for automation to take certain jobs off our hands and generate a whole new service culture.
Tools, Tools, Tools…
An important step for small and medium-sized enterprises is the targeted use of tools to meet the expected service standard. Ideally, we are talking about an optimally coordinated system landscape.
Service Management Tools
By implementing service management software such as OTRS, companies are able to add structure to their customer communication and work tasks. Service management software is configured completely individually and therefore scales easily- no matter how large a company is or what industry it is in.
In addition, OTRS can be used as a true enterprise service management solution, which means that it can be used in almost all areas of a company. This is especially important when we consider that not only external customers use services, but that employees are also customers. Let’s think, for example, of the HR department or internal IT.
Self-service, ie., helping people to help themselves, is another important keyword these days when it comes to dealing with a growing number of inquiries. After all, the search for information is playing an increasingly important role and is another example of a good customer experience. A customer wants to be able to access information quickly and easily. Well-maintained FAQs and a user-friendly knowledge database are essential for this and help to reduce the number of tickets that need to be processed – freeing up valuable resources in the service team, where “every hand counts” now. Even greater efficiency is achieved by adding targeted recommendations to the FAQs. OTRS also offers other useful features, such as communication templates and query masks, that save time, guarantee consistent quality and offer standardization.
Customer Information Database
In a growing company, the number of customers also increases. Because of this, the use of a tool is a valuable support. In the early years of starting a business, you certainly know each of your customers personally. This is no longer the case. Therefore, it is a great advantage if all customer information is stored in a database, which can then be accessed by every employee in customer service.
Processes? Business Processes!
What is one of the critical requirements for smooth operations in general and especially in a customer service team? Processes. Or rather, well-functioning, smooth processes. In other words, processes in which everyone knows what needs to be done and when. Regularly recurring processes in usually need to be optimized. They tie up resources and are often prone to errors.
Automation of workflows through, e.g.
- process and communication templates
- inquiry masks
- consistent documentation
- ticket histories
ensures increased efficiency and helps to avoid errors.
The use of BPM software helps here because it supports companies in documenting tasks and enabling smooth processes.
Analyzing and documenting
So it all starts with processes. That’s why you should take the time to take a close look at yours, document them and improve them if necessary.
The best way to find out where the pain points are, what’s working well and where resources are needed is to analyze them in as much detail as possible.
Documentation is usually in the form of a process diagram. This is a visualization of all steps that are necessary for a specific process. The creation of such a diagram makes it possible to identify potential for improvement and to rule out the possibility of process steps being skipped.
By using software to create these diagrams, companies then have a roadmap that shows who needs to do what and when. It also optimizes the use of tools needed to keep processes running smoothly and ensures that information is captured for compliance reasons.
Once your processes are documented and optimized, you can accelerate them through automation with business process management software. It allows you to move a process forward without the need for manual intervention. So that means capture and forget.
Once defined, the process runs without constant supervision. Everyone involved simply has to “do their part” and automation takes care of passing the tasks on to the next person, team or system.
Incidentally, automated business processes can also make handovers and vacation replacements much easier. All necessary steps are optimally documented. This means that new colleagues can also start immediately without the need for time-consuming training. Every service team will be pleased about this.
The advantages of a BPM Software
All in all, there are a lot of advantages that speak for the use of BPM software if you want to improve the service quality in growing companies:
- Improved quality of work
- Time savings
- Easy task handover and vacation replacement
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Cost savings
- Increased creativity and process optimization
- Simplified change management
The human factor
But of course, as always, the human factor itself counts alongside technology. Especially in customer service. By using the right tools, you’ve already taken a big step in this direction, because they support your employees, create free space, relieve them of mindless tasks, and thus significantly increase motivation in the team.
But it’s also about the suitability and prerequisites that each individual service employee should bring to the table. These include the ability to work under pressure, empathy, a sense of responsibility, know-how and, finally, a healthy dose of enthusiasm.
In this way, the course for success can already be set when selecting a team. This also includes the use of so-called “Subject Matter Experts.” These are people who are particularly well versed in certain products or specific areas – in other words, experts in certain fields.
Corporate culture and mindset
Last but not least, corporate culture has a major influence on the success or failure of service teams, especially in growing companies. Within the framework of the corporate culture, values are conveyed that define the interaction in teams and a way of working.
This includes important topics, such as how to deal with mistakes or how to promote an entrepreneurial spirit. This means encouraging employees and giving them the authority to make decisions independently and take responsibility. A typical service employee will certainly be grateful not to have to run to the supervisor for every issue.
And most certainly, customer inquiries will be answered more quickly as a result.
Growth can strain a customer support team. The increased workload and lack of personalized customer knowledge can make it hard for service team members to keep up and engage with customers in an empathetic way. But, by using the right tools, improving and automating processes, hiring the right people and establishing a solid corporate culture, growing businesses can take advantage of all the benefits that come with well-functioning customer support teams.