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How tech is killing your customer support team

(Image credit: Image Credit: Georgejmclittle / Shutterstock)

Business professionals have the unique opportunity to not only use technology every single day, but to also grow and change with it. For example, thirty years ago fax machines were all the rage. Being able to send a signed contract across the country in a few minutes seemed amazing. The fax machine obviously still exists and while it can still get that contract out the door, there are now much better and more efficient ways to get the job done.

While that example is a classic case of modern technological misalignment, businesses actually encounter tech headaches like this all the time. And, even though it shouldn’t, these struggles can directly influence customers via the support team.

Technology systems that aren’t working as intended can create communication issues, delayed responses, and several additional problems that impact the bottom line of your business. With this said, let’s look at some of the specific reasons why tech is killing your customer support team…

Customer information is in WAY too many places – In the modern era of B2B (business-to-business) support, customers expect immediate responses to urgent issues. However, agents often can’t provide responses in a reasonable timeframe because they’re too busy hunting for the right information in different systems. This is a classic case of too many technology solutions (sales, marketing, project management, customer support, and even more) with no true technology acting as a “source of truth” for customer information. To solve this problem and make your customers happier, improve the productiveness of your team by selecting a support software solution with a built-in customer database. In addition, implement key bi-directional integrations between departmental software solutions such as Salesforce for Sales and Jira for Developers so all teams are on the same page.

Limited support technology inhibits company (and support team) growth – More customers in the business world are starting to place a higher value on premium customer service as they evaluate vendors and solutions. By failing to offer modern customer support technology, such as self-service portals, you are obstructing your ability to grow your company. It’s likely your competitors already have these solutions (opens in new tab), meaning you’re trailing behind in this area. Also, if you’re not offering modern support solutions such as live chat to your customers, then they‘re being forced to speak directly to an agent every single time a minor issue pops up. Not only are you forcing your customers to use a channel they may not like, but this volume of basic inquiries puts a heavy burden on your support team.

Dated technology enables the continuation of long-standing, bad practices – Many companies in the B2B industry continue to “kick the can” when it comes to customer support processes. They know their technology is outdated and the way they do things aren’t ideal, but they keep telling themselves that they’ll change everything once they update their technology. However, there’s no need to wait to fix many bad practices, and honestly it can be overwhelming to overhaul the way people work AND learn a new technology at the same time. Rushing through the agent training process and leveraging scripted responses are two examples of methods that can and should be phased out and shouldn’t be placed behind a technology hurdle.

As you can see, inappropriate and dated technology can sometimes create chaos. This leads into one key question…

How do you find and utilise the right technology for your business and your customers?

There are a few things to consider…

Make sure your technology fits your industry – This is the first and most important step in choosing any technology, but it’s also one many businesses fail to consider. Ask yourself one simple question: Am I a B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer) company (opens in new tab)? If you are B2C, focus on technology that will resolve individual customer issues swiftly. B2C problems are usually quite simple, so a technology that streamlines a standard issue resolution process is great for this industry. However, if you are a B2B company, your technology needs will be substantially different. First and foremost, you need to be able to manage customer relationships at a company level. Further, B2B problems can be quite complex and involve multiple departments, so make sure your technology enables easy collaboration and internal communication.

Ask your customers what they expect from your support team – Talking to customers about support may not always be an experience filled with smiles, but if you ask the right questions you’ll obtain invaluable information. Do your customers want an online source for text and video guides? Do they want mobile chat support? Is there a need for screen sharing to replicate issues quickly? Every business has unique customer needs, so ask and find out. What your customers tell you will help you choose the right technology for your business (opens in new tab).

Be certain that the technology you choose has an excellent onboarding experience – A technology solution may look great on paper, but don’t be afraid to ask around before you make a final decision. Too many businesses choose a support technology only to be forgotten after they sign the contract. To avoid this situation, ask for customer referrals before you agree to terms. Contact them! Ask how quickly they were able to learn the technology and how their experience was during the onboarding process. Also inquire if there is any sort of ongoing education, such as webinars, to keep you informed about new and updated features. The experience you have after the purchasing process is vitally important and should always be considered when choosing technology. You want to select a solution that takes the necessary steps to keep their customers educated and happy.

To summarise, if tech is killing your support team it means you don’t have the right solutions in place. Talk to your customers, find the right technology for your industry, and get the proper training. You’ll see a tremendous difference in customer happiness, productivity, and team morale.

Robert C. Johnson, CEO and Co-Founder, TeamSupport (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: Georgejmclittle / Shutterstock

Robert C. Johnson is the CEO and Co-Founder of TeamSupport, a B2B customer support and help desk application. He is a serial entrepreneur and investor who has a passion for technology and growth. Robert sits on the Board of Directors of Dallas Angel Network and the Board of Directors for Blossom Street Ventures. Robert is an alumnus of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.