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June 29, 2017 | By

Helping Your Support Team Work Smarter, Not Harder

Great customer service is growing harder and harder to deliver. Surveyed IT support organizations report that ticket volumes are up 57% over the past year and yet headcount has remained flat. And on top of being asked to do more with less, these teams are also reporting that tickets themselves are increasingly complex as more customers demand more support across more devices.

How is a model support organization like yours supposed to keep up? The answer is to maximize your efficiency. It’s all about working smarter and not harder.

Here are some tips to help you do that:

1. Find out what’s holding you back

Before you charge forward and make a flurry of changes, take a moment to direct your action. Consider your barriers. Are your tools holding your team back? Do they not integrate with each other? Is your agent turnover too high? Are your agents overloaded or are they not being assigned tickets based on their skills?

Identify your top initiatives and then proceed with testing them one at a time. Just like an email marketing A/B test, it’s important to know what caused any resulting change so that you can confidently build a more effective organization one brick at a time.

2. Take advantage of automation

As all agents know, the vast majority of support requests are routine, usually involving passwords and simple settings. Though these questions seem fast and simple to answer one-off, en-masse, they’re a sizeable drag on productivity. A top agent can’t provide top service to your neediest customers if they’re bogged down with many people who simply forgot to plug in their machines. That’s why successful teams invest in automation.

AI chatbots, for example, can act as dispatchers, answering common customer questions and only escalating to an agent when needed. And support tools with smart-rule systems allow agents to script their most repetitive tasks. Studies have found that with automation, support organizations can save 10 hours per agent per month, which equates to about 6-8% of their time.  Even integrating your disparate support tools provide seamless and reliable transfer of data back and forth.

3. Deepen your knowledge base

Of course, your chatbot and smart-rule solutions are only as good as the knowledge base that powers them. Your employees are the ones who feed these systems their answers and talent and tribal knowledge are tricky to retain in an industry where the average tenure for agents is under two years. It’s incumbent upon modern support teams to retain and disseminate knowledge as efficiently as possible and this means having a knowledge base tool, such as an agent portal.

Knowledge base tools can accelerate agent on boarding if they’re kept relentlessly up to date and are highly searchable. They can even reduce ticket deflection and increase first-call-resolutions by providing real-time, contextual collaboration features whereby agents can group-chat and what’s known by one agent is suddenly know by all.

4. Gamify

Now, every agent can become inundated with mundane, process-driven requests from time to time and it’s a great idea to keep things interesting with gamification. We’re all a little competitive at heart and agents can be motivated by rewards, point systems, and leaderboards around metrics like call time, resolution, or CSAT.

The IT support software Freshservice pioneered making support more fun for agents and found that companies can amplify their results by measuring agents against their teammates. One university customer of theirs implemented this for their help desk support and found that this one change compelled their student employees to answer tickets at all hours of the day, including on the bus to school.

Want more tips?

Watch our recorded webinar Work Smarter Not Harder with Freshservice’s Alan Berkson and learn how to ramp up agents, how to deflect 15% of all tickets, and much more.


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