The Quick Guide to Customer Support Software




How many times have you had a bad experience with a company and never returned for business again?

How many of you then told family and friends about the experience?

This is why customer support is so vital, and businesses providing that prompt and personalised service is crucial if they want to see customers coming back and sharing the love for their brand.

Providing these levels of customer service can be overwhelming, especially for small, growing businesses who don't have the resource to run a full call center like set-up to provide this consistent support.

That's where customer support software comes in and can be a really useful asset for small and large businesses alike to help provide the levels of service that people today expect.

What is customer support software?

Customer support software is a set of tools that helps businesses track, organise and manage their customer queries. Customers will find different providers across the market using various terms such as help desk software, service desk software or support center. Best practice advice is to look out for the vital features the business needs and decide what provider is best suited for your business.

This leads onto the first step a business should take before deciding on a customer support software provider.

They need to determine the expectations of your customers and the goals they wish to achieve from implementing a form of customer support software.

Some businesses may already have made it clear to them what their customers expectations are and may have it signed into a contract, also known as SLAs or Service Level Agreements.

Service Level Agreements are a contract between a business and their customer that sets out the service standards that they are obligated to meet. These could be set target reply times on certain types of enquires or from specific customers.

There are many aspects to a customer support software, some provides will specialise in particular feature sets and others, like us over at Fortifi, will provide a full, all-in-one software.

One of the primary features customers will find within a customer support software is a ticket management feature.

Ticket Management

The ticket management software allows users to maintain a database of customer enquiries in one place, rather than in different, individual team members mailboxes.

Allowing businesses to streamline how they communicate with their customers, support staff are able to ensure prompt resolution of enquiries.

Predominantly used by IT and technical support teams to management their enquiries, it can also be used by whole businesses looking to organise and track their emails to ensure nothing gets missed.

What the ticket management software does is takes all the businesses emails and brings them into one centralised platform that organises them, so staff can log in and see tickets by department, by progress and take a look at the individual currently dealing with the enquiry so two people don't send the same email twice - another common issue in a lot of workplaces!

What teams get is this central hub where they can set target response times - such as those SLAs we mentioned earlier.

If they have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software linked to their ticketing software, they can view all those emails against the customer profile, so every bit of historic communication with your contacts is stored in one place. This helps their staff as they no longer have to manually search through email history in their mailboxes, making ticket management systems so valuable to a business.

Live Chat

Another key feature in a customer support platform is a live chat application.

A lot of people tend to think of live chat as something that is run in the B2C market and cannot run effectively in the world of B2B. Well some interesting statistics from the American Marketing Association found otherwise...


Live chat is a tool that businesses can add to their website that provides their visitors with instantaneous access to their sales and support teams. The application works as a form of instant messenger, like you find on social media platforms like Facebook, and puts the website visitor in touch with staff members in real-time.

Website visitors tend to love the feature because it puts them in direct touch with a single agent at the speed of a phone call, without having to leave their screen. Live chat agents can direct visitors around the site to help them find what they are looking and assist in answering purchase critical decisions before the visitor has the chance to leave the website.

A visitor could be a new prospect that has come to the businesses site for the first time who has a question about an offer they are running, or it could be an existing customer asking about their order status.

Live chat can be an incredibly valuable tool for online businesses to capture leads, reduce bounce rates, and if you run an e-commerce site, it can help bring down shopping cart abandonment rates.

Telephone Support

Whilst live chat is proving the most popular form of customer support in today's digital world, it is still evident in the research from Forbes below, there are a lot of people who still like to pick up the phone and talk to someone.




Customer support software that supports phone interactions allows users to make and receive calls from with the platform itself, saving staff the hassle of manually finding the number and dialling.

This feature allows users to store numbers against contacts and when they next call, users will be able to see exactly who is calling and their communication history, right there on the screen in front of them. This is especially helpful to staff that may speak to several different customers each day, or in call centers where they will take and receive hundreds of calls a day. A good support software will allow users to confirm any verification questions, record calls, set greeting messages and allow staff to transfer calls between colleagues and departments with a click of a button.

All of this helps businesses provide the best customer experience possible when their customers call up their business.


Example of what phone integration can look like. Source: Fortifi

Knowledge Base

Some customer support software will also provide their users with a Knowledge Base feature.

A knowledge base is a self-serve online library about the businesses product or service. It is typically used by software companies to build up articles about how best to use their product. This could include user manuals, best practices and top tips. Business  This is then made accessible to their customers so they can go in themselves and get the information they need.

When exploited fully by businesses, these are packed with helpful customer content and the knowledge base works exceptionally well as a 24/7 customer support center that does not need be continually manned and requires little resource to upkeep.

Reporting

All of these features are helping run a businesses customer support experience and creating a lot of data in the process.

A good customer support software will take all this data and provide users with multiple reports that can be interpreted to make critical decisions regarding the levels of support a business provides.

For example, a customer support team could use the reports generated from their live chat activity to determine peak times in the week of day when they receive the most chat requests. Managers can then ensure they have enough staff in the office at those particular times to meet the demand.

Call Center Managers can also use the reports from their telephone system to determine the average wait time, ensuring they are meeting their targets and customer expectations.

Whilst most providers across the market will give access to a majority of the same reports to their users, the level of reporting available on their pricing plan and also additional provider specific reporting will inform customers if the platform is the best fit for their business.






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