Picking Hardware and Software for Customer Service Success

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Your biggest assets are your customer service agents. To ensure those agents are able to provide the best service, you must provide them with the tools to be successful.

As a customer service manager, you understand the importance of providing good customer service. Your team’s success can make the difference in the survival of the business.

In fact, studies show that 60 percent of customers will pay more for better customer service. If a customer has a good experience with your team, on average, they will tell four to six people about it. On the flip side, one negative experience for a customer can negate a lifetime of loyalty.

65% of consumers report that they’ve abandoned a brand completely over one poor service experience. In fact, a VoiceMedia study estimates that U.S. brands are losing $41 billion each year because of poor customer service.

Your biggest assets are your customer service agents. To ensure those agents are able to provide the best service, you must provide them with the tools to be successful.

Although it is impossible to provide perfect service, the best customer service systems allow for quick and seamless communication through multiple channels. After all, no matter how friendly or knowledgeable your customer service team is, they are helpless if they are not given the best means to connect with the customers in need.

Hardware

The majority of customer service contacts are still made over the phone, but more and more customers, particularly those 18-34, prefer an electronic means of communication like email or web chat. Therefore, in addition to an up-to-date phone system, a reliable computer is essential for a successful customer service agent. Of course the needs of your team will depend on the size and nature of the business, but there are some considerations that will apply to most.

As customer service teams become increasingly mobile, with a trend toward remote customer service, providing your agents with laptops is the logical choice. When looking at a laptop, both portability (the size and ease of carrying the equipment around) and reliability (the machine’s durability and ability to run efficiently) are important. When considering laptops, compare technical specifications like CPU, RAM, battery consumption and connectivity.

Optimal Networks, a company that provides technical solutions for businesses, recommends a lightweight, portable, yet powerful machine like the Lenovo ThinkPad. For example, the ThinkPad W series is designed as a business workstation, so will be able to handle several programs at once without sacrificing speed, has excellent connectivity and battery life, all essential to a successful customer service agent.

Software

With the hardware in place, one of the most important decisions you can make for your team is the customer support platform you use to handle all of your customer contacts. Customer support now goes far beyond a basic phone center.

Most businesses use some combination of email support, phone support, social media interactions, online live chat, community forums, and a Help or FAQ menu, as well as mobile app versions of the support tools. If you have a small service team, you may want to provide only a few of these services, such as email and phone support and therefore should look for a more streamlined support ticket system.

Compare programs like Help Scout, Groove, Front and Sirportly to find the best fit for your business. Conversely, if your team is equipped to provide all levels of support, you should consider a multi-channel support platform that will help integrate all methods of customer contact.

Multi-channel apps are more complicated and may require more training to make sure your team is proficient, but will help manage every aspect of support. The best of these programs include Zendesk, Zoho Support, Freshdesk and LiveAgent.

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