We know it's hard running a small business, trust us - we've been there! One of the hardest parts is trying to decide when it's time to implement new systems and software, trying to find the balance between overworked employees and costly purchases.
Customer support software is at the top of the list for systems to implement early on (right up there with accounting and payroll) because it is directly related to how your customers perceive you. It's also one of the best ways to improve efficiency and get more productivity without adding employees - at least until you grow even more. The good news is, with today's cloud-based (SaaS) software options, it's not that costly at all! With the right software you'll easily see a quick return on investment, and both your customers and employees will thank you.
So with this in mind, we've put together 7 of the top signs you need a customer support system:
1. Your team doesn't have a common system to store information about customer interactions and/or documents
If you often find yourself searching through file folders and emails to try and find that important document, or to remember the conversation you had with a customer a few weeks ago, then it's time to get organized and implement a system that will put customer information at your fingertips. Likewise if your customer service reps are spending more time trying to dig up the resources they need than they are trying to help customers, it's time for new software.
2. Your customer requests are stored on the email system of each agent's computer (and/or you lose track of customer emails/issues)
While email is an incredibly handy tool, it can get cluttered fast, so if this is your primary method of receiving customer requests/complaints, then you're opening yourself up to letting customer issues fall through the cracks. And what happens when a customer calls in a second time but gets a different agent, if the history of the previous call is on someone else's email, the second agent has no choice but to make the customer go through it all over again. That's a recipe for unhappy customers. The right customer support software will include native email integration, so your customers can still email you for support, but it's going to be added to your ticket database so that all agents can see it.
3. You're still tracking support issues in Excel
Trying to keep track of feature requests or bug fixes in a spreadsheet? That's not the most effective use of time, and it's too hard to find patterns and commonalities. A customer service software can help organize all these requests so you can prioritize and focus on the issues that matter most.
4. Reporting and compiling data takes forever
If you keep track of customer issues in excel, and manage interactions in email alone, then you have to manually search through all of that to get the data you need. And how do you know if your team is being effective? A good customer support software will include built-in reports to help you manage your team, and your customers. From agent productivity to feature requests and average number of tickets received, it's important to understand your customer service metrics.
5. You don't know what's happening with your customers
Lack of visibility at the customer level is a concern that plagues small (and large) businesses - we get so caught up in handling one-off situations that we forget to actually manage our relationships with our customers. And make no mistake - an email or phone call is not a relationship, you need to keep an eye on patterns and common issues so that you can provide real "customer service".
6. Your agents are stressed
Overwhelmed/overworked employees are not productive employees. And customer service reps who are trying to handle customer issues with outdated and manual systems get frustrated. Give your agents the tools they need to create happy customers - automation of tickets, self-service to reduce the amount of "simple" requests that take up so much time, and easy access to customer history all make your employees' job so much easier. Happy agents translate to happy customers.
7. Your customers are unhappy
Are you hearing whispers of dissatisfaction from your team? Seeing negative reviews or bad publicity on social media? Maybe you're just experiencing a decline in customer retention and can't figure out why. Unhappy customers will tell you they're unhappy - but not necessarily by coming right out and saying it. Many tell you with their spending, or the power of word-of-mouth. When customers have issues, they want it fixed as quickly, and with as little effort on their part, as possible. The best help desk software will tell you when customers are showing signs of distress, and helps your agents better serve your customers by making their jobs easier.