If the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, then your help desk is the powerhouse of your company's customer service.
Your help desk is at the absolute core of your customer success operations and can help your business provide users the best experience possible. The use cases for a (good) help desk are innumerous, and can assist you with everything from new or ongoing employee training to customer relationship management to just taking the pulse of your overall business.
We probably sound like a broken record at this point at CloudApp, but customer service is an indispensable part of any business's success. If you want to retain your customers, you need to have an effective process for handling their inquiries and concerns.
Help desk software can play a key role in streamlining many organizations' support operations by acting as a concrete point of contact for your internal staff (employees) and external contacts (customers, vendors, and others), but it is important that you do your research when selecting your software so you can be sure to leverage it efficiently.
However, as with most things, the software can only take you so far. If you don't have a handle on prioritization or a strategy related to your help desk, your customer support and success teams will never be able to reach their full potential or offer your customers a completely seamless experience.
In this post, we'll walk through 5 principles to help you get started with help desk management.
1. Don't Make it Harder Than it Has to Be: Start with an Existing Process
While utilizing help desk software, many businesses think of going back to the drawing board when it comes to building infrastructure. So, they completely abandon their existing processes, in which certain aspects might be working, and create an entirely new process. These orgs will then find themselves having to re-train established support teams on new procedures. This often wastes a lot of time.
We've got some good news: you don't have to start from scratch.
This "reinventing-the-wheel" strategy also doesn't leave a great impression on your existing and veteran customers. It can be confusing. Therefore, the better solution is to integrate help desk software with an already existing system. The software can be used to streamline and simplify current processes.
Slow and steady wins the race on this one.
Basically, you just want to use the software as a tool to improve upon and streamline your already productive practices, which maybe could just use an efficiency boost.
For instance, a customer support team that is performing proficiently overall in terms of their help desk could use a new help desk software to filter out issues deemed not as critical. Maybe there's a filter that can forward certain tickets back to users automatically with an FAQ or screen recording tutorial for the customer to hopefully resolve the issue themself. The goal, after all, is to streamline processes and free up your reps time for higher-priority tasks.
Just to reiterate: prioritization is key.
2. Cater to UX When Designing Your Help Desk
Customer success teams often overlook the importance of user experience when assembling their help desk materials and processes. Every detail of your customer support and success strategy should be designed with your end-user in mind. Customer satisfaction is the main objective.
Therefore, user experience should absolutely be considered while designing the help desk management system. User experience includes a wide-range of aspects like ease of use, emotions, and overall experience that any customer might have while using your product.
Most importantly, your help desk needs to be designed with the purpose of providing not only an easy and intuitive experience for your users, but a meaningful one. You should be creating an engaging interface with effortless navigation.
In order to produce the best help desk software based on UX, your team needs to collect feedback from the customers regularly (this applies to teams not involved explicitly with support). That feedback should then be used to inform decisions and make the necessary changes to provide your users a better experience with your help desk.
3. Encourage Team Collaboration
It's no secret that assisting internal team collaboration is a core part of our mission at CloudApp. It should also a core component of your customer-facing teams offering a quality help desk experience.
It makes sense that if collaboration is important for your organization to run effectively, that it would also reign true when handling external communications with your customers. Your customer support reps all might have slightly varying styles of communication, but they all should be giving consistent messaging. They are a face of your organization. Collaborative efforts of a cross-functional customer success team allow quick and accurate resolution of issues related to your users.
With a strong help desk system, different departments in your company can check unresolved tickets and work cohesively to solve issues with as few delays as possible. For instance, your finance team can update your customer service team on whether a customer is eligible to get a refund for a product that he bought last month. Or, the delivery team can update your customer service reps about the expected delays in deliveries that customers might encounter.
Maintaining this mindset when managing your help desk strategy also helps your team work holistically. And holistically tends to mean increased effectiveness. Your team should be consistently considering the entire value chain as opposed to hyper-focusing on one singular action or process. When a customer reaches out to the the help desk, your reps need to be keeping the big picture top of mind, i.e. thinking about how the issue could impact business and thereby offering an all-inclusive solution.
4. Treat Each and Every Customer Interaction as a Support Ticket
Every single interaction with a customer should be treated as if it could potentially be the first and last. Because, well, it might be.
Customers are the crux of your business's success, so every interaction with them is important.
One of the best help desk best fundamentals you can implement is to create a new ticket for every interaction with a user or potential user.
This inherently provides a couple of things: one, logging a ticket means accountability, which means greater care. Keeping a track of unresolved tickets, even amongst things that might not intrinsically seem like they require tickets, ensures your customer's inquiry won't go overlooked and it also keeps your information updated. This is helpful for targeting and analytics tracking, as well as it allows you to be able to provide comprehensive and personalized support to the individual.
Your team should create a new ticket for every in-person conversation, email, social media message, online request, phone call, alert, message— even if it is from the same user.
In addition to the benefits posted above, keeping tight documentation can assist you in determining important metrics like monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and churn rate. There are crucial analytics when growing your business.
5. Emphasize Transparency
As a business, prioritizing transparency means offering transparency to customers at all times, even when it's not necessarily easy.
Forming genuine customer loyalty is not quickly attained, but when your users are made aware of the level of care from the people on your team; and the processes, systems, and status of their requests, they tend to trust the organization much quicker, and to a greater extent. A transparent process can make the difference between a casual user ready to churn at the first inconvenience and a lifelong customer in which you've established rapport. This is also a great key to referrals, positive word of mouth, and turning your customers into advocates of your product.
Unfortunately, sometimes transparency can come at the expense of immediate sales growth. This is when you have to hold your ground. Your business needs to find a a balance between hitting the obviously essential sales growth targets and maintaining transparency with support operations. Combining those two components is literally the key to forming a meaningful and positive customer experience.
Most of the iconic company's of our time tend to be known for their profound customer service. And it usually goes back to the fact that they facilitate honest and open communication between their employees and their end-users. To prioritize transparency, you need to hire good people, cultivate a culture that encourages it even when it might be a little uncomfortable, and you can automate some updates to keep customers in the know.
Forming this sort of credibility will provide an ROI far greater than you might imagine. If you can demonstrate to customers that your hyper-transparent, they'll stay with you for the long haul.