Customer Management Articles

Help Desk Software: Why SMBs Need More Visibility at the Customer Level

by Stephanie Miles
Published on 7 September 2015

a bar chart of researchThe use of help desk software among businesses of all sizes is on the rise. However, a deep disconnect still exists between the features that companies are asking for and what many customer support solutions are providing.

Often used by internal IT departments and support teams, help desk software is commonly relied upon to manage resources, offer support to employees, and manage business relationships with external customers. For example, technology firms and B2B companies may use the software to log and track customer issues and questions within a central system. A weak support service can harm customer engagement, which is one of the reasons why the majority of top B2B firms are investing so heavily in help desk tools that put the focus on customer service.

According to independent research from GetData, not having enough visibility at the customer level is one of the biggest challenges faced by users of help desk software. In a survey of 500 small and medium-size businesses, 26.4% struggled to get visibility at the customer level. Another 30.6% said they do not have enough customer service resources.

Teams struggle with ticket collaboration

This lack of visibility is an issue that was dealt with by Heartland Campus Solutions ECSI, a financial services solutions provider that handles student loan servicing, payment processing, and refund disbursements. The company's support team evaluated more than a dozen software systems in its search for better ticket monitoring and management. Heartland ECSI's director of client support, Ryan Bruner, found that most customer support solutions required users to assign tickets to a single person. It wasn't until he came across TeamSupport, a customer service solution built for B2B customer support, that he was able to gain visibility into tickets throughout the entire lifespan.

"[With TeamSupport] you can monitor and collaborate on tickets even if they aren't necessarily assigned to a single person," he explains.

Stories like Heartland's come as no surprise to Laura Ballam, TeamSupport's director of marketing. Ballam regularly hears from firms in search of customer support software that provides more visibility at the customer level.

"When you operate in B2B, your customers are actually companies - with many contacts, users, or customers within each company. Most businesses can see what is happening at an individual user level, but many do not have a way to amalgamate that information to understand the customer at a company level," Ballam says.

Company databases are key

Within the help desk and customer support space, most ticketing systems still do not offer company databases. As a result, it is often impossible to see how many tickets or contacts each customer (company) currently has.

TeamSupport is one of the growing number of help desk providers aiming to remedy this issue and provide its users with broader company-wide visibility. Its platform includes functionality to create company databases and view the precise number of tickets or contacts for each company within a database.

Unique challenges in the B2B market

In order to solve the problem of not having enough visibility at the customer level, customer service software companies have to understand the B2B market and the relationships that these firms have with their customers.

When multiple support tickets come from the same company, that most likely indicates a distressed or unhappy customer. However, the majority of help desk systems still limit information by showing tickets only on an individual basis. For example, in a case where there are 10 open tickets, a support team should ideally be able to see whether those 10 tickets are from one company or multiple companies. If those 10 tickets are all from the same company, then action needs to be taken immediately to resolve the issue before the company cancels its contract.

Likewise, if a firm is getting multiple individual tickets on separate issues, then that may signal a huge underlying issue causing the minor problems. Without greater visibility at the customer level, pulling all those tickets together-and identifying the larger issue at the root of the situation-would be virtually impossible.

These are just a few examples of the unique customer service software needs that exist within the B2B market. When companies truly understand their customers at the company level, they can start being proactive in better understanding their uses and needs, and offering solutions to problems that those companies may not have yet identified.

"In B2B it's not just about helping your customers, it's also about helping them help their customers," Ballam says. "We often joke that it's not called 'ticket support,' it's called 'customer support' for a reason."

This post was produced in conjunction with help desk software provider TeamSupport.


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