by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 23 January 2012
This week's review is a redux post of sorts. We reviewed business-to-business support software TeamSupport back in February 2011.
Much has changed since then.
The company has come out with a new version of the same product and has bundled in great features to boot.
In this post, we will take a fresh look at TeamSupport once again. We will look at the changes they made, its features, interface and see how it can be of use to you.
The interesting thing about TeamSupport is that it works in B2B, a niche space for support software.
According to Eric Harrington, a co-founder, their background has a lot to do with this. Before founding TeamSupport, the company's founders ran a successful software company in the broadcast industry.
Harrington says the experience led to the discovery that most B2B companies functioned in silos. The founders started the company primarily to plug this drawback. "We ended up scratching our own itch after a failed search to find something off the shelf that understood the importance of a team concept," says Harrington. They came up with the idea of "collaborative support" and wrote a tool that later transformed into TeamSupport.
According to Harrington, the solution's ability to collaborate, provide a 360 degree of customers and client companies and asset inventory management capability sets the solution apart from other, similar solutions in the market.
LET'S TALK ABOUT SPECIFICS
TeamSupport is a two-in-one solution that combines support with collaboration.
This means that your support staff can use the solution to collaborate with each other and with their clients to resolve tickets. The ticket generation process is automated and requires two simple clicks. However, TeamSupport's real value is best experienced after the ticket has been generated and is in the system.
In an earlier interview, Harrington had stated that they (the solution's founders) had created the software with the idea that solving problems is best handled by a team. Based on available features, Harrington's idea of team is a pretty broad one. For example, you can log public actions with tickets immediately after they are raised. What's more customers have visibility into the public ticket resolution (and associated action) process. Thus, in this case, the team is a combination of support staff and customers. Of course not all conversations on a ticket are public for customer viewing, and TeamSupport allows for both public and private actions. This allows the internal teams to maintain group collaboration, and keep things private when appropriate.
I thought this was a great way to provide transparency and visibility into the ticket resolution process for both the business and the customer. The direct benefit, of course, is quicker ticket resolution. The indirect benefit is transparency and better communication with your customer, enabling you to remain on the same page as the customer.
WHAT'S NEW AND HOW YOU CAN SAVE TIME
Since our last review, the solution has added several new features. Most of them are focused on saving time for essential tasks.
Tickets generation workflow
To start with, you can automate several ticket generation tasks. Thus, you can establish automated workflows for the ticket generation process. Specifically, this means that you can decide ticket response, escalation and transfer rules, thus streamlining the ticket generation process.
Additionally, a powerful automation engine has been added. TeamSupport users can establish detailed rules governing ticket response, escalation, transfer within the organization, and a wide range of other essential functions.
More integrations available
The company has also begun integrating extensive third-party software. Among the new third-party integrations are Batchbook, Mailchimp, Zoho CRM & Zoho Reports. In addition to extending their reach across vendors, the integrations also prevent the data silo effect referred to earlier and helps businesses use their best of breed solutions.
The company's integration with Zoho Reports is very exciting to me. You can filter, sort, view and analyze support data using Zoho Reports. I especially like the fact that TeamSupport automatically updates Zoho Reports with latest data from TeamSupport including ticket data, portal logins, chat requests, and knowledge base traffic in real time. This means that you get information about your help desk performance in real time. In addition, licenses - based on database size - are available directly through Zoho, and in most cases will cost nothing at all under Zoho's free Reports plan.
Another interesting and new feature in TeamSupport is ticket deflection. It works by proposing solutions to a customer problem during the ticket generation process. "It's great to offer a form for your customer to fill out and wait for an answer, but it's the waiting part that can be irritating," says Harrington. So, TeamSupport aligns previously answered support tickets to the knowledge base, while a customer fills out the support request. Of course, the end result is that your customers and support staff save valuable time and enhance productivity. Being able to give the customer an answer right now should make them very happy.
Another time saver is the recently introduced screen recording capability. This feature enables customers to record their screens and embed it with their tickets. The interesting thing is that this feature can be enabled at the flip of a switch er…button. Your support staff can replay the video from within the ticket and see/hear exactly what the customer issue is. I see this as another time saving tool that helps put a stop to the dreaded "back-and-forth" with the customer.
This year also brings mobile to TeamSupport. Agents and staff can login into their accounts directly from their mobile device where they can view/edit tickets and look up customers. For teams on the go, this is a great way to stay in touch while away from the support desk.
Keeping with the time-saving theme of features, TeamSupport also added a reminder feature, where agents can add reminders to tickets, companies or contacts with a mouse click. Reminders may be defined to alert staff about a customer warranty contract, or a follow up to a specific person about a discussion that was left open.
Wiki and water cooler
The solution also has a wiki and water cooler. While the wiki enables team members to share internal documents with each other, the water cooler is a collaboration tool that enables team members to chat and send messages to each other.
Although the company already integrates with Facebook, Harrington says the company has aggressive social plans. "We've tried to coin the phrase "Internal social" because our tool puts a large focus on team collaboration," he says. "We believe by starting with the focus on the internal social aspect and helping our customers be more transparent among their internal teams, we will be in a much better position than most other vendors to help a B2B transition to the external social field."
THE BASICS: WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE
The interface looks great. In fact, the company's user-facing portal has been completely redesigned to enhance customer experience for first-time visitors and frequent visitors.
A left hand side panel enables global navigation. The top panel, which is a tabbed interface, shows appropriate menu options for your selection. The interesting part about the interface is that it is completely customizable. Thus, you can choose and pick your interface settings and customize it based on your preferences.
SUPPORTING YOUR SYSTEM
Needless to add, you cannot go very wrong with support with support software. Apart from comprehensive knowledge base documentation, the solution also has a customer portal login that enables you to track tickets and interact with support staff. In addition, you can also chat with support staff 24X7. Harrington says they are finishing up on a community forum. The forum, which will be called Community, will further enhance the customer portal, according to Harrington.
IS IT FOR YOU?
If you value speed and customization in your support software, then TeamSupport is definitely for you. Harrington says 2012 will be an exciting year for them. In addition to integrating the screen recording feature from the portal to the TeamSupport app, the company plans to make customer exchange more interactive and social. I can't wait!