by Stephanie Miles
Published on 25 September 2015
Duplication of effort is a hot button issue within the business community right now, as organizations large and small search for more strategic ways to streamline operations. With the average small business using a whopping 14.3 apps - or 5.5 apps per employee, according to a report by Osterman Research - employees tasked with the daily management of online platforms are feeling overwhelmed.
Native integration between cloud-based tools is the key to improving efficiency at a company-wide level. A lack of integration between help desk software and CRM systems and development tools is one of the most common complaints among SMBs using help desk software in particular. According to GetData research, 11.2% of SMBs say that a lack of customer service integration is their single biggest business challenge.
"Businesses who recognize that customer service is a job function of every single person in the organization will naturally create systems that promote integration and collaboration. Departments and teams will work together to take care of customers, and they will implement systems that support that," explains Laura Ballam, director of marketing at TeamSupport, a collaborative customer support software provider.
TeamSupport is one of the few providers in its category offering native integrations with multiple business systems. The company began offering expanded integration capabilities based on customer demand.
"Typically this starts at the upper level-owner, CEO, management-but it does have to be cultivated throughout the organization," Ballam says.
In her experience, the most common products that business owners have indicated they would like their help desk to be integrated with are email, CRM, developer tools, inventory, and accounting or subscription software. Bringing together the data from these systems gives customer service representatives a better ability to resolve customer complaints.
For example, when a company connects its ERP and help desk systems, its support staff gains access to information, such as how long a customer has been with the company or how much of the subscription base a particular customer represents. When customers contact support with questions about their accounts, company representatives have the ability to access the appropriate information without having to transfer those customers to different departments.
Still not convinced of the value of an integrated help desk system? Here are three key benefits.
Different teams-such as sales, marketing, and support departments-need their CRM and help desk systems to integrate in order to facilitate better group collaboration. Integrating customer service software with CRM software saves time, reduces errors, and improves efficiency. For example, businesses with integrated systems can create customer contact records in their help desks for their agents to access.
This helps agents avoid having to manually input the data themselves. It also lets sales teams know what issues are coming up with their customers when ticket information is filtered back into the CRM.
For software and technology firms, especially, using help desk software that integrates with developer tools-such as Jira or Beanstalk-is incredibly important. Having this integration enables product and development teams to get all the necessary information on any customer service issues. It also gives development professionals a clearer picture of any previous bug fixes or feature requests that may have occurred before they joined the team.
Most SMBs rely on some combination of marketing automation, surveys, or social media for customer acquisition. The most important thing to remember is that customer service is no longer an island. In fact, mainstream business publications are now recognizing customer service as the "new marketing tool"-helping businesses differentiate themselves and get ahead in a crowded market.
Customer service is now about more than just fixing problems or resolving customer complaints. It's about providing a great experience so customers love the company and share their positive impressions with their friends.
Integrating survey data, social media inquiries, and even marketing campaigns with customer service provides greater visibility at the customer level. For example, consider a company that offers a free trial of its product. Even though the person signing up for the trial isn't a paying customer (yet), he or she may still contact customer service for help getting started or with concerns that come up during the trial period.
If a business can show its trial customers that it values them by having all of their information on hand at every point of contact, it will make those customers happy and that will most definitely lead to a better impression.
Using a help desk system that offers complete integration with multiple business apps and tools is one of the easiest ways for a business to reduce the number of emails flying around and eliminate duplicate documents. These types of integrations reduce the chances for human error, and lead to higher operational efficiencies.
This post is brought to you by collaborative customer support software provider Teamsupport.