As an IT service provider, you have to work hard to establish best practices when providing support to your customers. Maybe you’ve assigned a specific employee to route tickets to the right agents, or you have a system in place to call back customers quickly. But the rise of SaaS has changed customer support best practices—as well as customer expectations. But what if there was a simpler way to partake in these best practices? Over the years, software has enabled customer support teams to work more efficiently and there are now more capabilities within software than ever before.

  1. Store all customer information in one place – Taking down a note for an agent to call a specific customer the next time they are available works, but it’s far from efficient and can be problematic. What if the note gets lost in the shuffle or falls victim to a spilled beverage? Instead, enter the information into customer support software. Not only can you create a new ticket and tag an agent, but you can also add any associated products or inventory to the ticket that the customer may want to discuss. In B2B support software, information is stored at both the customer and contact level so it’s easy to understand broader issues than just looking at a single phone call.
  2. Share customer details through integrations – While keeping all customer information related to support interactions in one place is ideal, what if you could share this information with other systems? One of the major benefits of support software for an entire organization is its ability to share key customer information with other technology. Some companies link support software to CRM (Customer Relationship Management) technology so their business development team can look at the happiness of a customer before attempting to upsell. Other companies may integrate support software with a bug or issue tracking solution to prioritize fixes for high revenue customers. In addition, integrations can work both ways where a CRM can feed information about a customer directly into the support software. This lets agents know, for example, if the sales team deems a certain customer “high touch” and to give them special attention. Sharing information between departments through software makes the entire company smarter.
  3. Streamline communication and collaborate internally – Providing more information to employees also promotes internal collaboration. Adding a colleague to a ticket is just one of many ways agents are working together to make both themselves and customers happier. Not as common now, but an old best practice was making sure an agent follows up with a customer immediately because they are simply “next up” in the rotation. This can put your company in a bad spot with a customer because the agent may or may not know their business. Instead of doing this, use B2B support software to work through issues as a team and then determine who is the most knowledgeable about the issue so they can reach out. This way, there’s a higher probability that the support interaction resolves the problem.
  4. Meet agreed upon customer expectations – While putting the right agent in the right situation increases the likelihood of success, it’s always crucial to understand how long you have before a response is needed. Depending on the severity of an issue, different customers expect responses by different times. This range in response times is often defined through a customer support Service Level Agreement (SLA). Old best practices like creating a big whiteboard with all the response times for customers work, but they are inefficient and do not scale well. Instead, utilize customer support software to automatically track SLAs and display warnings if a ticket is close to violating an agreement. Keeping in-line with these agreements is more than just a best practice; failing to meet the terms can result in fees paid out to the customer.
  5. Offer 24/7 support with solutions like personalized self-service – One way to avoid getting bogged down with tickets and to not worry about SLAs so much is to launch a self-service site. A best practice many companies used in the past was sending common attachments via email to customers. While this is a good strategy, it’s also time consuming as agents need to dig through folders on a hard drive to find the right file. Instead, software simplifies this entire process by suggesting self-service articles directly within tickets based on the content that is discussed. On a larger scale, an online B2B self-service portal is accessible by customers at all hours, with the content displayed on the portal tailored to each customer. For example, a customer will only see personalized content on products they have when they visit the self-service portal.