Support Agents are often the first line of contact for customers. However, they can also be the last line of contact as well – because if some customers don’t get the answers or direction they want or expect, then the relationship can be damaged beyond repair. In addition to being highly stressful to Support Agents and triggering turnover, if left unchecked this dysfunctional touchpoint threatens an organization’s reputation, performance and profitability.
The Root Cause
The root cause of this widespread problem is that, in order to get the information they need, Support Agents are often forced in real-time to frantically hunt across knowledge base content and documentation portal articles. And in large organizations that offer several product lines – and models and versions of each product – the task is even tougher, since there’s mountains of data to pour through; and much of it can be (and often is) out of date.
What’s more, customers who open tickets expect to connect with a product expert who will solve their problem right away. And if they’ve already tried to find the answers they need on their own — searching Google, scouring online forums, etc. — then they’re likely to be near, or beyond, their boiling point before the interaction begins. Yet since delays are the norm rather than the exception (for the reasons noted above), the result is often that besieged Support Agents are criticized, customers head to the competition, and businesses have their reputations damaged.
Fortunately – and many Support Agents might add “mercifully” as well – there is a straightforward solution that enables both Support Agents and customers to achieve what they both want: satisfactorily closing tickets as quickly as possible; or better yet, avoid them from being opened in the first place.
This solution is for organizations to leverage Salesforce in order to:
- Deploy quick case deflection tools that reduce the number of tickets.
- Publish quick links that shorten average handle-time and increase first-call resolution.
In this way, Support Agents – who are already in Salesforce – can rapidly access customer issues by searching “intelligent content” that has been published to the organization’s touchpoints (e.g. CRM, Knowledge Base, Customer Community, etc.).
Yet even more valuable than the above (though one can already hear Sales Agents cheering in celebration!), is the fact that the whole approach supports an agile and optimized product documentation production and publication workflow; one that is characterized by:
- Engaging SMEs and other identified stakeholders to provide input and make content complete, relevant and accurate.
- Encouraging customers to interact with content across all touchpoints.
- Generating feedback in order to improve content; not just in terms of information, but also in terms of style and accessibility.
- Sharing content easily and republishing it to designated touchpoints (i.e. one, some, or all of them as required).
The Bottom Line
While the logistics and processes will vary, the bottom line is that all businesses – regardless of their size or industry – need to find smarter and more efficient ways to give customers easy access to product knowledge.
Leveraging Salesforce insights and data, and featuring it as a core part of an overall agile and optimized support process, is clearly the best way forward: for customers, for Support Agents, and for overall business success.