When it comes to a business’s help desk processes, a key objective for small business owners is to continually improve the level of service provided to customers. With exceptional service, small businesses can develop a strong brand reputation.
One way to do so is with automated support tools. In fact, as many as 52% of brands consider technology important. Especially when it comes to delivering an excellent customer experience.
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Why Small Businesses Should Consider a Help Desk
Small businesses require consistent and constant contact with their customers. Either for increasing marketing research efforts or for supporting customers with their issues. This means small businesses must be accessible across multiple channels. Including email, social media, phone, live chat, and SMS. This is where Help Desk Software can make an impact.
It is a computerised tool packed full of features that allow businesses to bring together all IT support channels in one place. This enables support teams and their agents to effectively keep track of customer conversations, requests, and complaints. Meaning nothing gets missed and no tickets are left unanswered. Utilising a help desk tool provides small businesses with various benefits, including:
- Efficiently managing and tracking tickets
- Improving the response time of customer queries
- Building self-service portals with a knowledge base and FAQs
- Collecting requests from all channels with multichannel features
- Streamlining the workflow of support teams
A leading feature that is essential for both small and medium businesses (SMBs) is the ability to efficiently manage end-user communication. All requests are given a unique reference number and are turned into tickets. These tickets can be tagged, categorised, and prioritised accordingly. As well as being assigned to the right support agent. This gives businesses an overview to see which tickets are outstanding and which have been actioned.
Automated support tools also bring more effective organisation to a business’s customer service processes. It allows teams to easily collaborate and avoid answering the same end user query. As well as supporting Service level agreements (SLAs) to help monitor a support team’s performance.
Typical Customer Support Features Small Businesses Need
A modern tool will provide teams with the right features to effectively monitor and manage their support processes. Although some features are aimed more at larger operations, such as remote support and an internal knowledge base, there are many functions that suit the support operations of small businesses.
Multichannel Ticketing System
Enables customers to contact a business’s support team via a range of different channels, such as email and social media, and turn all communications into tickets. These tickets can then be tracked, managed, assigned, and prioritised with ease.
A helpdesk provides an all-in-one message dashboard that is ideal for small businesses who are sharing an email inbox. This allows a support manager and their agents to see all customer enquiries and requests from all channels.
A Detailed Knowledge Base
A handy feature of most support systems is having the option to build a self-service portal. This allows end users to find a solution to their issue by searching resources such as knowledge bases and FAQs. In fact, 12% of customers prefer this method as opposed to directly contacting a support agent.
Live Chat Integration
By installing a live chat function, customers are able to easily get in touch whenever they like. All chats are converted into tickets and placed inside the system’s centralised dashboard. As small businesses generally operate in limited hours, this is a handy feature for reducing missed requests when out of hours. Live chat integration is popular among end-users, with 77% of customers choosing to leave a website without it and go elsewhere.
Analytics and Reporting
A small business generally doesn’t have the resources or time to monitor and track performance information regarding its support processes. Being able to collect the right data gives businesses detailed insights into performance metrics. As well as helping to identify gaps and opportunities in the service they provide.
If a business offers services outside of the UK and to non-English speaking territories, multilingual support is essential. It allows team members to speak to customers in their native language while still providing the right support.
5 Benefits of a Help Desk for Small Businesses
Identifying the need to improve IT support processes can be an exciting moment for any business. Whether that be enhancing customer service or increasing the efficiency of a support team. Either way, choosing the right customer support tool can provide various benefits for SMBs. Including:
Increasing Workflow Efficiency
The right helpdesk tool ensures support teams are able to receive, manage, and resolve customer requests in an organised way. All while processing multichannel communication through one single system. It reduces the need for paperwork and spreadsheets as well, meaning a reduction in errors.
Reducing User Response Times
The right automated solution will provide features that focus solely on customers. As well as functions to speed up customer service processes, such as:
- Ticket automation
- Team collaboration
- Knowledge bases and FAQs
Automating customer support processes can be valuable for small businesses wanting to improve their response times and save on costs. In fact, manually handling a customer support ticket is believed to cost $22 (around £17).
One example of automating a business’s support functions is by using a ticketing system. This saves time by automatically assigning tickets to team members and organising them according to the request type. Such as a query regarding delayed shipping being quickly assigned to a member responsible for dispatching orders.
Another process that benefits from automation is responding to support requests. By automating queries, small businesses can not only reduce wait times and boost team productivity, but they can also reduce ticket backlogs. One way to achieve this is to set up canned responses to FAQs, where messages can be triggered to send instantly. This eliminates the need for a ticket to be raised and allows teams to focus on more complex enquiries.
Providing Proactive Customer Service
The function of proactive service is to anticipate the customer’s needs. By doing so, support teams can identify issues that haven’t yet occurred or ones that the customer isn’t aware of.
For example, a web hosting company may need to temporarily shut down for planned maintenance. But, before doing so, they’ll need to notify users. With access to a dashboard, this communication can be quickly issued via email, text, social media, or SMS.
Proactive service can also have a big impact on an SMB’s brand loyalty. On average, 68% of global customers have a more favourable view of brands that contact them via proactive customer service notifications.
Measuring Performance Metrics
Modern tools are packed full of analytic and reporting tools. This allows for greater visibility of support requests, as well as identifying the level of service team members are providing.
With access to detailed metrics, small business owners can monitor SLAs too. This includes agent response times and the rate of first-contact solutions.
Some tools also allow customers to rate and review their service experience. This information can be used to identify those team members who are knowledgeable and are delivering a reliable support service. As well as those who aren’t.
As a small business, providing customers with a good service experience is essential. Excellent customer service equates to happy customers. Happy customers lead to brand loyalty. Which, in turn, results in greater customer retention rates. A profitable customer doesn’t just buy from a company once; they return time after time.
Repeat business is the key to increasing profits for SMBs. By encouraging customers to come back, they not only boost revenue but also increase their overall lifetime value to a business.
In fact, getting customers to return for a third purchase could result in more profit than acquiring 15 new one-time customers.
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How Small Businesses Can Improve Their Customer Service Processes
Utilising a help desk for small businesses can improve customer service levels in several ways. For one, it brings all IT support channels together in one system. Allowing support teams to provide support efficiently and according to problem severity.
The right tool will help to speed up ticket resolution times too, as well as allow businesses to offer customers a proactive service.
So, how can small businesses find the best tool for them? Well, as a starting point, business owners need to highlight the communication channels they intend to use. Then identify the type of user interface that would work best for their support team. Also, they should consider the type of helpdesk tool need such as cloud-based or open-source.
As a small business, scalability is crucial. Meaning the chosen system should be able to grow with the business. Perhaps support teams don’t need an all-in-one solution, but rather software that can be built upon over time. Eventually adding different modules as a company expands.
Finally, small business owners should be sure to set a realistic budget and examine what the total cost of ownership will be to ensure they’re confident of a good ROI.