A top priority for successful businesses isn’t always about reducing costs. The bigger goal is to satisfy as many customers as possible. To achieve this, customer service might be an area worth investing in since, without paying customers, you wouldn’t have any business to speak of.
Achieving this is one thing, but if you want to succeed, then your customer service must be exceptional.
Exceptional customer service is more than about answering the phone and responding to customer concerns promptly. If you want to compete with larger companies, then you’ll need to take a cue from their playbooks: Leverage customer service tools.
What Are Customer Support Tools and What Do They Do?
Customer support tools encompass a diverse range of software and resources tailored to streamline and enhance your consumer service operations. Their significance is undeniable, extending their value to different enterprises of all sizes. At the heart of their importance lies their ability to boost customer service in several ways.
Improve response times
Speed is critical to customer service success. In an era where timely assistance is paramount, customer service tools empower you to address customer inquiries and concerns promptly. This not only satisfies immediate needs but also fosters a sense of reliability and dependability in the eyes of your customers.
Enhance issue resolution efficiency
Customer service tools equip support teams with the information they need to address customer problems promptly. Reducing resolution time improves customer satisfaction while saving valuable time and resources for the business.
Elevate user experience
An exceptional experience is common to businesses across all industries. The right customer service tool allows you to compete with top players in terms of satisfying and delighting your customers.
It isn’t always about responding to their queries. For instance, if a customer needs to repair the product they bought from you, making the process easy elevates their user experience with your brand. This makes you more memorable and more likely for them to become loyal to you.
Just like customers, businesses also have to meet different needs. There isn’t one perfect customer service tool that benefits everyone since not all customers have the same conditions, nor can one tool solve every hiccup.
5 Types of Customer Support Tools You Should Know
Modern customer service tools come in different forms, each catering to unique business needs. Generally, these tools may fall into one of the categories below.
1. Help desk software
Help desk software acts as a centralized hub for managing customer inquiries and resolving issues efficiently. These types of software allow you to categorize, prioritize, and automate your support requests. It empowers customer support agents to provide timely assistance and track customer interactions effectively.
2. Live chat software
Live chat enables real-time communication between customers and support agents, delivering instant assistance. It allows companies to engage with website visitors and app users directly, answering questions and providing guidance at the moment.
3. Knowledge-based software
Knowledge-based software is all about providing customers with self-service options.
These repositories contain vital information for customers, including Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), guides, and tutorials. The software helps customers find answers for themselves. Not only does this reduce your support workload, but it also empowers your customers since they can resolve their issues independently.
4. Social media tools
There are some customer service tools specialized to certain social media platforms.
With these tools, you can monitor your profile, track brand mentions, and respond to comments in real-time. This is especially helpful if you have a digital presence across different platforms. Some social media management tools allow you to schedule and publish posts all from their dashboard. These lessen the hassle of juggling multiple profiles simultaneously.
5. Customer feedback surveys
Gathering and analyzing customer feedback is fundamental to enhancing your products and services. Surveys can yield valuable insights that help you refine your offerings and improve the overall customer experience, demonstrating a commitment to customer satisfaction.
Features to Look For in a Customer Support Tool
The diversity of customer support tools can overwhelm you, and their suitability depends on the specific needs and goals of your business. While the right choice may vary from one company to another, there are key features that universally distinguish effective customer support tools.
Ticket management enables support agents to organize and prioritize customer inquiries effectively. This feature allows you to assign, categorize, and track customer issues, ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks.
Omnichannel support isn’t optional if you want to succeed today. This feature allows customers to reach you from the channel they prefer, whether it’s email, chat, social media, or phone. Customer service tools with this feature should collate all this data into a single platform to simplify and streamline managing customer concerns across different channels.
Reporting and analytics
Even customer service benefits from data-driven decisions. Customer service tools with reporting and analytics features track audience engagement and issue resolution time. It makes it easier for you to extract insights and learn how to improve from the hundreds of customer data you or your customer service agents gather.
Easy integration with other business tools
When you’re looking for customer support tools to add to your tech stack, they must integrate well. Incompatible devices will only complicate your workflow and add to the confusion of your departments when going through customer concerns.
For instance, if you already use a certain content management system, ensure the tool you’re considering works well together, whether it’s built-in or through an API. The integration streamlines your customer service, improves your internal processes, and makes delivering value to your customers easier.
These are just a few of the essential features to consider when choosing a customer support tool. The right tool will depend on your specific requirements and objectives, but these core features should be at the forefront of your decision-making process.
The Power of Outsourcing Support
No matter the tool you use, customer service can still be an overwhelming responsibility. It takes you away from your focus on other pressing issues, such as scaling your business or strategizing your marketing. Companies worldwide have encountered the same problem, which is how they’ve come to realize the power of outsourcing.
Here are a few ways outsourcing your customer support can help you.
Accesses a global pool of skilled support agents
When you outsource your support operations to a specialized service provider, you gain access to a vast pool of skilled and experienced support agents. Depending on your outsourcing partner, you can tap into a global network of support professionals to boost your company’s customer service efforts.
Scales and supports your operations
Outsourcing offers the flexibility to scale your support operations up or down based on your business’s needs. Outsourcing providers can often adapt to your business’s fluctuating requirements. This adaptability ensures that you can handle high-demand periods or reduce costs during quieter times, making it a cost-effective solution.
Ability to focus on core business functions
When you delegate your support functions to an outsourcing partner, it frees up time in your calendar to focus on core business functions. Instead of responding to every single customer query, you can dedicate your day to drafting next quarter’s strategy or diving into marketing insights to find ways to enhance your reach.
The power of outsourcing support extends beyond mere cost savings, offering your business access to expert support agents, scalability, and the ability to direct your attention to core functions.
How to Choose the Best Customer Support Tools for Your Business
Besides outsourcing, selecting the right customer support tools is a pivotal decision for your business. Consider the factors below to help you make a more informed choice.
The tool’s features and capabilities
There’s no point in investing in a tool with features you won’t use. What do you actually need from a customer support tool? What is the problem you’re trying to solve?
For instance, if you’re drowning in customer inquiries, consider one that features ticket management. But if you’ve answered the same questions over and over, then a tool with knowledge base management might be the better option.
Make a checklist of essential features that align with your support strategy and ensure the tool can meet your specific requirements.
Integration options available
When you’re browsing the web for customer support tools, always consider the software you’re already using. Do they offer any integration options? Many modern customer service tools include documentation about how to integrate with other enterprise software to help you streamline your operations.
Level of vendor support
Vendor support refers to the tool’s customer support. Suppose you encounter a critical issue where your data isn’t syncing across your customer service agents. It should be easy for you to contact your software provider to resolve the issue as fast as possible.
Before investing in a tool, check the company’s support services, such as a 24/7 line, training, and a robust knowledge base. The vendor support they offer reflects their commitment to helping you maximize the tool.
These considerations are the foundation for choosing the best customer support tools for your business.
Enhance Your Customer Support Capabilities
Customers expect nothing less than excellence when it comes to the support you provide them and the best way to enhance your level of customer support is by investing in the right tools. They reduce customer concern resolution times, enhance your customer agents’ efficiency in their role, and improve your customer experience.
The range of customer service tool categories to select from requires you to focus on what your business needs the most. However, regardless of what you need, also consider your existing tech stack.
A customer service tool that integrates with your content management system and databases streamline your operations considerably. If you do encounter issues with the device, the vendor should be easy enough to contact to solve your problems quickly.
Outsourcing your customer support can help give you time to focus on core business functions that will propel you forward while ensuring you address other repetitive concerns. The faster you can respond to customer concerns, the better.