9 Help Desk Best Practices to Improve Customer Support

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Running a help desk is about making sure your customers have the support they need. Here are nine best practices for increasing efficiency while satisfying your customers.

Many statistics demonstrate the importance of good customer service. One study found that 33% of Americans would consider switching companies for just one bad customer service interaction.

American businesses lose $62 billion each year due to poor customer service, and seven in 10 American consumers say they spend more on companies that provide excellent service. The list is lengthened increasingly.

Therefore, it’s up to you and your business to make sure that when your customers contact you with a problem, they leave happy and tell their friends what a great experience they had.

But customer service is tough at the best of times, and even the most seasoned managers struggle to get it right.

If you want to improve the customer experience, here are nine best practices to implement now.

The 9 help desk best practices to improve your customer support.

  • Don’t hire just anyone
  • Hire enough people
  • Assign the right people to the right tickets
  • Use automation and canned responses
  • Don’t overuse automation
  • Use multiple channels
  • Create a knowledge base and self-service portal
  • Solicit customer feedback
  • Use software

1. Don’t hire just anyone

Resist the urge to grab the first person who submits a decent resume and throw them into the help desk. More than any other job, customer service is a special job that requires a certain touch, so you need to interview candidates carefully to determine if they are the right fit.

Making the wrong choice means unhappy customers, and you can’t afford it. Look for candidates with empathy, listening skills, a positive attitude, the ability to adapt and make decisions on the fly, and most importantly, patience.

2. Hire enough people

Another temptation is to try to do too much with too little. You need the right staff to support customer service requests. If you don’t hire enough people to handle the job, you’ll have rushed support calls and late responses, leading to unhappy customers.

Don’t underestimate the importance of customer service. Zappos has built an online footwear and apparel retail empire primarily through exceptional customer service, and many other companies pour a huge amount of money into their customer service teams for good reason.

If your team is struggling to respond to customer service requests, ask them for additional help.

3. Assign the right people to the right tickets

Your customers’ support requests often cover a wide range of issues. Sometimes they have specialized customer needs that most of your support team members can’t handle.

You need to have a system in place that allows you to channel specialist ticket requests to people who have the expertise to answer them without frustrating the customer.

For example, if you occasionally have customers call in with complicated computer server maintenance issues and your IT help desk is primarily concerned with initial setup, have ITIL help desk analysts on standby who can personally manage these customers.

4. Use Canned Responses

Your customers’ time is valuable, but so is your customer service’s time, so you need to keep repetitive calls to a minimum.

You’ll find that customers call and ask the same question, so develop predefined responses that your team can use in each situation. This not only saves them time, but it also allows you to customize a satisfying response for your customers, who will be happier with it.

5. Don’t overdo it with automation

If you have an automated system to handle customer service calls, avoid trying to handle everything through that service. Your customers will be okay with automation up to a point, and many will even be grateful because it helps them solve their problems faster.

But when they want to talk to someone and you don’t offer an obvious way to do so, you’ll be dealing with angry customers, and you don’t want that.

Use automation as a triage method for your customers rather than something that’s supposed to solve all their problems without talking to your help desk. Use an automation system to direct customers to the right person who can answer their questions quickly and personally.

6. Use multiple channels

Customers like to communicate in different ways – some prefer a phone call, others like email, and even more are happy to snoop around your website for answers. Therefore, you need to offer multiple channels for your customers to contact you.

A phone number or email address is the most obvious way to provide your customers with access to your support team, but you should also consider live chat software or a ticket system. assistance.

A screenshot of the LiveChat dashboard.

LiveChat allows your customer support team to manage customer chats. Image source: author

7. Create a knowledge base and self-service portal

Sometimes your client doesn’t necessarily want to talk to a member of your team. If they can find the answer on their own, that’s great for them (also, that support can be available around the clock).

Therefore, you should provide an in-depth knowledge base and a self-service portal so that they can resolve issues on their own. This not only increases customer satisfaction, but it also takes a lot of the workload off your support staff.

8. Solicit Customer Feedback

The truth is, you really don’t know how good your customer support team is until you hear from your customers. Solicit feedback by sending surveys to your customers to gauge how they view your customer service and what you could do to improve.

The voice of the customer is invaluable information that will help you take your customer service to the next level and avoid wasted effort on your part.

9. Use software

Customer service software offers many powerful tools that will help you increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your customer support. Automation tools will manage a lot of the busy work that takes up your team’s time so they can focus on handling customer issues.

The help desk’s metrics and analytics tools will help you dig deeper into the data to spot trends of concern and make adjustments that will improve performance.

And help desk software will keep your team more organized and give them access to the information they need to properly handle customer queries.

A screenshot of the Help Scout dashboard.

Help Scout handles customer interactions like an inbox. Image source: author

Does your customer service system need an overhaul?

If you’re struggling to build customer loyalty and suspect your customer service system isn’t up to snuff, it’s time to find out for sure. Discuss with your team to determine if they feel overwhelmed and confident in their ability to handle customer queries.

Take a day to monitor customer service calls to get an idea of ​​how they are handled. And send a survey to your customers to find out what they think of your customer service and how it can be improved.

Once you’ve completed this audit, you should have all the information you need to develop a new customer service system and staff it with the right people. Don’t delay – the longer you wait, the more you risk losing customers.

Joseph P. Harris