Help Desk Integration: Increasing the Visibility of Critical Data
Help desk software enables companies to provide external support to customers and internal support to employees. This can include business-to-consumer (B2C) customers or companies in a business-to-business (B2B) environment. Data contained within help desk Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is critical to the performance of an organisation. For example, a customer with an open support ticket is less likely to respond positively to upsell propositions which can effect long term sales opportunities. So how can companies improve customer experience by learning from their interactions with customers?
In a recent Gartner report, 89% of participants believe that customer experience is key to staying ahead of the competition. There are a number of ways for businesses to improve customer experience. This can range from enhancing employee skills on help desk software, customer training programmes, product knowledge and services to investing in technology.
44% of companies that plan to increase their help desk investment cite the need for new functionality as the primary reason
Software Advice, a trusted resource for software buyers, recently conducted a survey with over 200 information technology (IT) professionals in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia. The Help Desk Software UserView report details the benefits and challenges they face. The report found that 84% are planning to maintain or increase their help desk software spend, with 79% stating customer satisfaction was positively impacted by their help desk software. This indicates that technology is a key area that organisations are keen to focus on.
Investing in Technology
Investing in technology can mean a number of things. It could mean investing in on-premises or cloud-based (SaaS) applications or implementing a help desk integration platform to sit in between existing systems . While most business software has been traditionally deployed on premises, the deployment of cloud-based applications has been consistently growing. Cloud-based applications can offer enhanced customer engagement functionality and provide companies with the ability to look at the long-term-savings potential. Running costs are reduced with lower long-term and upfront costs, they are cost effective to deploy when replacing legacy systems, security is stronger and remote access is achievable.
The advantages of deploying cloud-based applications is clear to see. However, despite the apparent shift in the software market of companies moving away from on-premise to cloud-based software, 68% of respondents to the survey are still using on premises help desk software systems.
As companies look for cost effective solutions that provide an improvement to customer engagement, Craig Borowski, the researcher from Software Advice who conducted the study, anticipates the shift from on premises systems to cloud-based applications to increase.
“Given the variety of benefits of cloud-based systems (cost, reliability, and security among others) we do expect this movement to continue. Moreover, it’s possible that we’ll see it accelerate, especially in the CRM/Customer Service/Help Desk software space. The growing focus on improving customer service should cause more companies to seek the newer engagement features found on cloud service platforms.”
Technology is a key ingredient to improve customer experience. When a customer contacts a company with a problem that needs resolving they have high expectations, but not all businesses have the right technology to keep up. 44% of companies that plan to increase their help desk investment in 2015 cite the need for new functionality as the primary reason. The challenge is how to bring people and systems together to establish the added functionality required.
Help Desk Integration: Bringing People, Systems and Information Together
As mentioned, there is an apparent shift in companies using on-premises systems and cloud-based applications. However, many organisations run a plethora of business systems such as accounting, ERP, CRM, help desk software, industry specific or bespoke solutions. That’s a lot of data that needs to be manually actioned.
84% of IT professionals are planning to maintain or increase their help desk software spend
Each business system and application stores relevant information and transaction based data within its operations and trading environments. Independent systems achieve what is asked of them for a specific purpose. The only downside is that they work in isolation. Including business software in an environment where it is empowered with added functionality to integrate and synchronise their distinct integration sets ensures that each platform is utilised to its maximum capability. In short, streamlining business processes and improving customer experience.
For example, the data held within an ERP system can often be disconnected from CRM or help desk users. As a result, data entry errors occur, communication suffers and customer satisfaction disperses. This can expose a business to an unnecessary level of risk.
Speed, consistency and quality are all key ingredients to the success of a support team. Yet many support team processes are manually administered, prone to errors and absorb valuable support time. This is where business process automation (BPA) and help desk integration platforms come to the fore. business process automation software allows organisations to automate practically any business process on a scheduled or event-driven process. For example:
Automated Creation of Support Tickets
A support query is received via email or a website. Your BPA application automatically monitors your CRM system or help desk software to see if the company exists. If it doesn’t, the customer details will be added. If it does, the BPA platform will perform additional checks behind the scenes and determine whether the query relates to an existing support ticket. If a reference number is available that can be matched with an open ticket, the database is automatically updated with the new information. If there is no reference number, a new support ticket will be automatically created.
Automated Assignment of Support Tickets
When a new ticket is created, it is automatically given a reference number. The support ticket is then automatically assigned to a consultant, who will receive an email describing the issue. An additional email is automatically generated and distributed to the customer providing them with the reference number and the name of the consultant that is handling the query.
Automated Support Ticket Status Notifications (email/SMS)
If there are no actions against an open ticket according to a pre-defined timescale, an email will be automatically sent to the consultants’ line manager asking them to chase progress. If there is still no activity after this communication, again relating to a defined time scale, senior management will be emailed and the line manager will be copied. Once a support ticket has been closed, an email will be sent to the customer informing them of the resolution.
Open Support Ticket Report Automation
A daily, weekly or monthly report showing open support tickets is automatically generated and emailed to all support consultants to action any anomalies.
Automated Service Feedback Gathering
Emails are automatically sent to customers requesting the completion of a feedback form rating the service that they have received. If there is no response after a defined period of time an additional follow up email can be sent.
Automated Billing Processes
In some instances there may be the requirement to bill a customer for support services. In this instance, BPA software will dynamically identify when a case is ready for billing and extracts the relevant details from your CRM system or help desk software. After populating the invoice(s) in your accounting or ERP application the system attaches the associated information, providing clarity and enabling all payments to be made effectively without any issues.
The synchronisation of data between systems through help desk integration ensures that data is kept clean and manageable. By removing the manual administration surrounding support and customer service processes, companies will reduce costs and ensure that information is visible throughout an organisation.
79% of IT professionals believe customer satisfaction is positively influenced by help desk software
What are the benefits of help desk integration?
Some of the business benefits of help desk integration include:
- Repetitive bi-directional administration is removed
- Human error and data entry mistakes are eradicated
- Operational costs are reduced
- Visibility of critical information is increased
- Customer experience is enhanced
Flexible help desk integration with added functionality
Businesses of all sizes invest heavily in technology. This is essential in order to grow and keep up with the ever increasing demands thrown at them. Customers demand the best possible service and it’s up to you to provide them with the customer experience they warrant. Isn’t it time you added the functionality you need to your help desk software?
For more information on how help desk integration can provide you with the functionality to improve company performance download the brochure below or call us on +44 (0)330 998 8700.