Article provided by SYSPRO
Despite businesses closing or operating at reduced capacity during lockdown, customer support teams faced unprecedented demand for services at the start of the COVID-19 crisis. In a recent report, customer service response rate decreased by 26 percent during the lockdown, highlighting an increased volume in queries, as well as a lack of capacity of support teams who were not as readily available while working remotely.
While support partners can assist with an influx of queries, there are ways to streamline the customer service process to ensure a better overall customer experience and prevent damage to a business’ reputation.
Simplify processes with technology
During the pandemic, support partner SYSPRO noted an increase in queries related to upgrading software. Up-to-date software ensures that there are no incompatibility issues, which can cause unnecessary delay to services. In a Work from Home (WFH) environment, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and technical consultants can up the specifications of devices, so that the machines are more responsive, minimising frustration, and maximising efficiency.
COVID-19 has accelerated the demand for cloud-based solutions, enabling information to be stored and accessed off-site. New findings from Synergy Research Group have revealed that in 2020, the first quarter spend globally on cloud infrastructure services reached $29 billion, up 37 percent over the same time last year. These solutions can assist in cases of power cuts and hardware theft or breakage, with support managing and safeguarding the processes of teams centrally. Solutions like SYSPRO Managed Cloud Services provides immediate value without the upfront investment typically associated with upgrading on-premise IT infrastructure.
“While technology can simplify processes, a mind shift is also required by businesses. By embracing technology, certain ‘old school’ issues are resolved that in future won’t impact on the delivery of services to customers. Furthermore, technology like ERP tools can also help businesses manage data and gain insights into all business activities. This makes streamlining processes much easier in a business plan, facilitating growth and productivity,” says Menwil Gordon, Support Manager, SYSPRO Africa.
Upskill users to increase speed and satisfaction
While support staff are equipped with the experience and training to effectively diagnose issues, the shortage of specialists can create a ‘bottle-neck’ delay in speedy resolutions. This can be greatly expedited if end-users can diagnose the actual problem themselves and direct it correctly for resolution, within their organisation (IT or admin support) or externally (service provider). Upskilling staff in basic troubleshooting can stop a lag in assigned queries, where specialist support teams can focus on more complex problem diagnosis, as other members of team are able to solve simpler issues more quickly.
Invest now to reap the benefits in the future
Future-proofing a business practically now means considering solutions to ensure consistency in customer expectations. Back-up batteries, generator and solar panels avoids disruption to services during load-shedding. Implementing more specific fields into online ticketing can help create operational efficiencies. Providing a user-friendly dashboard that reflects free capacity available for issue resolution helps to allay anxiety during a challenging time in customers’ business eco-systems.
“But it’s not just investing in hardware and software solutions to meet the needs of your team and offering your customers choice and visibility in their interactions with you, you must keep offering solutions specific to the problem,” adds Gordon.
As the pandemic proved, this is difficult when problems are constantly evolving. New technologies, however, can help with solutions flexible to customers’ real-time requirements. Utilising Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) puts self-help into the hands of the end-user. A search engine that effectively maps to previous issues and supplies a user with relevant directives to problem solve, will greatly aid issue resolution at its point of origin. Bots that track issues can populate a database for future reference.
While internet usage has soared during the COVID-19 outbreak, pushing developments in new technologies, the age-old premise of support queries has not changed. Every customer still believes that their issue is the most important, expecting it to be timeously logged and specifically attended to. Simplifying processes through technology, upskilling users, and future-proofing business with flexible solutions will ensure that support teams are equipped at the frontlines and that the customer continues to always come first.