Customer-Centric SupportTempWorks Software director of support services, Alisha Santoorjian Thunstrom, provides insight into best practices on creating a customer-centric support culture  in Part 1 of this 2-part series.

I’ve spent most of my career either as a customer service representative or managing a customer service department. From my many years in customer service, I’ve learned many important lessons about best practices on successfully building a customer-centric support system.

To get started, there are two relatively universal ways of delivering a truly customer-centric service model: clear lines of communication and a consistent team of support representatives. For this blog, I’ll focus on clear communication and provide examples of how we handle this in the support team at TempWorks.

Clear Lines of Communication

First, it’s important to offer multiple modes of communication and leverage technology to make it as convenient as possible for customers to contact us. While it is essential to have varied methods of communication, this also presents a challenge to our customer support representatives. How do you decide which form of communication is best suited to the situation? What is the appropriate etiquette for each mode of communication? A few ways that we communicate with customers at TempWorks includes chat, phone, email, self-service portal (Bridge), and Twitter. I’ll describe some of these modes of communication in more detail.

Chat Technology

We integrated live chat with Slack to take advantage of a program we already use internally at TempWorks. Incoming chats are highly visible because our support representatives always have Slack open. This avoids having to monitor another program. We also had internal staff develop an API to further enhance the integration. The internal API assists with chat routing (to get the customer to their dedicated support group), chat alerts (to increase speed of picking up chats), and auto generation of tickets (to improve efficiency, which helps our representatives take more chats).

Phones

Intelligent routing gets the customers to their dedicated support group quickly. Our phone system looks up their phone number and identifies their support group. They system routes the call to that group first. If all team members of that group are occupied, it will be routed to the rest of support. This creates a balance between the desire to get customers to their dedicated team and the necessity of reducing hold times as much as possible.

Self-Service Portal (Bridge)

Our self-service portal, known as Bridge, provides another avenue for customers to initiate support tickets. But it also goes beyond that. While our support team loves to hear from our customers, our customers often prefer the independence of helping themselves. Bridge allows them to manage user accounts without needing to contact support.

Recently, we added the ability for customers to be able to reset a user session in Bridge. We also gave the interface a facelift to make it more user friendly and informative. For example, the self-service portal shows the latest tweets from @twsupportcenter, the support team’s Twitter feed. This gives customers a quick idea of whether there are any system-wide known issues going on. It also highlights release notes so they can see what’s new with the product. Customers can even manage and monitor support tickets with newly enhanced search options as well.

Ticket System

TempWorks also maintains our own homegrown ticketing system. While this requires internal manhours to maintain, we benefit by being able to tailor our ticketing system to our needs. For example, we want every ticket to be touched by a representative every day. As tickets age, they change colors so our representatives can easily see which tickets need addressing. Additionally, when we rolled out the planet system (our dedicated support groups for a subset of customers), we were able to add planet information and planet queues to our ticketing system with minimal effort. If we had been using a third-party tool, we might have had to pay for custom development or work around the limitations of that system.

These are a few lines of communication that our support services team use at TempWorks to maintain a customer-centric support system. I hope that some of my examples inspired ways that you can drive a customer focus with clear communication practices at your company as well. Make sure to check out the next part of the series where I’ll cover the importance of offering a consistent support team to reinforce a customer-centric business model! Or contact us today to learn how TempWorks can help support your staffing agency’s business operations.

ABOUT ALISHA SANTOORJIAN THUNSTROM

Alisha Santoorjian Thunstrom is the Director of Support Services at TempWorks Software. Support has been Alisha’s specialty since her first day at TempWorks Software in 2011. She’s steadily climbed from support analyst to support supervisor, manager and now director. Alisha understands that the long-term success of clients depends on the investment of time and support to build true partnerships. She also leads the year-end team and manages sales and payroll tax changes throughout the year.

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