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Most support agents have little faith in their own service

Many will cheat the system to provide better support

By Peter Clark, Marketing Factbook


While customer support teams are generally staffed by professionals who are dedicated to their jobs, the complexity of the software and applications they use for their role is often making it difficult for them to perform their tasks optimally, according to the 'Investigating the Customer Support Persona' study by market research firm Dimensional Research and customer service provider Squelch.

The survey, which surveyed more than 300 customer support agents, revealed that the overwhelming majority (97%) want to provide a superior customer experience and feel they could do so with a better support system.

In fact, half reported having to weed through too much irrelevant information when providing customer support and almost 70% make their own cheat sheets, bypassing corporate systems to help themselves help customers.

In addition to these findings, the report captures a wide range of insights regarding the overall motivations, rate of satisfaction and frustrations of customer support professionals. For example, it is not unusual for a customer's purchase history and record of other interactions with a company to be separate from details of the customer's technology devices and applications.

It is also likely that best practices for helping customers through whatever problems or questions they have will reside in another application and folder somewhere else in the enterprise data ecosystem. The study underscores these kinds of customer support inefficiencies with the following results:

  • Ninety-three percent of customer support agents surveyed said solving a customer's problem requires accessing multiple systems or data repositories.
  • In 58% of cases, agents must access two or three systems. Thirty-five percent of the time agents must access four or more systems.
  • Forty-nine percent reported having to weed through too much irrelevant information.
  • Forty-one percent said it takes too long to find the right system.
  • Customer support professionals reported they are looking for ways to make it easier to find the information they need to solve customer problems. Challenges with current support systems have led many agents to bypass corporate systems and create their own record of answers and fixes. Sixty-seven percent of survey respondents said they maintain such a personal "heat sheet".
  • Sixty-three percent of respondents reported that improved search capabilities, such as being able to search across all information available to them in one place, would be beneficial to their job.
  • Nearly half of customer support professionals surveyed (46%) feel that the ability to save search histories would also be useful.

"Corporations have made significant investments in CRM applications, knowledgebase systems, ticket tracking platforms, and more. However, an unintended consequence has been data proliferation into silos," said Jayaram Bhat, CEO of Squelch, a customer experience software provider. "While customer support agents are a company's heroes because of their passion for helping people, they are currently challenged with pulling together disparate pieces of information in a timely manner that can ultimately enhance the experience of each person interacting with their company. However, if you complement the customer support professional's motivation with the right tools, you can create a powerful combination capable of forming long, profitable customer relationships."

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Sources: Squelch; Dimensional Research
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