REDWOOD CITY, Calif., May 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study released today, "Investigating the Customer Support Persona," found that while customer support teams are staffed by professionals who feel dedicated to their jobs, the complexity of the software and applications they use for their role makes it difficult for them to perform their tasks optimally. The survey, fielded by market research firm Dimensional Research to over 300 customer support agents, revealed an overwhelming majority (97 percent) want to provide a superior customer experience and feel they could do so with a better support system. Half reported having to weed through too much irrelevant information when providing customer support and almost 70 percent 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.
"This study gives us remarkable insight into a group about which we have a general awareness but lack real understanding," said Diane Hagglund of Dimensional Research. "I think most people would be surprised to learn that 67 percent of agents chose a customer support role shortly after beginning to work professionally. And 53 percent intend to make it their career. The fact that 85 percent say they face challenges within their support systems highlights the huge opportunity for solutions that make support information more accessible."
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 percent 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 "cheat 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 percent) 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."
"I think it is challenging for most people to appreciate how seriously customer support and success agents take their job, or how personally rewarding they find helping customers," said Shahab Riazi, CEO, TooLow, a subscription based provider of private meal plans for college students. "These agents have chosen a career in service to people who are often reaching-out at a time of confusion or frustration. Being able to quickly and easily help by providing just the right information is a source of relief to the customer and pride to the agent. I greatly appreciate how Squelch understands the mindset of support and success agents, and that they've developed a technology that will be an agent's greatest ally."
Squelch, which emerged from stealth today with the launch of its flagship product and $8 Million in Series A funding, continually monitors and gathers data from all the sources agents use to serve customers (e.g., email, customer management and support solutions, team communication and collaboration tools, document storage services, etc.), creating a combined index that understands how information across various systems is connected. It is used by customer support and customer success teams to optimize the customer experience after the sale. When a customer reaches out to an agent, Squelch swiftly populates the right intelligence automatically within the agent's existing dashboard. A digest of the information is viewable within the app, and a link to the original document is provided if further information is required.
Dimensional Research distributed an online survey to independent sources of customer support professionals. A range of questions was asked to capture hard data on job attitudes and experiences. A total of 317 qualified individuals completed the survey. All had responsibility for supporting customers in environments with complex solutions. Participants represented a wide range of company sizes, roles, and industries.
At Squelch, we focus on optimizing the customer experience through the teams that serve customers after the sale. We believe these agents are the heroes of a company, engaging in key customer interactions where speed, knowledge, and empathy go a long way to defining the customer relationship. By empowering your heroes with the right information at the right time, we help create a foundation of confidence that can be measured in both employee and customer satisfaction.
Bhava Communications, for Squelch