As a customer service manager, you know that bad customer support can ruin your company’s image, even if your product or service is spectacular. And when customers experience bad service, they tell others.
Your help desk team is, therefore, crucial to your business. Their job is not always an easy one and it’s important to recognize the challenges they face. Here are six common challenges help desk agents struggle with and what you can do to make their job easier.
1. Not being able to find information quickly
Today’s customer is impatient. They expect businesses to respond instantly and solve their problems quickly. If a help desk agent is struggling to access a customer’s information, track their ticket status, find product information, or is searching for answers to troubleshooting queries, customers become irritated.
Hesitant help desk agents create a bad impression of your company. In many cases, it’s not the agent’s fault. Slow or inadequate customer support systems are often to blame. Choosing the right CRM system makes a big difference. It should provide a 360-degree view of the customer’s profile and integrate with your other business systems for quick access to information.
2. Dealing with abusive customers
Every help desk agent encounters irate customers. There’s no escaping this part of the job. Some customers are downright abusive. Not everyone is naturally gifted in conflict resolution. That’s why it’s important to train your agents to handle difficult customers.
There are a few tried and tested methods for diffusing angry customers. One is the HEARD technique. It works well for Disney and should do the same for your company, especially if the fault or mistake is on your side. HEARD stands for:
Hear — Let the customer speak and vent their frustrations without interrupting.
Emphasize — Respond with sympathy and show that you relate to their frustration.
Apologize — Follow that up with a sincere apology.
Resolve — Fix the problem quickly. If you can’t solve it immediately, reassure the customer that you have a plan to resolve it and give them an estimated timeframe.
Diagnose — Commit to finding out why a service failure occurred and take steps to prevent it from happening in the future.
3. Being flooded with service tickets
There are times when the help desk becomes flooded with queries. This could be due to a new product launch, defective products, or during busy seasons. An influx of queries means your help desk agents are overloaded and can barely take a bathroom break.
As service tickets pile up, stress levels skyrocket. Make sure you have enough agents to keep up with incoming service tickets. Plan ahead and hire more agents or outsource during your busy periods or when you anticipate an influx of customer support queries.
4. Working with an inefficient help desk system
One of the biggest challenges help desks face is not having the right tools. Around 44% of businesses admit that outdated customer service systems are preventing their help desk agents from delivering high quality service.
This is not an area of your business to skimp on. Your help desk relies on two things to provide excellent customer support: well-trained agents and robust help desk software. From intake of queries, management of queries, data collection and reporting, the software you choose should provide a seamless experience.
Choose a system that provides multi-channel support, i.e. queries from different channels like email, phone calls, text messaging, social media and live chat all feed into one system. Agents should also be able to view all service tickets and customer interactions in one place — no screen hopping.
5. Crisis management
Crises come in many different forms. It could be a PR crisis, backlash from a catastrophic product failure, or a security breach that comprises customers data. It could also be a natural disaster. It’s a huge challenge to service customers when a natural disaster has damaged office infrastructure or resulted in power outages.
Whatever the crisis, it places tremendous pressure on help desk agents who are on the frontlines fielding calls and messages from unhappy or angry customers. Keep them updated on the action the company is taking so that they can provide customers with an informed response.
6. Disappointing the customer because there is no solution to their problem
At times, there isn’t an answer to a customer’s problem. Perhaps the customer is seeking a solution the company doesn’t provide. Many customer service agents feel a sense of disappointment when they can’t assist a customer. In this case, you can offer an alternative solution, if there is one. If not, you’ve done all you can and a simple sincere apology that you can’t do more will suffice.
Your help desk team needs support to do a stellar job. If they’re struggling, it can be demoralising and may lead to a high turnover of staff. Empower your team with proper training, provide the right tools, and allow them the space to share their concerns and challenges.