Leveraging Alternate Support Channels

Technical support doesn’t need to stick to the traditional phone model; alternate methods of reaching customers may be a more efficient use of your business’s funds and workforce. We’ll look at how leveraging alternate support channels can help your business. The calls-only method of support requires longer time spent per ticket than newer alternatives, such as live chat, which means that ongoing costs spent on agents’ salaries are higher. In contrast, a solid support website will have some up-front costs but relatively little ongoing expenses.

Meanwhile, a single social media coordinator salary can simultaneously reach many consumers. With routine problems that the average customer can solve on their own being handled by other channels, your highly specialized tech support agents are freed up to work on issues that actually use their expertise by leveraging alternate support channels

And it’s these considerations are summed up in Universal Truth #4 of what’s Jeopardizing Your Technical Support Success: Alternate support channels are not being leveraged enough. While reducing average handle time and boosting customer satisfaction should also be a priority, making sure unnecessary calls to technical support don’t happen in the first place is a more long-term goal to strive for.

Determining Which Issues Can Be Redirected

Most calls that can be redirected are knowledge-centric support issues that come down to agents teaching customers how to better use their products. These can often be solved by leveraging alternate support channels:

  • Self-help on company websites — Be sure to include detailed walk-throughs and instructional articles for your products.
  • Community forums — Other users can build up and share a respectable knowledge base.
  • Live chat — Agents can handle multiple customers simultaneously with ease.
  • Social media — Announcements about known issues, usage tips, and public replies to posts asking for help are all great ways to easily get key information to many consumers.

Once you’ve decided which alternate support channels, you’d like to incorporate into your technical support process, the next step is to analyze which frequent call drivers can be addressed via these methods. Research has shown that a whopping 43% of calls can be handled this way, so don’t be surprised if your list ends up being extensive.

Leveraging Alternate Support Channels and Redirecting Future Calls

Once you’ve decided which call drivers to redirect and to where, your team can create a business process that helps train customers to use these channels. If you’ve read our previous blog on Universal Truth #3 — or have worked as a tech support agent yourself — you may remember that the typical call can have “dead air.” Our research has found that these silences happen an average of twice per call at roughly 30 seconds long each. In addition, tool latency while agents switch between screens is the root cause of most dead air.

Since the agents’ attention isn’t tied up in these cases, we designed and implemented a job aide to coach agents to pitch redirection during these pauses. When agents encountered dead air, they offered to email customers detailed instructions with relevant web links.

You may also remember that a little bit of extra time early in a call can save time later on. This is the same principle at work here with redirection. Only, in this case, you’re not just potentially shortening the current call, but preventing future calls altogether.

It’s also important to recognize that not all customers are tech-savvy enough to always leverage these alternate self-help channels. Your agents should still be trained to walk these callers through simple issues, even if that isn’t the bulk of their workload.

However, agents can incorporate both strategies by having these customers pull up the support channels while still on the line and providing a guided walk-through. Many who may otherwise not be able to solve issues on their own might learn how to with this type of support.

Whether you’re in the identification stage or figuring out the best ways to redirect, our team at  SYKES can help you make your tech support run as efficiently as possible.