Zingtree Tags: support strategy

5 Outdated Customer Support Tools You Need to Ditch

Customer service agents have always been at the heart of what makes companies, and their customer communications, so incredibly important to business success. However, certain resources aren’t always up to the job. Armed with only outdated customer support tools, it’s difficult for an agent or customer service representative to perform their tasks, and help people, to the best of their ability.

Thankfully, technology has done a great job of keeping up; there are dozens of amazing tools to help businesses small and large improve how they handle support and troubleshooting, customer interactions, and other key communications. If you’re still using an outdated tool or method like the ones mentioned here, now’s the time to make a change for the better.

Setting Up Spreadsheets to Track Issues

We’ll always love spreadsheets (heck, Zingtrees even connect with them for quick creation!), but using them as a means of manually tracking the details of tickets and inquiries is a definite resource-waster. The details of every customer call are important, so adopting a more automated way to enter key information during a call or via an online support ticket is vital to improving customer service goals. Don’t tackle it cell-by-cell. You waste precious time and this method is prone to errors.

Using Standard Email for Tickets

Using Outlook for support? Gmail? Yahoo? We certainly hope not, but if you are, there’s still time to make things right and upgrade to a real support system. A solid CRM tool like Zendesk or  Freshdesk isn’t as daunting or expensive as you might think, and can easily track and organize every incoming ticket. After getting started and connecting all of your communication channels, you can even integrate with decision trees for a completely holistic setup.

Sending Customers Through a Phone Tree

The most impersonal of all contact channels, a phone tree is as hard to set up as it is for customers to wait through. While still critical for some industries to offer in order to contact a live agent, others benefit from building a better system online and on mobile. Roughly 72% of people think self-service support is a preferred way to handle customer support, so using decision trees can help customers navigate for themselves, find answers, and contact the right department for more information.

Printing Out Call Scripts on Paper

Not only is printing bad for the environment, it’s cumbersome and unnecessary. While customer support and call center agents should be prepared with a script on hand, there’s always a technical way to make things more efficient. Taking the digital plunge and creating an online call center script for agent use will improve support KPIs, make it simple to streamline communication, and leave customers happier with every standardized, personalized interaction.


Any questions? We’re always here to help!

This article was originally published on April 13, 2017.

Is Your Customer Service Working? How to Audit & Improve Your Strategy

Customer service is at the very heart of how businesses achieve true, sustained growth. For Zingtree, it’s a top priority; we do our absolute best to keep our customers satisfied and successful with our decision tree software, and much of our customer feedback is full of amazing suggestions for how to make our toolkit even better. In other words, when our customers are happy and engaged, we’re happy.

Even companies that have been around for decades need to re-evaluate their strategies every once in a while to ensure that everything is running smoothly, that key goals are focused, and that customer service strategies are measuring up. It’s important to perform a customer service audit on your support staff, channels, and overall effectiveness. Here’s our best advice for how to approach it:

1. Ask Yourself the Important Questions

The first step of any customer support audit is to ask yourself pointed questions about the state of your support channels, ease of access, profitability, and customer satisfaction and experience:

  • Do you know the real costs behind providing support to customers?
  • Is there a well-defined point of contact for customers within your business?
  • What is the demand, or average volume, of inquiries per channel per day? 
  • Do you have well-rounded support processes internally?
  • How responsive are you to incoming customers questions and issues?
  • Is customer service an integrated part of your sales and marketing strategies? 
  • Does your staff have the tools they need to really succeed?

Performing in-depth research, and reflecting on your current and past customer service strategies and outcomes is the best way to start the process of identifying areas of improvement in your support channels.

2. Figure Out the Cost of Customer Service

One of our very first deployments, Applian Technologies, develops powerful software to record and download online streaming media, with customers all around the world. As a busy technology company with an online presence, Applian was used to using more traditional support methods to keep up with customers. After performing an audit on their customer support channels, they realized that they were spending exorbitant amounts of time, money, and human resources on every incoming support ticket and decided to make some changes.

Here are the steps they took to audit customer support:

  1. Totaled how many tickets were answered in a given month.
  2. Totaled how much was paid to support staff.
  3. Calculated the cost per ticket, by dividing the number of tickets by the amount paid to staff.
  4. Gave each technical support employee a time tracker to narrow down how much time was spent on each support-related activity per product, per support agent.

Applian now uses decision trees to streamline the entire customer support and technical troubleshooting process. After adopting the new decision tree tool, the company was able to save 15+ hours/week on support communications, reduce overall support tickets by 25%, saving more than $30,000 in resources overall, and improve customer satisfaction in the process.

3. Optimize for Your Support Goals & Key Metrics

Take a quick step back and look at the larger picture. What are your goals and key performance indicators for customer service? Do you need to shift priorities to get there? Making improvements to your support strategy as a whole is critical to bettering the experience for your customers, and ultimately becoming more profitable.

For many support teams and call center agents out there today, there are a few main KPIs to focus on enhancing:

  • First Call Resolution (FCR)
  • Average Speed of Answer (ASA)
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
  • Average Handle Time (AHT)
  • Agent Performance

At the end of the day, these are the tried-and-true metrics to track, measure, and optimize for. With a narrowed focus, answers to some very critical questions about the health and effectiveness of your support strategy, and new tools to help streamline the process of communication, you’ll be well on your way to a more profitable rest of the year.


Any questions? We’re always here to help!