Modern consumers have high expectations. So, to secure their attention, businesses must offer a range of convenient and flexible channels for customers to get what they want when they want it.
From instant messaging to social media, most companies are offering multichannel or, in some cases, omnichannel communication channels for their customers.
But the challenge this creates for companies and their support agents is how best to manage such a wide range of client interactions while still offering the high standards in customer care most customers expect.
Where multichannel ticketing tools come as standard in most helpdesk software packages, we’ll weigh up the pros and cons to help you decide whether ticketing tools are helping or hindering the interactions your agents have with customers.
What Are Multichannel Ticketing Tools?
A ticketing system is a tool found in most modern-day help desk software solutions that helps businesses to streamline their customer interactions. Created to resolve internal IT issues, issuing tickets allowed IT helpdesk ‘jobs’ to move across various internal stakeholders. With a ticket issued for each query, it was easier for the IT helpdesk to move ‘tickets’ onto internal third-party stakeholders when necessary.
But with so many customer channels available today, ticketing systems are now being used to centralise engagements and interactions with customers. This allows customer helpdesk agents to stay on top of the huge volumes of multichannel communications.
Multichannel ticketing tools, then, are supportive of multichannel communications and help agents to enhance customer experience. Some of the more common support interactions include:
- Social Media: Ticketing allows agents to reply to multiple tweets and posts on social channels.
- Live Chat: Ticketing helps to track Live Chat interactions as an effective conversion technique.
- Email: Emails get stored in a single interface within your centralised ticketing tool.
- Phone: Each phone call made through your cloud system gets issued with a ticket.
- Community Forums: Separate tickets will identify and manage the various customer interactions.
- In-Store: Many retailers continue to need brick-and-mortar shops to drive sales.
How Do Multichannel Ticketing Tools Enhance Customer Experiences?
Businesses are adopting and marketing their services through new channels every year. With stats highlighting that shoppers who use multiple channels particularly in-store and online have a higher lifetime value of 30%, it’s not much of a surprise.
Customers want to have their choice of multichannel shopping experiences. But how do multichannel ticketing tools drive sales through these channels while keeping customers happy?
By creating a centralised hub for all customer interactions, multichannel ticketing tools enable the agents who use them to provide fast, responsive, and helpful replies to emails, calls, chats, and queries. And all by using a single, centralised helpdesk.
As an example, a customer could be using Instagram to browse a product range. And they have a question about one of the items but can’t find the answer to it. So, if they can’t find the information they need, how will they follow through with the order?
One option is to include an FAQ list. But this may prove difficult with the limitations of social media. Ideally, agents would issue a ticket through a multichannel ticketing tool before engaging in Live Chat. By doing so, they’re more likely to resolve the query quickly and gain a conversion or sale.
When a report by McKinsey showed more than half of survey respondents said they wanted to speak to a person when looking for a solution to their product queries, it makes offering Live Chat a smart option.
Multichannel helpdesks allow agents to follow up with customers, keep track of conversations, and update the results using tickets. This ticketing system also enables customers to initiative several purchases at any one time.
Plus, when customers are likely to spend almost 20% more with a business when they have a good customer experience, it’s worth the effort to deliver high standards in customer care.
Ways Your Helpdesk Agents Can Use Multichannel Ticketing Systems to Improve Customer Support
As with the Live Chat example, there are many ways ticketing can improve the experience for the customer.
But it’s also important for agents to use ticketing in the right way. Because, for example, if they’re not fast enough or don’t have the right answers available, it’s unlikely to lead to a great customer experience. It could have the opposite effect.
Instead, agents should be confident they can meet minimum expectations when it comes to providing the highest levels of customer support. And it is ticketing systems that can help to drive these interactions.
Some of those expectations can include consistency, speed, reliability, professionalism, and knowledge. But there are some other expectations against the individual channels:
- Agents should reply to posts or messages somewhere between 12 and 24 hours from receipt.
- 42% of Facebook and Twitter users expect a response within 60 minutes.
Live Chat and Instant Messaging
- Requires instant replies.
- Agents must have the knowledge to hand or be able to find it/direct customers there and then.
- Customers should be able to access Live Chat at all times, or you should provide alternatives in any out-of-hours situations.
- Customers will expect a response between 12 and 24 hours of sending their email.
- Agents are assigned emails to manage.
- Cloud-based phone systems can enable immediate interaction with an agent.
- Agents need to be available immediately and be friendly and knowledgeable in dealing with any product queries.
Ticketing systems also have the benefit of enabling collaborative working. Plus, tickets are shared or allocated to other agents when they’re more available to handle queries.
Also, the singular nature of tickets makes it easier to run reports and analyse data in a precise way.
What Are The Challenges Of A Multichannel Ticketing Tool For Helpdesk Agents?
Despite the advantages, ticketing systems can also hinder the success of a help desk. Issuing individual tickets for each conversation, interaction, or query very often results in agents working in silos. So, when customers are looking to get seamless, consistent experiences across a range of channels, issuing individual help desk tickets reduces the agents’ ability to provide a holistic, customer-focused approach.
In effect, tickets inhibit a personalised experience and risk leaving customers with a sometimes inconsistent experience. What’s more, agents may become frustrated at having to shift between several different systems or tickets to understand the context or background of previous customer interactions.
So, what are some of the main issues with ticketing systems?
Tickets Inhibit Customer Relationships
By their nature, ticketing systems create siloes. This prevents companies from offering a customer-focused service. One where they hold onto every aspect of information about the customer.
This, in turn, also impacts the approach of an agent as it’s harder for an agent to deal with more than one conversation relating to a customer.
Separate tickets lock away what could be necessary information for a conversation. This leaves agents in the dark about concurrent or historic ticket interactions. So, if a customer has multiple tickets open at once, a company risks appearing unprofessional or unable to meet expectations.
Ticketing Systems Slow down Interactions
Due to their original purpose of supporting internal queries on IT helpdesks, ticketing systems can often result in wasted time.
This is where many of the tasks such as assigning tickets to agents or switching between tickets could benefit from automation. Doing so could not only save managers significant amounts of time and resources but improve morale amongst agents.
Plus, when agents feel motivated and enthusiastic, they’ll be more likely to drive higher standards in customer care. Otherwise, if they’re frustrated with using outdated ticketing systems, they’ll be less able to deliver the high-quality service you need them to.
It’s Harder to be Agile or to Scale a Business
Ticketing systems are often rigid and don’t allow room for customisation. Such a lack of agility can inhibit business growth. What’s more, teams end up with less control over the tool.
Agile systems that can accommodate a comprehensive and omnichannel experience can be a wise investment for the future, not only in scaling a business but in accommodating the ever-growing list of new channels.
Let Your Long-Term Strategy Inform Your Choice of Tool
While being a standard feature of help desk software, multichannel ticketing tools weren’t built for the purposes they’re used for today. Back in the day, IT helpdesks would issue tickets for every query, which helped internal staff and IT departments to resolve matters promptly.
Yet despite this outmoded approach, many companies continue to use these tools to deliver complex customer support across a range of varying media channels. With the growth of omnichannel marketing and the popularity of these channels increasing, help desk agents are under increasing pressure to deliver results using outdated tools.
But, while we can acknowledge that these tools aren’t perfect in reality, there may not yet be a perfect alternative that can house so many interactions in a single place.
Instead, help desk managers would do well to consider any longer-term goals, growth, and development of their customer experience strategy to decided if multichannel ticketing tools are the best way to help agents deliver great customer experiences.
The author Dennis P. Reed possesses a vast experience in the IT industry, especially in the domains of website and mobile app development and digital marketing. He writes on topics encompassing the above mentioned domains and is considered a maven in his chosen field – Information Technology.