Gone are the days when interruptions in IT services were commonplace. Nowadays, businesses rely on technology solutions for almost every function, and thus can’t afford a significant disruption. A minor IT issue could escalate into a bigger problem, costing the company a fortune on both monetary and reputational fronts. Therefore, you must keep any unexpected IT events from hampering business outcomes. This is the core philosophy behind incident management.
Here’s what the process looks like:
When talking about incident response, we tend to think about backend technical staff scrambling to bring things back to order. But this practice is equally valuable for customer support employees, who interact with your user base regularly.
You can’t just ignore an IT disturbance or breakdown that affects your customer-facing tasks. Some common examples of incidents include laptop crash and issues with WiFi connectivity, email, file sharing, etc.
According to McKinsey, service consistency is the golden rule of sustaining customer relationships. Modern-day consumers are loyal to responsive brands that offer convenient resolutions. So, it’s all the more critical that you stay action-oriented in managing downtime.
We’ve established that incident management practices are relevant for support teams across the board. Now, let’s look into some specific contributions to customer service.
Top 6 benefits of incident management for customer support teams
- Multi-channel access from a unified dashboard
Suppose your IT helpdesk acts as the single point of contact for all user communications. But what happens if an unforeseen incident disrupts services during your usual business hours? What if the substandard service performance results in lost business opportunities? Therefore, it’s a good idea to have multiple channels where your end-users can reach you. You can use phone calls, mobile apps, email support, chatbots, feedback forms, etc. It’s also practical to integrate all these support lines into one platform, so your reps don’t have to check many things at once.
- Fastrack issue resolution with a quality knowledge base
Imagine a scenario where your end-users encounter an IT issue. But your service reps are unavailable to answer their queries. In such cases, you must have a back-up plan to help them. You can integrate your incident management software with a comprehensive knowledge base to allow your customers to resolve their concerns on their own. Sometimes, their questions may have straightforward solutions. Adding such routine requests to your ticket load increases the burden on your support teams. So, using a self-service portal within the system can help save valuable time and improve agent productivity.
- Categorize tickets using an AI engine
Managing tickets is a breeze when you can automate their distribution according to urgency and agent availability. With the right technology system, you can automatically convert emails into tickets, classify them based on predefined criteria, and assign them to appropriate departments or support team members. This prioritization technique ensures that no customer issues or complaints fall through the cracks. Also, your support teams don’t have to spend too long on gathering all the tickets received from different communication channels. They can focus on high-order tasks, such as improving the brand experience and building meaningful customer relationships.
- Prioritize customer service with workflow automation
It’s evident that workflow automation helps in better incident handling, leaving more time for refining your communication strategy. Complex customer problems can still be directed to your experienced support personnel. But removing manual work from their plate can:
- Improve everyday service productivity
- Bring down operational costs
- Reduce agent frustration
- Set the tone for other customer interactions
Research backs this up. Forbes notes that automation technologies in customer support can help balance efficiency with quality.
You can also automate the ticket closure process and send personalized notifications via email, SMS, etc. These updates create an end-to-end conversational loop, delivering positive customer experiences.
- Collaboration for on-time resolutions
Some IT incidents may warrant expertise from different departments or support groups. To allow such collaboration, you must have all the details in one place. Modern systems like Freshservice provide you with a single screen view of your service desk operations. It is easy to know who’s working on a particular ticket, how it’s placed on the priority matrix, and what’s the current status. These features pave the way for providing quick responses to waiting customers.
Once an incident is identified and logged into the system, the complete information is visible and shareable across the organization, speeding up the recovery process. There’s little scope of a major incident going unnoticed with an effective incident management workflow. At later stages, you’ll find it much simpler to detect the underlying problem that’s causing repeated disruptions.
- Get bird’s eye view of performance
Advanced analytics and reporting tools make it possible to remain clued up about the intricacies of your customer support function. A quick glance at the dashboard can reveal much about your desk performance. It typically includes consolidated reports of your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and insights about your associated incidents, changes, etc. This big picture presentation has tremendous gains from a managerial perspective. You can perform periodic checks and apply the metrics to pinpoint improvement areas. Additionally, you can use data from the built-in satisfaction surveys to incentivize and motivate support agents. This goes on to show how technology with an added layer of human oversight can boost business productivity and scale.
For the above reasons, companies across industries and geographical boundaries are creating customer value through tech investments. Corporate IT budgets are showing a year-on-year increase, with most of it going into improving business operations (Source: Deloitte). If you’re also looking to integrate IT service management in your organization, we recommend a cohesive system with the following functionalities:
Systemize incident management to reward your customer support teams and take your service quality to the next level. It’s an essential component of an efficient service desk in the current digital transformation era!