Many users see help desks as internal contact centers that provide technical support for hardware and/or software systems. Although what they support is highly specialized, their process is fairly similar to any customer support center’s: “agents” record customer issues, the issues are allocated to someone to fix, and the customer is kept aware of what is happening and is notified when the issue is resolved. To support this process, companies have implemented trouble-ticket management systems or in some cases full customer relationship management (CRM) systems, although for many companies these can be overkill. Until recently, most help desk systems have relied on e-mail as the primary channel for “customers” to report issues and then keep informed of progress and the solution to the issue.
As an alternative, Muroc Systems provides a software as a service solution called TeamSupport.com that allows companies to manage their trouble tickets more effectively and at the same time provide better support for internal and external users. The service is designed primarily with software development companies in mind. At the core of the system is functionality to raise trouble tickets, allocate them to a software engineer to fix, keep track of progress fixing the issue, close the issue and report on the end-to-end process. It also has several special features such as bug tracking and software version control that relates the version of the software to the ticket.
TeamSupport.com’s innovative features include these:
- Tickets can be raised through multiple channels - phone, e-mail, portal or live chat - but each is then managed in the same way through unique workflows.
- A customer portal allows external third parties to raise their own tickets and keep track of progress in fixing them.
- Collaboration and chat features allow internal interested parties to be automatically notified about specific tickets or versions of software being updated, and groups can work collaboratively on fixing issues.
- Reporting and analysis allow authorized users to see different aspects of how tickets are being resolved, including features that allow them to define their own reports.
The team that founded TeamSupport.com came from a technical background, so it is not surprising it has focused on supporting software development companies but can support other industries too. One customer confirmed that extensive research did not find a solution to match TeamSupport.com’s special features. The service is offered as hosted software as a service (SaaS) in the Internet which is part of the cloud computing effort, which is particularly beneficial to small or midsize companies, as it turns what could be fairly large CAPEX and ongoing support costs into a more manageable monthly subscription fee.
Overall, the product supports several innovative features that companies running any customer support service would find useful. Indeed my research into customer experience management shows that only about half of companies (51%) believe they are totally satisfying their customers and so in these difficult market circumstances, it is now a business imperative for companies to look at improving their customer service processes and technology as I outlined as a priority in 2010 (See: “Essential Priorities for Optimizing the Business Value of Customer Interactions in 2010”). I recommend that companies that want to improve their customer support service to take a careful look at TeamSupport.com.
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Richard Snow – Global VP & Research Director