How to Set Up Your Customer Support Software for Remote Working

“Adopt and change before any major trends or changes. – Jack Ma”

Against the backdrop of the novel coronavirus pandemic, different business operations have adopted a new style of working (work-from-home) and have started functioning remotely to maintain business continuity. Customer support teams too have started supporting customers from the safety of their homes. Amidst the uncertain times, as Jack Ma said, you have to adopt new practices, change existing processes, and do it quickly. 

If you’re looking to transition your support team to a remote workforce, you’re probably worried and full of questions – How do I track and assign tickets? Should I increase the capabilities of my customer support software? How do I monitor my team’s performance? 

This interview with Andrew Navin, a senior support manager at Freshworks, will answer all your questions, and tell you what you need to change in your customer support software to make it remote-support friendly.  

Hi Andrew, can you tell us how you handle remote support at Freshworks? 

At Freshworks, we didn’t have any remote support employees until the recent Covid-19 lockdown. So now we have requested all our employees to connect from home and it’s a hundred percent remote. 

In the first communication that was sent out, we asked all of our employees to keep in mind that support teams all around the world are under a lot of stress, and we should do anything we can to solve their queries at the earliest. At the same time, we wanted our support agents to ensure that they remain calm and relaxed during this difficult period.

How does your customer support software help you provide support remotely?

– Automatic ticket assignment

Once we decided that we were going to start working remotely, the first thing that we wanted to verify was the ticket assignment process because that’s the key for any support team. Our support team makes use of the automated ticket assignment and the skill-based, round-robin feature in Freshdesk. So we went through our existing skills to make sure that we had mapped the right skills to the right agents. We also made sure that different agents with different skills were placed in the right shifts.

remote work - automatic ticket assignment

– Automated workflows 

Secondly, we have a few automations in place to track incoming tickets based on trends – for instance, the most recent trend has been Covid-19 or coronavirus related. We now tag any ticket that comes in with these keywords, and group them together. This allows us to do a post mortem analysis and also provide help accordingly.

– Email notifications

Lastly, if you’re under partial shutdown, or if you’re low on staffing, I would recommend that you go ahead and configure your email notifications to mention that. This allows you to automatically send an email to a customer as soon as they raise a ticket and set the right expectation for them. Also, you can make use of the portal customization feature in Freshdesk to get the message out to your customers. 

What about features that enable agent productivity?

– Agent collision detector

When you say agent productivity during a remote work environment, the first thing that strikes my mind is Freshdesk’s agent collision feature. This feature allows an agent to see who else is working on a particular ticket. And this helps us avoid duplicate replies being sent out to our customers. 

remote suppoer - agent collision

– Freshdesk mobile app

The next one is the Freshdesk mobile app. It’s really difficult when you’re working from home to focus all the time and stay right on your computer. The mobile app helps you stay connected and stay on top of your tickets, even when you’re in the living room or out on the lawn looking at your kids play. 

– Team dashboard

The next thing is setting up a live ticket dashboard. With Freshdesk, you can customize your dashboard to see tickets that open in your queue, and the ones that are pending on you. You can also go ahead and split this based on agents. This gives your supervisor a bird’s eye view of what exactly is happening in your support team. 

remote support - team dashboard

Auto ticket merger app
Customers trying to reach out multiple times when the response time dips a little is a common scenario that we have all seen. Customers tend to send multiple emails or tend to create multiple tickets, hoping that one of the tickets is going to get a reply very soon. To tackle this, we use an auto ticket merger app. So if a customer raises two or more tickets within a specified span of time, the app automatically merges all these tickets to the first ticket that was created by the customer. This helps reduce the number of tickets that the agent actually has to resolve.

– Reports and analytics

The last but not the least, is reporting. Go ahead and schedule a daily or weekly report using the tools that you use for generating reports. I recommend sharing the reports with your agents so they are also aware of the influence of recent trends. 

To wrap up, do you have any other tips or tricks that you use to make support easier, especially in this remote working situation?

One area we’ve seen a few of our customers struggle with, is when they switch from the hard-line telephony system to a virtual one. At Freshdesk, we make use of Freshcaller, a cloud-based telephony system that integrates very closely with Freshdesk. 

So agents do not have to juggle between multiple products, they have all the options to attend calls and to make calls right from within Freshdesk. Freshcaller comes with a mobile app too. 

We are also evaluating a tool called Crisp, which is an AI-based noise-canceling software. This comes in quite handy when you work from home. It eliminates background noise like the dog barking or the ceiling fan. 

Likewise, we use Freshchat, a live-chat software that integrates seamlessly with Freshdesk, to provide real-time assistance to our customers from a single window.  

Key Takeaways

  1. Prioritize automatic ticket assignment, and skill-based routing, which go a long way in ensuring that the right ticket reaches the right agent. To this end, you can automatically route tickets based on certain keywords to the agents that are most equipped in resolving them. 
  2. An agent-collision detector and an automatic ticket merger app will cut down on repetitive work and help your team stay productive. 
  3. Use a live dashboard to get a birds-eye view of the happenings in your customer support software.