Customer Service: 5 Questions With TeamSupport CEO Robert Johnson


TeamSupportTeamSupport offers accessible SaaS Customer Service & Help Desk software for B2B customer support—which may not sound sexy, but it’s an absolutely vital area to help alleviate pain points and create innovative solutions. Its platform breaks down barriers between customer support teams and other departments, increasing collaboration, revenue and customer retention—and thereby reducing customer losses (aka “churn”).

Its scalable, customizable help desk solution takes, on average, two weeks for companies to set up, integrate and get running. Every new account is set up with configured settings that can be customized, while the Dallas, Texas-based company’s customers range from 20 employees to thousands.

Robert Johnson - TeamSupportFor more, we spoke with Robert C. Johnson (right), CEO and Co-Founder of TeamSupport.

What’s the number one barrier between customer support teams and other departments within a company?

It may seem obvious to some people, but the top barrier between customer support and other areas of a business is communication. In a world where silos are breaking down, too many businesses still put their customer support team in an office corner and forget about them. No, the answer isn’t to schedule lengthy meetings every week with customer support and other functional areas to get them on the same page. Instead, improve collaboration by integrating customer support software with other online software solutions that receive daily usage.

Salesforce and Jira are both common integrations so employees in sales, customer support, and product management can all see what customer interactions are occurring real time. One of the primary benefits of integrations, and how they help increase revenue and reduce churn, is that they make all your employees more intelligent without having a single conversation. Sales can see what issues a current customer has and use this knowledge when pitching to a lookalike prospect. Product management can always know the status of a ticket when an account they work on reaches out. It’s all about leveraging technology to work smarter.

How important is a seamless omnichannel customer support and how can brands ensure brand consistency throughout the process?

It’s become very important because omnichannel is now expected by customers. Companies like Amazon and Apple have now imprinted their version of a customer experience on so many people that offering something drastically inferior has become an insult. All brands should have support software that lets agents see past conversations across channels so they can be more consistent with their follow up. Customers hate being asked the same questions repeatedly, and this information visibility alleviates the problem. It will encourage your customers to contact support more frequently as they know the process is painless and punctual.

It’s also important to set expectations with customers so they know that they will receive the same consistent brand experience regardless of the channel. Break down the silos between phone, email, and chat so they all provide the same branded experience.

For example, if a customer gets frustrated in chat and calls in, the agent who fields the call should have instant visibility into the existing chat conversation and know that another agent is already working with the customer. Allowing agents to see what their colleagues are doing in regards to helping customers creates a more seamless experience that maintains the integrity of your brand.

Many customer support problems are often not resolved on the first call. What does a successful platform offer to assist customers with more complex issues and steps for resolution?

A successful software platform brings a lot to the table when it comes to customer support, but arguably its best capability is that it gives employees a place to work together. With so many companies now having a global presence for customer support, a central system where everyone around the world can collaborate on complex issues is vital for success.

With the “9 to 5” workday a thing of the past, so are the days of the “9 to 5” support team for your customers. The best part of working on a support software platform for global companies is it makes the “handoff” of issues between time zones seamless. All the work performed by the previous agent is easily accessible for the new agent to review as they take over with the customer.

Regarding more complex issues, a support platform thrives by enabling efficient collaboration. For example, automation can be utilized within the platform to alert everyone in real-time of an urgent ticket. From here, a built-in task management system can assign certain steps of the ticket to specific employees so the resolution time can be reduced by working together.

Taking it even further, some companies prefer to engage in visual support directly with customers. This is excellent for having a customer show you exactly what is wrong with a product so you can get a better understanding of the issue. If applicable, agents can even provide a video response. Visual support is becoming more popular in the B2B industry because it saves companies time and money by reducing the amount of emails and speeding up the resolution process.

What’s been the biggest breakthrough in the B2B customer support relationship in the past several years—and has it been fueled by technology, psychology or both?

Online self-service. This breakthrough is both technological at its core but also psychological in its usage. Behaviorally, business professionals have become more mobile thanks to having a sophisticated communication device on them 24/7. The smartphone culture we live in facilitates conversations that are “impersonal” in nature. What I mean by this is we’ve become normalized to getting the answers we need – from both loved ones and businesses – without speaking real words to each other.

An online self-service solution is how B2B companies fit into this now preferred way of communicating. Instead of having a customer call up and wait on hold or sit idly by hoping for an email reply, businesses are now pointing customers to self-service to answer their own questions. Customers may be hesitant at first, but once they have success with self-service they can find it psychologically reassuring to know answers are there whenever they need them. In addition, self-service can also increase customer product knowledge, brand loyalty, and much more.

How do you measure ROI?

Customer support software can assist in measuring ROI in multiple ways. First, customer support can assist in driving revenue. How? By using the software to make agents more intelligent and to make the sales handoff easy and seamless. The detailed intelligence obtained from support software about the past experiences the customer has had with the agent can be invaluable to increasing revenue from existing streams. For example, in B2B it’s common for a customer to work with the same agent across multiple issues and built trust over time. An agent can leverage this trust when a customer reaches out for a solution that requires a feature in a higher pricing tier by respectfully upselling the feature and being first point of contact for sales. The agent can then loop in a salesperson via support software so they can see the customer’s history and perform a warm hand-off to sales.

Another way to measure ROI is more traditional and rooted in customer retention. TeamSupport offers the “Customer Distress Index” (CDI) which computes a score based on adjustable variables to provide insight into how happy or dissatisfied a customer may be with your business. This score can be obtained quickly and utilized along with other efforts to manage customer retention and reduce churn.

Finally, tools like time tracking and metrics such as average time to resolution can provide details on the ROI of the support team. These efficiency measurements can prove an increased ROI over time as they can show companies are able to do more with fewer agents once they implement customer support software.

Get more insights in our Q&A series.