5 Must-Haves for Support Teams in 2021 - Aircall Blog

5 Must-Haves for Support Teams in 2021

These tools will be essential for providing great customer support in 2021.
by
Ian MacLean

Your customer support teams are experts at answering questions, responding to complaints, and providing your customers with helpful information. Support team members are the face of your company in supporting customers so you can be sure they’re satisfied with your products and services. The customer experience has great value because it creates loyalty in your brand and turns your customers into brand advocates.

Because of the pandemic, remote and distributed teams are starting to become a staple of business operations. Customers are buying more online. In fact, research by Adobe Analytics shows that U.S. consumers spent $21.7 billion online for the first 10 days of the holiday shopping season, which is a 21% year-over-year increase. With that in mind, and with no clear end to the pandemic insight, support teams will be extremely busy as they move into the first and second quarters of 2021.

The issues of 2020 make it difficult to predict what support teams will likely face in 2021. You’re not alone in trying to figure out how to set up your support teams with the right tools and workflows to be successful in 2021. Let’s take a look at the outlook for support teams in 2021 and how technology can help.

The Outlook for Support Teams in 2021

Travel was long considered an essential part of good business. But now, the pandemic has shown companies that digital tools can recreate (to a large extent) the impact of face-to-face meetings. Moving into 2021, businesses may start to schedule in-person meetings and gatherings when it’s safe to do so, but with a new digital infrastructure in place, they’ll also have the option to cut down significantly on business travel expenses.

Here are some indications of how the outlook for support teams could change in 2021:

  • Inc. states that many CEOs could favor a hybrid model of working—one that balances meeting employees’ needs and their desire to work remotely with the benefits of bringing people together in person.
  • The October 2020 Vistage CEO Confidence Index survey indicates that almost two-thirds (63%) of CEOs that adopted a remote work model during the pandemic are planning for their employees to return to the workplace in some fashion.
  • Of those surveyed, 29% are in favor of offering their employees the option of returning to the workplace voluntarily or continuing to work remotely.
  • 29% of the CEOs reported favoring a phased-in return to the workplace.
  • 24% of the CEOs believe that it’s necessary to perform specific job functions directly in the workplace, while others could perform equally as well remotely.

While we’ll naturally speculate about how things could look in 2021, businesses may choose to be flexible and try out various options to see what works best in practice. Here’s a look at how technology can help your support teams take some solid steps forward.

5 Must-Haves for Support Teams in 2021

An old adverb says, Necessity is the mother of invention.” The pandemic has created a need to make a fast transition to remote support teams this year. Getting the right tools and processes to work well has been somewhat of a work in process for most companies. 

Ready to build better conversations?
Simple to set up. Easy to use. Powerful integrations.

To assist you in setting up the most effective workflows, here’s a look at the 5 “must-haves” for support teams in 2021:

Implementing omnichannel communications 

Implementing omnichannel software solutions is easy, low cost, and more productive. Texts and chat are efficient communication channels for natural back-and-forth communication. For some conversations, it’s best to start with a phone call and switch to another communication channel or vice versa. Omnichannel solutions give your support team agents multiple options to serve your customers in the best way for the current conversation.

Omnichannel customer support will have a positive impact on your business in 2021. The Aberdeen Group produced research that shows that 89% of businesses that use omnichannel customer support consistently retain 89% of their customers. This compares with a 33% retention rate for companies that don’t consistently use omnichannel communications.

Furthermore, Adobe reports that companies that use omnichannel strategies for customer support and engagement realize 10% growth year-over-year. The report also shows that companies had a 10% increase in orders, and they improved their close rates by 25%. 

Here’s how technology can help:

  • Heymarket phone integration: 
    • Communicate with SMS, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, Line, and WhatsApp directly through the Aircall app.
  • Sakari phone integration: 
    • Send and receive messages in over 100 countries globally using an Aircall phone number. Link HubSpot, Pipedrive, Intercom, Slack, Zapier, and thousands of other popular software products in minutes.

Adding or enhancing self-service options

Google and other online search engines have made it effortless for us to satisfy our curiosity on a daily basis. In fact, there was an average of over 2 trillion Google searches per day in 2020. That figure is a testament to the value of self-service options. When you need a simple, fast answer, it makes perfect sense to look it up rather than taking the time to dial a number, wait for someone to answer the call, and get an answer to a question.

For that reason, self-service tools will continue to be popular in 2021. Self-service tools are especially helpful when you tie them to common customer issues.

To further support the popularity of self-service options, Zendesk tells us that 40% of consumers contact a call center only after they’re tried to get an answer using self-service options. Furthermore, about 91% of customers said they prefer to use an online knowledge base rather than the phone if one were available.

Self-service options are also popular with businesses and call center agents as well. Fewer calls coming into the call center frees up call agents to handle more complex calls that require a phone conversation. When customers can help themselves, it also decreases the number of calls waiting in the queue.

Here’s how technology can help:

  • Zendesk integration:
    • Create, organize and share articles and other content for call center agents and customers to get fast answers about common questions. Call agents can look up information for customers that call and log it into the dashboard.
  • HappyFox BI phone integration: 
    • Set up an effective, customized knowledge base and get instant feedback from customers. Automatically logs call information and feedback from surveys.

Utilize helpdesk and developer software

With Jira, support teams can customize their screens and workflows to manage tests manually or automatically. Project management software makes it possible to generate reports to track progress and productivity. Jira works well with Bitbucket allowing teams to release versions 14% more often than with other programs.

Helpdesk software helps support teams manage their work, customize workflows, and stay organized. Helpdesk software automatically creates tickets and logs calls. Create customized workflows according to call type or agent numbers to automate reporting and route calls efficiently. Managers get full insight about the activities in the call center on their dashboard.

Here’s how technology can help:

  • Jira + Bitbucket
    • Developers can automatically link code to Jira, see development issues in Jira, and edit Jira issues inside Bitbucket.
  • Zendesk + Aircall phone integration:
    • Joins call data with insight cards so call center agents have access to call history for greater context. Call agents can tag calls, make comments, and assign calls to another agent and set up alerts for them.

Utilize call analytics for greater insight and informed decision-making

With so many changes happening so quickly in business and in our personal lives, it’s important to monitor called data accurately. The right call metrics give you great insight into the most current activities that are going on in your call center which will help you act more quickly and better inform your decisions.

Research by McKinsey shows that companies can use call center analytics to reduce the average call handling time by 40% and cut employee costs by up to $5 million. Your call center may be able to boost your KPIs, such as conversion rates, by 50%. Call center analytics will help you improve first contact resolution and customer satisfaction scores (CSAT). You’ll also be able to monitor other call center metrics like average call time, wait time, missed call rate, and response time.

The right call center metrics will help you measure call agent performance, help struggling call agents, and improve customer engagement. Use survey tools along with call center analytics to connect call data with sales conversion data and customer satisfaction data.

Here’s how technology can help:

  • Nicereply phone integration: 
    • Trigger surveys automatically after calls to send CSAT, CES, or NPS surveys and see user feedback and ratings in the Aircall phone dashboard, so call agents can tailor their feedback to the customer’s comments.
  •  Postcall.io phone integration:
    • Automatically send surveys via SMS or email after a call. Call agents can access survey results for each customer when they get a call.

Use a cloud-based phone system along with integrations

A cloud-based phone system that works in tandem with software integrations forms the perfect union to empower your entire support team operation in 2021. Aircall was specifically designed to offer a complete call center package for sales, customer service, and customer support teams. The combination of Aircall and the right software programs allow you to select out-of-the-box solutions to form a single source of data for your support teams. 

A modern phone system creates efficiency because there is no wasted time logging into and out of programs. With a subscription-based VoIP phone system, you get flexibility, scalability, and portability. These apps install quickly and easily, making it easy to set up remote or distributed teams using voice over Internet protocols. Essentially, it’s a one-click online installation. Also, cloud phone systems are cost-effective, intuitive, and user friendly.

Here’s how technology can help: 

  • Aircall’s cloud-based phone system:
    • With a subscription-based VoIP phone system you get flexibility, scalability, and portability. Aircall offers a robust set of phone system features and comprehensive analytics to monitor call metrics and KPI’s.  
  • Software integrations and open APIAircall’s App Marketplace provides you with a host of listings for useful software integrations that work seamlessly with Aircall to give your support teams the greatest capabilities and functionalities possible.

Together, these software solutions will help you ensure that your support teams can deliver a great customer experience. 

As you look forward to rolling out your plans for 2021, you’ll need to focus on the main pillars that form the basis of a great customer experience—the right combination of tools, systems, and processes, to help your customer support teams work as efficiently as possible. Regardless of what 2021 brings, customers will continue to expect customer service options anywhere they are, anytime they need it, and using any channel they prefer. With digital transformation and the must-haves for support teams listed here, you can tackle 2021 with a great deal of confidence and optimism.

The phone system for modern business