Article | 5 min read

How a ticketing tool helps SMBs scale with growth

Every SMB wants to attract new customers while maintaining outstanding service. Here's how a ticketing tool can help an up-and-coming business deal with the growing pains.

By Mark Smith, Content Marketing Manager

Last updated November 19, 2020

For up-and-coming companies, seeing the business grow can be immensely fulfilling. Yet it can also be a bit unsettling – as customer service requests increase, it often falls to a single employee or very small team to manage them all.

And for a business that’s working overtime to gain a foothold in the market, going on a hiring spree doesn’t make much financial sense – and even if it did, the team probably wouldn’t have sufficient tools in place.

When companies rely on shared email inboxes and spreadsheets to fulfil their customer service requirements, they undercut any benefits that additional headcount might bring. So what’s a company to do?

In this article, we’ll explore some common pain points that small- and medium-sized businesses face when attempting to provide the kind of service that their most valuable assets – customers – have come to expect.

Whether it’s inefficient procedures, poorly chosen productivity tools or a lack of visibility into customer service trends and performance, companies have an option that can bring their support operations on track and ready for growth: the ticketing tool.

The ticketing tool: a gateway to better efficiency

Regardless of industry, small- and medium-sized businesses tend to face a similar set of challenges when providing customer support.

And because employees in these growing companies often wear more than one hat, inefficiencies in customer support can be especially detrimental, creating unnecessary barriers for customers and damaging other areas of the business.

Here are a few common issues:

Repetitive, manual work

From repeatedly having to answer common questions to triaging support requests manually, this can impede productivity and lead to compromised service.

Overlapping functionality and unoptimised value

This often stems from the use of multiple ad-hoc systems to provide support across different channels – and these tools almost certainly lack the ability to communicate with each other. For example, what if a customer sends an email and calls the business?

Inefficiency

Take the dreaded shared email inbox – what might have seemed manageable in the early days of the business can become incredibly inefficient once different employees start answering messages. Without visibility into which requests have been handled – and by whom or when – businesses can waste precious employee time, and worse, anger customers, who would be justified in asking, ‘Is anyone in charge over there?’

Workarounds and limited tools

From messy spreadsheets to bare-bones ticketing tools that offer limited functionality, the urge to ‘make do’ can end up causing significant headaches down the road.

These common pain points are where ticketing tools shine. From automatic ticket triaging to visibility into the company’s communications with customers, including which products or services the client has purchased, a ticketing tool can help a burgeoning support organisation get out of its own way so that the focus can stay where it belongs – on the customer.

It has to be easy to use and to set up

Making the decision to implement a ticketing tool should be a cause for celebration, but choosing the wrong product can introduce a whole new set of issues without addressing the original problems.

When evaluating solutions, consider the following:

Does it provide tracking of past customer interactions?

If finding past customer interaction history is a pain or simply impossible, your customers will end up repeating themselves (never a good thing).

Context is everything, whether it’s customer support or recognising opportunities for upselling:

  • Has this customer contacted the company before about a problem?
  • Who handled the interaction?

Your business needs to know that information to create a positive customer experience.

What about reporting and analysis?

If your new system requires exporting CSV files and performing manual analysis through Excel, then employees will waste time that would be better used helping customers.

A well-designed ticketing tool should provide highly customisable reporting features that shed light on the efficacy of your support efforts, whether that’s agent performance or common pain points for customers.

Lack of insight into customers’ requirements?

It’s crucial for businesses to stay on top of customer satisfaction and trends.

For instance, are your customers demanding a knowledge base so that they can answer questions on their own? (Insights into how customers use a knowledge base can lead to more relevant content and improved product development.)

  • A robust Help Centre with regularly updated articles can deflect support requests that would otherwise have to be handled by an employee, often multiple times.
  • Or perhaps your clientele prefers chat to email or phone interactions – that kind of data can play an instrumental role in shaping how your business scales and pivots when new challenges arise.

Easy to use and implement?

Don’t underestimate the value of consolidating tools under one vendor. Wasted time can cripple a small team and the business – and navigating several different vendors rarely helps.

A single solution that enables agents to hit the ground running quickly – and that is easy to customise and stand up without hiring consultants – will pay immediate dividends.

Be proactive, not reactive

Scaling support can be intimidating, and the temptation to kick the can down the road to avoid short-term disruption can be powerful.

Yet the pain that small-business owners anticipate when considering implementing a ticketing tool often never materialises. In fact, it’s waiting until things go haywire – say, when a product gains serious traction or, worse, causes customers problems – that the real trouble begins.

With a little foresight and the right ticketing tool, however, up-and-coming businesses can be ready for any challenge.

Deliver great customer support efficiently

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Deliver great customer support efficiently

See what’s possible with a free trial of the Zendesk Support Suite.

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