In today’s world, many companies are focusing on improving customer relationship management, and rightly so. Getting customer service right isn’t easy. According to Chris Ward of MyCustomer, 32 percent of customer service agents said they lacked sufficient knowledge to solve customer issues, and 22 percent have experienced significant problems because the information they had access to was incorrect or conflicting.
Janet Balis, CMO Practice Leader for Ernst & Young, said in 2021, “Old truth: You are competing with your competitors. New truth: You are competing with the last best experience your customer had.” Providing a good customer experience is the key to retaining customers and maximizing customer lifetime value (CLV).
The challenge for company management is they don’t just have external customers. A quick review of the most popular posts on LinkedIn shows that employees are internal customers with pain points and needs as well. Just as poor customer service can cause customer attrition, poor internal customer service can increase employee turnover. In today’s fluid job market, it’s essential to have quality customer service for internal audiences to retain your best employees and help them perform at their best.
Fortunately, technology is transforming tools, such as help desk software, to provide excellent support to external and internal customers. In this blog post, we will discuss three internal customer service tips using technology; but first, let’s look at a general view of how internal customer service.
What is Internal Customer Service?
Internal customer service serves employees and other internal stakeholders. In simple terms, the internal customer service function is responsible for providing employees with the products and services they need to perform their jobs well. Features may include various options, from training and advice to software and office supplies.
As remote and hybrid work models scale in the workforce, the demand for providing excellent internal customer service will increase, too. According to Zendesk’s Employee Experience Trends Report 2022, requests from corporate employees increased 31 percent last year, nearly double the rate of both B2B and B2C companies.
Poor internal customer service is costly. Broken communications, siloed information, and wasted time sourcing answers are inefficient. Frustrating experiences for employees can also create a sense of disconnection and dissatisfaction among teams.
At Kayako, our clients often ask us how to achieve internal customer satisfaction. While there are many action items, foundational steps include:
- Establish clear lines of communication.
- Create a culture of internal customer service.
- Set expectations and hold people accountable.
- Provide consistency with a daily schedule for the internal customer service desk.
- Equip your internal customer service reps with the right tools.
- Be aware of individual employee goals, not just the team’s goals.
- Provide self-service support options; we’ll cover this below.
- Support multiple communication channels.
- Pay attention to context and personalization so employees feel the company knows and cares about them.
Let’s look at some of the ways technology tools can support internal customer service in a company.
How Can Technology Improve Internal Customer Service?
Technology can improve internal customer service by automating tasks, organizing information, and improving efficiencies in communication. In some companies, departments such as tech are large enough that they may need dedicated internal support tools.
Are you curious to see technology in action for improving internal customer service? Check out our case study and see how Texas Tech reduced ticket volume, improved collaboration, and increased customer satisfaction with Kayako.
Below we also look at three tips to improve internal customer service through technology.
Allow Employees to Be Able to Help Themselves
Most people with questions prefer to look for answers before reaching out for help. Technology enables self-service portals and knowledge bases where employees can find answers to common questions.
Friction in employee processes causes problems across the organization. When employees can’t find solutions from either self-help resources or reaching out to a technician, the result is content friction.
Kayako eliminates content friction by making it easy to create and manage an employee-facing self-service help center. The self-help center resources expand over time and may include text, videos, tables, images, and other types of content.
We all know that today’s business runs on technology more than ever. Tech employees may need dedicated self-help resources. For example, Kayako’s internal knowledge base creates a technicians-only space with quick answers to known issues, standardized responses, official policies, and more.
With answers at their fingertips in a searchable format, IT technicians can handle more tickets and increase consistency in their responses.
Allowing employees to be able to help themselves improves internal customer service by reducing content friction. A self-service portal and internal knowledge base enable employees to locate the information they need without contacting internal support teams. Self-help options reduce employees’ time to resolve issues and allow them to focus on adding value via their core tasks.
Help Employees Communicate Via Their Preferred Channels
Multichannel conversations refer to the ability of employees to communicate with each other using their preferred channels. Popular channels include chat, email, Facebook, Twitter, and IM platforms like Slack. Even though it may feel like these tools are now ubiquitous, in reality, we are at the beginning of an evolution in the way people communicate. For example, every year advances in artificial intelligence (AI) improve the chatbot experience.
When employees can communicate with each other through their preferred channels, internal customer service feels more natural because there is less contact friction, when the conversation can flow no matter what the channel, employees can focus on the content and not the channel.
With multichannel conversations, employees can more easily transfer information to one another and optimize customer interactions by ensuring they are sharing all relevant information.
The bottom line is collaboration is king for today’s teams. Allowing employees to use the most comfortable channels makes it easier for them to collaborate and reduces contact friction.
Use Context to Deliver Personalized Customer Interactions
Context plays a significant role in improving internal customer service. No one wants to feel like a number in their organization. Employers can provide more personalized, relevant support by understanding the employee’s situation and journey with the company. By understanding the employee’s context, the internal customer service resources can better serve them by providing the correct information at the right time.
Using context-sensitive tools and features can make it easier for employees to find the information they need and get help, reducing frustrating context friction and improving satisfaction with the workplace.
For example, when employees have to repeat the specific details of their question or issue, or when the company’s response is disjointed, they feel context friction. Kayako removes context friction by capturing and displaying everything your agent needs to know about the employee’s past and present situation.
Context can also help employers anticipate employee needs and provide personalized support. When an employee feels “known” by their employer, loyalty increases.
Internal customer service is a critical piece of the puzzle for any company, yet it can be tricky to get it right. Luckily, technology has come a long way and continues to improve rapidly. Tools like Kayako’s software provide clear paths to help employees help themselves and communicate with each other through their preferred channels. When companies add context and personalization to the mix, the internal customer experience gets a big thumbs up from employees!