7 anti-patterns for customer support teams.

We have been building products for software development teams since day one and continue to do so with some new stuff we launched in the Slack App Directory - a Stand-up bot. But an interesting opportunity was put on our doorstep: to work with Freshdesk, a customer support platform.

The platform is a helpdesk ticketing system for Small Medium Size businesses and large enterprise organizations. So we knew that we wanted to input our knowledge from working with development teams to support teams. The reason for this was that we want to apply our insights and see which ones made sense for support team’s to engage in helping product teams develop great software.

This might seem like a small niche, but this is where great products begin with. Applying some of the lessons from what we know in the software development process and then finding ways to apply them to customer support platform is an opportunity worth taking. So we'd like to share the 7 customer support anti-patterns based on what we have learned.

One - Be impatient.

Yes, everyone knows that by know. But you have to understand how much time it will take to close support call based on the input. Is this tech related, logistics, sales or which business unit is responsible for this? You might have an idea of how good each team is at picking up support tickets.

Two - Communication is easy. Customer support communication Well, not everyone can understand what the need is without the full context of the situations. Providing detailed information is crucial and most importantly the urgency of the issue being discussed. So make sure you can connect the priority field in all platforms that work together, that is why we built the Priority field in the Trello app for Freshdesk, also that field is visible in all tickets created inside Trello cards with our Freshdesk Power-up.

Three - Have one success metric.

It is important to measure those metrics that drive customer service to new levels of engagement, a timely response is just the beginning. Things to measure could be around the number of calls done, feedback response ratio, number of people involved in the ticket; find a metric that will guide your team to organizational goals.

Remember that what you measure is what you motivate your team to accomplish.

Four - Analysing all the metrics.

This is the full swing of the pendulum from the past anti-pattern, now the team is measuring everything and you are left with a lot of data that needs to be analyzed and your customer support team is so busy with their daily activities that it cannot find the time to make decisions based on all the metrics it is reviewing. Make sure to find 2 or 3 metrics that relate to one another.

3 key metrics to measure:

First response time.
Average time ticket resolution.
Issue resolution rate.

Five - Looking for expected outcomes.

It is quite normal to build silos around certain issues that you normally face with customers, thus making the interaction monotonous with clients. This makes the support not human-like, but more automated and the customers can easily notice this from the helpdesk agents. So make sure to engage with fresh eyes to every customer issue your support team gets to find those nuggets of information.

Six - Metrics over user stories.

Once you got your metrics in place, it is important that you aligned them to the right user stories to create successful use cases that can be replicated. That means that support agents can understand what they need to do in order to have a successful call with customers and provide the expected outcome from their engagement.

The right metrics + the wrong story = wrong conclusion.

Seven - Believing you know everything.

After some time customer support agents might think they know everything and this can become a very dangerous place for a mentality to sync into the help desk team mentality. You need to avoid this, you need to be supporting your clients with a learning attitude. This is something we have learned through numerous user research dynamics and that the customer will have a deeper understanding of the problem more than us.

We hope these seven anti-patterns have brought some light into what to avoid in your customer support teams, but most importantly to be aware what can bring your team closer to the goals of retaining customers with excellent customer service.

Make sure to check out our Freshdesk Power-up for and also the Trello app for Freshdesk, so you can connect your teams and drive information across all your teams to empower customer support in all your organization.

Freshdesk + Trello Powerup

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Claudio Cossio

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