Customer service and support tools may take many forms. Customer service case-management systems, online forums, automated call-back systems—each are designed to improve the customer-support experience. That said, most customer service tools fall into at least one of the following categories:
Phone support tools
While the advent of digital communication technologies has given rise to a number of internet-based support channels, the telephone remains one of the most widely used methods for contacting customer support. Phone-support tools, such as call-centre software, allow agents to effectively organise and address multiple support cases at once, routing calls to properly skilled agents, automating certain tasks, and still providing knowledgeable, personalised service. Computer telephony integration (CTI) tools are also valuable. CTI makes relevant customer information immediately available to call-support agents, supporting inbound and outbound calls and integrating with existing platforms.
AI and automation have the potential to significantly improve customer support, by resolving customer issues and providing solutions, without having to involve a human agent. Automated agents are able to free up support personnel from basic support requests, leading to improved agent productivity and faster issue remediation.
Customer relationship management
A logical extension of the shared inbox, CRM functions more as a database of customer information. Agents use CRM software to organise and recall data associated with customers and their history, providing a more consistent and informed service.
Case management software
Case management is often integrated with CRM, and shares similar objectives. However, case management focuses more on the cases, or support requests, themselves. Agents are able to create cases and access all relevant information from a single platform.
Taking automation further, workflow software integrates across disparate systems, routes cases and tasks to the right teams, and automates entire, multi-stage business processes. Workflows optimise customer service interactions and help organisations achieve better, more consistent business outcomes.
Rather than wait on hold for customer support agents—or even automated agents—many customers prefer to look for solutions on their own. Self-service portals are designed to provide customers with access to a searchable knowledge base and other resources a customer can use as an alternative to traditional support requests.