When was the last time you saw something really new and innovative in a customer service demo? If you see as many demos as I do, you know that true innovation is rare. New features in customer service apps come in waves. In 2005-2007, we saw a wave of business process-centric apps, attempting to streamline and solidify processes across disparate support groups. Then in 2006 social media exploded, and since then, we’ve seen each release of CRM and multi-channel platforms expanding into communities and social media channel support.
If you’ve attended any of my recent webcasts, you know that collaboration is a big theme for me this year. Across all TSIA members, 74% had budget for community and collaboration tools in 2012-2013. Most tech companies already have a customer community in place, and the spending now is focused on employee communities, and enabling real-time collaboration across the enterprise. My nirvana would be to see the customer community and the enterprise collaboration initiatives merging: you have a customer in a chat/screen sharing session, run into a new problem, and in real-time can pull in the developer who wrote the code and the product manager who designed it. Heck, why not bring in another customer who successfully is using that feature today? Call me crazy, but that’s ultimately where collaboration will take customer support.
I’m very pleased to highlight a new player on the market who is embracing process, social, AND collaboration in their customer service platform: TeamSupport. Whether you are shopping for a new tool or not, you should check out a demo to see the first of the next wave of customer service apps with a focus on collaboration. Not only does TeamSupport include what we now think of as ‘best of breed’ features: knowledgebase, multi-channel tools including chat, self-service, etc., as well as social tools (customer community, Facebook plugin), but it offers a few other features I find very compelling.
- Water Cooler. TeamSupport’s Water Cooler feature is an internal collaboration tool, a la Twitter, allowing you to post questions or new ideas to a group for discussion or comment. The searchable stream of conversations allows real-time collaboration, even while working with a customer.
- Wiki. Not only does TeamSupport offer a knowledgebase, it also includes a Wiki for document sharing, enabling both content management and knowledge management.
- Tag clouds. TeamSupport allows custom fields to help categorize or track different kinds of incident, but they also support tagging. In the incident’s tag field, you can enter as many tags as you want, such as “installation, Product 123, Crash 234 Error.” You can easily find all incidents with a tag or tags to help research problems or determine problem frequency.
- Screen capture. I’ve been talking for 2 years now about incorporating video into support, and TeamSupport is the first tool I’ve seen to include this as an “out of box” feature in their support platform. Employees/techs can record screen cams of a procedure to illustrate an error on an incident, or to add a video tutorial to a knowledge article, with an option to include voice narration. And, customers can record screen cams of an error or a problem process flow and imbed it in a support ticket opened via self-service. Imagine how much faster you can solve a problem when instead of a 1 line explanation in a case, you have an actual video of the problem?
TeamSupport offers integration to Salesforce, Zoho and others, as well as integrations to some support analytic platforms, like Zoho Reports. Fully hosted, pricing begins at $20 per user/per month; $35 for Enterprise Edition. Checkout the website for more info or to see a demo. There are also videos available on TeamSupport’s YouTube Channel.
I had a chance to meet TeamSupport President and CEO, Robert C. Johnson, last fall, and his energy and enthusiasm are infectious. Great to see a young CEO with new ideas and a lot of passion driving innovation and change in the industry. I wish Robert and team a lot of success! And thanks as always for reading!