In the last two decades, many organisations have found user support and incident management challenging. Whether it’s balancing social media monitoring to understand user feedback, where to place call centres, how to use web chat technologies or how to prioritise internal support, most companies have come under unwelcome scrutiny at some stage.
Indeed, customer experience and support processes – regardless of whether they are for internal stakeholders or external customers – are a crucial but taxing part of keeping an organisation running. One bad experience can grow exponentially as it is shared across social media or simply via word of mouth – but good experiences can also generate returns; for example, according to Bain, brand advocates are often responsible for 80 – 90% of referral business. This makes it vital that support professionals are not only aware of internal and external audiences, but also have the best tools for handling incidents.
The Problem with Email
Many companies still depend on email and web ticketing systems to prioritise user incident management and support processes. These tools allow staff to contact the helpdesk directly without calling in on the phone, helping support teams to prioritise enquiries. Web ticketing can give teams more valuable data, including the ability to review the average speed of issue resolution, helping the business understand whether the department is sufficiently skilled and resourced. However, these tools are usually unsuited to team collaboration and can have security flaws.
Furthermore, it’s all too easy for support teams to prioritise enquiries on the basis of ‘whoever shouts loudest’ rather than true business need. Although a good support team will prioritise issues which affect customers over internal issues, this is not always easy to enforce from a process perspective – and it can be difficult for an external support team to understand which issue matters most to the business.
In addition, although most ticket-based systems can be monitored on a web portal, many support teams will not have the time to update the status of all issues logged – and most systems do not allow support staff and users to collaborate on complex issues or give incremental feedback on problems to other teams.
Email systems frequently lack vital integration with other systems such as CRM tools, Portals or the above mentioned ticketing systems. When outages or issues occur, email is often the go to tool to keep stakeholders informed. Yet emails must be sent individually, which is extremely time consuming.
Finally, email can be prone to disruption and misdirection; mobile workers in particular may often be uncertain if an email has reached its destination – and misdirected emails can leak valuable information or sensitive incident details to third parties.
Why Enterprise Chat Can Help
Enterprise chat solves a large number of these problems, in a format already familiar to users; unlike many IT support web portals, most users already have experience with message boards or similar consumer-grade chat apps.
Primarily, enterprise chat apps allow for far easier collaboration within a secure environment. Content cannot be forwarded on to external parties, keeping delicate information secure – and servers can be hosted either in a secure facility or within the four walls of the company offices, ensuring that teams know where their information is at all times. Chat apps are inherently collaborative, allowing support teams to update all important stakeholders in real time with new developments on a particular issue.
Furthermore, chat apps can be more easily linked to CRM systems, cascading communications out to customers affected by problems, for example. These messages can be updated automatically, linking to system updates and keeping everyone in the loop, immediately.
Enterprise chat channels can also be split out and segmented, rather than simply bombarding everyone affected by issues with emails. For example, high priority issues can be assigned their own chat channel and relevant users kept updated in real time.
These apps also tend to be far more usable on the move; rather than having to open each individual email or system application incident data is piped and contained within chat apps themselves and can simply be scrolled through. Workers will not put their organisation at risk accessing the data on personal or corporate mobile devices instead, all communications are contained within the chat app – many of which are already compatible with secure MDM suites like BlackBerry Secure Workspace, MobileIron and Good.
Last but not least all communications are recorded and can be accessed by other teams in the company fostering organisational learning and building and vital knowledge repository into which every employee can tap.
An Integrated Future?
There is little doubt that automation and integration will feature more prominently in the world of incident management and IT support in future. For example, the value of a system which can automatically send out messages to problem-affected stakeholders is tangible in terms of both time-saving and customer retention.
However, in the short-term, organisations should make sure that they are moving away from legacy systems such as email for incident management, which offers neither effective collaboration nor enterprise-grade security. With staff sending and receiving more emails than ever before, a channel which can preserve sensitive information, avoid a deluge of unnecessary communications and provide time-saving integration with other systems is not only desirable but quite simply makes good business sense. It’s time to leave email behind.
by Annekathrin Hase, director of marketing and strategy, MindLink Software
About MindLink Software
MindLink Software, developer of the only purpose-built business critical collaboration platform leveraging Microsoft Lync, allows teams to coordinate and exchange information, knowledge, files, links etc. rapidly across the business. Providing Instant Messaging, Presence and unique persistent Enterprise Chat, MindLink is designed for purposeful collaboration and information sharing.
With features design for business use, it provides mobility, security, compliance and advanced integration with social media and internal systems while facilitating adoption through ease-of-use and innovative features. MindLink is a Microsoft Gold Communications and RIM BlackBerry Enterprise Partner. Its software is fully compatible with Microsoft Lync 2010, OCS 2007R2 and Lync 2013 and can be tried 30 days for free.