Think back to the last time you contacted customer service. Was the rep you talked to able to immediately resolve your issue? Were they able to pull up your information quickly, or did they have to ask you to provide an order number or identification details? Did you get bounced to multiple reps, and have to repeat your security answers each time?
Customer service interactions can make or break a business, and these days, people expect even more from customer service. Customers expect to talk to knowledgeable reps who have their information on hand and can take action to resolve issues quickly. Nothing is more frustrating for a customer than to call in and have to repeatedly explain an issue, or even worse, realize that the representative doesn’t have the ability to address your issue.
Successful businesses are able to equip their customer service teams with all of the information they need, including customer details, previous order history, and prior customer service interactions. They’re able to build trust with their customers by demonstrating capability and knowledge; their reps say things like “I see you contacted us about this issue last week and my colleague Mary assisted you. Are you still experiencing issues?”. The best businesses take it a step further, and equip their team with the tools they need to resolve customer issues immediately.
But great customer service isn’t easy
For many companies, achieving this level of customer service isn’t an easy or simple task. Today, much of the data your support reps need isn’t available in business applications like a CRM. Instead, a lot of that information is locked away in your company’s database, and only engineering holds the keys. This results in customer service teams not having access to the data they need, nor the tools necessary to interact with that data to resolve issues.
Companies try to deal with this in one of two ways:
Option 1: Companies build a data pipeline from their databases into a business app like Salesforce, allowing customer service teams to view and interact with the data they need.
While this option may improve the situation, it requires engineering resources, both upfront and on an on-going basis. Initially, you’ll need to invest engineering time and effort into creating the data pipeline. Going forward, you’ll need to dedicate on-going resources to maintaining the pipeline and retooling everything as your business continues to evolve. There may be limitations on what data can be transmitted and where that data can be stored. You also run into issues down the road, as any information edited within your business app falls out of sync with the data within the database. This results in no one single source of truth in your datasets, leading to further confusion and difficulties for your support teams.
Option 2: Companies develop their own custom tools in-house to enable their customer support teams.
While this seems like the best option in order to provide the exact tools teams need, this option is not feasible for many companies. It requires an even larger commitment of engineering resources than the first option, and customer service projects almost never receive that level of engineering commitment. In the rare case that engineering resources are made available, only the absolute minimum of time and effort is allocated. In fact, you’ll often find that these projects aren’t even completed, as engineers are pulled away to work on other core customer-facing projects. Even when the tools do get built, the lack of time and resources allocated result in poorly designed and difficult to use tools that were hacked together quickly.
In-house tools also run into maintenance issues: they tend to get out of date quickly as your business evolves, requiring continuous engineering investment to keep them up to date and useful as your company grows. As you get larger, adding features like roles and permissions becomes necessary, another massive engineering initiative, as providing unfettered access to customer data poses a real risk to your business.
Internal provides a new alternative
Internal is a powerful new way to create tools on top of your data without engineering effort. Customer support and other non-technical teams can use Internal to access the data they need, make changes, and even create new tools to resolve customer issues. With Internal:
- As soon as you connect your first data source, you instantly get your first tool, the admin console, with zero configuration. This tool gives support teams access to view the data in your system.
- You free up engineering resources to work on core customer-facing projects, since internal tools can be built by non-technical teams without code or SQL.
- Your tools are easier to update, partly because Internal automatically syncs any changes in your data sources, and also because you no longer need engineering to make every little change in your tools.
- You maintain a single source of truth for your data, since Internal’s tools layer on top of your existing data sources and data is never replicated and piped into a different system.
- You have full control over which support reps can view and edit specific fields, ensuring customer data is handled with care.
Once Internal is up and running, you have a number of customization options to make Internal even more powerful.
- Add quick action buttons to resolve customer issues like password resets, refunds, and order updates. Mix and match components like tables, forms, and buttons to create custom tools that work exactly how you want them to.
- Add more data sources, including from integrations like Zendesk, so you can view data across multiple systems to create complete views of your customer (such as combining their support ticket history from Zendesk with their order history from your database).
- Customize table & record views of your data and define new relationships across data sources to make it simpler for support teams to view the data they need.
- Set up Tasks to be triggered when data within your database changes, allowing you to codify support procedures and enabling your support team to get ahead of issues.
Let’s take a look at a user record within a fully customized admin console. In the Tool Kit, you’ll see that action buttons have been created to Suspend User, Reset Password, and Edit Address — all of these enable a user to perform common customer service actions. Related records have been embedded into this customer profile, allowing support agents to easily reference the customer’s previous orders and prior Zendesk tickets in a single place. Other related records, like customer notes stored in Google Sheets, Billing, or Refunds are also easily accessible.
In addition to fully customizing your admin console, you can also build entirely new tools within a Space in Internal. Let’s check out a refund tool that’s been built in a dedicated Space:
This tool allows customer service reps to initiate a refund. They can search to find the appropriate customer in the customer table; clicking on a customer will filter the Order History table to show only that customer’s prior orders.
A rep can select the order that needs to be refunded and hit the Refund button, allowing them to fill out a form with the refund amount, reason for refund, and additional information. The Refund button can be configured to work with your existing code to perform complex actions like emailing the customer a refund notification, as well as executing the refund via your payments service.
With Internal, you can create the tools you need for customer support without engineering effort. Let’s talk about how we can help your business — contact us to schedule a demo. Want to try it for yourself first? Sign up for a free 14-day day trial here.