Breaking up with legacy systems

Peter Zeinoun
Director, Support Solutions
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Customer service is quickly becoming a very competitive industry. Mostly because today’s customer is grading the worth of a brand – not only by the quality of the product or service being sold – but by the support they receive.  It’s the main way companies can differentiate themselves from the competition.  The best way to stay ahead in this new era?  It’s a combination of having the right people, processes and technology. 

From a technology standpoint, customer service has evolved quite a bit from the days of the traditional call centre.  Customers are looking for personalised support on various channels and brands need to be able to accommodate those requests quickly and seamlessly.  And whatever channel they choose, customers want the same experience across the board and do not want to be transferred from channel to channel, agent to agent.

Customers are also exposed to other brands that deliver a level of support that many businesses cannot even dare to dream of. With companies like Apple and the level of personalisation, attention to detail and deep relationship the bring to the table, it can often feel like an impossible job for many other businesses to compete. You don’t have to be a technology company to be impressed by this level of service and to wonder how your business would ever perform at that level.

Luckily, it’s not as difficult as it seems, especially with the right tools in place in coherence with customer needs.  But this is where legacy systems fall significantly short.  Here are some of the reasons it’s probably time to break-up with your legacy system:

  • A Focus on Un-Intelligent Automation: Most legacy systems were designed to automate the process – not provide the personalized, seamless experience customers are looking for.  These infrastructures are inflexible and cumbersome and don’t easily allow support across channels including web, mobile and apps.  These are the tools today’s customer is looking for.  Automation can be a good thing for customer support.  Being able to automate low-value, repetitive questions can save time and money, but it requires an upgrade in automation technology.  Next-generation automation technologies are intelligent, self-learning and are designed to ensure a human agent is easily accessible if a question is not answered to satisfaction.
  • Lack of Purpose-Built Support Solutions: There are a lot of organisations that use solutions that weren’t purpose-built for customer support – like collaboration tools for example. It’s a quick fix sure, but ad-hoc solutions have their own problems.  At the end of the day, those tools are focused on effective collaboration in the workplace and not built for a customer support team.  Instead companies need to be looking for solutions that can grow with the business, offers specific remote support features that will create an elegant experience that creates long-term customer loyalty.  Building your support strategy on the wrong foundation can be as detrimental as not having one at all.
  • Ignorance is Not Bliss: Most legacy systems do not have the capabilities to collect and harvest data in a meaningful way.  Data is becoming more important than ever in the customer support space.  Knowing what your customers are seeking help for, how they are asking for help (web, phone, apps, self-service) and when (are they a new user who is having trouble onboarding or an existing user who needs to upgrade?) allows support reps to proactively approach a problem with a personalized experience the moment they engage with the customer.  Additionally, the more data that can be collected and analysed the better support agents will know the end customer and the better they will be at proactively serving them.  This leads to much quicker resolutions and happier customers.

Breaking up with legacy systems is not always easy – but it is a necessary evil.  Even when it is tempting and convenient carry on with “what’s been working”, customers and competitors will remind you that the “old way”, is just not sustainable in today’s landscape.  Understanding the issues with legacy systems is the first step.  The next one?  Working to adapt your environment so that agents are in a position to deliver a customer support experience that creates brand loyalty and keeps you ahead of the competition. 

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