How to Help Your Team Switch to a New Customer Support Software
Getting your team on board doesn’t have to be hard.
So, you’ve realized that email doesn’t allow you to provide great support anymore.
You’ve gone through all the best options for support software out there and picked the one that fits your needs best.
Now, it’s time to get your team on board.
Ideally, you’d have consulted your support agents (if not your entire team) when choosing a software to begin with, but that doesn’t mean that the switching process itself won’t be a bit of a rocky climb.
A change like that can be scary, especially if your team has been using the same solution for support for a long time. However—you can make it easier.
Today, we’re going to talk about how to help your team understand the benefits of switching to a specialized support software and make the change as painless as possible.
Understand the Apprehension
First of all, you need to understand why some people might be hesitant or nervous about the process of switching to a new support tool.
The healthiest mindset to have is to assume the best case scenario when it comes to difficult situations or changes.
So, for example, instead of assuming that someone is resisting because they’re lazy or uncooperative on purpose, try to think about the real root issues that might be causing it.
There are two main types of reasons for apprehension when it comes to switching to a new software:
The first kind is closely connected to your team members’ personal sense of accomplishment:
- They’re worried that they won’t be able to learn the ropes fast enough and will be left behind
- They don’t see what’s in it for them on a personal level
...and the other side of it is not fully seeing the general, big picture benefits of the switch:
- They don’t see how the new solution is better than the old one
- They don’t see what the benefit is for the company’s bottom line
If you think about it, all of these issues are completely understandable.
Your agents either want to perform well and are worried that they might not be able to with the new solution, or they just aren’t familiar enough with the features and benefits of the software to fully realize its potential.
Now, let’s talk about how you can take all these concerns and turn them around.
Make Them Feel Safe
The first thing that needs to be done is assuring everyone in the team that the complexity of switching to a new tool is understood.
This means that nobody should feel like they’re expected to miraculously become an expert at it overnight.
Especially if you’re coming from using email as your support tool, learning to use a new software takes time—and everyone needs to know that this time is given to them.
The best way to assure a no-panic onboarding is doing it very, very gradually, instead of switching overnight and expecting everyone to go cold turkey immediately.
Here’s the process:
- Announce that you’ve chosen a new software and link to it.
- Schedule a meeting with your team—the agenda being introducing and discussing the new tool.
- Have the meeting demonstrating the software and what it can do (this needs to be done by someone who knows it really well—fumbling around just causes insecurity).
- Discuss. Ask if anyone in the team has immediate questions or concerns.
- Invite everyone to sign up and play around for a few days before actually switching.
- Hold another short call or meeting to ask if anyone has questions.
- Switch over completely.
- Keep checking back to see if anyone’s having issues.
This whole gradual process shouldn’t only exist in your head, but should also be communicated clearly to the whole team.
Seeing that they will be helped through everything and given plenty of time to adjust will ease their mind before they even get into it.
Explain What’s in It for Them Personally
Rather than expecting people to give you what you want, start by understanding what they want.
Helping them get that is the best way to get what you want from them.
Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn't think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn't bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: "Wouldn't you like to have that?"
Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?
Think about the “worms” for your team members—and not on a company level. On a personal level, what do they want?
There’s a good chance that everyone on your support team wants to:
- Be productive and get more done
- Gain new, useful skills
- Feel valued and appreciated by their team members
So, take those things and explain how a good piece of support software can help achieve them.
Productivity—a tool with specialized support features will eliminate a lot of repetitive and time-consuming tasks, which will allow them to get more done and feel great about it.
Learning—switching to a new tool and becoming an expert at it will give them valuable experience as a support specialist and make similar switches and processes a piece of cake in the future.
Feeling valued—getting more done and collaborating more efficiently will benefit the whole company, and it won’t go unnoticed.
Letting your team know that their personal happiness and productivity was not one step behind from company goals in general when deciding to make the switch will help put them in a more accepting mindset—if not get them excited about it.
Map out the Specific Benefits
“How is it better than what we were using before”?
This is one of the main things your agents might be wondering. And it makes sense—if the new solution isn’t clearly better than the old one then… why even switch, right?
To make sure everyone understands the main benefits of your new software, you need to communicate them as clearly as possible.
There’s two kinds of things to talk about:
- Pain points you had with your previous solution (and how the new one wipes them out)
- Features the new solution has that the old one didn’t have to begin with (and why they’re awesome)
First of all, talk about the struggles your support team had with whatever you were using before, and how the software takes care of them.
With Gmail, we had incidents where multiple agents replied to the same customer because there was no easy way of knowing if the issue was already being handled or not.
With Groove, you can immediately see if an agent has already been assigned to a ticket or is currently responding to one so you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
And then highlight things that the support software can do that your team might have not even thought about.
Groove has reports which show us some of the most important customer support metrics such as average reply time and customer satisfaction ratings.
This means that we can see how we’re actually doing when it comes to support and actively working on improving our efficiency as a team.
There will be plenty of things included in both of these sections. Make sure to write them down in a document as well as discuss them in person with your team—ideally when introducing the tool, before they even start using it.
Making the specific benefits of the software well known to everyone means that they’ll go into using it with a much more positive mindset.
Explain How It Affects the Company As a Whole
The fact is, that exceptional support is incredibly valuable to any company—both when it comes to customer loyalty as well as the actual bottom line.
In research on actual customer transactions published in the Harvard Business Review, researchers found that among thousands of customers studied, customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.
Basically—a better operating customer service team = better customer experience = mo’ money.
This all circles back to the benefits of switching to a customer support software.
By clearly defining the benefits that the new solution will provide, you can explain how the customer experience will be that much better, too.
Better collaboration options = less mishaps with double replies (or even worse—no replies at all)
Better analytics = better overview of customer happiness and how to improve it
Better automation features = faster replies to customers and less busy work for your team
Providing great support to your customers is first and foremost about investing in a relationship with them.
But that doesn’t mean that your company and its interests should fall to the background.
By helping customers get the most out your product and service through amazing support, you create an experience they’ll be willing to pay for.
Start With Honey, Not Vinegar
Getting your team aboard a new customer support solution doesn’t have to be a pain in the ass—but you have to play it right.
Figure out what your team is thinking, what they want and what they’re worried about, and approach all of it in a gradual, supportive way.
Once everyone is on the same page about the clear benefits of switching over—both on a personal as well as company level—you’ll be good to go.
What did you struggle with most when switching support solutions and how did you overcome it? Tell us in the comments!