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5 reasons to exempt developers from customer support & let your support team do their job

By

Eugenia Evtushenko

It's vital to ensure a high level of customer support service for two main reasons: 

  1. Your competitors will quickly replace you if you don’t treat your customers with due care and “at high speed”.
  2. It’s 5 times cheaper to retain your current customers than obtain the new ones.

But who exactly and why should be responsible for addressing customer support issues in your company – dedicated support specialists or software engineers involved in product development? Are there any cases when it really makes sense to involve developers in customer support?

You shouldn’t involve developers in customer support. Here’s why:

Below are the main reasons why you should dispense your development team from product support.

1. Keep up with the growing customer requirements 

With the growth of your product, your customer support expectations and requirements scale. You’ll need to keep up with their new needs, and the increasing number of feature requests. Your software engineers will need to dedicate their whole time to product development rather than deal with support tickets. To avoid customer dissatisfaction, you must make sure that there are no interruptions in the project deadlines occurring because of developers being too busy with support.

2. Decrease response time

Developers mustn’t juggle between support and development. Since software engineers should be 100% focused when coding to stay productive, it’s possible for them to answer support queries at specific time only, for example, somewhere at the beginning or the end of their working day. Thus, if you assign customer support to developers, there’s a high possibility that your customers will need to wait at least 1-3 hours to get the solution they asked for. 

3. Maintain developer morale

Developers were not trained to work in a support service. The software development process takes a lot of energy and resources. Adding customer support to your development team's set of tasks will lead to their lost interest towards the product itself, and their missed desire to work on the project at all. 

4. Avoid interruptions

It’s almost never a good idea to mix product development with support. Product development is based on estimates and milestones, while support is very unpredictable and never planned. It’s an interruption-based process. To avoid any interruptions, developers had better put their headphones on, and be shielded from customer support. For any knowledge worker, it takes about 30 minutes to get focused once he or she has been interrupted. So try to count how much valuable product development time is lost if your software engineers have to repeatedly stop coding to turn to customer support.

5. Make your customer support team more expert

With your company growth and your product development, the need to have a helpdesk solution accessed by all your customer support team members also rises. A common customer support app will allow all the support team to be on the same page, keep track of all the issues, and organize the entire support history in one place.

Luckily, there’re a lot of customer support and helpdesk tools available today that empower your support team, and allow them to keep and monitor all the tickets in one place. Among the well-known solutions simplifying support are Zendesk, FreshDesk, HubSpot CRM, Trello, Crisp, HelpScout, Notion, Intercom, Asana, Zapier, Slack, and a huge number of others. 

Usually, companies use several tools to provide support to their clients, for instance: Crisp – as a live chat, HelpScout – for email support, WhatsApp – for messaging and toll-free calling, HubSpot CRM – as a ticketing system, Trello – for time management. 

But why switch between all these disconnected systems thus slowing down the support process?

All-in-one support solution

All these tools can be combined together under one UI using such customer support building platforms as UI Bakery. It allows you to build a support tool, tailor and brand it as you need, connect any third-party services to the created app right within the platform. You can integrate your internal support tool with HubSpot to pull in ticketing data, Slack – to establish stable communication, Trello – to organize your project, and combine a number of other third-party services into one solution for multi-channel support.

With a customer support solution you’ll build, your support team will be able to:

  • Keep all the customer-related data in one place to timely address your customers' issues.
  • Route user requests, messages, phone calls, emails to a proper party.
  • Generate real-time reports and customer support KPIs and metrics to keep all the involved departments up-to-date.
  • Track your users’ previous activity to understand the nature of their questions better and solve them faster.
  • Monitor all the events within one app to find data-driven solutions to any issues.
  • Get an intuitive ticketing application with the established understandable workflows.
  • Automatically assign each customer ticket, put it on the waiting list, verify, and communicate the solution to the customer later. 

When you could involve developers in customer support

Let us stress: your software engineers should never act as front-line support. They must only be able to support their code when needed, and deal with the most complicated queries.

Generally, if you run a small business, and your product is at its early stage, it’s reasonable to make developers responsible for addressing customer support since:

  • You save costs on hiring a dedicated customer support specialist.
  • You save time on training a separate support team.

Here are some other situations when involving developers in customer support makes sense:

  • Newcomers. The fastest and easiest way for a software engineer joining your team to understand how the product works and see it from the customer’s perspective is to participate in the customer support process. Developers’ participation in support at the very start leads not only to better software engineering but also to emotional attachment to the product.
  • Especially complex tech issues. When a customer reports on a problem, the solution for which definitely involves a developer, it’s better to avoid “to and fro” between development and support teams. Such issues should be handled by software engineers from the very beginning to save your customers’ nerve cells and your time. A dedicated customer support team would slow down the solution delivery in this case.
  • Product veterans. With the development of a product, developers might start feeling disengaged from the product in its entirety. This usually happens since development teams in big product companies are usually divided into silos, and each silo is responsible for delivering a particular set of software features. To maintain your developers’ interest, it’s better to superficially involve them in customer support from time to time to make sure they still have a clear picture of how customers interact with the entire product. 

A final caveat

If you’re at the beginning of your product development journey, involving developers in support could be a right decision.

However, it’s impossible to sustain a high level of customer satisfaction and a high development speed with the increase of the interest towards your product and the growth of a number of customers. Then hiring a dedicated trained customer support team is an inevitable next step. And UI Bakery with its internal tool development capabilities is perfectly designed to equip your team with a customer support solution built on top of your database and having the exact set of features you need. 

Combine your live chat, SMS support, email support, calling, ticketing system, time management, and all the other separate services you use into an all-in-one customer support solution.

May 12, 2021

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