We all rely on tech nowadays, but how many technical companies do you encounter who consistently 1) answer your calls without automation, 2) adapt to unfamiliar requests quickly, and 3) actually care about providing solutions?
Very few. But TempWorks is one of them.
At TempWorks Software, the support team -- AKA the people who "fix stuff" -- plugs away 365 days of the year to simplify the business operations of their staffing customers. Last month, they closed the last ticket in the queue (they drew a big, satisfying "0" on the whiteboard) but even more importantly, they heard positive feedback from customers.
Tess Pineda Sagon is Director of Organizational Development at Slingshot Connections, a staffing firm that focuses on core positions in HR and IT, from data analysts to receptionists.
"When I call, I don’t feel as if my request is just going into a great abyss," said Tess. "I feel like when I talk to people like JD, that they’re members of my team. I feel the genuine will and want of each technician that ‘We need to get this fixed for her.’ I feel that they’re hearing me and my cases are important to them."
Kevin Prow, Support Center Manager at TempWorks, will tell you that it took a major overhaul and two more minor "tweaks" to reach this high level of customer service. Last winter, after realizing ticket counts were still in triple-digit territory, he concocted a new vision for the support team that involved splitting them into two groups: one for front-facing customer service (Support Analysts) and one for behind-the-scenes technical fixes (Support Technicians).
"We have found that it takes two distinct types of people to make a successful support team -- those who are focused on customer service and those who are more technically savvy. It was nearly impossible to recruit people who excelled in both skill sets," said Kevin.
Throughout the first half of 2012, the number of outstanding cases dropped. That whiteboard number changed daily. More importantly, though, customers were seeing problems resolved much faster.
"It’s all very seamless," said Tess. "I approach them with something complicated that I think is going to take 2 weeks; it’s closed in 3 days.. And I don’t have to sit on the phone for 20 minutes re-explaining what I already did to three other people."
But the numbers were not falling quickly enough for Kevin. "Year-end was looming again," he said.
So management introduced another tweak: the technicians would no longer be the ones to follow up with the customer after closing the ticket.
"Now the technician gets it unstuck and sends it back to the analyst to complete the follow-up communication," explained Kevin. "And the customer has a central point of contact."
Besides freeing up time for technicians to invest on complex issues, another positive side-effect was that analysts were learning a lot more, since the fixed tickets were now accompanied by detailed notes written by the technician who solved them.
"At TempWorks, the support people have access to the database; they're empowered to fix issues themselves," said Alisha Santoorjian Thunstrom, Support Center Supervisor, citing several examples of competitors like eEmpACT, whose support representatives are unable to fix issues as they arise. Support Center Supervisor Joe Barrato echoed Alisha, saying he sees analysts "wanting to learn" and that TempWorks encourages that rather than reining it in.
Tess sees it, too.
"When you go to support and say, 'I want a tool to do this,' well, coding doesn’t always do that. But they don’t tell me ‘Sorry, you can’t do that’ and hang up,'" she said, mentioning that this kind of apathetic response is common at other partners like her internet provider and credit card company. "Instead, [TempWorks support] asks, ‘What are you trying to achieve?’ and then get back to me and say, 'We can do this for you – it does the things you wanted, but not in the way you suggested...It’s a two-way conversation."
And that two-way conversation is building successful companies, from Slingshot Connections to Manpower Las Vegas.