One of the biggest predictors of high customer retention and low churn? Great CX and even better customer support. But while most business have nailed level 1 and maybe even level 2 support, level 3 support has often fallen through the cracks.
This kind of support — which often involves technical issues and subject matter experts — is not easy to provide. It's made harder by the fact that there just aren't that many solutions on the market dedicated specifically to it. In addition to all that, it can't be automated, unlike level 1 support.
Despite all of that, though, technical support is vital to get right for any business in the tech space, yet there is a lack of investment into resources that help level 3 support agents deliver the best results.
Understanding support levels
The terms “support levels” and “support tiers” are often used interchangeably. And as we've alluded to above, there are three different kinds of customer support that vary in function and complexity.
What is level 0 customer support?
Levels 1 through 3 customer support involve human help or intervention. Before human intervention comes in, however, the level of customer support is described as 0. Here, users get information via chatbots, help centers and community forums.
It's worth including your technical customer support team at this level to ensure that the information you're putting out there is up-to-date, accurate, and relevant.
If your customers require additional help after reviewing these self-service resources, give them a way to get in touch with a level 1 support agent so they can ask someone for help.
What is level 1 support?
This is the first tier of support provided by lower-level support technicians who don't need to have highly technical or domain-specific knowledge to do their jobs effectively.
Some of the areas and functions that come under this kind of support are:
- Answering clients phone calls
- Collecting customers’ data
- Responding to emails or social media requests that pertain to simple issues
- Conducting questionnaires to investigate CSAT levels
- Escalating support tickets into level 2 and 3 support
- Providing basic product information
- Helping users with account-level settings like passwords, billing etc.
Generally, level 1 support teams offer user solutions guided by standard operating procedures (SOP). Once there are no solutions as per the instructions, level 1 personnel can escalate the case to the next tier up: level 2.
We've gone into greater detail about what level 1 customer support is and given you examples previously, so read that article if you're interested in learning more.
What is level 2 customer support?
Level 2 support is the first level of escalation and enters the picture when a problem cannot be solved by level 1 agents.
The support at this level handles more in-depth troubleshooting and backend analysis.
Initially, a level 2 technician goes through the task handed to them by a level 1 agent and determines the depth of support given to the client.
They also take a look at the support query and how long the customer interacted with the level 1 agent.
After the review, the level 2 agent initiates communication with the user to further analyze the issue before looking into a solution.
If the agent finds no possible solution or the query is highly technical and requires SMEs to solve, they forward the query to level 3 support technicians.
We've gone into much more detail about level 2 customer support before, including examples, so make sure to check that out for a more thorough understanding of level 2 support.
What is level 3 customer support?
This support level frequently requires subject matter experts with domain-specific knowledge. Level 3 support comprises of some of the following specialists:
- Technical support specialists
The support personnel listed above have access to the company's higher-level systems and architecture. They are well-versed in technical troubleshooting and often encounter bugs, relay them to the company's developers and interface with customers to troubleshoot.
Overview of customer support levels
Challenges that companies undergo in delivering level 3 support
There are a number of problems specific to level 3 support, some of which include:
Lack of specialized software solutions
As we mentioned at the start of this post, specialized software solutions for level 3 support are few and far in between. At this level, agents need a way to quickly understand user issues without having to depend on explanations from their customers because level 3 problem are very technical and difficult to convey.
What agents need at this level is a comprehensive suite of solutions that includes:
- Session replays software so they can record user sessions in-app and see behavior, bugs and issues in context
- Console logs so they can look under the hood and see what errors and warnings occurred in any give session at a glance
- Cobrowsing so they can initiate an in-app call with a user, gain control of their screen, and solve problems themselves without having to explain highly technical concepts to their users
Fullview offers all there products: Replays, Console Logs and Cobrowsing.
Lack of tools to log bugs and reports automatically
The bigger your company and the more technical your solution, the more detailed your bug reports. Agents often have to spend hours of their week making them, and that's time they could be using to solve more tickets instead.
Investing in tools, like console logs, so agents can see exactly what happened when a bug occurred can save precious time and resources.
But why do your agents need bug reporting tools?
- To find issues raised by customers earlier
- To corral all issues in one place
- To prioritize issues
- To record the issue and share it with teammates
- To determine who’s responsible for the matter or where to forward it
- To find a solution to the problem
- To do a cross-check and determine whether the issue has been correctly fixed
Fullview gives your product teams and developers all the context they need to start supporting users, debugging and building better products and features.
Customer support workflows not in line with the user journey
Every great CX strategy starts with mapping your customer journey to determine where and when they need support. Bottlenecks and breakdowns are in danger of going unnoticed when they is not done.
So if you haven't built a customer journey, it's time you mapped out every detail. Ensure that you find and describe every touchpoint your customer goes through on your conversion route. Each of these touchpoints needs to give them easy access to customer support, whether that is in the form of a chat box, a phone number or an email address.
And don't forget that each support point must conform to the customer's needs. For instance, if you know that your clients often have question during check out and a lot of them tend to be the same ones, you can program your chatbot to give them answers or suggest relevant articles.
Not meeting the expectations of your users
Like everything else, customer expectations constantly change, and you'll need to understand them clearly to satisfy them.
You can conduct customer surveys, review customer calls and chats, or get direct feedback from the people using your products.
This doesn't have to mean an overhaul of your entire strategy. Ensuring that you're making those small steps day-by-day can go a long way towards improving your CX.
Try to stay one step ahead of your competition. Previously, a simple chatbot was enough. Today, you need an omni-channel system to compete.
Lack of customer centricity
As your business keeps expanding, it's easy to lose sight of customer-centricity, which is the art of placing the customer at the center of your venture. But that would be a big mistake.
In order to remain customer-centric, make sure you're asking for and listening to feedback. Also make sure that different teams at your organization do not become siloed and lose track of what a good customer experience is.
The challenges that level 3 support teams face
Given that this is the hardest kind of support to provide, level 3 teams deal with a number of unique challenges. Some of them include:
Higher average time to resolution
This is a metric most customer support teams are judged by, and the goal is typically to keep ART as low as possible.
After all, the faster you're closing tickets, the more your CSAT is improving and the more tickets your support agents are resolving.
However, while it makes sense to aim to reduce this metric by as much as possible for level 1 and 2 support, level 3 support is often complex and difficult to provide, so expect that your average time to resolution is going to reflect that.
It's not uncommon for some level 3 support tickets to take hours or even days to resolve.
And that's okay! At this support tier, you want to make sure your agents are carefully evaluating every support ticket that comes in and providing comprehensive support.
Siloes between product and support teams
Level 3 customer support teams have the difficult task of aligning with coworkers in product and development to make sure that bugs that are reported by customers are recorded, recreated and fixed. And that these fixes are communicated to your customer base.
It's essential for them to make sure that siloes are constantly monitored and torn down when they arise. But, depending on how your company handles the process of bug reporting and resolution, these siloes can be prolific and difficult to destroy.
Level 3 support software like Fullview can help by bringing all this information under one roof and creating an end-to-end technical support solution that includes support agents, subject matter experts and developers.
We've made sure to include features — like easy sharing, the ability to add team members and different access levels – to make sure that every person at your company is on the same page and working with the same information in as transparent a way as possible.
Level 3 teams often deal with churn-critical issues
In addition to everything else we've just described, level 3 support specialists are often also dealing with issues that are churn critical! And customer churn can make or break your company — especially if you're on a subscription-based pricing model. This is why it's important to invest in your level 2 support team: the right software, the right training and some leeway in terms of metrics like ART can go a long way towards guaranteeing that as few customers as possible churn.
Wrapping things up
Establishing a solid technical customer support team is hard, especially when your organization grows. Developing the structure is the first thing. So make sure you've identified your requirements and circumstances.
Once you've developed a viable support structure, establish how you can continue to assist your support staff in creating a satisfactory customer experience.