Customer Support Agents Are Hindered by Technology, Research Shows

Customer service professionals are passionate about providing customers with effective support, but many consider the technology they have to rely on to be an obstacle, according to a survey by Dimensional Research.

A whopping 97 percent said they want to provide excellent service, but roughly half of the 300 respondents said they have to sort through irrelevant content while interacting with customers. Many make their own cheat sheets to speed up interactions and provide answers faster, for example.

Diane Hagglund, principal at Dimensional Research, said in a statement that the suprising results nevertheless represent a "huge opportunity."

"This study gives us remarkable insight into a group about which we have a general awareness but lack real understanding. Most people would be surprised to learn that 67 percent of agents chose a customer support role shortly after beginning to work professionally. And 53 percent intend to make it their career. The fact that 85 percent say they face challenges within their support systems highlights the huge opportunity for solutions that make support information more accessible."

According to Dimensional Research's findings, customer service agents say that lacking search capabilities and disparate customer data makes it difficult for them to do their jobs. Plus, agents say they often have to use multiple tools to provide service—93 percent said solvingcustomer problems requires accessing multiple systems or data repositories. In 58 percent of cases, agents have to use two or three systems, while in 35 percent of cases, they have to use four or more. Many report that even identifying the right system to use is a challenge; 41 percent said this process takes too long.

As customer service software providers work to improve their solution suites, it's crucial to get insight from agents on what can be done to improve their experiences, the research revealed. For example, something as simple as giving agents the ability to save results from previous searches could make a world of difference. Almost half of respondents (46 percent) said this functionality would be useful.

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