Top 7 Tools Every Support Team Needs in 2024: The Future of B2B Customer Service

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In the rapidly evolving landscape of customer support, staying ahead means embracing the latest tools and trends. For enterprise customer support teams, this is not just a matter of keeping up with technology but of setting a benchmark in customer service excellence. As we approach 2024, several key tools have emerged as indispensable for modern customer support teams. This article delves into these tools, offering actionable insights and the latest statistics to bolster your team’s effectiveness.

Top 7 Tools Every Support Team Needs in 2024: The Future of B2B Customer Service

1. Advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems

In 2023, Salesforce reported that CRM software usage increased by 74% from previous years, highlighting its growing importance. A CRM system is no longer just a database of customer interactions.  And now, your Support platform and Sales platform NEEDS to be fully unified.  Modern CRMs, like Salesforce integrated with platforms like Supportbench, offer a holistic view of the customer journey. They provide valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and history, allowing teams to deliver personalized support.

If you are using or can adopt newer platforms, you can integrate your Sales CRM with your customer support software to unify customer data.  You can then use this CRM data to tailor customer interactions and predict future needs.

However, without a robust CRM system, companies risk losing critical customer data, resulting in disjointed and impersonal customer interactions. It can lead to missed opportunities in cross-selling and up-selling due to a lack of understanding of customer needs. Furthermore, without a fully unified CRM, tracking customer interactions becomes challenging, leading to inefficient follow-ups and a potential decrease in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. AI-Powered Support Tools

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, once said, “AI is the ultimate breakthrough technology of our time.” This reflects the transformative impact AI is having across industries, including customer support.  And, Gartner predicts that by 2024, AI will be handling 30% of all customer support interactions. AI-driven tools, such as those offered by Supportbench, are revolutionizing how customer support teams operate. Features like AI-driven summaries, sentiment analysis, and chatbots can significantly enhance efficiency and customer satisfaction.

With a more modern Support platform, you can implement AI chatbots for handling routine inquiries, freeing agents for complex tasks.  You can then use AI for sentiment analysis to gauge customer mood and tailor responses and for predictive analysis to anticipate customer needs and issues.

Conversely, without these, your team may become overwhelmed, leading to slower response times and potential burnout. Additionally, the lack of AI-driven insights can mean missing out on understanding customer moods and preferences, which are essential for personalized support.

3. Dynamic Service Level Agreement (SLA) Management

A study by Information Technology Intelligence Consulting found that 98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000. This highlights the critical importance of responsive and dynamic SLAs in preventing costly service interruptions.

SLAs are critical in setting customer expectations. Dynamic SLAs, a feature that stands out in more Modern Support offerings, allow for flexibility based on specific case scenarios. For instance, tightening SLAs as a customer’s renewal date approaches ensures a higher level of service during critical interactions.

Using dynamic SLAs instead of static ones, you can regularly review and adjust SLAs based on customer interaction data.  You can then use these SLAs as a performance metric for customer support teams.

However, traditional support systems, use static SLAs and these can’t adapt to the varying needs of different customers or situations. This rigidity can lead to inadequate support during critical customer phases, such as renewal periods, potentially resulting in lost contracts or diminished customer trust. Additionally, failure to meet SLAs consistently can damage a company’s reputation and lead to customer churn.

4. Comprehensive Knowledge Bases and Self-Service Tools

A report from American Express found that 60% of US consumers prefer an automated self-service, such as a website or mobile app, for simple customer service tasks. This statistic underscores the importance of robust self-service options in customer support. A comprehensive Knowledge Centered Service (KCS) knowledge base is essential. Tools that allow customers to find answers quickly, like Supportbench’s website widget, not only improve customer satisfaction but also reduce support workload.

This will allow you to regularly update and expand your knowledge base with relevant content.  You can then promote self-service tools to customers as a first line of support and monitor usage patterns to identify areas for improvement in self-service tools.

But, in the absence of a well-structured knowledge base and self-service tools, customers may experience frustration due to the inability to find quick solutions to their problems. This leads to an increased volume of support requests, overwhelming your support team. Moreover, the lack of self-service options can negatively impact customer satisfaction and their perception of your brand’s efficiency.

5. Omnichannel Support Platforms

Customers expect seamless support across various channels. Shep Hyken, a customer service expert and author, stated, “Consistency is the foundation of trust. And that’s what builds a brand.” This is particularly relevant in the context of providing consistent, seamless support across various channels.  An omnichannel approach integrates multiple channels – email, chat, social media – into a unified interface. Supportbench’s ability to manage all email addresses in one place and offer a chat widget exemplifies this trend.

Although, failing to provide omnichannel support can lead to a disjointed and frustrating customer experience. Customers expect seamless interactions across various platforms; without this, there’s a high risk of losing customer engagement and satisfaction. Additionally, single-channel support limits the reach and accessibility of your support team, potentially alienating a segment of your customer base.

6. Customizable and User-Friendly Dashboards

Data is only as good as its presentation. According to a survey by Domo, 83% of IT professionals agree that improved visibility into their business data would help make better decisions. This statistic emphasizes the importance of customizable and user-friendly dashboards for effective decision-making.

Customizable dashboards, as offered by Supportbench, allow teams to have critical information at their fingertips, presented in an intuitive, easy-to-understand manner. This customization aids in quicker decision-making and a more streamlined workflow.

Using a modern Support platform, you can customize dashboards to display the most relevant data for each team member and regularly review and update dashboard configurations to reflect changing needs.

But, without customizable dashboards, teams might struggle to access relevant information quickly, leading to delays in response and action. Inflexible dashboards can result in a lack of clarity and focus, hindering the team’s ability to prioritize and address critical issues effectively. This can impact the overall efficiency and performance of the support team.

7. Robust Data Security and Privacy Measures

With the increasing emphasis on data privacy and security, highlighted by regulations like GDPR and CCPA, it’s vital to have robust security measures. Renowned cybersecurity expert Bruce Schneier wisely noted, “Data is a toxic asset, so why not throw it out?” His quote is a stark reminder of the risks associated with data storage, particularly in the context of customer data and the importance of robust security measures.  Role-based security, a feature of Supportbench, ensures that sensitive customer data is only accessible to authorized personnel.

This will allow you to regularly update security protocols and educate your team on best practices.  You can more easily ensure compliance with international data security and privacy regulations.

However, in the current digital landscape, failing to prioritize data security and privacy can have severe consequences. It can lead to data breaches, resulting in loss of customer trust, legal repercussions, and significant financial losses. Moreover, non-compliance with data protection regulations like GDPR can lead to hefty fines and damage to the company’s reputation.

The Crucial Role of Supportbench

In this context, Supportbench emerges not just as a tool, but as a comprehensive solution that addresses these potential pitfalls. Its features are designed not only to empower customer support teams but also to safeguard against the risks associated with not having these essential tools. By choosing Supportbench, enterprises are not just enhancing their customer support; they are actively protecting their business from the adverse effects of an inadequate support infrastructure.

The Bottom Line

The role of customer support teams has evolved from problem-solving to playing a strategic role in customer engagement and retention. The tools discussed are not just about keeping pace with technology; they are about leveraging it to create a competitive edge. In the dynamic landscape of 2024 and beyond, these tools will be the difference between a good customer support team and a great one.  And, the absence of these seven essential tools in a customer support strategy can have far-reaching negative impacts on a business. From diminished customer satisfaction and loyalty to potential legal and financial repercussions, the risks are substantial. Supportbench stands at the forefront of this evolution, offering an all-encompassing solution that encapsulate these trends while driving efficiency and customer satisfaction.

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