Decision Trees

Updated On: Nov 30, 2023

Troubleshooting Process Overview For Better Customer Service

Reading-Time 10 Min

sop adherence for troubleshooting process

Customers have high expectations for quick, efficient, and personalized resolutions to problems they struggle to find the root cause for. In such situations, it is common to find support agents juggling between disparate platforms for information and getting the troubleshooting process amiss, leading to poor compliance standards.

To this end, businesses need to adequately document their Standard operating procedures(SOPs) and equip agents with a ready reference of best practices to meet customer expectations. 

What is the customer service troubleshooting process? 

A customer service troubleshooting process is a framework enlisting the list of tasks needed to fix an issue. It acts as a step-by-step guide for customer support teams to probe through the possible causes of a problem and helps them efficiently take the customer to the resolution stage. 

3 Steps of the customer service troubleshooting process

1. Understanding the problem 

Customers often do not know the exact challenge confronting them, and at other times unexpected situations may come across previously not encountered by agents. The first step in troubleshooting is to understand customers’ pain points and revisit SOPs documents for the next steps. 

2.  Diagnosing the issue 

This stage involves asking customers the right questions, starting with their name and contact information and extending to issue-related questions. Asking the relevant questions helps agents identify the root cause of the problem.

3. Fixing the issue 

After identifying the root cause of the issue, a troubleshooting process guide helps agents reach the final resolution stage and provides customers with actionable tips to fix the problem. At this stage, it is vital to ensure that agents assess the effectiveness of the documented SOPs, share their feedback, and raise their issues with supervisors, if any. 

This helps optimize the troubleshooting processes to meet the evolving contact center challenges.  

Importance of SOPs in the troubleshooting process 

Standard Operating Procedures or SOPs are documented compromising step-by-step instructions to perform a particular task. Organizations compile these instructions to help their employees carry out daily operations in compliance with industry standards. 

SOPs is a document that:

  • Lists internal processes
  • Describes the set of actions to carry out tasks
  • Defines timeline for tasks
  • Determines the expected results 

Here is why SOPs are essential for the troubleshooting process: 

1. Deliver mistake-proof solutions 

  • In customer service, agents are susceptible to making errors if the right information is unavailable at the right time. Recurring agent errors result in poor experiences and high customer churn rates. 
  • SOPs lay down the clear steps an agent needs to take to arrive at the solution. The steps format is clearly defined, leaving no room for subjective interpretations. By following a guided framework, agents can swiftly take the customers to the resolution stage in compliance with industry standards and deliver mistake-proof customer service

2. Create consistent customer service 

  • Different agents have different ways of approaching a customer issue. However, this does not work for customers. They expect uniform responses whether they communicate with an agent by mail, phone call, or live chat.    
  • Well-documented SOPs eliminate inconsistencies by creating a definitive reference source for agents. Irrespective of the channel used by the customer, an agent can look at this ready reckoner for solutions and avoid miscommunication. 

3. Reduces call handling time

  • Scattered information reduces support teams’ efficiency and takes considerable time.   
  • With a SOPs document ready in place, agents save time looking for information in different databases. With actionable information at their fingertips, they can troubleshoot issues faster and improve customer experiences while reducing AHT

4. Helps new agent onboarding and training 

  • Onboarding and training new agents is a time-consuming process and involve hefty costs. Given the dynamic nature of the customer service world, training agents one time and leaving them on their own is risky.
  • With SOPs, organizations can onboard and train new agents faster and get them up to speed to handle different customer problems. Documenting product knowledge, business processes, and best practices helps all agents stay updated with knowledge and take the right direction toward troubleshooting.  

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Ensure SOP adherence for the troubleshooting process with these 4 ways

For many companies, poor information management is a major blocker to ensuring compliance with SOPs. SOPs scattered in disparate files and formats are difficult to trace in times of need, leading to inefficient troubleshooting processes at contact centers. 

Studies suggest improving information accessibility can help organizations save roughly $2 million a month per every 4000 employees. Knowledge management solutions can help organizations create, organize and manage SOPs and supercharge support teams efficiently troubleshoot customer problems. 

Here are 4 ways to ensure SOP adherence with a full-suite knowledge management solution like Knowmax.

1. Define the SOPs clearly

  • The first step is to eliminate data silos and consolidate all the SOPs into a single source of truth. Next, it is essential to identify suitable content formats for different SOPs.
  • Backed by AI, Knowmax’s knowledge base management solution helps platform admins identify the appropriate content format for SOPs. Complex SOPs can be organized into the next best action steps to help support teams in the right direction. At the same time, additional text articles can be linked with the workflow steps for a unified view of all the relevant information. 
  • The bottom line is defining the SOPs clearly, organizing them in relevant formats, and ensuring content interlinking to maximize adherence. 

2. Add visual simulators for accurate troubleshooting     

  • Although quite efficient, long text SOP documents or workflow steps are not enough to complete the resolution process for some troubleshooting issues. Adding relevant visual aids within articles and workflow steps helps support teams to reach accurate solutions faster. 
  • With Knowmax, admins can embed picture guides and videos in any step of the troubleshooting process workflows. Adding visual simulators avoid confusion and fast-tracks the troubleshooting process with accuracy and higher compliance standards.

3. Communicate SOPs across departments and channels 

  • To ensure SOP adherence, all the departments and customer communication channels should access relevant information so customers experience the brand as a unified entity, irrespective of the touchpoint. 
  • Admins can push SOP documents created on the Knowmax platform to all the relevant departments and channels with omnichannel knowledge-sharing capability.

    Troubleshooting process guides can be pushed to self-service channels to empower customers to help themselves and create consistent experiences across touchpoints.  

4. Review and update SOPs regularly

  • Internal processes can get outdated over time as new information adds up rapidly. If SOPs are not updated regularly, it can lead to inadequate customer service. 
  • Knowmax KM solution enables organizations to review and update their SOPs with micro-segmented analytics regularly. These interactive analytics present agent performance against various SOP documents and the time spent on them. SOPs can be revised; new versions can be created and distributed across channels. 

Conclusion

SOPs are crucial for the troubleshooting process at contact centers to drive agent performance and increase customer satisfaction.

Knowledge management solutions help organizations create, organize and manage complex SOPs in relevant content formats for support teams to access relevant information at the right time, resulting in increased SOP adherence throughout the organization.

Jayanti Sabdani

Content Marketer

Writer. Storyteller. Literature Enthusiast. Jayanti leads content marketing initiatives at Knowmax and amalgamates in-depth research, interviewing, and product messaging to craft marketing content. When not working, she can still be found writing ( because that’s what she loves), reading, and trying out different cuisines.

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