Chief Content Officer,
Techstrong Group

As more organizations rely on software to engage customers, the divide that exists between customer service teams and internal IT teams is starting to become more apparent to end customers. Whenever there is an issue, most customer service teams don’t have a lot of visibility into the root cause of the problem, so they are not able to give customers any real sense of how long it might take to resolve an issue. The truth is they often don’t even know if somebody is actually working on the issue at all.

The divide between IT and customer support teams may finally be about to narrow. PagerDuty has generally made available status pages that promise to make it simpler for technical teams and customer support professionals to update one another. PagerDuty Status Pages will provide a single place for customer service representatives to monitor issues and incidents in real time rather than waiting for IT teams to hopefully remember to share an update after an incident has been resolved, says Hadijah Creary, a product marketing manager for PagerDuty. “We need to bring the customer service agent into the DevOps world,” she says.

This add-on to PagerDuty Operations Cloud should help minimize the level of friction that currently exists between the teams responsible for building and maintain digital services and customer support teams that handle inquiries from customers any time those services are disrupted, she adds.

In the rush to digitally transform business processes, one of the issues that frequently gets overlooked is customer service. In many instances, the primary reason a digital process has been created is to shift much of the customer experience to a digital process that promises to be simpler to support and easier for end users to engage. However, disruptions to digital services are frequent given all the dependencies on application code and underlying infrastructure provided by both by internal IT teams and third-party partners such as cloud service providers. The probability a digital service despite all best intentions will experience a disruption is high.

Rather than ignore that probability, the better part of valor is to ensure the digital experience includes a support call process that enables customer representatives to share more than an apology. Most end customers realize IT is often fragile. While the fact that a service may have been disrupted is annoying, the lack of meaningful communication about when that service will be restored can be quite maddening. It’s that frustration that often leads customers to switch services rather than the initial disruption itself.

Just as critically, it’s that sense of helplessness that contributes so much to high turnover rates among customer service teams. The more frustrated customers vent, the higher the emotional toll. Even the most committed customer service professional is going to have a breaking point.

The truth is that a lot of the engineers that construct digital services don’t have a lot of empathy for the end user. Restoring the service is an engineering challenge that will be addressed as soon as technically possible. The issue is that no one other than them has any idea how long that might take, and most of them are too busy working on the issue at hand to take the time required to update anyone else, no matter how much the end user and the custom service representative assisting them might appreciate the effort.