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How and Why Ag Businesses are Centralizing Support

You’re just about to sit down for supper with your family and your phone rings. It’s not the first time Farmer Joe has called you this week and you have a feeling it's another small matter – no emergency just something Joe wants to check off his list for the night. You told him he could call you on your personal phone any time and you’d help, but you’re exhausted from taking calls all day, ready to relax and enjoy the delicious-smelling meal on your plate. You think - “do I really need to answer now or can it wait?”

 

Whether you answer the call or wait, there’s a way to mitigate the whole situation – centralized support.

 

What is centralized support? Centralizing support is connecting customers to one place or team for support. For example, a group of 4-6 employees is assigned to be the support team. Anytime a customer calls, the phone rings to the team and whomever is on call or available assists the customer.  

More and more ag businesses are centralizing their support services and here’s why.  

 

Increased Team Efficiency

Depending on the day and week, some people’s schedules may be swamped while others have less on their plate. Centralizing support allows the team to manage calls and divide them up more evenly to get back to customers faster. Teams can also get through a higher total number of calls this way.  

Scale Team Expertise

It’s not unusual for there to be one person who’s always out in the field with customers, training new employees or helping colleagues who get stuck. These experienced employees tend to get burnout because they’re always the go-to-guy. Without these experts, the business is at a loss. Centralized support helps keep these experts by alleviating the pressure and spreading the workload out over a whole team. The team then uses that expert for the calls where they are needed the most and the rest of the team can learn from them because they are working more closely.

Reduce Employee Burnout

When you’re always on the clock, it’s easy to become agitated when customers call, especially if you’re in the middle of something like supper with your family. The random phone calls can cause a disturbance in the work/life balance and lead to employees becoming burned out. Being the only one who can assist can make it hard to get back to customers when the voicemails keep piling up.  Creating a team approach and on-call schedule will not only foster a more centralized approach, but it will also greatly increase work-life balance and reduce instances of employee burnout. 

Share Visibility of Customer Issues

When customers call, they want answers right away or as soon as possible. Sometimes by the time you get around to responding, they may have either resolved the issue, called someone else for help or caused even more of a problem trying to fix it by him/herself. With a centralized support team, your team members can step in and respond to customer requests if you’re unavailable or the customer has been waiting too long. Sharing the workload and getting customers to the right experts is easier than ever with the ability to assign and re-assign tickets. 

Data and Time Tracking

When each support tech is on their own, it can be hard to track things like response time to customers, the number of issues resolved in a day, or even how many customers are still waiting for a callback. With one centralized support team, tracking the calls is easier to manage and record data on. This data is valuable to help improve support as a whole and can be used to keep track of time spent with each customer. 

Overall Customer Experience

The customer relationship is key, especially in agriculture. Farmers tend to work with the people that they trust to provide the service they need, the way they want it. Since the entire relationship with a customer rides on one employee, the pressure is on to always have the answers and be there for that customer. With centralized support, the pressure is divided out amongst the team and the team can work together to provide the best support possible to the customer.    

#ProTip – Change doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why it is important to talk your customers through the switch. Since customers, especially farmers, aren’t always the most open to change, it’s even more important to prove to them that the change was worth it once you make the switch. Show them that you are still there for them, just in a new and improved way.  
How Can AgriSync Centralize Support in your Business?
  1. Customers are given one hotline to call and AgriSync directs the call to the right employee through ring schedules and a call tree – reducing employee burnout and ensuring customers get an answer to their call.
  2. Time spent on the call is automatically documented in a ticket where all information on the issue can be recorded – helping provide data to monitor your team. 
  3. Each support request is tracked through the ticket system and visible to the entire team – allowing other team members to step in and get the issue resolved faster. 
  4. Although each support request has a clear owner, customer issues are viewed from a team perspective – creating an easier process to solve customer issues and enhancing the customer’s experience. 
  5. Other departments and teams within your business can collaborate using AgriSync, too. For example, when a customer sends an AgriSync about a part it can be transferred to the parts department – increasing the efficiency of interdepartmental communication.

At the end of the day, it’s all about what works best for your business, your employees, and your customers. Thinking about centralizing support in your business? Contact us or watch a 3-minute demo to see how AgriSync can help