Single Source of Truth

How a Single Source of Truth Can Transform Your Support Team

Hi, I’m Vince Crighton, and I’ve been the Senior Support Team Lead here at TextExpander for the past two years. I’d like to tell you how having a single source of truth can revolutionize your customer experience.

Have you ever played the telephone game? It’s a game to help teach young kids how to listen carefully and communicate clearly. The kids form a line and take turns whispering a single phrase from one person to another. The last kid in the line says the phrase out loud, and the goal is for it to be the same phrase that was whispered to the first kid.

It sounds easy, but almost every time Telephone is played the final phrase transforms into something entirely different. Telephone illustrates how we all have different minds that interpret information differently.

The human mind skews information in any number of ways. Two people can view the same event and draw both different and wildly inaccurate conclusions. Many criminal convictions have been overturned after discovering that the eyewitness accounts were flawed. Even when we have the best intentions at heart, the truth can be difficult to grasp.

Our brains are sadly unreliable, which is why we need a solid repository of knowledge to draw from, a single source of truth.

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The need for a single source of truth in customer support

You can find the same challenges in support. There’s a lot of inconsistency in customer support, and every support rep has stories of customers who ask for a specific rep by name because they “know” what they are talking about.

Ideally, a single support rep would follow a customer throughout the entire resolution process, but that isn’t always possible. So what makes one rep a better fit for a customer than another?

  • Are they better listeners?
  • Do they have superior domain knowledge?
  • Are they simply more familiar with the customer’s situation?

Everyone on your customer support team has different strengths and weaknesses. How can we smooth those out, highlighting our collective strengths and subduing our individual weaknesses? Here at TextExpander, we use a single source of truth.

What is a single source of truth?

A single source of truth is a repository of shared information that is always up-to-date and accurate, but it’s so much more than that.

A single source of truth can help alleviate individual team members’ weaknesses and strengthen the team through a collaborative effort. We don’t allow ourselves to limit our strengths to just our own work because we address our peer’s weaknesses together.

A single source of truth is a tool or resource that is the one-stop, irrefutable truth and pillar that your support team builds together using each person’s individual strengths that everyone can rely on.

So what are some ways we can create a single source of truth?

  • A single go-to person: What happens when that person is sick—or worse—leaves that company?  Your team could be stuck with gaps in knowledge that never get addressed.
  • Team chat: Chat apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams allow for great learning opportunities but often lead to support reps interpreting information differently from one another and can lead to gaps in knowledge if someone isn’t keeping up with those channels.
  • Internal knowledge base: Definitely a better option, and we use one here at TextExpander. However, the upkeep can be a challenge. Support issues are ever-changing, and we often have to work on the fly, so an internal knowledge base can get outdated fast. This also leaves digesting that information up to the support rep, which can vastly differ between reps and lead to incorrect customer information.
  • Macro Tools, template tools, and text-expansion tools like TextExpander: We use our own software to help our customers. It’s our go-to as a single source of truth. Not only do we use text expansion to train our reps—nearly all our answers to customers in our day-to-day support lives are supplied from snippets.

This allows our customers to receive a standard of support from our team that is leveled between each of our reps. We rely on each other’s strengths to update snippets for customer issues, and new changes or answers are applied quickly.

Leveling out your customer support team

Let me illustrate how we use TextExpander to balance out the members of our support team. We have a great people person on our team, Christa, who is an absolute wordsmith. Her communication skills applied to our support Snippets allows our team to always sound human and personable to customers.

That’s not my strength, but I’m good at writing out the technical steps. With our combined powers, we can help customers more effectively by collaborating on our single source of truth.

Using Snippets as a single source of truth can help support teams to scale quickly, learn on the job, and have confidence in what you’re sharing with customers because you know that single source of truth has been vetted and used by other reps on the team.

While I love collaborating on Snippets, I’m also able to provide my team with high-quality, admin-controlled snippets that only I can work on. This is useful for interactions where certain verbiage is required, and the wrong interpretation from an internal knowledge base can be detrimental.

Thanks to those ready-made Snippets, we can tap other departments for backup if we’re flooded with support requests. And as they use those Snippets, if they see any issues like typos or confusing steps, we can continue to improve it, or even change it on the fly if needed. And then it updates instantly for the next person.

We save a lot of time at TextExpander by using a single source of truth. Our team is small, but we find a way to allow our support reps to work on more than just support. We’re quick to adapt together as a team, and we all use our single source of truth confidently. Confidence in support is important; it leads to happier support reps and customers.

If you aren’t using some Snippets or macros already, I highly recommend you do so. You’ll see a shift in your teams and in your customer’s happiness.

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