Shep Hyken\'s Customer Service Blog

Amazing Business Radio: Jackie Gonzalez

Tools of the Trade: Learn the Tools Needed to Make a Great Customer Support Center

Discover the best tools and software to provide a great customer experience.

Shep Hyken sits down with Jackie Gonzalez, Vice President of Operations at PATLive to discuss the best tools and methods for a customer support organization.


Top Takeaways:

  • First, some background on PATLive. Some third-party support centers employ thousands of agents, many of whom are overseas. PATLive agents, however, are all located in Tallahassee, Florida. These agents are trained to be like employees of the companies they represent. They provide their clients’ customers with a personalized experience.
  • Before choosing a tool or software for a support service, an organization must evaluate it for functionality, cost, difficulty, security standards, and other objective factors. With how much tools have changed, however, there are more higher-level factors to consider, including a balance between a tool’s functionality and the message and brand of an organization.
  • Evaluating the internal tools in addition to the external tools is very important. If the internal tools being used are outdated or difficult to use, it creates a negative in-house operation and frustrates employees. These frustrations can, in turn, lead to a negative customer experience.
  • Gonzalez shared eight tools PATLive uses that have improved their support center operation:
    1. KnowledgeOwl: a knowledge management tool that keeps internal information organized in one place
    2. Articulate 360: lets trainers quickly create online courses that are used to train employees
    3. Slack: allows for easy communication and collaboration between team members
    4. Trello: a project management tool allowing team members to organize and prioritize information
    5. LiveChat Inc.: a live chat software tool allowing agents to chat with customers
    6. Formstack: allows anybody to create an online web form to collect information and convert into workflows
    7. Sprout Social: a social media management tool
    8. Tresta: a phone system that records calls for quality assurance purposes
  • Though tools are necessary for customer support, you cannot let tools get in the way of creating a good employee and customer experience. To engage another person on a personal level, the tool should just be in the background for additional support. Traditional customer service principles must be the priority.


  • “The employee experience is almost more important, because it  trickles right on down the line to the customer.” – Jackie Gonzalez
  • “More and more customers are moving towards social media and chat tools for customer support.” – Jackie Gonzalez
  • “Never let the tool rule.” – Jackie Gonzalez
  • “Regardless of the technology tools we use, at the end of the day, I am still a person and my customer is still a person, and I am still trying to engage that person on a personal and emotional level.” – Jackie Gonzalez


Jackie Gonzalez is the Vice President of Operations at PATLive, the number one rated answering service since 1990. PATLive has a team of live receptionists who ensure great customer service.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. How do you train customer service agents?
  2. What tools are best for customer service agents?
  3. What customer service tools are best for call centers?
  4. What criteria should be considered when evaluating customer service software and tools?
  5. How do tools and software affect an organization’s brand?
  6. How can software help customer service agents provide better support?
  7. How can you stay engaged with your customers?

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