Saturday, July 17, 2004

On Customer Support

I will warn everyone now that there will be a tendency to talk about customer service and support, multi-channel management and CRM related topics in this blog. On Customer Support was written by David Kay back in May of this year and published at I just pulled this document out for another project I am working on. The article details four shifts in customer support.
  1. From Product Support to Solution Support - no longer can the support group afford to be isolated from the rest of the product "team" or company. Support, in many cases is the only time you get to talk to your customers. Product development, marketing, sales etc all need to listen. There is also a shift taking place from measuring customer satisfaction ("c-sat") with LOYALTY.
  2. From Reactive Support to Proactive Support - in the past, customers would call for support, give their pedigree information (name, id, etc), open a ticket and then disappear once the problem was solved. The shift is happening where customer information is being gathered and analyzed to identify common threads. The idea is to NOT have a support organization. In this shift, if customer A contacts you with a problem, you can then look at your entire customer base and identify other customers that will or may have the same problem and then proactively contact them to fix it!
  3. From Solving Problems to Improving Products and Knowledge - This means taking the best support agents OFF the phone (solving customer problems) and assigning them to the task of increasing the ORGANIZATION's ability to solve problems.  Use these team members to build the knowledge bases. Use them to perform root cause analysis on problems and feed back solutions to all members of the product team, not just support.
  4. From Just-in-Case Training to Just-in-Time Knowledge Transfter - The speed at which new problems develop is making it next to impossible to pull entire teams together for "training"...especially in a 24/7 world. The idea is to relentlessly build the knowledge base to allow front line agents to adapt on the fly.

Kay states:

Rather than making existing processes more efficient, they redefine the value delivered by the support organization away from the negative (fixing broken products) and towards the positive (increasing the value of the customer relationship). This allows the support organization to drive customer loyalty and profitability, taking a leadership role that rightly belongs to the most customer-facing organization in the company.

Huzzah to that! Those of us who have been and still are on the front lines have been saying this for YEARS.

No comments: