The Evolution of Support – Top Customer Support Trends for 2020 and Beyond
Core support practices will persist but Support as we know it will evolve.
The Evolution of Customer Support
Support has been the foundation of post-sales customer engagement for decades. New licensing models and recognition that customer retention is essential has led to enhanced approaches to engage and retain customers. Support must find ways to contribute to the execution of CX and CS strategies and practices. Throughout 2020 we expect to see several key customer support trends play out.
Here are five observations and predictions about the factors that will drive the transformation of support.
Customer Support Trend #1: Support will be asked to take on new customer engagement activities or will relinquish activities to adjacent Customer Success groups.
Support organizations are at a crossroad. They will either need to fully embrace customer engagement activities such as adoption, success planning, account management, customer retention and expansion or consider divesting from these activities and allow success organizations to take over.
When this occurs, Support can focus the entirety of its efforts on enhancing product usability and quality as an interface to product groups though case management and escalation.
Will your future Support organization align closer to Customer Success, or Product Management?
Customer Support Trend #2: Support will be held to account for the delivery and contribution to CX strategic outcomes.
One way or another Support will be held accountable to help drive the attainment of CX strategic outcomes. Transactional metrics will continue, but more emphasis on the impact Support activities have on customers relationships will be essential.
Customer Support Trend #3: Measures of support success will shift from transactional efficiency to retention and growth of account relationships.
First Contact Closure, Time to Resolution, and other transactional metrics will inform about how to increase the efficiency of Support, yet primary Support metrics will increasingly focus on the impact support interactions have on sustaining and expanding customer relationships.
Customer Support Trend #4: The emphasis on NPS shifts to Net Recurring Revenue.
NPS has never been a good Support metric. Yes, it is easy to implement and provides an indication about how a customer feels about a Support interaction, but it also misses so much.
The best way to measure the full impact of a Support interaction and the status of overall relationship is to measure the sustained value of the relationship – if a customer keeps paying you, or paying you more, then you must be doing something right. If you lose a customer, then something is wrong. Chances are that if you lose a customer it is not because of a bad Support interaction.
Each interaction with a customer is an opportunity to reinforce and sustain the relationship. Continue to evaluate customer satisfaction with Support interactions, but do not rely on NPS to tell you that the relationship is okay.
Support must assess its role and be accountable for the impact it has (or can have) on sustaining the value of customer relationships.
Customer Support Trend #5: Deflection as a strategy is out, Prevention is paramount.
Support must switch its mindset to building and sustaining relationships and not try to deflect customers from accessing support. If you want to lower Support demand then you are going to need to engage your product teams to find ways to prevent demand by making products more robust, reliable, and easier to use.
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