Is Assisted Support Demand on the Rise – Shift Demand to Self-Help and Automation

Is Assisted Support Demand on the Rise – Shift Demand to Self-Help and Automation

The primary objective of self-help and service automation is to help customers find the information and resources they need quickly and intuitively. Well-designed support web sites, and intuitive automation provide viable alternatives to assisted support.

Self-Help and Automation

Self-help and automated services provide a means for companies to continue to engage with their customers in a low-cost manner. However, self-service is not simply a means to save money.

Although there’s a significant temptation to undertake self-help and automated services as a low-cost alternative to customer engagement through interactive channels, it must not come at the expense of delivering an experience that strengthens relationships with customers.

Self-service and support automation are not simply a means to save money – each interaction is an opportunity to reinforce the relationship and sustain customer loyalty.

Best Practices and Resources

The following articles provide strategies and guidance to implement effective self-help and automation service initiatives.

Best Practices for Support Web Site Design

The primary objective of a support web site is to help customers find the information and resources they need quickly and intuitively.   Well-designed support web sites encourage customers to invest their time to explore and discover the information they need.  This article introduces the elements and practices for effective web support site design.

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The Digital Transformation of Support

The digital transformation of support is defined by an increased use of digital technologies to improve and extend core support processes and enable new service capabilities.   Digital transformation includes human-assisted, self-assisted and fully automated support transactions.  This article defines and introduces key characteristics of the digital transformation of support.

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CX Implications for the Digital Transformation of Support

With the increased reliance and expanded use of web self-service and automation, customer experiences are increasingly shaped digitally. The ability to influence customer behaviors and maintain mindshare in a crowded digital world requires a commitment to providing the right tools and content.  This article highlights the customer experience implications related to the digital transformation of support.

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Service Automation – 7 Essential Practices for Success

Automation of Technical Support or Customer Success functions can yield great returns, yet service and support activities can be difficult to replicate with technology. 

To effectively automate services, it is critical that the underlying processes be fully understood and analyzed to determine their appropriateness for automation. Effective service automation requires a combination of enabling technologies, robust content, and a willingness by customers to use these systems.

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Digital Customer Experiences (dCX)

Many customer touchpoints with your company are conducted digitally through web self-service and automated tools. It is imperative to consider how customer experiences are impacted by services delivered through digital channels.  This article introduces how to define and measure Digital Customer Experiences (dCX).

Read More

Self-Help and Automation – Risks and Rewards

Companies that apply self-service and support automation can yield significant benefits, but not without risks.  This article examines the risk and rewards associated with Self-service and support automation initiatives.

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The Three Most Important Characteristics of a Support Web Site

The primary objective of a support web site is to help customers find the information and resources they need quickly and intuitively.   Well-designed support web sites encourage customers to invest their time to explore and discover the information they need.  This article introduces the three most important characteristics of a web support site.

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Knowledge Management – Defining the Business Need

Successful knowledge management is not achieved by chance, rather it is a function of understanding the scope of the required effort, establishing a clear vision of the expected benefits, and securing the support and resources necessary to execute.  The formulation of a successful knowledge management strategy is based on providing answers to five fundamental questions.

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Beyond Deflection – What to Do with Your “Savings”

Self-help and service automation (e.g. chatbots) provide a means to save money and lower the overall costs of service delivery.  Consider however that savings from deflection represents an opportunity to reinvest to improve service outcomes by reallocating staff to high value activities (e.g. onboarding, adoption, retention, expansion, etc.).  This article introduces the top opportunities to reinvest in service.

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How to Define and Measure Deflection

Using an accurate measure of deflection is imperative.  If not measured correctly it is easy to overstate the impact of self-help and service automation on assisted support demand.

The average rate of case deflection within the technology industry is 23%.  For some companies deflecting 23% of the assisted support demand is extraordinary, while for other companies there is considerable room for improvement. 

This article defines deflection and provides a step by step guide to implement a reliable deflection metric.

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SEE ALL ARTICLES RELATED TO SELF-HELP AND AUTOMATION

Featured: Featured: Digital Transformation Through Support Web Site Design

The digital transformation of support is defined by an increased use of digital technologies to improve and extend core support processes and enable new service capabilities. Self-help tools and content provided through the web are fundamental to support’s successful digital transformation.  This Playbook outlines the five elements of well-designed support web sites.

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Is Assisted Support Demand on the Rise – Shift Demand to Self-Help and Automation

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Effectively Managing Distributed Support Teams

Effectively Managing Distributed Support Teams

Geographically distributed teams are common for many industries and companies, but recent events have created the necessity for more individuals to work from home. For support and service operations that rely on centralized call centers the shift to a distributed workforce introduces new challenges – both technical and administrative. Here are some of the things to consider for effectively managing distributed support and success teams.

From Centralized to Distributed

The chatter of calls centers is distinctive, and the dynamics created by the personal proximity of dozens or even hundreds of service professionals is unique.  Centrally located support teams create opportunities to develop relationships, develop skills and collaborate.

As more companies find that they need to send their workforce home and out of centralized call centers it is important to assure that teams remain focused and effective.  For some, working remotely and being part of a distributed team is new.  Here are some of the things to consider for effectively managing distributed support teams.

Team Objectives

The service mission persists.  While some companies may see a decline in customer demand other sectors will find that they play a critical role in supporting vital operations in health care, logistics, communications, and other industries.   It is imperative that everyone on the team understand the goals and the ways that they will contribute to the attainment of team objectives.

  • Clearly define TEAM GOALS AND OBJECTIVES so that everyone understands the expected level of performance and desired outcomes. Share the big picture to the extent possible so that everyone understands the context for the team’s goals.
  • Set clear INDIVIDUAL EXPECTATIONS with team members so that they know what is expected of them personally.
  • Define the METRICS you will use to measure individual and team performance. Clearly describe to the team and individuals what the metrics are and how they will be used.
  • Expand PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT activities (check-ins, reviews, etc.) to help guide team members to meet their levels of performance. For individual that are new to working remotely there will be some challenges getting adjusted not to mention potential challenges due to infrastructure limitations.
  • Create opportunities to COACH AND MENTOR individuals to help develop skills while working remotely.

Team Dynamics

Members of the team may be separated, but the team persists.  Make certain that you maintain a team dynamic so that all members can work towards common goals. Consider the following:

  • DEFINE THE TEAM by introducing everyone. Although remote, relationships, collaboration and mutual support can persist.  Update team photos in the company directory and if you don’t have one, consider making one.
  • ENGAGE as a team and don’t allow team members to become “out-of-sight-out-of-mind.” Consider a more frequent cadence of team meetings through live meetings – encourage everyone to turn on their video.
  • BUILD TRUST among team members that everyone will do their job and help achieve common objectives. Make certain that each team member knows their role and responsibilities.
  • SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER as the shift from a centralized work environment to a remote location can be challenging for some.

Enablement

The ability for team members to conduct work remotely is important.  Remote teams need access to core systems and tools to communicate and collaborate. Under some circumstances not all team members will be able to perform the same functions they could from within the company’s security infrastructure.  Consider the following:

  • Provide the necessary INFRASTRUCTURE for team members to access key systems.
  • Assure that everyone on the team has the means to COLLABORATE AND COMMUNICATE This may require acquisition of video conferencing technologies and expanded licenses or enabling collaboration features within existing systems.
  • Maintain SECURITY AND CONFIDENTIALITY for regulated industries. The security and confidentiality of data shared during a service interaction is essential. Assure that team members understand this and assure that remote infrastructure can meet required security and confidentiality protocols.
  • Have a PLAN B. If team members cannot gain access to the necessary infrastructure to perform functions previous done within the company infrastructure, consider alternatives. Identify tasks that remote team members can perform with the tools and resources they have (develop new skills, write knowledge base articles, post to social platforms, etc.). 
  • Do what you can to KEEP THE TEAM WORKING.

Customer Expectations

Changes to the way your team works may have implications for customers.  Set realistic expectations with customers if service availability or service levels will be affected.  Consider the following:

  • Let customers know if there will be any changes to SERVICE LEVELS AND AVAILABILITY.
  • Communicate any changes to SERVICES DELIVERY including postponement of onsite engagements, or a request to change from submitting cases by phone to using electronic channels.
  • KEEP CUSTOMERS UP TO DATE and they will be more willing and able to work with you.

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How Productive is Your Support Organization?

How efficient and effective is your support organization? Do you measure how efficiently staff are handling core support activities? Do you meet or exceed industry performance benchmarks? The process of delivering support is labor intensive and costly. It is imperative that you establish and measure support productivity. Learn How.

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When is a Disaster not a Disaster for Support? When you have a plan.

What is your ability to deliver Support if the building loses power? Or if there is a small fire in the kitchen? Or if the roads nearby are closed and people can’t get to the office? None of these things are actually disasters, and all of them can happen for very ordinary reasons. The fact is these and many other situations may disrupt your ability to deliver support to customers. Do you have a plan?

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The problem with organizational silos

Organizational silos create barriers to customer success by inhibiting the levels of coordination and cooperation necessary to retain and grow customer relationships. The hand off from one department to the next creates gaps between expectations set and how they are met. This study reveals how the isolated sales and service silos of the past can evolve to drive Customer Success.

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The Evolution of Support – Top Customer Support Trends for 2020 and Beyond

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.

Related Article:

5 PRINCIPLES FOR SERVICE SUCCESS IN 2020 AND BEYOND

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.

Related Articles:

TIME TO RESOLVE (TTR)

BEYOND SERVICE METRICS – FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS

FIRST CONTACT RESOLUTION (FCR) BENCHMARKS

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.

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USING NET RECURRING REVENUE TO IDENTIFY CUSTOMER SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES AND RISKS

LESS NPS AND MORE HIGH-TOUCH UNDERSTANDING

 

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.

Related Article:

HOW TO DEFINE AND MEASURE DEFLECTION

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A well-defined CX strategy combined with an effective Customer Success (CS) operating model can yield significant and tangible benefits including retention and expansion of existing relationships and the strengthening of your product and service reputations.

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Self-Help and Automation – Risks and Rewards

Companies that apply self-service and support automation can yield significant benefits, but not without risks. This article examines the risk and rewards associated with Self-service and support automation initiatives.

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Chatbots for Technical Support – Are They Working (Survey)?

Chatbots for Technical Support – Are They Working (Survey)?

Self-service and support automation are not simply a means to save money – each interaction is an opportunity to reinforce a customer relationship and sustain loyalty.  The burden of delivering a positive experience now lies with the tools and content we offer.

Do you use chatbots for technical support? 

Are they successful?

Please answer a few very quick questions about your current use (or intention to use) chatbots for technical support.

See You Next Time – This Study is closed.

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*Membership level determines your access to ServiceXRG research and other member services. Paid memberships include access to research and playbooks. Free memberships include access to some reports and discounts to others. Please visit our membership page for a list of available membership programs.

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Is Assisted Support Demand on the Rise – Shift Demand to Self-Help and Automation

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read more

Best Practices for Support Web Site Design

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read more

CX Implications for the Digital Transformation of Support

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read more

The Tangible Impact of CX and Customer Success

The Tangible Impact of CX and Customer Success

A well-defined CX strategy combined with an effective Customer Success (CS) operating model can yield significant and tangible benefits including retention and expansion of existing relationships and the strengthening of your product and service reputation.

 

The Tangible Impact of CX and CS

A CX strategy defines the approach a company will use to influence customers behaviors and perceptions by creating specific customer experiences. A Customer Success operating model promotes practices across the entire customer-lifecycle including landing new accounts; onboarding, success planning; product adoption; health monitoring; retention and expansion.

To learn more about CX and CS please read:

Customer Experience vs. Customer Success – Similarities and Differences

CX Opportunities

A well-defined CX strategy combined with an effective Customer Success (CS) operating model can yield significant and tangible benefits for retention, expansion and reputation.

Login to Access the Full Report

If you don’t have an account, create a free* membership.

Login

*Membership level determines your access to ServiceXRG research and other member services. Paid memberships include access to research and playbooks. Free memberships include access to some reports and discounts to others. Please visit our membership page for a list of available membership programs.

Related Articles

Effectively Managing Distributed Support Teams

Geographically distributed teams are common for many industries and companies, but recent events have created the necessity for more individuals to work from home. For support and service operations that rely on centralized call centers the shift to a distributed workforce introduces new challenges – both technical and administrative. Here are some of the things to consider for effectively managing distributed support and success teams.

read more

The Evolution of Support – Top Customer Support Trends for 2020 and Beyond

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. Core support practices will persist but Support as we know it will evolve.

read more

Chatbots for Technical Support – Are They Working (Survey)?

The ability to provide automated interaction with customers by chat has been available for years. The power and potential of today’s chatbots offers a wide array of customer service and technical support opportunities. For many companies the question is not if they should deploy chatbot automation for technical support, but rather, how to make chatbots successful. Do you use chatbots for technical support and are the successful?

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The Tangible Impact of CX and Customer Success

A well-defined CX strategy combined with an effective Customer Success (CS) operating model can yield significant and tangible benefits including retention and expansion of existing relationships and the strengthening of your product and service reputations.

read more

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