How would you rate your visibility into future Support demand?
Your understanding of how demand for Support will change is critical to planning, both short-term and long-term.
Factors that influence Support demand
The rise and fall of Support demand can reflect both positive and negative performance indicators for companies. Rising support demand from increased sales are likely to be considered positive while lower support demand resulting from high churn is a negative indicator.
What Drives Increases in Support Demand
High Support demand growth influencers
Factors that contribute to high growth in Support demand include:
- Aggressive sales and marketing initiatives to bring on new customers
- Changes to products that introduce more complex capabilities
- Reduced product quality
- Efforts to reduce churn and retain more customers
- Initiatives to encourage customers to increase product adoption and use
- Little to no effective efforts to prevent support demand or increase customer self-sufficiency
Sustained Support demand influencers
Factors that contribute to sustained Support demand include:
- Moderate growth in customer base
- Initiatives to reduce support demand through self-help, improved product quality, and enhanced customer training
Declining Support demand influencers
Factors that contribute to a reduction in Support demand include:
- Loss of customers (churn)
- Customer disengagement—they own the product but use it less.
- Product performance and/or usability improvements
- Efforts to build customer product proficiency
- Effective self-help initiatives
- Proactive and preventive care to reduce support issues
Conclusion and recommendations
While it is essential to understand how Support demand will change in the year ahead, leaders must always keep their fingers on the pulse of Support demand if they expect to remain prepared to respond to customer needs. Factors that influence support demand may be tied to specific Support initiatives or originate beyond the control of Support—that is, within Sales, Success, Marketing, or Product Development groups.
As you take on the necessary work of Support demand forecasting, consider the following recommendations:
- Establish a realistic forecast for new Support demand based on Sales projections.
- Examine your company’s product road map to identify any product changes that will increase customers’ need for Support.
- Project the effect of Support and Customer Success initiatives that promote increased product use and adoption.
- Forecast the effect of customer churn.
- Forecast the effect of efforts to reduce or mitigate support demand through self-help and prevention initiatives.