Best Practices and Metrics for Assisted Support Delivery

Best Practices and Metrics for Assisted Support Delivery

BLOG

Best Practices and Metrics for Assisted Support Delivery

Making it easy for customers to get help depends upon the channels available to access support resources and request assistance. Many companies offer assistance by phone but there is a clear shift towards electronic channels.

Assisted Support

The time, effort, and costs required to provide assisted support make it imperative for companies to find ways to expedite issue resolution and bolster efforts to prevent issues.

Companies offer a variety of channels for customers to request assisted support. These include interactive channels like chat and phone, and passive methods such as e-mail, Support communities, and web case submission. Customers have embraced electronic channels and are relying less on assistance by phone.

Key Trends

  • 83.1% of companies offer both phone and electronic channels for support. Only 14.9% offer electronic-only support contact methods.
  • Support case submission by web-based form is the top channel used, followed by phone and e-mail.
  • Phone support use has declined by 8% as electronic channel use grows.
  • The use of chat has grown by 26% while use of e-mail has risen by 24%.
  • The reasons customers request support assistance are equally distributed across three primary categories of “How To,” “Bugs or Performance Issues,” and “Installation, Configuration, Setup.”
  • Most support interactions are reactive, although proactive engagement is on the rise.

Best Practices

From case open to closure, case management and resolution processes must be efficient and effective.

  • Apply structured data collection to assure that submitted cases are complete.
  • Encourage adoption of web-based case submission.
  • Apply intelligent automation to triage and routing of new cases.
  • Deflect as cases are created.
  • Collaborate.
  • Leverage case closure automation.
  • Completely document closed cases.
  • Trigger knowledge process upon case closure.

Key Metrics

It is important to track how your customers engage your Support organization as well as the types of issues they need help with. Consider using the following metrics and measures:

  • Cases by Channel
  • Assisted Issue by Types
  • Support Access Point

What more insights about assisted support best practices and metrics?

For insights about how support is changing and the opportunities and imperative for 2021 please review ServiceXRG’s latest study: Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics.  This report examines current trends in Support delivery and offers tangible guidance for Support, Success and Service professionals to meet growing expectations of both customers and company executives.

Download your copy now

Make a Plan to Optimize Assisted Support

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies optimize support performance and apply best practices.

Let’s make a plan to optimize support.

Contact ServiceXRG by chat or e-mail now or click on my calendar to set up an initial assessment of your Support planning needs.

Fresh, authoritative, actionable insights for Support leaders

Exclusive Research Report:

Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics

Download the ServiceXRG Support Transformation 2021 research report

Try Being your Own Customer

Try Being your Own Customer

Periodically we need to stop and place ourselves in our customers shoes and experience what we ask them to experience.

Over the past year I have been working on a project that has required me to contact Support for over a dozen companies – platform service providers, software vendors and hardware companies, etc. 

In general, my support experiences have been very positive.

My preference is to contact companies electronically, but every so often I pick up the phone and call (yes, you can still get support by phone). 

A recent support interaction by phone prompted me to write an article titled HAVE YOUR TRIED TO CALL YOUR COMPANY FOR SUPPORT? 

In fairness to the company (whose name I will not mention) the support they provided once I connected was very good, but

the hurdles I had to go through to get to a live person were unpleasant.

Whether you are the CEO, Chief Customer Officer, Senior Service or Sales Executive, a Support Manager or the person on the other end of the Support line – try being your customer. 

Do it more than once.

See if the experience your company provides is the one that you would like to receive. 

Make the time – it is worth it.

Related Articles

How To Successfully Change Your Service Organization and Culture

Change is inevitable in Services but often difficult, especially when it challenges current operational and organizational norms. When you can recognize the conditions that require change and can address the potential inhibitors you can prepare for a smooth transition to a new operating and organizational model.

read more

Service Planning Drives Results

To be successful with Services, you must establish a Service plan. To be effective, the Service plan must clearly define the role of Services within your company, prioritize service initiatives necessary to attain prioritized results, and establish metrics to track service performance and outcomes.

read more

7 Keys to an Effective Service Channel Strategy

7 Keys to an Effective Service Channel Strategy

Technology vendors have long looked to channels to broaden their access to markets expand their geographic reach and enhance their skills and resources. While many vendors form channel relationships to sell products, more than two-thirds (69.7%) of technology vendors surveyed by ServiceXRG use channels to sell, deliver and renew support and maintenance services.

7 Keys to an Effective Service Channel Strategy

Vendors that have active channel programs rely heavily on their partners for critical service sales and delivery functions. The majority (84.4%) of partners that sell service contracts are involved with the delivery of these services and nearly three quarters (73.4%) are responsible for renewing contracts. The success or failure of channel partners to sell and deliver services can have a profound effect on a vendor’s ability to achieve strategic service objectives and meet financial performance goals.

Therefore, technology vendors that look to partners to perform critical service functions must have a well-defined and executed channel strategy. A successful service channel strategy for services requires several elements: a clear vision for the role that partners will play, an established program and criteria for attracting and retaining the right partners, the commitment and capabilities to support partner success, and the means to monitor the effectiveness of the channel program and the performance of individual partners.  ServiceXRG has identified seven fundamental plays for developing and sustaining successful service channel partner relationships:

  1. Develop a Formal Service Certification Program
  2. Establish Clear Sales and Account Ownership Guidelines
  3. Offer Equitable Channel Compensation
  4. Insure Effective Skills and Knowledge Transfer
  5. Enable Partners with Tools and Resources
  6. Maintain Open Communications Channel Partners
  7. Establish Success Criteria and Performance Monitoring Capabilities

Channel Strategy

Working with partners can be both rewarding and challenging. Contact me to learn how ServiceXRG can help you optimize your service channel program to sell and deliver more services.

Chat with us (see link on right side of screen), send an e-mail to tsweeny@servicexrg.com, or use our contact form.

Featured: How to Build and Sustain an Effective Service Channel Strategy

Technology vendors rely on partners to expand their geographic reach and extend access to the expertise necessary to enable the use of their products. While many vendors form channel relationships to sell products, more than two-thirds of technology vendors use channels to sell, deliver and renew support and maintenance services.  This report outlines the elements of a successful channel strategy for Support.

Login to get your copy.  Not a Member?  Learn more about our Service Success programs or contact us.

Related Articles

7 Keys to an Effective Service Channel Strategy

Technology vendors have long looked to channels to broaden their access to markets expand their geographic reach and enhance their skills and resources. This article introduces 7 keys to building and maintaining an Effective Service Channel Strategy.

read more

Service Channels Best Practices & Benchmarks

Technology vendors that rely on partners to perform critical service functions must have a well-defined and executed channel strategy to maximize service sales effectiveness and sustain customer loyalty. This article outlines the steps necessary to optimize services through channel partners and introduces several research studies for channel management best practices.

read more

Channel Compensation: Pay for Performance

Channel Compensation: Pay for Performance

Good channel partners help technology vendors to expand their reach into new regions and markets and supplement their skill sets. It’s common for vendors to use channel partners to not only sell their products, but to sell branded service contracts and deliver all or part of the subsequent services. It’s also common for them to use a compensation model that pays partners a percent of the service sales price. What’s not frequent enough, however, is for the compensation paid — to reflect exactly how a partner is performing.

How do you Incent Partner Performance?

How do you incent exemplary partner performance? The key is to employ a compensation strategy built upon a pay for performance philosophy. Compensation shouldn’t be determined simply by the product sold, the customer segment served, or even the level of effort the partner puts forth. Technology vendors’ real power and influence over the partner is in the carrots and sticks at the vendor’s disposal:  a partner compensation strategy must be viewed to encourage desired behavior and partner loyalty, and above all, achieve pre-defined results.

Commission rates for the sale of a new vendor-branded support and maintenance contract range from as little as 5% of the contract list price to nearly 50%. The average commission is 17.7%. The majority (76.5%) of companies performing a partnership role indicate that they are paid a percent of list price when selling vendor-branded support and maintenance services.  With margin-based models, the percentage paid varies based on the financial value of the service to the vendor and the level of effort invested by the partner.

Pay for Performance

Though effort is certainly considered, where vendors are failing to seize real opportunity is in closely monitoring and rewarding their partners’ performance. If a partner’s consistently attaching a large volume of service contracts around a particular product set, or up-selling customers to a premium-level contract, the vendor should factor it into the compensation they pay.

Vendors can choose to pay on a sliding scale, or on a bonus basis, or through some other method, but the driver is the same regardless of the method they choose: if vendors pay for performance, they’re much more likely to get it. If the performance isn’t up to par, they can reevaluate the situation, but in the meantime, they’re not overpaying.

Guidelines for establishing a pay-for-performance compensation strategy include:

  • Developing a compensation plan with clearly defined performance targets and compensation rates based on the level of performance achieved.
  • Developing an ongoing performance monitoring system to track sales performance, delivery quality, and customer satisfaction.
  • Setting clear milestones for incenting desired behaviors such as up-selling and renewing service programs.

Performance Enhancers

It’s not enough, of course, to establish behavioral guidelines and see how partners are measuring up. If vendors want partners to perform, they need to give them every opportunity to succeed. Such success depends upon the vendor’s ability to ensure partner expertise through training and knowledge transfer. Elements of an effective partner training program include:

  • Employing a variety of training methods, including on-site, online, and internship/mentoring programs.
  • Leveraging curricula developed for sales and support organizations to train partners.
  • Coupling individual training with competency testing and award certification based on skill level achieved.

Channel relationships go awry if both parties don’t benefit. By using channels to sell and deliver service and support, a vendor is supposed to benefit from greater reach into the market, while the partner is supposed to earn an acceptable margin for the products and services they sell. For this symbiosis to occur, vendors must establish a compensation model that pays partners based on the results they deliver.

Channel Strategy

Working with partners can be both rewarding and challenging. Contact me to learn how ServiceXRG can help you optimize your service channel program to sell and deliver more services.

Chat with us (see link on right side of screen), send an e-mail to tsweeny@servicexrg.com, or use our contact form.

Featured: How to Build and Sustain an Effective Service Channel Strategy

Technology vendors rely on partners to expand their geographic reach and extend access to the expertise necessary to enable the use of their products. While many vendors form channel relationships to sell products, more than two-thirds of technology vendors use channels to sell, deliver and renew support and maintenance services.  This report outlines the elements of a successful channel strategy for Support.

Login to get your copy.  Not a Member?  Learn more about our Service Success programs or contact us.

[et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_open_tag admin_label=”Not Logged In – Open” shortcode=”wcm_nonmember” start_after_trial=”off” _builder_version=”3.0.100″]

[/et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_open_tag]

Login to Access the Full Report

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

[et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_close_tag admin_label=”Not Logged In – Closed” shortcode=”wcm_nonmember” _builder_version=”3.0.100″]

[/et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_close_tag]

[et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_open_tag admin_label=”Success Access – Open” shortcode=”wcm_restrict” plans=”success_plan” start_after_trial=”off” _builder_version=”3.26.6″ z_index_tablet=”500″ box_shadow_horizontal_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_vertical_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_blur_tablet=”40px” box_shadow_spread_tablet=”0px”]

[/et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_close_tag][et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_open_tag admin_label=”Member – Open” shortcode=”wcm_restrict” plans=”success-enterprise-plan, success-team-plan, success-trial, success_plan” start_after_trial=”off” _builder_version=”3.26.6″ z_index_tablet=”500″ box_shadow_horizontal_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_vertical_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_blur_tablet=”40px” box_shadow_spread_tablet=”0px”]

[/et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_close_tag]

[et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_open_tag admin_label=”Not Logged In – Open” shortcode=”wcm_nonmember” start_after_trial=”off” _builder_version=”3.0.100″]

[/et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_open_tag]

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.

[et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_close_tag admin_label=”Not Logged In – Closed” shortcode=”wcm_nonmember” _builder_version=”3.0.100″]

[/wcm_nonmember]

[/et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_close_tag]

Related Articles

7 Keys to an Effective Service Channel Strategy

Technology vendors have long looked to channels to broaden their access to markets expand their geographic reach and enhance their skills and resources. This article introduces 7 keys to building and maintaining an Effective Service Channel Strategy.

read more

Service Channels Best Practices & Benchmarks

Technology vendors that rely on partners to perform critical service functions must have a well-defined and executed channel strategy to maximize service sales effectiveness and sustain customer loyalty. This article outlines the steps necessary to optimize services through channel partners and introduces several research studies for channel management best practices.

read more

Optimizing Service Outcomes with Channel Partners

Optimizing Service Outcomes with Channel Partners

Technology vendors rely on partners to expand their geographic reach and extend access to the expertise necessary to enable the use of their products. While many vendors form channel relationships to sell products, more than two-thirds (69.7%) of technology vendors use channels to sell, deliver and renew support and maintenance services.

The Critical Role of Channel Partners

Technology vendors rely on partners to expand their geographic reach and extend access to the expertise necessary to enable the use of their products. While many vendors form channel relationships to sell products, more than two-thirds (69.7%) of technology vendors use channels to sell, deliver and renew support and maintenance services.

Vendors that have active channel programs rely heavily on their partners for critical service sales and delivery functions. The majority (84.4%) of partners that sell service contracts are involved with the delivery of these services and nearly three quarters (73.4%) are responsible for renewing contracts. The success or failure of channel partners to deliver services can has a profound effect on a vendor’s ability to achieve strategic service objectives and financial performance (contract renewal, customer retention and revenue expansion).

Technology vendors that rely on partners to perform critical service functions must have a well-defined and executed channel strategy. A successful channel strategy for services requires several elements: a clear vision for the role that partners will play, an established program and criteria for attracting and retaining the right partners, the commitment and capabilities to support partner success, and the means to monitor the effectiveness of the channel program and the performance of individual partners. This article outlines the steps necessary to optimize services through channel partners and introduces several research studies for channel management best practices.

Success is a Shared Responsibility

Technology vendors must view partners as extensions of their organization and recognize that channel success depends on the level of support they provide. The vendor must make it a priority to assure that a partner has the skills, tools, and resources necessary to perform agreed-upon service functions. Nonetheless, success is not the exclusive burden of the vendor — the partner must have a stake in the relationship. While vendors can transfer knowledge and provide access to tools, the partner must make necessary investments to achieve a mutually agreed-upon level of performance. Successful channel relationships depend on the commitment of both parties and their combined skills and resources to meet the needs of the marketplace.

Communication is Key

Vendor channel programs typically provide a flow of information to partners in the form of training and access to knowledge, collateral and even to designated contacts.

However, while partners value these resources, they do not take the place of an ongoing dialogue with the vendors with whom they do business. More than anything, channel partners indicate that they want more frequent and proactive communication with suppliers. They express a strong desire to be kept in the loop with new developments and to feel that they are plugged into the processes that vendors use to discover, create, and disseminate information vital to selling and delivering services.

Pay for Performance

Using channels to sell and deliver services must be a win-win proposition for all parties involved.  The vendor gains greater reach into new markets or extends its capacity to serve customers, while the partner earns an acceptable margin for the products and services it sells. The level of compensation partners receive must be commensurate with the level and quality of effort they bring to the relationship.

Success Starts with the Strategy

The term “partner” implies a symbiotic relationship where each party benefits from the efforts and actions of the other. A partnership also implies mutual expectations among those parties in the relationship. A channel strategy is therefore a formal declaration of how parties will work together to achieve a mutually agreeable outcome.

Channel Strategy

Working with partners can be both rewarding and challenging. Contact me to learn how ServiceXRG can help you optimize your service channel program to sell and deliver more services.

Chat with us (see link on right side of screen), send an e-mail to tsweeny@servicexrg.com, or use our contact form.

Featured : Service Channels Best Practices & Benchmarks

This report explores channel practices and performance to present strategies for improving the use and effectiveness of channel partners for the sale, renewal and delivery of support and maintenance services. This report explores perspectives of both technology vendors and channel partners, including value-added resellers, systems integrators, distributors, and retailers.

Login to get your copy.  Not a Member?  Learn more about our Service Success programs or contact us.

[et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_open_tag admin_label=”Success Access – Open” shortcode=”wcm_restrict” plans=”success_plan” start_after_trial=”off” _builder_version=”3.26.6″ z_index_tablet=”500″ box_shadow_horizontal_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_vertical_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_blur_tablet=”40px” box_shadow_spread_tablet=”0px”]

[/et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_close_tag][et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_open_tag admin_label=”Member Open” shortcode=”wcm_restrict” plans=”success-enterprise-plan, success-team-plan” start_after_trial=”off” _builder_version=”3.26.6″ z_index_tablet=”500″ box_shadow_horizontal_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_vertical_tablet=”0px” box_shadow_blur_tablet=”40px” box_shadow_spread_tablet=”0px”]

[/et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_close_tag]

[et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_open_tag admin_label=”Not Logged In – Open” shortcode=”wcm_nonmember” start_after_trial=”off” _builder_version=”3.0.100″]

[/et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_open_tag]

Login to Access Report

Please login to access this report. If you do not have an account, click on the button below to create a free membership*.

Questions?  Call 978.448.3166

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.

[et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_close_tag admin_label=”Not Logged In – Closed” shortcode=”wcm_nonmember” _builder_version=”3.0.100″]

[/wcm_nonmember]

[/et_pb_df_wc_restrict_content_close_tag]

Related Articles

7 Keys to an Effective Service Channel Strategy

Technology vendors have long looked to channels to broaden their access to markets expand their geographic reach and enhance their skills and resources. This article introduces 7 keys to building and maintaining an Effective Service Channel Strategy.

read more

Service Channels Best Practices & Benchmarks

Technology vendors that rely on partners to perform critical service functions must have a well-defined and executed channel strategy to maximize service sales effectiveness and sustain customer loyalty. This article outlines the steps necessary to optimize services through channel partners and introduces several research studies for channel management best practices.

read more

Have your tried to call your company for support?

Have your tried to call your company for support?

As you think of all the wonderful ways you can improve your customers’ experience start by calling for support from your own company.

It should be a simple process and one that many of your customers experience.  Hopefully you will find that connecting to your support team by phone is a simple and streamlined process that is enjoyable (or at least tolerable). 

You may be surprised how bad some experiences are – still to this day!  Hopefully you find that reaching your support team is not one of worst.

 Here are a few things to consider when calling in: 

  • Can you find the number?
  • Can you get through?
  • Are the prompts clear, do you known which option to choose?
  • Do you use an intelligent agent (bot) that tries to help – is it helpful?
  • Once you get through the prompts and bots, how long did you have to wait?
  • While on hold did you get updates about how long you may have to wait (customers like this).
  • Did you hear music? Good music?  Was it clear or garbled, too soft, or too loud?
  • Did you get connected or cut off?

So, how did you do? 

Any one of these elements is enough to negatively affect a customer’s experience.  Connecting with your support team by phone should be simple, quick, and tolerable.  Give your support team a call, a few minor adjustments can have a big impact.

Related Articles

How To Successfully Change Your Service Organization and Culture

Change is inevitable in Services but often difficult, especially when it challenges current operational and organizational norms. When you can recognize the conditions that require change and can address the potential inhibitors you can prepare for a smooth transition to a new operating and organizational model.

read more

Service Planning Drives Results

To be successful with Services, you must establish a Service plan. To be effective, the Service plan must clearly define the role of Services within your company, prioritize service initiatives necessary to attain prioritized results, and establish metrics to track service performance and outcomes.

read more

Pin It on Pinterest