Take These Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

Take These Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

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Take These Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

The future success of your Customer Support organization relies on your ability to scale Support delivery. By taking these five actions, you can effectively scale Support delivery to not only meet the expected demand growth, but also fulfill an expanded, Success-focused mission.

When you can scale Support delivery, your team can add more value.

I have blogged previously about my POV regarding Support demand in 2021 and beyond (spoiler alert: Support demand will increase). While increased demand presents an opportunity for Support to take on more high-value customer engagement activities, it first requires increases investment in diversified, targeted actions that will enable Support delivery at scale. Focus on these four action areas that have been proven to drive results.

  1. Prevention – Support must take the lead in identifying the root causes of support demand and aggressively advocate for mitigation of these circumstances. Support must work with Engineering groups to improve product performance and usability issues and work across the company to promote effective customer onboarding and skills development activities. Read more about 7 Strategies to Prevent Support Cases.
  2. Self-Help – Support teams represent a repository of product expertise and must work to make their knowledge available to customers. Many new support cases can be avoided if customers are able to access the knowledge and expertise of Support. Transferring knowledge to customers to help them become more self-sufficient should be high on the list of strategic imperatives for all Support organizations. Read more about 9 Best Practices to Help Customers Help Themselves and Maximizing the Return on Your Support Knowledgebase.
  3. Proficiency – Companies need to look beyond just helping customers help themselves and consider how they can build customers expertise so they can use and apply products more competently. Proficiency will require companies to move beyond a reliance on self-help-focused strategies and invest in building the foundational technical and business skills customers need to apply products successfully. Read more about 10 Strategies to Build Customer Proficiency to speed product adoption and descrease demand on Support.
  4. Automation – Support has always been a labor-intensive function that relies on the skills of product experts. Support cannot scale based solely on human power. Read more about 5 Ways to Automate Service Delivery.

 

 

Want to better understand Support demand trends? Download our research.

Are you ready for the challenges your Support organization will face in the year ahead?  Are you ready to capitalize on new opportunities?  How will you scale and transform Support?

For insights about how Support is changing and the opportunities and imperatives for 2021, download ServiceXRG’s latest study: Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics. It 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 your plan to meet the Support demand in your organization—we can help.

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies maximize customer value through better Support performance. Contact us anytime to set up an initial assessment of your Support planning needs. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time.

 

Support demand is on the rise. What’s your response plan?

Download the ServiceXRG Whitepaper:

Four Imperatives for Scaling Support

Download Four Imperatives for Scaling Support and discover:

  • The most effective approaches to scaling support — proven in high-volume support organizations.
  • The 4 top strategies to scale support and reduce demand.
  • The best practices that make these strategies effective.
  • The metrics that enable precise tracking of your efforts to scale support.
Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Nine Best Practices to Help Customers Help Themselves

Nine Best Practices to Help Customers Help Themselves

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Nine Best Practices to Help Customers Help Themselves

Many new support cases can be avoided if customers are able to access the knowledge and expertise of Support without needing to interact with live agents. It’s all about helping your customers help themselves — and everyone benefits.

Support teams represent a repository of product expertise and must work to make their knowledge available to customers. Many new support cases can be avoided if customers are able to access the knowledge and expertise of Support. Transferring knowledge to customers to help them become more self-sufficient should be high on the list of strategic imperatives for all Support organizations.

Leverage these 9 self-help best practices to help customers successfully help themselves:

  1. Provide direct customer access to up-to-date solutions to common customer issues.
  2. Provide enhanced search and discovery capabilities to help customers find answers.
  3. Implement formal knowledge management processes to create new and update existing knowledgebase content.
  4. Supplement the support knowledge base with customer access to documentation, release notes, getting started guides, help files available.
  5. Deliver more than just answers to frequently asked questions and develop a repository of best practice guides, examples, same code, templates, etc.
  6. Take advantage of delivery formats including text, video, and interactive guides.
  7. Provide access to self-guided tools and utilities to assist customers with self-diagnostics and issue repair.
  8. Create and nurture and active user community to facilitate peer-to-per issues resolution and sharing of best practices.
  9. Provide access to self-paced training, recorded webinars and other skills development resources.

Learn more about Customer Proficiency Metrics that gauge the impact of issue prevention initiatives – Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper:
Four Imperatives for Scaling Support.

How successful are your efforts to scale Support?

We’re here to help you do better.

Reach out anytime to get answers and insights about proven, measurable ways for your Support function to run at greater scale. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time to talk.

Support demand is on the rise. What’s your response plan?

Download the ServiceXRG Whitepaper:

Four Imperatives for Scaling Support

Download Four Imperatives for Scaling Support and discover:

  • The most effective approaches to scaling support — proven in high-volume support organizations.
  • The 4 top strategies to scale support and reduce demand.
  • The best practices that make these strategies effective.
  • The metrics that enable precise tracking of your efforts to scale support.
Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Related Articles

Five Ways to Automate Service Delivery

Automation plays an increasingly important role in support case deflection and management activities. Leverage these 5 service automation strategies to free up your skilled support staff for higher value activities:

read more

Seven Strategies to Prevent Support Cases

Identifying and alleviating performance and usability issues can go a long way toward preventing demand for Support. Leverage these 7 strategies for issue prevention to help lessen Support demand:

read more

Maximizing the Return on Your Support Knowledge Base

The Support organization encompasses extensive experience and expertise about how to use and apply products. Access to this Support knowledge is the primary reason customers contact Support. This article explains how companies can maximize the return on the creation and distribution of Support knowledge.

read more

Ten Strategies to Build Customer Proficiency

Ten Strategies to Build Customer Proficiency

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Ten Strategies to Build Customer Proficiency

The more you can build customer proficiency with your products, the more good things will happen. You’ll increase product adoption, a positive indicator for future purchases. And you’ll reduce the need for customers to contact your Support teams, giving you more runway to scale your Support operations.

Companies need to look beyond just helping customers help themselves and consider how they can build customers’ expertise so they can use and apply products more competently. Proficiency will require companies to move beyond a reliance on self-help-focused strategies and invest in building the foundational technical and business skills customers need to use products fully and successfully.

Leverage these 10 strategies to build customer proficiency, speed product adoption and reduce the need for support assistance:

  1. Define formal onboarding procedures that can assess customer proficiency and recommend appropriate skills development and training.
  2. Establish a skills inventory and recommended training plan as part of onboarding and adoption planning.
  3. Provide access to on-demand self-paced training and skills development.
  4. Provide access to on-demand live coaching to help customers gain experience and build skills in the context of using a product.
  5. Provide access to instructor led in-person and virtual training programs.
  6. Define learning paths to recommend skills development activities and align with available training resources.
  7. Encourage proficiency development by offering customers incentives to develop product-related skills.
  8. Provide skills inventory and assessment tools and services to assess customer proficiency on an ongoing basis.
  9. Define standards of proficiency and offer assessments and skills certification programs.
  10. Make learning fun for customers and reward proficiency development.

Learn more about Customer Proficiency Metrics that gauge the impact of issue prevention initiatives – Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper:
Four Imperatives for Scaling Support.

 

How successful are your efforts to scale Support?

We’re here to help you do better.

Reach out anytime to get answers and insights about proven, measurable ways for your Support function to run at greater scale. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time to talk.

 

Support demand is on the rise. What’s your response plan?

Download the ServiceXRG Whitepaper:

Four Imperatives for Scaling Support

Download Four Imperatives for Scaling Support and discover:

  • The most effective approaches to scaling support — proven in high-volume support organizations.
  • The 4 top strategies to scale support and reduce demand.
  • The best practices that make these strategies effective.
  • The metrics that enable precise tracking of your efforts to scale support.
Download the ServiceXRG whitepaper, "Ensuring a Successful Journey to Customer Success"

Related Articles

Five Ways to Automate Service Delivery

Automation plays an increasingly important role in support case deflection and management activities. Leverage these 5 service automation strategies to free up your skilled support staff for higher value activities:

read more

Seven Strategies to Prevent Support Cases

Identifying and alleviating performance and usability issues can go a long way toward preventing demand for Support. Leverage these 7 strategies for issue prevention to help lessen Support demand:

read more

Maximizing the Return on Your Support Knowledge Base

The Support organization encompasses extensive experience and expertise about how to use and apply products. Access to this Support knowledge is the primary reason customers contact Support. This article explains how companies can maximize the return on the creation and distribution of Support knowledge.

read more

The 2 Keys to Preventing Support Issues

The 2 Keys to Preventing Support Issues

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The 2 Keys to Preventing Support Issues

Our research has revealed that nearly a third (32%) of Support demand stems from questions related to either installation, configuration, or setup. This understanding gives companies an immense opportunity to reduce this demand—and we see two major keys to preventing Support issues on an ongoing basis.

Preventing Support issues starts with customer knowledge.

The more that your customers know, the more capable they are with your product, the less they will require Support. Therefore, we see the two keys to Support issue prevention as Onboarding and Training. It then follows that effective customer onboarding and training will require planning and action on the part of your organization.

The opportunity for greater Support issue prevention is very real: Currently, fewer than a third (28%) of companies have proactive engagement efforts in place to help prevent Support issues. What’s working for them?

Key #1: Onboarding

Proactive Support includes formal efforts to onboard customers with planning resources, as well as guidance and expert resources to assist with installation and configuration. Proactive Support is also triggered by remote monitoring, alerting, and product “call-home” features.

Formal onboarding allows companies to proactively engage customers before they need assisted support. Onboarding practices and resources may consist of digitally available “getting started” checklists, best practice guides, or self-paced training (“tech touch”). Onboarding may also include formalized planning, account management, and coaching with onboarding experts (“high touch”).

Key #2: Training

“How to” questions are another significant source of Support issues. Companies can head off such questions with formal efforts to help customers develop proficiency with their products. These efforts can include (but aren’t limited to) training, knowledge transfer, best practice guides, and coaching.

Be proactive, be early when it comes to preventing Support issues.

Companies that can help customers with formal onboarding and training programs in the early stages of new product adoption are best positioned to mitigate Support demand because:

  • They better equip customers to use the product(s) (and get maximum value) from the start.
  • They connect customers to the resources they need to resolve issues themselves.

Not only do proactive, early onboarding and training prevent more Support issues, they also contribute to Customer Success and increased customer lifetime value.

What more insights about onboarding and practice customer engagement practices? Download the research.

For insights about how support is changing—plus the most urgent opportunities and imperatives—download 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 get proactive

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies maximize customer value through better Support performance.

Contact us anytime to set up an initial assessment of your Support planning needs. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time.

 

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

Poor Support Case Management Practices = Missed Opportunities

Poor Support Case Management Practices = Missed Opportunities

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Poor Support Case Management Practices = Missed Opportunities

The time and effort to capture what is learned during the Support case management and resolution may seem untenable and an added cost that Support cannot afford. But the missed opportunities and long-term costs are far higher when insights from customer interactions are not fully documented and analyzed.

Support case management missed opportunity #1: incomplete case records

According to ServiceXRG’s new study on Support Practices and Metrics more than 90% of the time and effort spent on Support case management and resolution goes into issue determination and formulation of a response to the customer. As a result, this leaves little time for some of the most important actions necessary to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Support: advancing product quality and innovation and retaining and expanding customer relationships.

The study further finds that only two-thirds (67%) of companies formally document the circumstances of each case in their ticket management system. Even then, their compliance to completely fill in Support case record details is lower than 50%.

These incomplete Support case records diminish Support’s ability to identify root causes of support demand and plan mitigation efforts such as enhanced self-help, product improvements, and training.

Support case management missed opportunity #2: knowledge base neglect

Only 42%, of companies indicate that a knowledge base article is updated or created when a case is closed according to ServiceXRG’s research. The fact that a case was submitted by a customer indicates that there may be a need for information to possibly prevent future support cases from being submitted or help expedite resolution of a case by sharing knowledge among Support team members.

Turn around your missed opportunities with these Support case management best practices:

Apply structured data collection to assure that submitted cases are complete.

Leverage processes and tools to assure that new cases submitted include all information required to begin meaningful issue diagnosis and resolution. Use structured data collection tools such as web-based forms and conversational chatbots. Discourage use of unstructured case submission channels such as e-mail.

Encourage adoption of web-based case submission.

Electronic submission of new cases using structured web-based form is more conducive to automation. Create opportunities for customers to submit support cases through web forms and incent customer adoption of this channel by providing enhanced service levels or other incentives.

Completely document closed cases.

When cases are closed, assure that relevant data attributes and circumstances of the case have been captured.

What more insights about Support case management practice and metrics?

For insights about how support is changing—plus the most urgent opportunities and imperatives—download ServiceXRG’s latest study: Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics. It 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 your plan to optimize Support case management—we can help.

ServiceXRG provides coaching and guidance to help companies maximize customer value through better Support performance. Contact us anytime to set up an initial assessment of your Support planning needs. Use the chat button at bottom right, send an e-mail, or click on my calendar to schedule a specific time.

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

Salesforce Trailhead

Salesforce Trailhead

Salesforce Trailhead

Salesforce Trailhead offers an excellent example for how to develop customer proficiency.  Trailhead is a self-paced, online learning platform provided for free to anyone. The platform offers learning on a growing portfolio of Salesforce topics, as well as a variety of other non-Salesforce-specific skills individuals need to be successful in today’s technology landscape.

Self-Paced Learning

Salesforce has taken the best concepts of self-paced learning and created a community of engaged and motivated professionals that want to invest their time to build technical and professional competencies.  Most importantly Salesforce Trailhead has removed the daunting barriers to learning – cost, time and perceived value.

Learning Community and Ecosystem

For some companies walking away from training revenue would be unthinkable. This is a bold customer-success focused strategy with benefits to Salesforce, Salesforce professionals and anyone that wants to develop technical and professional skills.

These skills will certainly help companies use and apply the Salesforce platform more effectively, but Trailhead is more than a skills development Initiative.  Salesforce is developing an ecosystem with a well-trained workforce.

Success – Focused

For all the industry discussion about developing customer success offerings, here is an example of building the ultimate customer success program.  By making comprehensive, well curated learning accessible to everyone, for free, Salesforce has instituted the means to develop product knowledge and expertise to increase the likelihood that companies can be successful with the Salesforce platform.

What’s Your Training Strategy

Skills development is one of the most effective ways to help your customers adopt and apply your products successfully.  Providing comprehensive training programs will help you deliver the skills your customers need.  If you are serious about customer success, consider how you can make your training more accessible to all your customers and the ecosystem of professionals that support them.

Are you ready to offer more skills development opportunities to your customers?  Consider your options.  Perhaps you are not ready to offer all of your training to anyone for free, but find a way to get more training and skills development resources to more of your customers.

Service Innovation Series

This Innovation profile is part of ServiceXRG’s Service Innovation Series designed to highlight examples of innovative approaches to achieve service excellence. Companies featured within the Service Innovation Series are selected by ServiceXRG and do not influence the observations and perspectives presented.

Featured: Salesforce Trailhead

Salesforce Trailhead is a self-paced, online learning platform provided for free to anyone.  The platform offers learning on a growing portfolio of Salesforce topics, as well as a variety of other non-Salesforce-specific skills individuals need to be successful in today’s technology landscape.  For some companies walking away from training revenue would be unthinkable. This is a bold customer-success focused strategy with benefits to Salesforce, Salesforce professionals and anyone that wants to develop technical and professional skills. Learn more about Salesforce Trailhead.

The profile is FREE. Log-in or register to get your copy.

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