Take These 5 Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

Take These 5 Proven Actions to Scale Support Delivery

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Take These 5 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 recently blogged 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 five 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.
  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 self-help and Knowledge management.
  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.  For a great example of building customer proficiency, read our article about Salesforce Trailhead.
  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 6 Ways to Apply AI to Technical Support.
  5. Augmentation – The ability to rapidly adjust staffing levels is difficult but may be a business imperative in situations such as high growth, seasonality, fluctuating demand, or in response to an unexpected shock. Maintaining redundant sources of capacity and leveraging trusted providers of on-demand expertise to augment your team provides a viable way to scale support.

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.

 

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

Scaling Support Delivery Through Digital Transformation

Scaling Support Delivery Through Digital Transformation

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Scaling Support Delivery Through Digital Transformation

Scaling Support Delivery requires the digital transformation of support and 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 to scale support delivery.

Support Digital Transformation

The digital transformation of support is enabled by customers desire to help themselves and their broad access to digital devices and platforms from which support may be requested and delivered.

The use of digital technologies in support is not new, but the rate of adoption by service providers and acceptance by customers has accelerated digitization.  Today most support transactions are digitally enabled, many do not involve direct support assistance or human interaction.

Support Digital Transformation

Support Digital Transformation

Some unique characteristics of Support Digital Transformation are noted below.

Support Delivery and Interaction

Support Digital Transformation enhances companies’ ability to engaged and interact with customers through assisted, automated and self-help service delivery channels.

Self-Help

Self-help tools and content allow customers to access information and resources they need to resolve their own issues.  Access to self-help is primarily facilitated through web support sites accessed from desktop computers and mobile devices.

Read more articles about self-help

https://www.servicexrg.com/blog/self-help/

Automated

Intelligent automation increasingly supplements delivery of some services freeing humans to focus on tasks not suitable to automation (yet).  Automated support includes unassisted transactions such as chat-bots, renewal notification, monitoring and alerting.

Read more articles about tools and support automation

https://www.servicexrg.com/blog/tools-and-automation/

Human Assisted

Digital support platforms enable humans to perform service and support transactions efficiently.  Ticket tracking and management, access to customer data and the ability to collaborate with customers through remote tools enhance assisted support transactions.

Technology Enabled

Support Digital Transformation leverages digital technologies to achieve predictable outcomes and enhanced efficiencies by leveraging customer data and organizational knowledge.

Process Efficiency

Vital support processes such as case submission, entitlement validation, escalation, and the interaction between support experts and customers are digitally enabled through, CRM, case tracking, escalation and bug tracking and customer success management platforms.  Support today cannot operate efficiently without extensive use of technology to enable core support processes.

Data Driven

Digitally enabled support processes assure that what is known about a customer and the products they use can help streamline, personalize and automate customer interactions.  Collection, storage and access to customer data including user preferences, usage behaviors, skill level, and previous interactions establishes a foundation to enhanced future interactions.

Customer data can be supplemented with product data including, configuration, health, and performance. Data access can help anticipate and respond to customer needs and monitor relationship health.

Knowledge Enabled

Customers have more options for access to support knowledge.  Well documented domain knowledge enables searchable knowledge access, just-in-time training, on-demand coaching and guided assistance (human and automated) delivering the answers customers need quickly.

Read more about support knowledge management

https://www.servicexrg.com/blog/self-help/

Additional Benefits

Support Digital Transformation offers the following additional benefits.

Expanded Channels

Digital technologies make access to support easier.  Customer can seek support assistance from mobile devices, the web, and directly though product interfaces.

New Service Value

Digital technologies extend support beyond its traditional boundaries.  Self-help, peer-to-peer communities, just-in-time learning, and ever-increasingly sophisticated automation assume a greater burden for overall support delivery.

Proactive

Digital capabilities introduce the means to deliver services before they are requested by customers.  Monitoring and analysis of data helps to anticipate customer needs and provide solutions before they are requested by customers.

Chatbots for Technical Support – Are They Working?

Chatbots for Technical Support – Are They Working?

Chatbots for Technical Support – Are They Working?

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. In 2020 ServiceXRG conducted a study to assess the use and effectiveness of chatbots for support.  Here are the highlights:

Overview of Findings

  • Over two-thirds (68%) of responding companies currently use chatbots for technical support.
  • 88% of companies indicate current or planned use of chatbots within the year.
  • Chatbot session satisfaction is 44.5%.
  • 60% of chatbot sessions are considered successful.
  • 40.7% of chatbot sessions deflect cases from assisted channels.

To request a full copy of the findings please send a request to research@servicexrg.com

Do you currently use, or plan to use a chatbot for technical support within the next year?

88% of companies indicate current or planned use of chatbots within the year.

What are the top benefits that you expect from offering a chatbot?

Companies that plan to use chatbots in the future expect the chatbot to provide answers to customers or direct customers to the best qualified resource if an answer cannot be provided.

What is the primary criterion for chatbot success?

Nearly half of companies (46.2%) rely on direct customer feedback to determine chatbot success.  The remainder determine chatbot success by measuring transactional events (no escalation to a human, session ends).

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Chatbots for Technical Support – Are They Working?

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. In 2020 ServiceXRG conducted a study to assess the use and effectiveness of chatbots for support.  Here are the highlights:

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Self-Help and Automation – Risks and Rewards

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The Three Most Important Characteristics of a Support Web Site

The Three Most Important Characteristics of a Support Web Site

Well-designed support web sites encourage customers to invest their time to explore and discover the information they need. There are three critical characteristics that make or break support web site effectiveness.

Three Critical Elements of Effective Web Support Design

The primary objective of a support web site is to help customers find the information and resources they need quickly and intuitively.   Page layout, navigational aids and clear and aesthetically pleasing presentation of content encourages customers to invest their time to explore and discover the information they need.  Well-designed support web sites offer the proper balance of form and function to engage visitors, encourage repeat use, and ensure that each self-service transaction is successful.

Site design elements include:

  • Look and Feel
  • Convenience
  • Navigation

Look & Feel

The look and feel of the support web site are critical, as it sets the tone and first impression for customers and others that visit the site.  Typical support web site users are looking for information to help them complete a task, solve a problem, or answer a question. They are usually in a hurry and are more likely to scan and skim pages, rather than read them in full.  Sites that have a good look and feel are much more likely to grab and keep the attention of visitors, by providing a clear and intuitive path to the content they are looking for.

Convenience

Convenience represents the ease by which common resources and frequently requested content are easy to identify, access and use.  Design elements focused on convenience may include the options offered within a menu, lists of frequently requested information, or other visual aides to suggest how a customer can find what they need (e.g. search, browse lists, images, etc.). 

When customers struggle to find the resources they are looking for, or visual cues to suggest an approach to find what they need, they are more likely to give up on the attempt to help themselves and request assisted support, or worse, go away dissatisfied and still in need of assistance.

Navigation

While convenience provides the visual cues to help visitors determine what they may need, navigation provides the path to a successful self-service transaction.  Navigation takes many forms including menus, lists for browsing, and the option to search.  Once a visitor embarks on a journey to find the information they need, well-designed sites will offer intuitive navigational aids to help the customer determine the next logical course of action.

Click here to read more articles about web support site design

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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The 2 Keys to Preventing Support Issues

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Poor Support Case Management Practices = Missed Opportunities

Incomplete 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. This article describes how poor support case closure practices lead to missed opportunities.

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Scaling Support Delivery Through Digital Transformation

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

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Segment your Customers

Segment your Customers

Your customer base contains a diverse population of customers each with distinct needs and expectations.

Similarities between customers’ needs, expectations and general business characteristics can be described by using common classifications and attributes.  Develop a system to organize customers by these common characteristics. 

Define a service segmentation model to organize customers by shared characteristics.

  • Shared characteristics may include service needs, usage, product adoption or life cycle stage and business characteristics.
  • You should identify a minimum of 4 distinct service-centric segments to defined to describe unique attributes such as customer needs, expectations, or business characteristics. 

Conduct customer studies to understand the defining characteristics of your customers.

  • Determine what customers need and expect from services.
  • Define how customers may use the services.
  • Establish how customers prefer to buy services – all-inclusive portfolios, base offers with add-ons or catalogs of available services to select from.

Align customers with common needs or expected business outcomes.

  • Assign all existing customers to one or more service-segment.
  • Note that customers may belong to one or more customer segment.

Develop service offerings and value propositions aligned with the needs of identified customer segments.

  • Target sales and marketing strategies and messaging to the unique needs of segments.

Evaluate service-segments each year to align current and prospective customers and to assure segments are up to date and relevant.

  • Customer needs change so make certain that your portfolio keeps pace with changing expectations.
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Featured: Service Segmentation Strategy Playbook

Not all customers are created equal nor do they represent the same value to your business. Nearly two-thirds of support and maintenance revenue comes from less than one-third of the customer base. It seems illogical to view all customers the same way, yet only slightly more than a third of companies (36%) have a formal customer segmentation strategy for managing support and maintenance sales and renewal activities. Companies that indicate that they have a formal service segmentation strategy have an average attach rate nearly 60% better than companies that do not. This playbook describes the steps necessary to define and implement a formal service segmentation strategy.

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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 It Time to Modernize Your Service Portfolio?

Modern, well-defined post-sales service portfolios that combine elements of Customer Support and Customer Success can significantly increase your ability to help customers use and apply products; reduce churn; and expand revenue growth. This article will help you to determine the type of post sales service portfolio you need.

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Customer Success Marketing and Portfolio Management

Technology service programs are evolving to offer new value and benefits such as use and adoption assistance and resources to help attain successful outcomes. As technology service programs change service marketing must evolve beyond selling the initial service engagement and focus on sustaining and growing relationship value.

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Treat Your Service Portfolio as a Product Line

Service and Success programs are a significant source of revenue. To assure that they yield their maximum revenue potential, treat service portfolios as strategic offerings in the corporate portfolio by assigning dedicated program management resources.

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Support Pricing Benchmarks

Setting the correct price for your support programs begins with a baseline understanding of what your market will bear but ultimately the price must be based on the type and level and entitlements offered. The average prices for support programs range from 15.6 percent for a basic level of support to more than 26 percent for a high-end premium offer.

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Support or Success – What Type of Post Sales Service Portfolio Do You Need?

Support and maintenance portfolios have been the foundation of many post-sales service offers, yet Support offers alone are no longer adequate to sustain and growth customer relationship value. Modernization of support portfolios and the evolution to customer success-focused programs and offers is the future of post-sales service portfolios. This article will help you to determine what type of post sales service portfolio you need.

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6 Ways to Apply AI to Technical Support

6 Ways to Apply AI to Technical Support

Support has been relentless in the pursuit of continuous improvement, yet the function of Support has remained fundamentally unchanged for decades. AI is a critical catalyst that will help enable an inevitable Support transformation.

Many Support organizations want to be more customer-success focused, but few have the capacity to change.  To make this transition, Support resources need to focus on high value activities such as helping customers adopt and succeed with products and resolving new and challenging issues.

Consider the following scenarios for AI in Support:

1.  AI Enabled Self-Help

Known issues are resolved through intelligent automation that will match customer needs to available knowledge.  When new customer issues are identified they are flagged and prioritized based on need for addition to the knowledge base.

2.  Intelligent Resource Allocation

As customer issues are identified during a knowledge base search or new online ticket creation, issues will be triaged and directed to the most appropriate resource for resolution.

3.  Skills Enhancement

Intelligent monitoring of service interactions will result in recommendations for skills development for both customers and service staff.

4.  Relationship Development

Analysis of customer behaviors and sentiment will identify opportunities to sustain and enhance relationships.  Resources can be directed to head-off potential issues that will negatively affect relationships.  Targeted engagements will help to deliver value-added services to expand relationship value.

5.  Product Quality Improvements

Analysis of customer issues provides the foundation for prioritizing corrective actions and product enhancements.  Issues that otherwise may cause customers churn can be addressed before they defect.

6.  Proactive Issue Resolution

Deep data analytics will monitor product performance and usage telemetry to identify potential issues and apply corrective actions.

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Featured: AI – A Catalyst for Support Transformation

Support has relied on training, technology, and self-help to achieve efficiency gains, yet the potential of AI offers so much more. Through the introduction of intelligence afforded by AI-enabled systems, we are not just streamlining the way we provide Support, we introduce the means to fundamentally change the strategic role of Support. Learn how AI can transform technical support.

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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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Scaling Support Delivery Through Digital Transformation

Scaling Support Delivery requires the digital transformation of support and 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 to scale support delivery.

read more

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.

read more

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

If your support demand is on the rise and exceeds your current ability to handle it through assisted channels, let automation and self-help share the load. Whether you have well-established self-help capabilities and just need a tune up, or if you are about to launch a new initiative to introduce automation capabilities this article provides resources and insights to help.

read more

Chatbots for Technical Support – Are They Working?

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. In 2020 ServiceXRG conducted a study to assess the use and effectiveness of chatbots for support.  Here are the highlights:

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Self-Help and Automation – Risks and Rewards

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