Scaling Support Delivery

Scaling Support Delivery

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Scaling Support Delivery

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 (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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read more

The Digital Transformation of Support

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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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Scaling Support Delivery

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

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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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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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Related Articles

Scaling Support Delivery

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 (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?

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.

read more

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

What Support Professionals Need to Know About AI in Support

What Support Professionals Need to Know About AI in Support

Artificial Intelligence is not a silver bullet it is a tool. This tool however holds the key to fundamentally changing the way support is delivered. With the right application of AI fewer resources can handle more interactions and potentially in a more proactive and productive way.

What is AI

AI, or Artificial Intelligence is a convenient term that is widely accepted to represent access to a new type of intelligence – not artificial, but machine based. The promise of AI in in its ability represent human knowledge, make recommendations or predictions about something based on what it understands, and to extract meaning from vast amounts of data.  AI can process and represent information with speed and accuracy at a scale beyond human capacity.

One of the pioneers of AI, Arthur Samuel, described it as a “field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.” Samuel coined the term machine learning, which more accurately represents the state of AI today.

For the purposes of this article we will use the term AI to represent a new type of machine intelligence that we can leverage as a tool. 

Types of AI

Today’s AI technologies are focused on representation of human knowledge typically within specific focus areas. Machines are taught a set of rules to perform actions or represent knowledge.   Current AI is classified as Narrow AIStrong AI is the next level of machine intelligence where rules, knowledge and learning enable machines to create new knowledge, solve unfamiliar problems and operate in ever-changing circumstances.

Examples of true machine intelligence exist in Hollywood and perhaps in the research labs, but for the purposes of applying it to post-sales services, we are limited to narrow AI capabilities.

Making Machines Intelligent

The reason we have introduce AI into the services lexicon is that the ability to make machines intelligent is now possible without a team of PhDs on staff (although some companies do have these types of resources on staff).  AI-enable technologies provide services teams with the ability to introduce intelligence into the service process without having to develop customized software and algorithms.

Whether AI is enabled through custom software or out-of-the-box solutions, there are common elements that make AI possible.

Machine Learning

For AI to act intelligent it must be taught about the domain in which it will be working. For technical support, a machine must be taught about products, operating environments, issues and solutions customers are likely to encounter.  Machines may also be taught to identify circumstances that can cause a problem to occur.  We may also choose to teach machines to understand customer sentiment so that we can monitor the health of customer relationships.

Teaching machines may involve defining a set of rules for it to operate against.  Machine learning may also involve deep learning techniques where a large collection of data is provided as a basis for the machine to infer meaning from the words and structure of the data. 

Whether through an out-of-the-box application interface or coded deep within the algorithms of a customer AI solution, teaching the machine is the first step to applying AI to support.

Natural Language Processing

The methods we use to teach machines to be intelligent will also require us to help machines understand our language. When machines can process and “understand” the way we speak it is referred to as Natural Language Processing.  The natural language we speak and understand is more than just words, it is sentence structure and the meaning derived by how words are organized. 

We must be certain that systems understand the nuance of our language and the lexicon of our domain.  As an example, we need machines to understand the difference between how the word “crash” is used.

In a hospitality environment, crash may refer to a place to relax and may generally have a positive connotation.

It was a great place to crash for a night…

In a tech environment crash typically refers to an unplanned event with negative implications.

My computer crashed after installing the new upgrade.

For most AI systems, Natural Language Processing is a fundamental capability for receiving input and presenting knowledge. Fortunately, Natural Language Processing is commonly found in many out-of-the-box solutions. 

Applying AI to Support

Teaching machines about our products and support-related issues and language processing (our support-specific lexicon) are foundations upon which we can build intelligent support applications.  These basic building blocks make it possible to leverage machines for the delivery of technical support.  

Machines can be taught to recognize patterns and concepts and respond with appropriate actions.  In some cases, AI can identify and help prevent issues before they impact customers (e.g. analyzing telemetry from system and application monitoring).  Some of the benefits of AI for Support may include:

  • Machine intelligence can “understand” a user’s need even if it is not expressly stated.
  • AI can identify customer sentiment expressed in cases records and customer feedback.
  • Knowledge can be recalled by expressing a need or concept. No longer do we need to depend upon matching a search term or phrase within a collection of written human intelligence.
  • Machine intelligence can interact with a user to collect necessary inputs to resolve issues.
  • A machine can execute the most logical action in response to a user need such as presenting the right answer or routing a user to an expert that can help.
  • AI can identify patterns that may cause problems and help to prevent issues.
  • Machines can see the things that humans may miss (data analytics).

Making Support More Human

With the right application of AI fewer human resources can handle more interactions and potentially in a more proactive and productive way.  While machines handle some of the support burden, support staff can focus on building and sustaining relationships through human-to-human activities:

  • Develop plan to help customers adopt and apply products.
  • Develop personal rapport with customers.
  • Understand customer needs and expectations.
  • Advocate for customer needs.
  • Empathize when something goes wrong.
  • Detect early signs of dissatisfaction.
  • Maintain a personal relationship.
  • Reinforce value of the relationship.
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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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Related Articles

Scaling Support Delivery

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.

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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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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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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).

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