Support Teams of the Future

Support teams of the future are tightly integrated with Marketing and Sales.  Data is the glue that binds the three functional areas together.  The integration of Support with other customer facing functionality is a logical extension of the drive to deliver a great Customer Experience.  Most customer interactions with support are caused by a problem that the customer faces.  The ability to solve customer problems in a timely and accurate manner enhances the overall experience.  Conversely, a poor support experience can sever the relationship with the customer totally.

Use the Technology!

Leverage technology to provide optimized support solutions.  Make Chatbots an essential tool in your support arsenal to respond to routine customer inquiries.  This will free up human support to tackle the nuanced problems that require higher level skills and complex problem solving capabilities.  Use video tools extensively to teach your customers how to use your products.  Video is expensive to make, but it is a one time expense that pays significant returns in the form of increased customer satisfaction and repeat business.  There are few things more frustrating from a customer viewpoint than having to wade through a thick manual to find the solution to a problem.  The more useful the support tools provided to your customers, the greater the likelihood of your company becoming a habit that the customer automatically turns to for the services and products you offer.  Reinvent your organization to value your customers’ time and you will find an immediate uptick in perceptions of customer experience.

Customer Support is in Everything

Make support a seamless part of the customer experience by making easy access and data collection an integral part of your product design.  Make support easily and intuitively accessible in your product; do not attempt to bury or hide it behind a thicket of menu trees.  A customer who contacts support provides extremely valuable information about your product and customer experience.  If your support policy is predicated on avoidance, customers will abandon you.  It is that simple.  Worst of all, you will have no idea why they are leaving you.  Provide a range of support options – chatbots, human chat, FAQ, call lines, on site support, videos, training and anything else relevant to your offering.  There is no such thing as ‘too much support’ as far as a customer is concerned.  
Support Teams: Hand supporting Tree Branch

Data, Data, Data!

To create a predictive and proactive support solution that is an integral part of the customer experience, you need data.  There is no ‘magic bullet’ solution that will enable you to anticipate customer support needs without large volumes of data.  Collect as much data as you can about usage (with permission) to help your support organization understand usage patterns, problem areas and give them the insight to anticipate the customer’s needs.    Make this data available to all team members for detailed analysis.  Use technologies like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to predict outcomes, behaviors, taste preferences, utility and problems.  The goal is to anticipate the needs of the customer and provide proactive solutions, as opposed to reacting to the customer and always finding yourself two steps behind.  The skill with which this data set is analyzed, used and shared within the organization will determine how far you can go on the journey towards being a customer focused organization delivering a great experience. 

Personalize the Support Experience

If you collect information, analyze and use it effectively your company will eventually be able to offer ‘personalized support’ that is predictive and tailored to the needs of the individual customer.  While this seems daunting, this is the direction that technological and sociological trends are taking us towards.  Whether we like it or not, we have to create excellent experiences, tailored to an audience of one.  The ability to provide personalized support is a critical component of delivering this experience.

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