Part 3: B2B Customer Support Transformation Imperatives
This blog series aims to break down the main principles of the new comprehensive study of the Support industry that is now available for download. The 2021 Customer Support Transformation report examines current trends in Support delivery and offers tangible guidance for Support and Service professionals to meet growing expectations of both customers and company executives.
Part 1 explores the transition of support from a reactive transactional model to a more proactive and preventive approach. Part 2 highlights why proactive support is on the rise and how it helps reduce churn and drive recurring revenues.
We conclude this series by examining the report findings about why 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 with an omnichannel approach.
Companies offer a variety of channels for customers to request assisted support. These include interactive channels including 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 findings indicate that
- 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.
- Two-thirds of support demand is due to needing help with the adoption and application of products.
And yet, currently, fewer than a third (28%) of companies have proactive engagement efforts in place to help prevent support demand. 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.
With nearly a third (32%) of support demand stemming from questions related to installation, configuration, or setup, companies have an immense opportunity to reduce this demand through onboarding and training.
Formal efforts to help customers develop proficiency with products through training, knowledge transfer, best practice guides, and coaching can reduce “how to” questions – another significant source of support demand.
Provide in-product access to support resources including self-help materials and assisted expertise. TeamSupport’s Knowledge Base and ticket deflection feature helps enable customers to solve their own issues and shortens time to resolution.
“By building a repository of self-support resources in the Customer Hub, we will soon launch a robust Knowledge Base as a one-stop shop for all relevant tools, information, and resources,” says Alain Alejandro, SQA/Support at QC Software. “TeamSupport is so customizable, it’s perfect for B2B companies. Our customers feel like they have an entire department looking after their needs.”
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. Formal onboarding allows companies to proactively engage customers before they need assisted support.
And finally, an assisted case received by Support must contain as much relevant information about the customer need as possible. Complete records make it possible to prioritize and route new cases to the most appropriate resource for evaluation and resolution.
TeamSupport aims to break down barriers and enable collaboration between support, sales, and product teams so all departments contribute to strengthening product relationships.
“One of the biggest unexpected benefits has been the impact of TeamSupport on Caliber’s customers who actively use the TeamSupport Customer Hub as evidenced by the high login rates to the portal. “It has become the customer hub for all customer communication,” acknowledges Derek Smith, Vice-president Client Services, Caliber Public Safety. “TeamSupport has allowed us to communicate with our customers in ways we never had before. Our customers know the TeamSupport tool. They create and update tickets, collaborate with other users, and access self-help and training resources through the Knowledge Base articles.”
Since 2004, ServiceXRG has guided the world’s leading technology companies in their strategic efforts to retain customers, grow recurring revenue, and achieve cost efficiencies through the delivery of high-quality Technical Support and Customer Success services. Download the full report, Customer Support Transformation: The Guide to Essential Practices and Metrics.