How technology adoption improves IT support services
Tech support is no longer just a place for IT pros who wait by the phone to fix stubborn legacy technology. Today, support services providers are focused on overseeing technology adoption and making customers happy. It’s time for companies to stop thinking of IT support services only as technology wizards behind the curtain and to recognize their role as a key player in the customer experience. That’s the recommendation of the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), a research and advisory firm that helps technology companies adapt and grow.
Creating a technology adoption strategy
TSIA’s report “The State of Support Services: 2017” reviews how support services providers can transform how they do business. TSIA advises companies to devise a technology adoption strategy and identifies 24 categories of emerging and proven technologies that support services providers should be implementing.
TSIA recommends emerging customer-facing technologies such as call-me-now — a lead management program that quickly connects customers with appropriate departments — and proactive support, which monitors equipment at remote customer sites to detect outages or errors needing attention.
Support services should already have in place proven technologies that have been shown to increase productivity and measure customer satisfaction. These include customer relationship management, unified communications, reporting and analytics tools, email response management and web collaboration.
If a company hasn’t yet invested in these mature technologies, it is “already behind the curve,” according to TSIA. Companies need to immediately review how these tools and services can fit their organizational goals, study their costs and invest in them sooner rather than later.
Updating services means more than using the latest technologies. TSIA also advises revamping support employee compensation as a way to improve the customer experience. Support executives should determine if their employees can help with lead generation and figure out how they can compensate them for these activities. This can further a growing trend of lowering the cost of other customer-facing areas, TSIA said.
Support services can also help companies become more flexible by using the data and experiences from service engagements to improve product development. TSIA recommends mining the data from customer service interactions and product usage feeds to increase service quality and decrease the cost to service customers.
Supporting the customer
Tech support providers need to view the customer as the linchpin in their strategy and their offerings. Support is already intimately involved in key customer-facing initiatives such as sales implementation, solution adoption, budget spends and service renewals. TSIA believes support’s involvement in these processes can only strengthen the customer experience.
To do so, companies should introduce customer-centric metrics for support, including the customer effort score. Properly balancing customer satisfaction metrics with traditional support operational performance should allow companies to accurately measure support and customer-facing efforts.
TSIA also reminds support staff to ensure their levels of service remain consistent across customer engagement channels.
“Consistency across channels, geographies, teams, product lines and business units is necessary,” the report says. Post-transaction surveys on every single channel are crucial measurement sticks to gauge this consistency.
TSIA contends that support services organizations are in the midst of an identity crisis. They’ve been so busy fixing problems that they’re suddenly caught off guard by the expectation to predict customer behavior, help with lead generation and measure customer satisfaction.
In the midst of this transition, companies looking at IT support vendors should ensure the providers they’re considering offer the right balance between traditional support services and customer-facing efforts while staying on top of emerging trends.