Create Competition for Innovation in Technical Support
December 22, 2014
December 22, 2014
As technology becomes more complex, so do the questions fielded by your technical support agents. In a time of growing customer expectations and increasing demand for instant gratification, technology companies need to redefine their support boundaries to find innovative approaches for improving performance.
Taking a standards-based approach to put all of your tech support vendors on a level playing field may help you measure apples-to-apples across them, but it does little to make room for continuous improvement that can lead to innovation. At the rate of customer change, standing still based on what has worked in the past is a recipe for failure. Consider the untapped opportunity that’s available if you can create an environment that rewards controlled experimentation that can result in higher value for the business.
One method for technology companies that contract with multiple contact center vendors is to create an environment of competition that extends beyond prices and rankings. Adversarial approaches rarely work and leave either the vendor or the client feeling put upon, at best. Instead, focus on creating a win-win situation that drives rewards for competitively induced innovations. Healthy competition between vendors can be inspiring and rewarding.
Apply Competitive Approaches to Service Delivery
By taking a hard look at the work “product” itself, you’re taking an approach that often uncovers opportunities for fresh thinking around efficiency, work flows, application of expertise and innovation discovery. Shared knowledge and big-picture thinking also offer opportunities for competitive advantage. Improvements in each of those areas can lead to an evolution in technical support experiences as well as improved overall operational performance.
Opportunities for improvements driven by competition include:
Don’t Underestimate Your Role in Innovation
Vendor management is not about negotiating pricing to the lowest levels possible or simple contract compliance, but is about building strategic relationships that are beneficial to both sides. If your technical support contact center exists as a silo, separate from other business functions, you could be missing out on aligning the customer experience across channels, touch points and for the brand overall.
As customer expectations flourish, your role in innovation is growing commensurately. You must become the instigator, leader, and coach who inspires your vendors to expend effort toward improvements that align with your company’s business objectives. By establishing a competitive environment designed to elicit innovation, you’re putting to work the expertise that is cultivated over the longer term of a relationship built on trust and access to “insider” expertise and knowledge.