How to Use Analysts Reports and Awards to Select a Tech Support Vendor
July 24, 2014
July 24, 2014
Providing service to customers is the key to growth and loyalty for technology companies. From technical support to acquisition and retention, customers are becoming more demanding and exacting in their interactions with brands. Switching costs have become minimal, making it even more important for companies in the technology sector to achieve excellence in customer interactions.
Many enterprise technology companies contract with a mix of contact center and technical support vendors to optimize the excellence provided across a variety of product categories and services. Depending on the country, region, language and skill sets, one vendor can become preferable over another for a specific offering.
The big question when selecting a new vendor for business process outsourcing (BPO) for technical support is: How do I choose?
One of the best ways to determine which vendors should make your short list is to use analysts reports to select a tech support vendor. Consult analyst reports and industry and association awards to look for external recognition provided to a vendor under consideration. Vendors that have received recognition from industry experts have usually acquired it based on performance as evaluated by both the analyst and input from the vendor’s customers.
Analysts provide scrutiny and assessment that can provide a depth of insight that it’s not cost-effective to research and develop on your own when trying to whittle down the options for selection.
From a customer service perspective, it’s also extremely important to be able to identify the vendor’s high points and areas of superior achievement as they relate to your project’s requirements, your company culture and the value the vendor will bring in addition to other customer service initiatives provided by your company.
But, more importantly, the speed of change for customers has accelerated. Even though, according to Gartner, 75% of customer interactions are still provided via voice-based services, the analyst predicts that, from 2016 to 2017, non-voice multi-channel and automated services—such as web chat, email, SMS, self-service and social CRM services, coupled with dynamic analytics will tilt the scale.
The best bet for customer service executives looking for a smooth transition as customer demands for experiences in emerging service channels grow is to choose a vendor who is already applying expertise to these areas. Analyst reports can help you identify vendors working to establish expertise in these areas—both from their evaluation criteria and from their conversations with customers where they often include the highlights or overall consensus from those exchanges.
Depending on the scope and goals of your project, criteria such as a focus on strategic account management, strong operational discipline and performance, and continued investment in new service offerings—including non-voice channels, could be highlights for your search.
But analyst reports can also pinpoint issues that are common across all vendors due to the nature of contact centers. As analysts evaluate shortcomings or weaknesses, look to see which of these are repeated consistently across the vendors in the report. One example for contact center providers is agent attrition. Therefore, those vendors without this caution from customers could be a step above.
The other consideration for customer service executives who will be managing the vendor relationship is to identify traits, weaknesses or concerns that would create issues for the ease of day-to-day operational management. Some of these may include a lack of pro-activeness on the part of the vendor, less ability to manage complexity and slow response times. As customer expectations grow and they adopt new channels with higher frequency, these tendencies in a vendor can also impact the value of the customer’s experience.
Technical support requires increasing levels of agent skills and knowledge. Awards received by a BPO provider for technical support can be indicative of the vendor’s ability to sustain this level of expertise in spite of the level of attrition or other challenges they may face. You want to select a vendor that can perform in trying times as well as those with upward momentum.
Awards can demonstrate:
Make sure to check the vendor’s clients to see if they’ve won awards for the services the vendor provides. Certifications from J.D. Powers are an example.
Performing vendor evaluations can seem like a daunting task. Analyst reports and industry recognition can narrow the playing field to the vendors that are the best match for the skills and expertise that will provide the highest return on customer experience. And that means a mutual win for both your company and the vendor.