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Technical Support Should Be Strategic, Yet Simple and Efficient

A data center network is the core system for service delivery for most enterprises. Anything that impedes the provision of services over the network, such as downtime, configuration errors or a switch malfunction, is costly for the businesses you support. The explosion of data, driven by the Internet of Things and social media deepens the concerns about the complexity involved in maintaining and securing the enterprise network.

The technical support services you provide to ensure the success of your enterprise customers’ networks are best when they are designed with the customers’ perspective in mind, based on simplifying complex issues, and focused on efficient resolution. The effectiveness of providing support that meets the needs of enterprise customers is related to your ability to transform inefficient processes into repeatable service delivery that keeps enterprise networks up and customer needs fulfilled.

There are three components to designing technical support and service operations that will help to accomplish this goal:

Put Customers at the Core

Customers want the assurance of secure and stable network operations. Should an issue arise, this means conveniently accessed support services that are swift, intelligent and easy to use. Traditional channels must be augmented with access to channels that customers expect, including digital care. Taking a holistic approach to how these channels are integrated is vital to successful service delivery.

For example, should a customer text technical support with a question, an answer should be returned. And, should that customer then require further clarification, chat should be a “touch” away, along with a smooth transition because the agent never loses step. Orchestrating this type of seamless technical support requires the appropriate technical support agent recruiting, training and coaching programs, as well as quality assurance based on data analysis that identifies opportunities for improvement.

For customers to feel comfortable with technical support, it’s not good enough for the agents to understand the technology they will be supporting. They must understand the customers, as well. Training must be established to familiarize the agents with the cultural norms of the industries customers are in, the applications of the products in real-world situations and the severity of the issue as seen through the customer’s perspective. What may be an irritation for some customers could be a mission-critical situation for others. The adaptability of the agents providing the technical support is imperative for successful outcomes that retain and grow customer accounts. This happens when customer centricity is integrated as part of the company’s DNA.

Strategic Planning Requires Care and Thorough Effort

Customer support is a window to opportunities for feedback that sparks continuous innovation in product development and delight for customers through swift, yet thorough, issue resolution. Achieving these outcomes requires careful thought and planning, as well as a strategic outlook.

Create a customer support plan that allows for stakeholders needs and influences to be understood and applied along with processes for continuous improvement as discoveries are made. Doing this well requires that different types of stakeholders needs are assessed and incorporated into the plan.

Stakeholders to assess include:

  • Customers: Make sure to analyse the data from past service calls to gain a well-versed understanding of the nature of a customer’s experience, what types of support are most needed, and what outcomes they want to achieve. The most successful technical support service is developed from the customer perspective to ensure process-driven issue resolution that is simple, yet scientific through the use of data to discover root causes that can inform product innovation and service delivery improvement.
  • Partners: Determine what you gain from each partnership that contributes toward the achievement of business objectives. Assess whether or not your partners have methodologies and expertise that could benefit your business, and whether or not their roadmap to the future includes innovations that are complementary to your business’ strategic growth plans. Assess what the partner gains from the relationship with you and whether sharing your company’s expertise can enhance their work, resulting in greater mutual benefits.
  • Your Business: There are always trade-offs in business. Based on your strategic goals, determine what tactics can help you achieve them and prioritize them based on what you can afford to change. This will be influenced by what your partners contribute, as well as what your customers most need and want. Be sure not to overlook opportunities to simplify complex processes to gain efficiencies along the way. As markets evolve, processes are often developed in response to shifts, but without consideration for adjacent services or processes and workflows. What could be streamlined but still enable the focus to remain on customer first?

Influences on stakeholders include market trends, emerging technologies and methods and customer, as well as partner, feedback. Taking the time and thought to assess stakeholders separately and then together in relation to influences will help to ensure that your technical support plan is strategic, yet efficient, and focused on the outcomes that matter most to customers.

Make the Best Use of Resources

Putting your technical support plan into action is best done in small steps that allow you to understand the impacts of change and what’s needed to adapt to them. Your plan should include the flexibility to be refined as needed without breaking the strategic intent. Once a process is improved does not mean it is optimal, only that it’s better. Because markets shift, technologies evolve and customers’ expectations change, improvements must be ongoing and continuous to consistently outperform.

Your customers did not randomly decide to purchase your solution. They did so after research and evaluation based on their current and predicted future network and service delivery needs. They expect that technical support for their complex infrastructure will be provided by real engineers, trained with the right skills to help them change, configure and troubleshoot issues to support them in handling rapid business growth.

Outsourcing technical support can simplify the way that support is provided, managed, and reported. The right contact center services provider can bring efficiency and competency across the technical support function that independent, local-level customer support operations cannot. Their level of expertise will also help to constrain the cost of supporting customers in the way they expect. Good enough will never be good enough to deliver on strategic growth agendas that require excellence in customer experience delivery to deliver against goals.