Just seeing those words causes angst whether you are a consumer seeking help or the director of support within an organization charged with providing that help.

Slip on the consumer shoes: by the time you are looking for the contact us information, it is likely you have spent effort and time to try and fix it yourself using internet searches, amateur videos, or the FAQs on the product website. Your anxiety is high even before you hit the button.

Now switch perspective to the customer success manager; making the phone number easily accessible on the website is an expensive option. Providing a live agent for phone support is expensive and getting even more expensive as the boundaries between my product and the ecosystem blur: the scope of knowledge and length of calls increase. Interoperability is starting to dominate customer issues. Figuring out the right balance – ensuring customers have access to the most effective support at the right moment – is the dream of every customer success manager.

Creating an effective spectrum of support that maps to your customer’s personalized journey offers a new approach. Directing customers to start with self-support offers the most direct path to minimizing customer effort when it is implemented correctly. Step-by-step guidance on issue resolution, informed by language appropriate for a consumer rather than a tech writer offers the best approach to solving a problem. In self-support you can help the customer by offering tips on configurations and the most common setup and troubleshooting fixes. The advantage of self-support over static FAQs and a knowledge base is the ability to pinpoint where customers are stumbling so the content can be continuously optimized.

For customers who stumble in self-support, having an easily activated collaboration capability that allows for the customer to engage an agent via the phone or chat is important. The experience is more powerful by putting the agent into the same context as your journey and shows the steps you have tried independently. The agent should know about the self-support remedies you have tried, any information about your devices and environment that the consumer has given within self-support. Ensuring those agents you engage with are true problem solvers with the understanding and capacity to stick with it to solve the issue is essential. Just taking over the journey isn’t enough. Solving the customer issue is really the problem. Solving the problem may mean sharing images through photos or video between agent and consumer or even remote viewing of a set-up on a PC.

Customer success is a journey and Support.com offers a spectrum of support to aid that journey with flexible approaches to delivering self-support tools and content as well as talented problem solvers to support your business.

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