While the term “tech support” isn’t typically considered a strategic differentiator of a product or service, every support call, live chat, or email presents a powerful opportunity to foster long-term relationships with customers. In our three part blog series, we’ll explore how companies can tackle the challenge of tech support and customer service in a connected world, starting with an exploration of the tech support spectrum and its impact on brand visibility.
The Spectrum of Technology Support
Prior to the widespread adoption of wireless networks, and proliferation of interconnected mobile devices, companies could focus tech support on their core products and services. In today’s interconnected world, it is harder to do so – customers just want their problem solved quickly and with minimal effort.
Over time, new support channels have emerged, each providing different opportunities and challenges for companies seeking to deliver a rich customer experience. There are four main categories of tech support covering a broad spectrum of interaction methods – from completely do-it-yourself to highly interactive. Let’s look more closely at each method of interaction:
1. Do-It-Yourself Support
- Many consumers start by entering their problem in a search engine, seeing results from companies with the best search engine optimized (SEO) content, or best funded ads (SEM).
- The ability to control the experience and enhance a brand is limited until a customer gets passed the search results and lands on brand specific content.
- Customers often feel they solved the problem themselves and it becomes challenging to reinforce a positive brand and service relationship.
2. Crowd-Sourced Support
- At this level of service, the company has a section on its website where customers can interact with one another to solve problems collaboratively.
- Positive experiences and successful encounters that take place on a company’s website or other social networks can make a good impression, but they still don’t reflect active engagement by the brand, and there is a risk that the information will be unhelpful or even detrimental.
- Companies may invest resources to filter, edit or moderate the crowd-sourced content. Companies may also employ social CRM technology to better manage feedback and comments posted in social channels.
3. Customer Self-Service Portals
- With self-service portals, the company acts as a community manager, curating the best crowd-sourced content and organizing it strategically to align with specific searches on the site.
- Through vetted blog posts and other forms of user-generated content, organizations can actively ensure that customers will not have to spend too much time sifting through unhelpful, incorrect or poorly-written suggestions.
- If managed correctly, a self-service portal can be a strong part of a well-designed customer engagement and customer service program.
4. Interactive Live Support
- When a customer decides to invest their time to pick-up the phone or open a chat session to interact with a company it is a critical moment of truth. Organizations that train employees and provide them with the tools they need to offer effective, value-added support are investing in customer loyalty.
- Ultimately this is the level of support where companies have the most influence over which customers become loyal, enthusiastic evangelists.
- The most effective interactive live support will take advantage of information gleaned about the customer’s problem from self-service channels they explored before reaching a live agent.
The Impact of Interactive Live Support
Despite the investment and advancements in self-service solutions, interactive live support remains a preferred option for many customers when faced with a question or problem. And as products become increasingly complicated and interconnected, it’s harder for consumers to know who to call and for companies to enforce a scope of support. As a result, delivering interactive, live, high quality tech support is becoming a critical component of the overall customer service strategy for many companies.
How can companies remain competitive in an era where reliance on technology is increasing and tech support has become an essential part of their brand identity? Join us tomorrow for Part 2 of the series, Tech Support and the Customer Journey.
Support.com offers a range of services and products that help leading brands create new revenue streams, reduce costs and deepen customer loyalty. The Nexus® Service Delivery Platform is a patented, cloud-based platform designed to create more consistent tech support experiences and leverage data and analytics to reduce customer service costs and enhance the customer experience. Learn More.