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A great deal of uncertainty surrounds the recent global COVID-19 pandemic, as millions of organizations around the world are forced to transition their workforce to the confines of their home. How long will current conditions last? Should companies invest assuming the worst is yet to come? How will customers respond and what will be their expectation going forward? How can your organization take the first step toward digital evolution?

The shift toward digitalization

Businesses unable to continue operating have fallen into a slumber, declaring mass layoffs and bankruptcy. Several barely hold on as they struggle to find new ways to reinvent themselves. On the other hand, many businesses are prospering, quickly adapting, and reaching new peaks of market dominance as society becomes increasingly reliant on their solutions.

If there’s one thing we do know, it’s that constraints breed innovation.

This year is no exception. After a decade of delivering in-person Technology Services World conferences, TSIA has reinvented itself like never before, launching it’s very first highly interactive virtual event, TSIA Interact, on October 20-22. Filled with business challenges to overcome and lessons to be learned from industry experts, this’ll be an event you don’t want to miss.

On top of that, with the technology infrastructure of individual departments and entire enterprises playing an increasingly critical role, TSIA will hold an additional one-day pre-event on Thursday, October 15, known as TSIA Interact: Technology Summit. This Technology Summit is free to anyone who registers for TSIA Interact and will be hosted by none other than our Distinguished Vice President of Technology Research, John Ragsdale.

In this blog I’m going to highlight the themes and format for this one-day Interact Technology Summit, in addition to some of the research we’ve conducted over the year. TSIA members, and the industry at large, should make time in their calendars to attend this event, as this year’s titans of technology will showcase the latest and greatest in 3 main areas: Revenue Growth, Customer Experience, and Digital Transformation.

Revenue Growth

The first theme is going to cover tools, challenges, and best practices related to driving revenue growth for sales organizations, both net-new sales and service sales.

Services increasingly are being relied upon to grow corporate revenue as well. According to the 2020 TSIA Professional Services Benchmark, an average of 35% of company revenue comes from services, and 49% of that services revenue comes from professional services. Customer Success organizations are responsible for an average of 20% of total company revenue, according to the 2020 TSIA Customer Success Benchmark.

Technology investments are critical to revenue growth, both in new net sales, services sales, subscription and maintenance renewals, and upsell/cross-sell. During this portion of TSIA Interact: Technology Summit, we will explore several areas:

  • Sales automation. As outlined in my Research Report, Building the Digital Infrastructure for Sales, there are many opportunities to increase the scale and effectiveness of your sales organization by leveraging AI, sales enablement, sales engagement, sales intelligence, and more.
  • Customer portals beyond support. Enabling customers to browse online catalogs of products and services, or process renewals, requires investments in CPQ, eCommerce, and integrations to CRM, ERP, CPQ, and more. Allowing self-service for sales activities lowers margins on sales and allows your sales organization to scale without additional headcount.
  • Pipeline management. For services teams, having an accurate view of the pipeline not only helps you better manage future resource needs, but also allows you to identify patterns and provide additional guidance and training for sales on extending offers that deliver higher revenue and margins for professional services, education services, and customer success.

By the way, if you’re interested in sales or technology, be sure to participate in TSIA’s 2020 SalesTech Survey where we measure adoption and planned spending for the most essential tools. Results will be sent out to respondents in a couple weeks.

Customer Experience

Next on the list for Interact’s Technology Summit is TSIA’s bread and butter, Customer Experience. It’s logical, after all, that during disruptive economic environments companies choose to focus on their most valuable asset, their customers.

A total of 79% of support organizations and 76% of customer success teams, have budgeted for customer experience analytics in the next one to two years. Understanding key metrics such as satisfaction, customer effort, and Net Promoter Score can help identify friction points in the customer experience, which can occur across the entire customer lifecycle, and the front, middle, and back office. 

In this portion of TSIA Interact: Technology Summit, we will explore technology to help track and improve the customer experience, such as:

  • Health scores. A critical element of customer success is creating accurate health scores, which will help determine problem accounts and likelihood of renewals. This information is essential for often overburdened success managers to prioritize their time with accounts. But health scores are complex, with each company relying on unique data and calculations to factor into defining and measuring customer health.
  • Sentiment analysis. There is a wealth of information locked into existing systems, such as CRM and customer service ticketing systems, that can be analyzed using artificial intelligence and machine learning to glean insights into customer satisfaction, and issues impacting the customer experience. But few companies are mining this information. 
  • Self-service. TSIA data proves that customers across age demographics and geographies prefer self-service to assisted service, yet TSIA Support Services Benchmark data shows that satisfaction with self-service is consistently lower than phone, email, chat, or other assisted support channels. How can we ensure customers have an excellent experience using self-service, which not only encourages use of this low-cost channel, but improves critical metrics such as self-service success and deflection?

Digital Transformation

The last and final theme for this event is the famous never-ending Digital Transformation. This is a big topic, and it significantly impacts every department in the enterprise, as well as our personal lives. 

For this portion of TSIA Interact: Technology Summit, we will focus on specific technologies which are already proven to lower costs and help organizations scale operations, as well as those increasingly being demanded by customers.

  • Digital support channels. TSIA’s 2020 Channel Preference Study showed that customer preferences for digital channels, such as WhatsApp and SMS texting, are on the rise, particularly for younger customers and in specific geographic locations. How can companies introduce these channels to meet the needs of customers, without overburdening agents dealing with already-complex desktops and channel options?
  • Video and mobility. Both customers and employees increasingly prefer interacting with digital formats, such as video, instead of text. However, only 25% of technology companies have a library of “how to” videos on their website. On the mobility side, when we surveyed customers about which device they used when contacting support for self-service or web chat, 55% said they used their smartphone, 11% said a tablet device, and only 35% are using a laptop or desktop. Is your self-service portal, as well as productivity tools such as co-browse and remote control, optimized for supporting mobile customers?
  • Virtual and augmented reality. While virtual reality may seem an advanced concept, when COVID-19 eliminated onsite field service visits, some tech companies quickly pivoted to enable access to a customer’s home or office using a video link via a mobile device. TSIA data shows that 68% of customers said if they had the option of a video link, allowing a support technician to visually see and inspect their equipment and environment, they would use it. What options are available for virtual and augmented reality for support, success, and professional services, and how can you overcome customer concerns about privacy and security?

Conclusion

No other virtual event will be filled with as many back-to-back technology providers as this one. And there’s a strong likelihood this year that your technology will be the sole deciding factor of whether your business will sink or swim. If implemented wisely with expert guidance, your company’s technology stack will be its key competitive advantage. Implemented poorly, you can scale your company into bankruptcy and kiss those LinkedIn recommendations goodbye. 

So If you value your time and would like a quick refresher of today’s technological landscape, be sure to click here and visit our registration page right away. This is an event you’re not going to want to miss.

Hope you can make it!

 
 
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Omar Fdawi

About Author Omar Fdawi

Omar Fdawi is a senior research associate for TSIA, focusing primarily on enterprise technology. Although having spent over half his career in sales and sales operations, he also has background in data analysis, process improvement, and financial reporting. His previous experience includes working in software, banking, mass media, and food manufacturing industries. He has a passion for automating business processes and helping companies become more profitable.

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