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If you’re part of a Support Services organization, you’re probably feeling some pressure to grow, evolve, or change. That’s the reality of Support Services in 2021. We’ll be discussing these pressures and possible solutions in depth at the upcoming TSIA Interact conference. Read on for a preview.

There is no denying that Support organizations are under constant pressure to lower their costs, especially when almost 60% of Product Engine companies and over 75% of XaaS Engine companies are operating as a cost center.

There is also no denying that customers want to interact in different ways using different methods. TSIA’s Distinguished Vice President of Technology Research John Ragsdale has been alerting members to this fact for many years through the results of his annual Channel Preference survey. The appetite for personalized self-service, chat, text, and social media continues to grow, and there are distinct preferences for different generations and geographies.

While B2C companies are clearly leading the pack in the race to the best customer experience, the “Haves,”- as outlined in TSIA Executive Director Thomas Lah’s Research Report, The State of the Technology Industry 2021 - in the B2B space continue to lead by example. They have set the bar high.

Is it already too late for the “Have-Nots”? Not necessarily, but time is running out. Recently one of my TSIA colleagues, Kevin Bowers, Research Director for Field Service, recited a popular Chinese proverb during a presentation which continues to hit home when talking with members:

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

If you want to succeed and grow in the future, the best time to act is now. Many Support organizations we talk with are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Over 83% of TSIA Support Services Benchmark respondents cite customer satisfaction as the most important objective for their support organization, but many fail to secure the required funding to create that exceptional customer experience.

In the Evolution of the Support Services Business Model, Vele Galovski, TSIA Vice President of Support and Field Services Research, discusses the importance of evolving the business model, aligning charters, and the need to invest as the movement towards annual recurring revenue increases. Retaining and increasing the customer base is of significant importance.

Learning at TSIA Interact

At our TSIA Interact Conference, we heard directly from the “Haves” on how they are transforming both the customer and employee experiences in their organizations.

There has been a technology explosion in the past year to help achieve Support Services goals and laying out a cohesive plan will help you achieve your end result. It is no longer acceptable to have obsolete knowledge base articles and product documentation on your customer portal that customers have to dig through to get answers.

On May 4, Vele Galovski kicked off the Support Services track at TSIA Interact with Improving the Customer Experience with Omnichannel. Companies can no longer rely on the three common primary channels and static knowledge content to serve their customers. Vele outlined the key elements we believe are essential to delivering a consistent low-effort, high quality customer experience across multiple digital channels and provide a recommended framework for you to improve your omnichannel capabilities.

Business Challenge Accelerator Sessions

Business Challenge Accelerator Sessions came back after debuting at the October TSIA Interact conference. These are working sessions with attendees broken into smaller teams to brainstorm capabilities in the areas of practices, technology, metrics, and skills that companies will need to successfully overcome key business challenges.

The first Business Challenge Accelerator Session was Aligning Support and Product Teams led by Sara Johnson, Director, Support Services Research at TSIA.

Sara facilitated a brainstorming session discussing how Support organizations can become an integral part of the product development lifecycle. Support staff typically have the greatest insights into the day-to-day challenges customers face with the product or service. Alignment between these two organizations is critical in improving the customer experience.

The second Business Challenge Accelerator Session was Beyond Deflection: How Communities Add Company and Customer Value led by Dave Baca, Director, Support Services Research at TSIA.

Dave facilitated an interactive and collaborative session on the benefits of expanding communities past the typical peer-to-peer interaction experienced today. By identifying new capabilities, you can help expand your community to provide additional customer and company value.

Subject Matter Expert Sessions

In the live interactive subject matter expert sessions, we heard directly from TSIA members on how they overcame specific business challenges. You will be able to interact, ask questions, and get beneficial tips your company can use today. Some of the highlights include:

  • Cross Functional Collaboration Between Engineering and Support Services – This has been a constant business challenge with members. Jaime Farinos from Google will discuss the importance of the collaboration and alignment between engineering and support teams at all levels and the best practices they use to remove the silos many members face in their own organizations.
  • Aligning Your CSAT Measures to Your Purpose – Patrick Martin from Coveo revealed their redesigned process to drive behaviors to increase CSAT and customer loyalty by aligning their purpose to their measurements.
  • The Augmented Support Engineer: Towards Minimal Effort and Maximal Effect – Dr. Sean MacNiven and Jeffrey Schweigler from SAP SE disclosed the progress they have made in developing a dedicated integrated support environment to enable and augment every major activity in an engineer's daily work.
  • How to Reinvent Customer Support to Become an Engine for Customer Adoption – Daniel Coullet from Qlik discussed how customer support, through digital transformation and proactive support, can help drive customer adoption.

In addition to the subject matter expert sessions, the TSIA partners in the Technology track shared how the innovation they have been accelerating over the past year can help companies transform into one of the “Haves.”

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Sara Johnson

About Author Sara Johnson

Sara Johnson is the director of support services research for TSIA. In this role, she provides membership and advisory designed to help member companies optimize their Customer Support organizations (including help desks, call center, technical support and omni-channel experiences) to achieve and deliver desired customer and organizational outcomes.

Sara has over 20+ years of experience in various leadership roles within the ERP software industry focusing on building world class, global customer support organizations.

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