Archive for February 2008

Creating Personalized Customer Experiences

February 26, 2008

I just published a research report resulting from a number of member inquiries and thought I would share a truncated version here for the larger community.  For SSPA members, here is a link to the full article online:  Creating Personalized Customer Experiences. Ten years after the advent of CRM most technology companies are drowning in customer data, but identifying which information is relevant for a specific interaction and tailoring the conversation and processes to fit remains a stretch goal for most support organizations.

Companies wanting to improve the customer experience by personalizing support interactions need to make investments in three areas: support engineer training, support engineer desktop applications, and a real-time personalization engine. (more…)


Emerging Markets Research: Cultural Differences in Supporting Customers in India and China

February 14, 2008

A lot of you come to this blog to hear me pontificate on some topic or another, but today I am asking you to be the expert and help me out!  I am kicking off a research project way outside my area of expertise, and I know many of you have first hand experience with this issue and could provide some insight for me.

When we surveyed our executive and advisory board members for top issues, the cultural differences in supporting customers in India and China bubbled to the top.  Many of us lived through the big foray into Japan in the mid-to-late 90s and are still scarred by the experience.  Aspects of our products were very North American centric, but with our usual American hubris, we didn’t realize it.  So was our approach to servicing customers.  While the US was starting to push self-service and deflecting live interactions, Japan in the 90s expected onsite support–not phone support, and don’t even think about suggesting self-service.

The economies in India and China are booming, and our member companies are either already selling there or are considering entering the market.  Not wishing to repeat our cultural ignorance of Japan, SSPA members are looking to us to help.  I’ve identified the following issues related to supporting customers in India and China to explore: (more…)

Announcing Categories for Spring 2008 Recognized Innovator Awards

February 13, 2008

One of  the best parts of my job is managing the SSPA Recognized Innovator Award program.  These awards are presented in the Spring and Fall to SSPA partners who are creating innovative solutions for customer service and support.  With such focus in our industry today on consolidation, examples of true innovation are few and far between.  Our awards highlight different categories for each round, reflecting areas our members are struggling with and looking for new approaches.

For the Spring 2008 SSPA Recognized Innovator Awards, the categories are: (more…)

Proactive Support Tops 2008 Resource List for SSPA Members

February 5, 2008

We just sent out our 2008 Support Technology Survey, which details planned member spending on support technology in 2008, along with capturing what solutions members already have in place and how satisfied they are with them.  Stay tuned and I’ll highlight those results when available.  But in the meantime, in the January SSPA News I included the following poll: “Where do you plan to make the biggest investment (resources, time, new technology) in 2008?”

  • Knowledge management tools (customer and/or agent facing knowledgebases)
  • Multi-channel customer service tools (email, chat, web self-service)
  • Customer community tools (discussion forums, blogs, wikis)
  • CRM/customer interaction tracking tools (incident management, entitlement, customer history)
  • Proactive support tools (remote monitoring, automatic problem detection/resolution)

The answer may surprise you! (more…)