Archive for June 2008

Recruiting Judges for AFSMI/SSPA Fall Recognized Innovator Awards: Green Edition

June 23, 2008

Last week we announced the categories for the Fall Recognized Innovator Awards, to be presented at our Services Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, October 20-22.  For the first time, our Fall conference will be co-located with the annual World Conference of our sister association, AFSMI, so these award categories span tech support, call center, and field service operations.

The awards are presented to our technology and service partners (vendors), and are selected by a panel of judges including members of SSPA and AFSMI, and industry veterans.  If you read my blog, you count as an industry veteran!  I am currently recruiting judges and hope you will consider participating.  You will only judge one category, you will have one week to do the judging, and it should only take 30-45 minutes total.  And, you will be recognized during my keynote presentation at the conference when I present the awards.

I am so impressed with the huge “Green” efforts I am seeing in all sectors of technology and business, but so far, I have not seen much attention in the area of “Green Support.”  To raise visibility for this, the categories for the Fall Recognized Innovator Awards, Green Edition, are: (more…)


Web chat finds growing adoption for tech support

June 20, 2008

In a previous post on the appropriateness of email for tech support, several folks added comments suggesting a post on Web chat, so here it is!  I think Web chat is already hugely successful in the consumer world, and I frequently use it to communicate with my wireless carrier and various eCommerce retailers.  But what about tech support?  When I first joined the SSPA 2.5 years ago, chat was hardly a hot topic with our members, and I was told repeatedly that “chat doesn’t work” for tech support. Since then, I’m slowly seeing adoption growing, with a few great success stories.

The biggest eye opener for me was a webcast I did quite a while back, in which Symantec gave their case study on a huge success with chat support. I am also working on a case study with Linksys, which mentions the work they have done to turn their chat channel from moderately successful into a highly adopted and highly rated channel. Dell also has a huge chat operation. So adoption is growing.

But not very fast. When we rewrote the SSPA Benchmark Questionnaire last year, I was successful in getting Web chat added in a few places. One of those was incidents by channel. According to the current benchmark data, 1% of consumer incidents, 0% of SMB incidents, and .1% of enterprise incidents originate via chat. So while some companies are finding chat as a great way to interact with customers, others have yet to jump into the chat pool.

From my perspective, here are the advantages of Web chat: (more…)

Helpstream bridges knowledgebase and community content gap

June 11, 2008

With the rush to leverage Web 2 and implement customer forums, companies are finding that a mature forum can have the same problem as a mature knowledgebase:  lots of noise, making it hard to find useful content.  I’ve written in the past about the importance of including results from both the knowledgebase and the forum when customers or agents search for content, and while the leading KM players have partnered with community platform vendors to enable this, it is still requires a professional services integration project.

The other wrinkle in all this “search, search, where should I search?” confusion is that according to member conversations and survey results, both agents and customers are looking to Google as their starting place for a knowledge search.  And as much as this irritates support management who have spent $100k or more to create a knowledgebase, you can’t argue that Google does turn up some amazing problem/resolution information.

I spent some time last week with Helpstream, a new player in the Web 2 KM world, and to my knowledge, they appear to have the very first product that solves all of these issues with a single, out of the box, intuitive product and user interface.

Helpstream combined KM and community search results


The Death of Email Support?

June 2, 2008

I’m endlessly fascinated by support volumes by channel, seeing which support channels customers prefer.  You’ve probably all seen the figures from the consumer survey I did with Lithium last year (white paper available here) on generational differences in attitudes towards support, showing that different age groups have different channel preferences.  But when you ask support managers about which channels they prefer to use when servicing customers, one thing is clear:  everybody hates email.  The numbers show why:

  • First contact resolution.  The industry average for phone is 45%; email 27%.
  • Resolved within 24 hours.  The industry average for phone is 59%; email 44%.
  • Time to resolve.  The industry average for phone is 1 hour 29 minutes; email 4 hours and 3 minutes.
  • (more…)