Archive for August 2008

RightNow August ’08 Release: Customer Portal, Widgets, Co-Browse and Proactive Chat

August 27, 2008

RightNow Technologies announced their latest release this week, RightNow August ’08, and it includes some very cool features that pay tribute to their B2C roots.  It is surprising how much new functionality and infrastructure this vendor continues to deliver with their challenging quarterly release cycle.  For a complete list of what’s included you can read the press release, but allow me to highlight the pieces I was most excited about.

Enterprise Wide Workflow and Visibility Critical for Customer Success

August 20, 2008

I am working on a white paper regarding the importance of cross-enterprise workflow and visibility, enabling the support organization to proactively manage customer issues that must be resolved by a group outside of support. Interestingly, I am dealing with a hellish customer service problem in my own life regarding this exact same problem, and let me tell you, the worst thing you can tell a frustrated customer is that the problem is “beyond my control” and there is “nothing I can do to fix it.” Whatever happened to support as customer ombudsman?

Customer support, in my mind, is the voice and face of the organization for customers. The majority of customer issues fall under the responsibility of the support organization, but unfortunately, not all do.  In the chart below, I have a breakdown of incidents by issue type from the SSPA Benchmark database.

Customer Incidents by Issue Type

Customer Incidents by Issue Type

While the installation, how to, and bug/enhancement categories should be addressed fully by support, the non technical and ‘other’ issues are less clear.  Problems with billing, account, shipping, etc., all may require intervention from a back office department to resolve.  When this happens, what becomes of the customer?  Who ‘owns’ the customer and their problem?  I would argue that support should take responsibility and ownership of the issue, shepherding the problem through the proper processes, keeping the customer updated as progress is made. (more…)

Mid-Year Support Trends: Rich Content, Revenue Generation, and the ROI of Web 2

August 13, 2008

I’ve had a lot of requests lately from members, vendors, and investment firms for the latest trends impacting service and support operations and spending, and I wanted to share with you three things I am tracking. In some way, they all relate to the bad economic conditions in North America, the declining value of the Dollar abroad, and concerns over consumer spending for Holiday 2008. My top three mid-year trends for service and support are: (more…)

PSA Trends: Strategy, Analytics, and Web 2.0

August 6, 2008

I admit I haven’t spent a lot of time on professional services automation (PSA) tools since my days at Giga, when all the enterprise CRM vendors seemed to release a PSA module at the same time.  Though the enterprise apps vendors continue to deliver PSA modules, the biggest buzz around PSA today is for smaller, more agile PSA vendors, whose solutions most likely are delivered OnDemand/SaaS.

Our 2008 Fall Summit is approaching, and I will be leading a sharing session on Wednesday, 10/22, at 9:45 to discuss trends and requirements for PSA.  I’ve started reaching out to our PSA partners for updated briefings, and so far I’m enthused about what I’m hearing.  At a high level, the PSA trends mirror what I’m seeing in other areas of the service and support industry, such as: (more…)