Archive for March 2009

Why do Knowledge Management Initiatives Fail?

March 25, 2009

The early results from my annual member technology survey are in, and while it appears that overall spending is definitely down this year, companies continue to make investments in technology with proven ROI. One of those bright spots is knowledge management (agent facing and customer facing knowledgebases, search technology), with strong 2009 spending planned. My inquiries regarding KM are up as well, with many large companies investing heavily in 2009 to overhaul KM technology and process in hopes of improving service, increasing productivity, and driving up self-service adoption and success. And as I explain in my soon to be published article about KM as the starting point for service convergence, I’m also hearing from members that there is renewed emphasis on capturing intellectual property from employees in case the economy forces downsizing.

I responded to an inquiry yesterday from a member who asked: What are the major pitfalls that contribute to most KM failures? Here are my top 5 reasons, and I would love to hear from all of my KM-savy readers what else belongs on the list: (more…)

Worthy goal: merging B2C and B2B customer lists

March 19, 2009

I received a really interesting inquiry recently from an SSPA member regarding best practices for identifying when a consumer customer deserves special treatment because they are a VIP on a corporate account.  Though this is a potential issue for a growing number of firms, it turns out few companies have procedures in place to address the problem.

In the three years I’ve been with the SSPA the formerly separate worlds of B2B and B2C have merged.  Though lots of member companies have both B2B and B2C divisions (Dell, Xerox, Symantec, etc.), we’ve seen consolidation creating new hybrids, such as Cisco/Linksys.  I don’t think it is overly controversial to point out that the B2B customer experience is different from the B2C customer experience.  B2B support engineers are more technical and highly trained than the average B2C agent…as is the customer.  B2B customers are often dedicated system administrators, while consumer customers may have no technical experience at all.  And let’s face it, with the huge volumes in consumer call centers, and often complex volume management involving inhouse agents and outsourced agents, the consumer experience can be iffy.

According to the SSPA Benchmark, 85% of B2B customers say they were satisfied with the handling of their case, compared to 44% of B2C customers.  59% of B2B customers say they were very satisfied with the handling of their case, compared to 35% of B2C customers. 

Customer Satisfaction: B2B vs. B2C

Customer Satisfaction: B2B vs. B2C

So the question is:  When the CIO at a big B2B customer account calls in as a consumer about his/her home computer, how do you make sure they receive exceptional service so as not to negatively impact the B2B account standing? (more…)

Ensure Customer Data Privacy Compliance with UCF

March 13, 2009

As tech companies expand into new industries and geographies looking for new revenue streams, I have started receiving a lot of compliance questions…and I don’t usually have a good answer.  Questions include: 

  • My TSEs need to start taking credit card numbers, what is involved in PCI compliance?
  • We are expanding to Europe or Asia next year, what are the guidelines to storing customer data and how is it different from the US?
  • We are launching a product line for Healthcare and need to know what changes are required for our support operations to be HIPAA compliant?
  • Our Canadian customers don’t want their data stored on US soil and be subject to the Patriot Act.  How does this work?
  • We just found out states have different privacy regulations for consumer/customer data, how do we know we are compliant in all 50 states?

Between HIPAA, financial services privacy legislation, BASEL II in Europe, Sarbanes-Oxley, and a million other federal, state and international regulations, navigating compliance is increasingly complex.  And add to this internal requirements for compliance with ITIL or ISO and most companies end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to consultants for internal compliance audits.  One ITIL and Sarbox auditing firm, who I had the misfortune of doing a speaking tour with a few years back, opens and closes every presentation with:  “If you don’t have us come in and audit your operations your CIO will go to jail!” 

When a firm wins business using such ridiculous scare tactics, you know paranoia about compliance is very high.

Green Field Service: Eliminate Onsite Visits and Cut Fleet Mileage

March 10, 2009

Last Fall in preparation for the Recognized Innovator Awards: Green Edition I blogged about Green Service and Support.  I hosted a panel discussion on the topic at our Vegas conference, and have had some very supportive comments and emails from members of all three associations (AFSMI, SSPA and TPSA) about my coverage of the topic.

This week I am publishing follow-up reports for AFSMI and SSPA on going Green. Even the current economic recession is unable to slow the adoption of Green practices: not only does going Green reduce the corporate carbon footprint, it offers significant cost savings as well. I call Green Service and Support a win-win-win proposal: Green Service reduces the corporate carbon footprint, increases service levels to customers, and cuts operating costs.

In the new report, I provide two Green examples in the field service realm. The first is about eliminating field service visits. In a recent AFSMI member poll, 44% of respondents said it cost more than $550 to ‘roll a truck’ for a field service repair. With costs this high, the ROI story for technology to eliminate field service visits can be very compelling.  From a Green standpoint, eliminating onsite visits keeps vehicles off the road, reducing traffic congestion and related pollutants.

An example of leveraging technology to reduce onsite visits comes from Allscripts, a leader in software, services, information and connectivity solutions for healthcare professionals. Allscripts customers include 150,000+ physicians, 700 hospitals and thousands of providers in clinics, post-acute care facilities, and homecare agencies. The healthcare and medical device industry has several unique challenges, including severe health impacts when critical medical technology is offline, and few onsite customer resources to assist with issue diagnosis: when Code Blue is called, physicians and nurses don’t stay on the phone with a TSE. As a result, Allscripts’ support issues had a high rate of onsite service to resolve. (more…)

AFSMI/SSPA/TPSA 2009 Member Technology Survey: Please Complete!

March 2, 2009

Each year I conduct surveys of our community member companies to find out what service and support technology they are using, how satisfied they are with it, and where they intend to make incremental investments over the next year. The survey data is very important to our association ecosystems, it helps:

  • Members. Companies can see how their adoption of innovative technology stacks up to the industry–very helpful for competitive positioning.
  • Partners. Association partners use the data to understand where companies are making investments so they can better match product planning and marketing to spending priorities.
  • Me. That’s right, me. I use this data in research, blog posts, member inquiries, press interviews, etc., all year long.

The 2009 Member Technology Survey is n0w available for all three associations.  Please click on the appropriate link to to take the short, painless survey.

AFSMI (field service operations)

SSPA (tech support/customer service)

TPSA (professional services)

If you are a corporate or community member of one or more organizations, please take a moment to complete the survey.  There’s a Starbucks Gift Card for early respondents, so get started soon!