A third of tech support incidents are for procedural, or “How do I?” questions
I’m preparing for next week’s webcast, Driving Self-Service Success with Rich Media, based on a recent report I published highlighting a case study from SSPA member and partner, Adobe. Something that struck me while looking at the benchmark data regarding self-service success and customer incidents is the type of issues customer call/email/chat about.
We tend to think of tech support receiving a lot of break fix, hard down type of problems. But look at this data from the SSPA Benchmark on new support incidents by type of customer issue, which I have broken down by industry segment:
The largest percentage of issues, across industry segments, is not installation problems or product bugs and defects. Rather, a third or more of support incidents are procedural questions, or questions that usually begin with “How do I?” Not only are procedural questions the easiest to solve via self-service, but as we hope to show in next week’s webcast, they are also the easiest types of questions to successfully supplement knowledgebase (KB) articles with rich media, such as a video demonstrating the procedure.
There are lots of reasons for this large chunk of procedural questions:
- Complexity, of course, plays a big role: if processes aren’t intuitive, customers need help.
- Fewer companies ship user manuals these days, which certainly doesn’t help (how infuriating is it to spend hundreds of dollars on a consumer electronics device and find no manual in the box!).
- Fewer IT resources are available at customer sites–especially for smaller companies–so tech support receives more ‘end user’ questions.
- I’d also say that some companies focus so much on technical questions in the KB that even customers who want to leverage self-service for “How do I?” questions won’t find the answer in the KB.
This really was driven home for me last week when I was struggling to figue out how to add a watermark to a MS Word document. I won’t tell you how long I tried to figure it out, and yes, I realize now the option is right there on the ‘Page Layout’ tab (as my mother would say, If it was a snake it would have bitten me). But I couldn’t figure it out. I broke down and clicked on the question mark to access MS Word help, typed in ‘watermark,’ and the first search return was a link to a video showing how to add a watermark. I didn’t have to read anything, and I didn’t even have to watch the whole video–as soon as I saw where the watermark option was, I was home free.
Even if I was not an English speaker, this video would have shown me the way. For all of you struggling to figure out how to cost effectively translate KB content into mulitple languages, think about supplementing English KB articles with rich media as a starting point. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.