Archive for the ‘self-service’ category

3 Ways Search Is Saving Customer Support: View the OnDemand Webinar

March 5, 2015

Yesterday I had the pleasure of co-presenting a webinar with one of my very favorite speakers, Diane Berry, Senior VP of Market Strategy for Coveo. Diane was a past winner of our TechFutures event and is always a dynamic speaker with great content. We had big attendance for yesterday’s webinar, and the OnDemand version is now available for viewing. I thought I would give you a quick look at what we talked about, and you can view the OnDemand event at your leisure.

Enterprise search is increasingly a cornerstone of a company’s knowledge management strategy. During the webinar, I talked about what I call “the three realities of enterprise search:”

  • A single knowledgebase for all information is unrealistic. Valuable content is stored across the enterprise—and in people’s heads. Yes, a knowledgebase for capturing tacit knowledge is critical, but that is only one source of information. Online documentation, product manuals, release notes, forum conversations, etc., are all critical to support technicians and customers. Companies need search technology to search everyplace at once, not just a single repository.
  • Knowing the right place to look for information is impossible—especially for newer employees. Surveys tell us that TSIA members have a dozen or more applications and content sources that they routinely access to support customers, and knowing where to look to find what you need can take years to learn. Unified search pulls from every content source, every time; the actual location of the content is irrelevant.
  • Filtering search results to find exactly what you need is a necessity. We know that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. Not only do you need relevancy analysis (which we discuss in the webinar), but you also need filtering options to allow knowledge workers, and customers performing self-service, to find exactly what they need without rephrasing their search over and over again.

Diane and I then went through the list of “The Three Ways Search is Saving Customer Support,” and based on my inquiry conversations, that is no exaggeration. How is enterprise search saving support? Here are the three points we discussed:

#1. Search turns your community or customer portal into a self-service, case deflection engine.

I’ve heard companies afraid to use the word “deflection,” thinking it implies they don’t want to talk to customers. This is simply not the case. My 2015 Social Support Survey shows that 46% of customers PREFER self-service, and only 11% prefer phone. Giving customers a dynamic and sucessful self-service experience is exactly what they want. And it is a win-win, since fully burdened support calls for B2B companies can be $700 or more, and self-service sessions typically cost less than $10.

#2. Search gives employees insight from across  your entire enterprise ecosystem.

One of the hot trends I’m seeing is imbedded, dynamic, contextual search. Imbedded because it sits within your CRM or other system of record, so no additional searches or windows are required. Dynamic because search results constantly update in real time, depending on what you type. And contextual, because the results are filtered based on the case title and notes you type in, as well as the value of any custom fields such as product or failing component. In this way, employees can see a list of related content from across the enterprise: related cases, knowledge articles, documentation, forum conversations, as well as lists of experts on the topic in case you need to escalate.

#3. Search analytics identify trends, knowledge gaps, and optimize relevance.

A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to spend an hour with Diane and her analytics team focusing on how analytics can improve the success of a knowledge management program. I was so impressed with the conversation that now I’m writing a new research report, “Leveraging Analytics to Boost KM Success: Proactive Analytics Automate the Knowledge Maintenance Process,” to be published later this month. In particular, analytics can help proactively identify content gaps, improve relevance scores, and recognize content consumption trends. In the webinar, Diane provides examples and screen shots to illustrate these.

Here is the link to view the OnDemand version of the webinar: http://www.tsia.com/webinars/Trend_Alert_3_Ways_Search_Is_Saving_Customer_Support/

The webinar is only 30 minutes, and we did receive some interesting questions during the Q&A period at the end. Be sure to follow the link and watch the webinar when you have time.

And as always, thanks for reading!

10th Annual TSIA Global Technology Survey is Now Open! Free Research Report for Participating

March 3, 2015

I’m pleased to announced that my 10th annual TSIA Technology Survey is now open! This survey covers 24 categories of tools and services used by customer support, professional services, education services, managed services and field service. The survey is open to everyone (not just TSIA members), and if you complete the survey, you will receive a copy of the resulting research report, “The 2015 TSIA Heatmap,” which discusses adoption levels of each category and top technology trends related to service organizations.

The survey addresses adoption, satisfaction, and planned spending for commonly used technologies including CRM, knowledge management, enterprise search, web collaboration, online communities, social media monitoring, analytic platforms, learning management, etc.  The survey asks which line of service you work for, then only prompts you with categories that apply. For example, if you work in Field Service, you will be asked about scheduling and dispatch tools, and if you work in Professional Services, you will be asked about professional services automation. So you won’t have to answer all 24 categories!

Along with the traditional service technology, the survey also addresses some emerging hot technology areas critical to TSIA’s B4B, customer success and expand selling messages:

  • Consumption Monitoring/Analytics: These tools are used to measure and monitor customer consumption of technology, gauging how quickly customers are adoption new tools, common process flows, top used features, number of users and length of session time, etc. Consumption Monitoring is a key piece of a Customer Success strategy.
  • Recurring Revenue Management: These tools are used by service professional to manage the sales and renewals processes for maintenance and service contracts. Functionality includes automating renewals, renewal dashboards, and analytics to predict likelihood of renewal and manage profitable contract/maintenance programs.
  • Upsell/Cross-Sell: Also known as offer management software, these tools prompt call center, tech support, field service, or renewal sales reps with contextual offers to extend to customers, using analytics to identify offers they are most likely to accept. Tracking extend and accept rates, the software continues to learn which offer to prompt for which situation and customer profile.

I make great use of the data collected, with mulitple reports published of the survey findings for the Spring Technology Services World Conference in Santa Clara. First is the 2015 Technology Heatmap, which looks at high level adoption and spending trends across service disciplines. This report will be sent to everyone who completes the survey. In addition, I will publish detailed spending report by service discipline, a separate report on EMEA, as well as the “top installed” report, listing the top used tools or service providers in each category. If you are a TSIA partner, ask your customers to take the survey!

The survey is open until March 31st. It should take less than 10 minutes to complete the survey. Your responses are kept confidential, and are only reported in aggregate. Here is the link to the survey:  http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1994057/2015-Global-Technology-Survey

Thanks in advance for your support, and after you take the survey, pass along the link to your friends in service organizations! The more responses, the better. And as always, thanks for reading!

2014 TSW Vision Awards at Service Revolutions: Recap

May 13, 2014

Last week at Technology Services World Best Practices, the closing event of the conference was the Vision Awards at Service Revolutions. This “American Idol” style competition gives tech companies 7 minutes to demo their coolest technology. The competition was hosted by our CEO, JB Wood. A panel of judges, consisting of Al Gray, Vice President, Bentley Systems; Tony Brucha, Director, Advanced Services, WebEx Customer Success, Cisco; and yours truly, asked questions and made somewhat relevant comments after each presenter. Audience voting determined the winners.

To be considered for Service Revolutions, technology firms submit applications in 3 categories:

  • Service Practitioners. These are service organizations within tech firms, showing off technology or programs they have developed to improve customer service, streamline operations, or drive service revenue.
  • Commercial. These are established technology firms selling products to service organizations. The products must be in Beta phase or newly released.
  • Startup. These are brand new tech firms within their first 2 years, often pre-VC, showing off products yet to be released. The winner of the startup category wins a check for $10,000!

The finalists who took the stage were:

  • Service Practitioner: Blackbaud. Blackbaud demonstrated their group consulting model for professional services.
  • Service Practitioner: SAP. SAP demonstrated their Learning Hub for customer education.
  • Commercial: Ancile. Ancile demonstrated their in-product dynamic help technology.
  • Commercial: Radialpoint. Radialpoint demonstrated their Google extension which incorporates internal content into employee’s Google searches.
  • Commercial: Transversal. Trasnversal demonstrated Prescience, their voice self-service product.
  • Startup: SimpleQL. SimpleQL demontrated their dynamic analytics tools, “the Festivus of Business Intelligence.”
  • Startup: XOEye Technologies. XOEye demonstrated their camera and video enabled saftey glasses for field service, with a price point in the hundreds–not thousands.

The winners were Blackbaud, Radialpoint and SimpleQL. I thank all the presenters for great demonstrations, and congratulations to the winners!

TSIA’s Newest Member Program: Community Benchmark Is Now Live!

October 22, 2013

Yesterday at TSIA’s Technology Services World Conference I launched a new program for members, a community benchmark program. Targeting online customer support communities, TSIA member companies can take the survey and then receive a one hour meeting with me to see how their community processes, technology and performance metrics compare to the industry and their peers.

With 72% of members now having a customer community, I felt we had enough adoption to start drilling down into the details of the programs to identify best practices and pacesetter practices. The TSIA benchmark philosophy is linking practices to results: if you look at the companies with the highest performance metrics, what are the tools and processes they have in common that are enabling this success? To my knowledge, there is no other source for this information currently, so I’m hoping my new benchmark program will be a unique data set offering valuable insights.

To develop the survey, I started with the data I had on what social metrics companies tracked, then asked my Social Champions co-chairs to send me the lists of metrics they tracked for their communities, and I also asked 2 of our partners, Get Satisfaction and Lithium, what metrics they recommend their customers track. After a few rounds of reviews and edits, I launched a pilot in September to test the survey, and yesterday in my Power Hour session I launched to the entire TSIA membership.

The survey consists of questions in the following categories: Contact Information, Demographics, Community Size, Community Activity, Reputation/Influence, Issue Resolution, Community Staffing, Cost, Community Practices, and Technology. In total, there are 47 questions, meeting my goal of 50 questions or less.

TSIA members who want more information can check out this OnDemand webcast which goes into detail on each survey question and how to participate. Hopefully by our Spring conference I’ll have some initial data to share.

Hope to have you join the community benchmark program. And thanks for reading!

2013 Services Technology Survey NOW OPEN!

March 1, 2013

I am very happy to announce that my annual services technology survey is now open. This is the 8th annual survey, which tracks adoption, satisfaction and planned spending across 24 categories of tools and services. The survey is open March 1 to March 31. The data from this survey drives the bulk of my research for the year. Never have so few created so many research reports from a single survey. In time for our Spring Technology Services World Conference in Santa Clara, I will publish:

  • 2013 TSIA Heatmap. This report provides a high level view of adoption trends across all service discipline, noting major technology trends impacting support services, field service, education services, professional services, service revenue generation, as well as our new discipline, managed services.
  • 2013 Spending Reports. I also write detailed reports documenting adoption, satisfaction and planned spending for each service discipline, 7 reports in all (in addition to the above disciplines, I also create a version for TSIA partners)
  • 2013 Top Installed Report. Last year was the first time I created this report, which shows top installed products in all 24 categories of the survey. This turned out to be one of the top downloaded reports from TSIA.com last year, as everyone starts a new purchase by asking, “What products are my peers using?”
  • 2013 Spending: Europe. Last year we had such a great response from European companies that I was able to publish a separate report showing how adoption and planned spending trends differed in Europe compared to North America. Providing I receive a good response database, I will create this report again for 2013.

In addition to published research, the satisfaction scores received in the survey determine the winner of the TechBEST Best in Satisfaction Award, presented at TSW Santa Clara.

If you work in a services role, I urge you to take the survey. It will take less than 15 minutes to complete (hopefully a lot less). Everyone is eligible to participate, not just TSIA members. In fact, everyone who takes the survey will receive a copy of the 2013 Heatmap as my thank you for participating. If you are a vendor of services technology, please consider asking your customers to take the survey.

Here is the link to the survey:  https://survey.vovici.com/se.ashx?s=7E212C5912872EA3

Thanks for your help, and let me know if you have any questions. And as always, thanks for reading!

TeamSupport Provides Collaborative Take on Customer Service

February 14, 2013

When was the last time you saw something really new and innovative in a customer service demo? If you see as many demos as I do, you know that true innovation is rare. New features in customer service apps come in waves. In 2005-2007, we saw a wave of business process-centric apps, attempting to streamline and solidify processes across disparate support groups. Then in 2006 social media exploded, and since then, we’ve seen each release of CRM and multi-channel platforms expanding into communities and social media channel support.

If you’ve attended any of my recent webcasts, you know that collaboration is a big theme for me this year. Across all TSIA members, 74% had budget for community and collaboration tools in 2012-2013. Most tech companies already have a customer community in place, and the spending now is focused on employee communities, and enabling real-time collaboration across the enterprise. My nirvana would be to see the customer community and the enterprise collaboration initiatives merging: you have a customer in a chat/screen sharing session, run into a new problem, and in real-time can pull in the developer who wrote the code and the product manager who designed it. Heck, why not bring in another customer who successfully is using that feature today? Call me crazy, but that’s ultimately where collaboration will take customer support.

I’m very pleased to highlight a new player on the market who is embracing process, social, AND collaboration in their customer service platform: TeamSupport. Whether you are shopping for a new tool or not, you should check out a demo to see the first of the next wave of customer service apps with a focus on collaboration. Not only does TeamSupport include what we now think of as ‘best of breed’ features: knowledgebase, multi-channel tools including chat, self-service, etc., as well as social tools (customer community, Facebook plugin), but it offers a few other features I find very compelling.

  • Water Cooler. TeamSupport’s Water Cooler feature is an internal collaboration tool, a la Twitter, allowing you to post questions or new ideas to a group for discussion or comment. The searchable stream of conversations allows real-time collaboration, even while working with a customer.
  • Wiki. Not only does TeamSupport offer a knowledgebase, it also includes a Wiki for document sharing, enabling both content management and knowledge management.
  • Tag clouds. TeamSupport allows custom fields to help categorize or track different kinds of incident, but they also support tagging. In the incident’s tag field, you can enter as many tags as you want, such as “installation, Product 123, Crash 234 Error.” You can easily find all incidents with a tag or tags to help research problems or determine problem frequency.
  • Screen capture. I’ve been talking for 2 years now about incorporating video into support, and TeamSupport is the first tool I’ve seen to include this as an “out of box” feature in their support platform. Employees/techs can record screen cams of a procedure to illustrate an error on an incident, or to add a video tutorial to a knowledge article, with an option to include voice narration. And, customers can record screen cams of an error or a problem process flow and imbed it in a support ticket opened via self-service. Imagine how much faster you can solve a problem when instead of a 1 line explanation in a case, you have an actual video of the problem?

TeamSupport offers integration to Salesforce, Zoho and others, as well as integrations to some support analytic platforms, like Zoho Reports. Fully hosted, pricing begins at $20 per user/per month; $35 for Enterprise Edition. Checkout the website for more info or to see a demo. There are also videos available on TeamSupport’s YouTube Channel.

I had a chance to meet TeamSupport President and CEO, Robert C. Johnson, last fall, and his energy and enthusiasm are infectious. Great to see a young CEO with new ideas and a lot of passion driving innovation and change in the industry. I wish Robert and team a lot of success! And thanks as always for reading!

How to Stream Training and Support Videos to Any Device? Ooyala to the Rescue!

June 15, 2012

Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking with Caitlin Spaan, VP of Marketing for Ooyala, a very cool company enabling streaming video content delivered to iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Facebook, YouTube and more. I’ve published a lot of research over the last 2 years on mobility and video in service, and I’m starting to receive more questions from TSIA members about how to get started in this area.

Streaming video has several use cases for service. For education services, shifting from classroom training to OnDemand video training requires a lot of work not only to create the video content, but figure out how to deliver it to customers when they want, on the device they want, with high quality and consumption tracking. For support services, tutorials and “how to” videos are an excellent way of increasing self-service success–let’s face it, Gen Y customers are unlikely to search your knowledgebase or read your FAQ list. The mobile aspect of this is important, because early adopters created some fun online video sites using Flash, which of course isn’t consumable on popular mobile devices. Whatever content you decide to make available to customers must be accessible across all the flavors of mobile devices. There is no faster way of alienating a customer than to say, “Here’s all this great online content, but you can’t view it because you have a droid.”

Ooyala to the rescue. This Silicon Valley-based company enables content management and streaming of online video solutions for multiple audiences, including media companies (ESPN, Miramax, US magazine) and brand companies (Sephora, Victoria Secret, REI, Dell). On the brand side, Ooyala is working with companies to deliver training and support content, including makeup tips and “how to” videos for Sephora (who needs RuPaul’s Drag U?), video tutorials from REI on everything from fixing a flat bicycle tire to getting started kayaking, and Dell, who is using Ooyala as a video solution for sales (product overviews and feature demos) as well as support tutorials:

We are seeing companies get started with service videos on YouTube (including HP’s stellar YouTube channel, which I mentioned in my book, Lessons Unlearned), and that is a great place to get your feet wet. But when you want more control over the video streaming, including charging for content (key for education services) and/or inserting paid ads into content, a solution like Ooyala is required. Just to show how dedicated Ooyala is to customer success, their Senior Vice President of Customer Success is none other than longtime SSPA/TSIA board member, Dave Hare, a Silicon Valley service legend, who ran service operations for PeopleSoft, Oracle and Symantec before joining Ooyala.

If you are ready to take your service video strategy to the next level, check out Ooyala. With the broadcasters, publishers and consumer brands already using the service, this company knows all the ins and outs of successfully leveraging video, and they can help you define and execute your cross-device video strategy.

And as always, thanks for reading!