Mar 19, 2020
The Digital Transformation of Support
artificial intelligenceB2B supportmachine learningNLP
Working in AI and NLP has been an eye opening shift for me over the last year. While many of the technologies I’ve sold and gotten to know well were cutting edge, none has had as much hype around it as AI and NLP (cloud came close). In this post I’ll share trends spotted during my discussions with support organizations. Given AI, Machine Learning and NLP are often a part of Support Modernization (Support Digital Transformation) efforts its eye opening to see what each organization is planning.
Most of my insights will stem from software, hardware and SaaS companies who are in the B2B support space. Their support tickets are complex and often have a multi-day to multi-week time to close.
Trend 1: Customer First Approach
There’s a lot of nomenclature that is slung around in the Customer Success and Support space regarding how customers should be treated. Customer First, Voice of Customer, Customer Experience Management/Support Experience Management are some of the telltale signs that an organization is looking to redesign and reconsider how they keep a pulse on their customers. Organizations with customer first initiatives often have specific goals around improvements to NPS and CSAT scores, adoption, and engagement. Some of the key metrics they’re looking to reduce include Mean-Time-To-Resolution, Reopen Rate, Escalation Rate and Churn.
Trend 2: Ingrained Collaboration
Organizations that are on this path have created a culture of clear communications and standards to which everyone is held. These organizations often leverage decision making frameworks, engaging multiple teams to ensure agreement and alignment. We’ve heard of organizations seeing impressive results from their internal efforts, and are now exploring how a tighter connection with their customers. Some initiatives that fall into this area include improvements in documentation, chatbots, shared slack channels, dedicated customer success managers and case swarming.
Trend 3: Preventative & Preemptive Support
Digital Transformation initiatives are not cheap, both from an economic standpoint and a human capital side. A Digital Transformation involves organizations procuring new software, cobbling together open source and existing solutions, or designing something from scratch. Initiatives are come in two buckets, revenue protection and revenue growth. Revenue protection initiatives have some dubious measures at times, as tactics that involve case deflection may actually end up putting future revenue at risk (you lose a valuable chance to build a positive interaction with your customer). Some of the best executed revenue protection examples I’ve seen revolve around churn prevention, involving support in customer onboarding, reducing escalations, increasing single agent resolution (using swarming & detailed case routing). Revenue growth is often times driven by more aggressive SLA’s, premium support offerings and assigned account managers. One area for growth is for open source and “freemium” companies that see a large delta in their account sizes. Land and expand tactics benefit when support alerts sales or customer success with up-sell opportunities.
Trend 4: CRM as a Data Lake
To support many of the above categories we’ve noticed a lot of changes being made in the CRM and analytics space. More and more, the CRM is being treated as a data lake. After initiatives described as “Single Source of Truth” or “Single Pane of Glass,” support agents no longer use the CRM as a primary interface. Organizations with a “Single Pane of Glass” pipe their CRM data and data from proprietary systems that hold their entitlement, RMA processes, and other info into a custom UI to provide their teams with a more complete understanding of the customers current state. Interestingly enough these initiatives often end up being called a “Support Hub” – we’ve run into the name a handful of times already. One common goal behind these initiatives is making it easier for customers to engage with support, while providing support their workflows in one place.
Are you planning to, or are you currently leveraging AI as you undertake your Digital Transformation?
SupportLogic is a venture-backed startup based in Silicon Valley. We provide the Support Experience Platform™ built with AI and NLP to help organizations reduce customer escalations, prioritize work and drive operational efficiency. We work with our customers to “read every case,” providing the temperature on every case, customer and interaction. If you’re interested in learning more and/or getting a product demo, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly at supportlogic.com/contact-us