Do you have the Ultimate Digital Consumer Support Ecosystem?


Do you remember the time when you are at work and using a word processing application and wanted to get a neat feature that you saw your colleague once do but cannot remember it, so you either called the IT support desk or went to the library to check a thick word processing book to help you?

These were the days where companies where product oriented and support was concretely ingrained in one organisation.

But in the digital age, as mentioned in my blog around digital excellence , companies has to move from a product-oriented enterprises towards a consumer-oriented enterprises, meaning you have the digital consumer in middle of everything you do and ensure you deliver always-on, personalized, smart & faster service and and of course support & care!

The good news, is that with the right digital support ecosystem, you will build a brand that the consumer can trust, want to engage with and of course they will become your brand ambassadors with their fellow digital consumers (For more on Digital Consumer Persona, check my previous blog).

So what are we looking for in support. There are 3 kinds of problems - simple (like baking a cake from a mix - few techniques that are repeatable), complicated (like building a car - multiple people & coordination but repeatable) and complex (like raising a child, always a different approach required). And this applies to the digital world:

1- Simple Problems:

Simple problems are usually the highest percentage of problems (approx. 80% of digital consumer problems on average) in a released product (I will touch on the digital product lifecycle in future blogs) however the expectations for resolution is quite high. Most Digital consumers still use a search engine like Google or Bing when they don't know how to do something in their personal and professional lives but also they expect to get a quick, easy access to how-to content from your organisation across various channels when things break at work. For such simple issues, self or crowd service can be your best and cheapest support service. However, content quality and channel responsiveness is key to keep your Digital Consumer happy.

2- Complicated Problems:

Complicated problems are usually around 15 % of problems and require more than a simple easy access to how-to content. The digital consumer want to have multiple channels as well as find the right experts to be able to diagnose and coordinate the resolution of their problem. In here, you have to offer a one-to-many communication between your digital consumer and your experts and support group(s). This can be a community of other digital consumers who have a higher degree of expertise and knowledge of your product and therefore can work with the employee either in a social media tool context, a discussion forum or a chat room with support team. This is sometimes coined as "Unsourcing". Or it can be a chat or phone interaction. In complicated problems, the Digital consumer's expectation is the feeling of care and therefore ease of access, availability of channels and experts and of course the response rate is KEY.

3- Complex Problems:

These are usually 5% of the problems and here, a personal service is the most efficient service, costly but the one that keeps your digital consumer engaged and loyal to your service, brand and your product. Personal is face-to-face such as drop in centres or personal visit of the engineer, phone call or 1-2-1 chat. Instead to speaking to a faceless person, digital consumers would like here to feel they are talking to someone with same experiences and understanding.Self service here is NOT recommended.

So why you should differentiate your problems. First, as a study by McKinsey has revealed a key difference in efficiency between personal service, self-service and crowd service. If the cost of personal service is 100% then the cost of self-service amounts to 12% and crowd service to 9%, so there’s a huge discrepancy there. Gartner, the research company, estimates that using communities to solve support issues reduce costs by 50% and enhance the user satisfaction, as long as you know what you can cover in your communities, from expertise and product.

In summary, the ultimate Digital Support Ecosystem is achieving the right balance between assisted interactions whether face to face over the phone or via chat; and unassisted digital interactions. We need to know when consumers want which feature and make it available. Always remember, Doing self support should be as easy-if not easier than NOT doing self support.

In your next 100 days, analyse the support data you currently have and check if you have the right resources, communities and self-support content available. Prioritise the development based on your % of issues (i.e. If simple issues are your main bulk of digital consumer issues, put your resources in enhancing your self-support content).

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