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Supporting Customers at The Speed Of Now

(This post was originally published on GoMo News)

Customer SupportWe are in the era of user experience and it is imperative that companies understand that experience does not end with your product or professional service. It also includes the support you provide. The way in which companies are providing that support (pre-sale and post-sale) is changing rapidly and if you fail to keep up, your business could be left behind.

It Ain’t Easy

It has always been difficult to be a successful company. To stay ahead of the market, you must keep up with the fundamentals of your technology, services, user expectations, and customer demand.

As you grow, scale, and operationalize, you must also keep up with the technology that people are using to engage with your brand and your services. All while, maintaining and fostering a two-way relationship with your suppliers, contributors, and customers, knowing full-well, that all customers crave world-class products, services, and support experiences.

Support Through The Ages

Throughout history, customers have received those experiences differently. Before the advent of telephone support (1890-1960), you would purchase from your local supplier/vendor/shop in a face-to-face engagement. Why? Because that was the best way to assure you knew your supplier, product, and support team. Additionally, you walked away with an expectation that you knew your path of support and new purchasing opportunities.

Forty+ years ago, telephone pre-sales and post-sales support was invented and people (a.k.a., the market) demanded phone support because the telephone was the best and fastest option to connect to a wider market. This ultimately fostered better pricing, services, and support models. Fast forward to today and the story is the same for websites and email – faster, better, and a different technology that has unlocked what we call, the global market.

The global market is a competitive one. Companies that are truly committed to advancing their customer’s experience by meeting them where they live and delivering what they expect and how they expect it will always have an edge in the market.

People demand information, social engagement, support, empathy, encouragement, analytics, metrics, and self-service tools to help them solve problems faster than ever. They demand all of this because they rely on data to help them drive quick, but accurate decisions. We are all operating at the speed of now. The velocity of those demands has increased exponentially and are parallel with the velocity of mobile technology itself.

Mobile Is The New Norm

In Q4 2011, mobile devices outsold laptop and desktop computers. Since then, the trends seem to suggest that the growth/demand of mobile has no measurable ceiling,  unlike human-being head-count. Mobile is the present and the future.

So, if we know that more and more businesses will be mobile and we know that the success of a modern business relies on customer support, then we must realize that customer support must be mobile ready.

What Does That Mean?

It means people want immediate and succinct information. Think about your own interaction with your work-inbox. Don’t you get frustrated when you pull up your mobile-device and open the email from boss, employee, or co-worker that writes you that unexpected 1,000+ word novel for a simple kickoff request, meeting request, project or escalation request, or opinion request? Unless you requested a full technical debrief, documentation to a solution, or strategic planning proposal, most humans I know, prefer high-touch, mobile friendly, concise, and simple interactions.

That is where the future of good support lies. When many hear “concise” and “simple” they mistakenly think quick and easy. But as Mark Twain once mused, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.” High-touch, mobile friendly, concise, and simple interactions are not easy. But if done correctly they can have a great impact.

So where do you begin? Here are some tips on how to get started in offering good mobile ready support:

Mobile Web Self Service

  • Focused on an ability to provide a support experience with keyword search, dynamic and most popular answers, answer feedback, and a knowledge base to customers in a mobile friendly format.

Mobile Phone Support

  • Providing customers pre-sale and post-sales support from their mobile device.

Mobile Web Ask Anything

  • Creating customer delight by providing an ability for customers to send an email to support using a request box or form that is fully optimized for mobile devices and integrated with the primary company support knowledge base.

Mobile Social Support

  • The ability to provide support over social networks right within the mobile app allowing customers to experience social support via social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Mobile Web Video/Audio/Text Chat

  • Launching live chat via a mobile device to support customers over the phone.

Mobile has changed the way we access and consume information so it’s only natural that it would impact the way we support our customers. For those who value the user experience and live by the motto of “customer first” these are exciting days indeed.

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Whois: Mikel Steadman

Mikel Steadman was the Director of Sales and Solutions Engineering at Oracle Dyn, a pioneer in managed DNS and a leader in cloud-based infrastructure that connects users with digital content and experiences across a global internet.