Support: It Takes a Village

David Byrd : Raven Call
David Byrd
David Byrd is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer for Raven Guru Marketing. Previously, he was the CMO and EVP of Sales for CloudRoute. Prior to CloudRoute, He was CMO at ANPI, CMO & EVP of Sales at Broadvox, VP of channels and Alliances for Telcordia and Director of eBusiness development with i2 Technologies.He has also held executive positions with Planet Hollywood Online, Hewlett-Packard, Tandem Computers, Sprint and Ericsson.
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Support: It Takes a Village

Long gone are the days of simply selling a product and moving on to the next customer. Today’s competitive telecom environment (all business environments, actually) calls for providing consistent, high-level customer service and support throughout the product lifecycle. It follows, then, that support is no longer the exclusive job of the Customer Service and IT Support departments; taking care of the customer’s issues is now part of everybody’s job description.

In 1996, Hilary Rodham Clinton published her book, “It Takes a Village (and Other Lessons Children Teach Us).” In it, she focuses on the impact people outside the immediate family have on a child’s life, for better or worse, and advocates for a society that meets all of a child’s needs. The same can be said for the impact everyone in a company has on each individual customer’s brand or product experience, and how we are all being called on – as a team – to meet their needs.

All companies face a persistent dilemma of determining how many precious company resources to allocate to customer support in order to provide a high quality customer experience.

The approach to support lies between two limits: high touch and white glove, or low touch and no glove. The first approach is too expensive for most companies or services and the second, while more affordable, results in weak customer relationships and a poor customer experience. Finding the proper place in between these two poles is nirvana for a business. First, each business must acquire talent with experience in support of sales, product, customer care, billing and maintenance. However, today’s buying paradigm also includes self-service. When done well, self-service can be cost effective to the business while delivering a rewarding experience to the customer. A good example of a satisfying self-service experience today is the purchase of applications on smartphones or tablets via the cloud.

To reach the nirvana of support, then, requires a low touch but white glove approach to every customer. Low touch in that the expert resources knowledgeable about every level of support are engaged in the successful automation of the process with human intervention needed infrequently. White glove because each customer can personalize their experience with the company and product according to their specific buying habits or use of the product.

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