Sunday, January 26, 2014

MIP: Reducing repeat questions that should be self-resolved by a KB

A linked-in discussion [here] asks for insights, checking "How do you reduce repeat questions/FAQs that should be self-resolved by a KB?"

In my opinion, Mission impossible...
We have stopped reading. We cannot stand still and waste time to read things. We need an instant answer…

As a former KB owner and a senior supporter at present I can count handful customers that are actually accessing the KB looking for info before they open a case. Moreover I see a significant degradation in case descriptions provided by customers when opening a case.

If five years ago people ware actually reading  the manuals in  their hardcopy form, accessing the KB and web forums, now days with the "instant" culture, when everyone have this e-mail machine in the palm of their hand, it is easier to email the support saying "Hi there, I have a problem please fix it ASAP".
Worse than that, I see cases reported by field engineers, asking for guidance and help for things that are well documented.

RTFM was my answer to my students in networking courses that I have taught, when asked to assist in the lab.

Although it looks like an impossible mission, our job as supporters is to make it possible, by any mean. "Complex" case opening mechanism, to direct customers to KB, add some FAQ popups that will be triggered but keywords entered in the complaint. Providing SLA based on customer product certifications.  

Anything that force the customer to think twice before opening a case will do the trick.   

Monday, December 30, 2013

Three-tier Customer Support – the right perspective

This schematic diagram of three-tier Customer support shows the various tiers relate the customer. Usually Customer Support is integrated throughout the entire organization. Well-managed interaction between the Helpdesk (Tier 1), TAC (Tier 2), and Escalation (Tier 3) provides support targeted to user needs.
It is often illustrated as a triangle, where its head illustrates Tier-1 of support, the initial point of contact for the customer. Each level of escalation is wider, as tier-2 and Tier-3 are normally have much more expertise to focus on.
In my perspective, I’m seeing an “upside down’ triangle, where its base is the Tier-1 and head’s is Tier-3.

The reason, regardless the type of support you provide, the lower the (tier) level of support, their knowledge, in high level covers (should be) all product’s aspects while the higher the (tier) level goes, they are focused in vary narrow aspects of the product.

Confused? Don’t be…

Tier-1 needs to have high-level of knowledge with product’s current feature set as well as the roadmap. Basic troubleshooting skills for the product as well as its eco-system (i.e. if I’m supporting a server, I need to know to troubleshoot the client as well as the network in between). The HelpDesk representative, need to determine if the problem is with a creation sub system or another, so when they will escalate it, it will reach the relevant TAC team.

Tier-2, aka TAC, focuses on part of the system, with more knowledge, they can “dive” into lower level of that system/service for troubleshoot and fix.

Tier-3 – R&D like team focuses a specific server or service to provide resolution for a problem.

See the differences?  The wider the base is, the vast knowledge the helpdesk has will make your support organization stable and efficient.

Less escalation means  that cases are being closed faster and efficient.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quest continues - How you can tell that your service (support) is the best there is?

I have started a discussion on LinkedIn <here – if youregister to the group> how one can tell that an organization has the best support that is available. The responses indicate that we are still “inside the box”, all thinking the same. Conducting surveys, meeting with customers and having the organization ISO certified.  Although this blog written by an old school supports, but hey, I can look (or think) out of the box once in a while.
The questioners that most of us conducting, at this time of the year, are designed to reveal the obvious for us, we have a good support in general, the two dissatisfied customers, which already complain against the representative attitude, will fill the survey in the same manner. Nothing is new. It is the same story all over again.
Once upon a time, when i was working as Technical instate (check my profile), I had a series of session with Tier1 customer in the US. I have met my contact sometime after the training, and told him that checking the CRM, I can see that they are “suffering”. I can see allot of cases and complaints about stability and lack of support etc’. Nonsense he said, that the best product ever and support is prompt and accurate. The explanation that I have got for this dissonance “company policy”.
So with such company policy, the surveys, in my point of view will not be much reliable.

What i have in mind that need to be done, in order to know that I give the best support, to check relevant forums, learning what the silent majority has to say about my performance, service or products.