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TSIA (Technology Services Industry Association) recently introduced one of their Research Publications, State of Support Services 2019, to outline a number of key business challenges faced by support leaders in their community. In the last few years of working at Coveo and learning more about support services and how they operate, I’m not entirely shocked by these challenges.

The good news? As the following challenges become a reality in your support organization, new emerging technologies to help solve and overcome them are also surfacing and being piloted by pacesetters in the industry.

Here are 3 of the business challenges at the top of mind for TSIA members

Trend 1: Thinking of AI in support as only a cost-cutter

  • The Challenge: The future of machine learning & AI will help propel support organizations by reducing costs, and certainly headcount. But there is much more that AI can do for support services. TSIA recommends shifting the conversation away from cost cutting and headcount reduction, and instead focus on how AI can enhance the overall employee experience for support agents.
  • The Solution: AI has the ability to augment support agents and create meaningful interactions. Instead of just reducing headcount and cutting costs, support organizations have the opportunity to empower their agents to do more by providing relevant and personalized interactions.

Further, investing in automation enables support leaders to offload routine and non-valuable support interactions from ever hitting their agents. This improved agent experience means that companies can reduce customer effort and turn their customers into loyal brand promoters and advocates.
Using AI and machine learning to deliver relevant content in the moment of need in an agent’s workflow can help increase first contact resolution, boost agent proficiency and even shorten resolution time!

Trend 2: Believing support is just a cost center

  • The Challenge: Time after time, TSIA reports that customers prefer to… wait for it.. self-serve! They really don’t want to have to pick up the phone and talk to someone or bother with emailing back and forth.
    A poll conducted by TSIA last year shows that a whopping 80 percent of customers prefer self-service channels, whereas only 12 percent of customers prefer phone support. What’s even more appealing, is letting your customers self-serve is less costly than assisted forms of support. However, it only works when it empowers your customers to find the information they’re looking for and resolve issues on their own.
  • The Solution: Investing in good self-service is no longer optional. It needs to be relevant, and it needs to also be unified. A report by Salesforce indicates that customers are using more than 10 channels to communicate with companies. If your self-service journey is broken and doesn’t seamlessly infer context about the customer with each channel they engage with, that’s a bad experience. Sorry, not sorry!

But, how can support actually do this? Two words. Proactive Recommendations! Yes, you heard right. Did you know that 39% of Amazon’s revenue is driven by their recommendations, according to research by McKinsey & Company? Believe it or not, this presents a huge opportunity for support organizations.

Not only does offering proactive recommendations help personalize the experience for your customers, it provides relevant content and actions based on their context. As an example, some Coveo customers are cleverly driving recommendations on their Learning Management System to generate revenue for their organization.

Trend 3: Not recognizing where your customers prefer to engage

  • The Challenge: Time after time, TSIA reports that customers prefer to… wait for it.. self-serve! They really don’t want to have to pick up the phone and talk to someone or bother with emailing back and forth.
    A poll conducted by TSIA last year shows that a whopping 80 percent of customers prefer self-service channels, whereas only 12 percent of customers prefer phone support. What’s even more appealing, is letting your customers self-serve is less costly than assisted forms of support. However, it only works when it empowers your customers to find the information they’re looking for and resolve issues on their own.
  • The Solution: Investing in good self-service is no longer optional. It needs to be relevant, and it needs to also be unified. A report by Salesforce indicates that customers are using more than 10 channels to communicate with companies. If your self-service journey is broken and doesn’t seamlessly infer context about the customer with each channel they engage with, that’s a bad experience. Sorry, not sorry!

To get a better understanding of how to build a self-service journey map, check out this blueprint. It outlines 7 steps to help you map out the main components of a self-service strategy and the steps needed in building a self-service journey map, which will help you move towards exceptional customer experience.

These are just three of the nine business challenges identified by TSIA in their recent report. To learn more about these challenges and to read about other critical business challenges, you can download a complimentary copy of TSIA’s State of Support Services 2019 report.

Download the 2019 reportTSIA’s State of Support Services

About Rachel Bosley

Rachel has over 6 years of experience working with technology companies and currently manages marketing campaigns for the service and support solutions offered at Coveo. She is passionate about helping others succeed and is always looking for ways to improve process. Rachel currently resides in Toronto, Ontario where she loves to read, listen to podcasts and explore the city to seek out unique coffee shops and comfortable sunny patios.

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