Let’s not kid ourselves here. If I were to ask you what first comes to mind when you think of technical support, what would it be? Call centers, headsets, password resets, frustrated customers, etc.– all things that are the most enjoyable, right?
This perception of technical support makes it extremely difficult to recruit for these jobs as they are not seen as very “sexy” ones. On top of that, it’s not uncommon to see high yearly attrition rates for these jobs – 50% in the B2C (Business to Consumer) world and 15%-20% in B2B (Business to Business). So how can a company attract and retain top talent for their Technical Support roles? I can’t speak for all companies out there, but I can surely talk to you about what Coveo Technical Support is all about.
Why we do what we do
Before we start talking about what the Support team does and how we do it, I believe it’s important to start with why we do what we do. It is important for everyone on the team, or anyone wanting to join us, to be aligned with our purpose– to believe in the same things we believe in. So how do we define our purpose at Coveo Support? We have defined our WHY statement as follows:
To transform every situation into an enriching experience, one interaction at a time, so that Coveo employees, partners and customers can strive towards their desired outcomes.
This purpose is at the center of everything that we do. Each interaction with our customers needs to be an enriching experience. Each interaction within our own team needs to be an enriching experience. Each cross-functional interaction needs to be an enriching experience. Each interaction with our systems needs to be an enriching experience. I think you get the point, or so I hope. With a good understanding of this “WHY”, it becomes much easier to define WHAT we do and HOW we do it.
What we do
What we do comes down to something very simple: we assist our customers with their questions and issues to ensure that they maximize the value they get from using the Coveo platform. However, our reality is much different than what we usually see in traditional technical support organizations.
As I have stated above, when we think about what technical support teams do, it usually rotates around the reality of call centers. At Coveo, when I present what we do, I ask the audience to think about what comes to mind when they hear the words “technical support”. And then I ask them to press the reset button on their way of thinking, as it does not apply to the Coveo Technical Support team.
Why is that you might ask?
First and foremost, it is because we are not a call center. Our Support team is much closer to sustaining engineering due to the nature of the product we support. We receive maybe one phone call per week. Additionally, our Product Specialists handle approximately 5-8 new cases per week, submitted via our self-service portal. And our median time to resolve those cases is in the 4-5 day range, not hours.
The complexity of our platform requires that our team members have both technical skills and a customer focus. . Given that our customers have internal SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) that help filter more “basic” questions or issues, our team members are freed up to use their skills to handle more complex tasks.
As you can see, what we do differs from what we see in other organizations. The true differentiation however, lies in how we do it.
How we do it
I really think that how we do what we do makes the Coveo Technical Support team very different from other organizations, for multiple reasons:
- One level of support
- Knowledge management
- Internal collaboration
- Diversity of roles
One level of support
How many times have you contacted a technical support team and been asked a series of questions or given a list of things to try that don’t help resolve the issue at hand? And how many times were you then transferred to someone else and asked to explain your issue again only to be given another list of helpful suggestions. This is what we call a tiered-level support. It works well in some situations, but in ours, this is not how we do things.
Our approach to case assignment is to identify the most qualified Product Specialist for that specific case, so that the customer gets the best assistance possible out of the gate. We have implemented an AI-based system that takes several factors into account upon case assignment. Because of this, a tiered approach isn’t necessary.
In today’s world, we are all used to having the information at our fingertips. If you don’t know something, a quick Google search (or other) will get you the answer in just a few seconds. Heck, you can even ask your virtual assistant who will respond with the best information just as fast. Due to this expectation of immediacy, it is important for us as a technology supplier, to make the most relevant information available to our customers. That way they can self-serve and find their answers without needing to contact the Support team.
At Coveo, we are in a privileged position because this is our bread and butter. By using our own relevance platform, we are able to propose relevant documentation to our customers as they navigate through our self-service portal. Our Technical Support team plays a major role in the self-service offering by creating hundreds of new knowledge articles so that customers can find information on their own. This helps deflect known issues and allows our Support team to focus on new issues.
From an internal perspective, relevant content is made available to the team directly within the case, helping them to identify potential solutions in the moment and resolve issues faster. Additionally, knowledge management is at the center of everything we do, which helps enhance our efforts in offering the best service to our customers.
Although we route cases to the most qualified agent and have invested in knowledge management, we sometimes need to reach out to colleagues, either within Support or outside. We have implemented internal collaboration processes that enable team members to tap into their peers’ knowledge, whether they are Product Specialists or Product Experts. Our colleagues in R&D and Professional Services also chime in to help when necessary. This type of collaboration enables us to have access to the exact expertise needed to resolve customer issues.
Diversity of roles
One thing is quite clear: few people study to work in technical support. Those of us who end up in Support usually end up here by pure coincidence. Some see the Technical Support role as an entry-level position within an organization that is designed for someone who hopes to move on to something bigger and better. Others will discover a passion for helping others while serving in the role and choose to continue to progress in this field.
At Coveo, we have built a structure that allows our team members to have a career in Support. They can choose to progress in the Product Specialist role or move on to something else, such as a Product Expert, Program Manager, Technical Account Manager or Leadership role. Also, due to the growth we are seeing, there is a chance that other new opportunities will come to life to address future business needs. We strongly believe that our most important asset is our team members, and we want to see them grow within the team or inside the company.
So there you have it – the WHY, WHAT and HOW of Coveo’s Technical Support team. If all of this resonates with you and you would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d be pleased to tell you more about it.