For the last 15 years, we’ve been building customer communities and portals. We have been asking customers to leave the product they are using, open up a new window and log onto a different website to find the answer they need. But the context of the problem they are trying to solve is in the product – and we can use that information to provide a really superior experience to the customer.
How will this be a game-changer? Imagine this. You’re using new project management platform, and are struggling to figure out how to assign dependencies within projects. You go to the help menu, and see a search bar. When you type in a query, a chatbox pops up with a support personnel recommending content to you or probing with more questions. Then, now here’s the really exciting moment, you have this same problem again and struggle to find the content that was recommended to fix the issue. The second you start clicking around – the content pops up! This is where I believe support is headed. We must stop forcing our users to visit multiple portals and accept that support needs to live within the products themselves and that this should be a part of the customer’s natural workflow of using the product.
The only way to effectively deliver these types of experiences is through AI. AI will leverage the behavior and context of the user to recommend relevant content to answer the user’s query. This can be done without our teams having to develop complicated tagging and taxonomies and going through the pain of massive amounts of data normalization.
What’s Holding Us Back from In-Product Support
Before we get there, though, let me caution: technology is NOT pixie dust. You can’t just sprinkle some AI around your customer service applications and voila! You need to have a strategy in place and make sure that you’re solving a real problem with artificial intelligence and change management in place to roll it out. Technology is one piece of the puzzle, along with your people and your process and your strategy to manage outcomes to know that the changes are working.
For people and process, we’re seeing Customer Success as a new discipline in organizations, thanks to the subscription economy, become a revenue driver and it’s game-changing for our customers and our organizations. Customer Support is largely designed to be there when something goes wrong, but Customer Success teams provide the ongoing, proactive, value based services that facilitates a higher customer retention rate, upsells and more.
Support is going a lot of places in the future – and as customer experience leaders, we just need to be prepared for an exciting (and sometimes bumpy) ride. How are you preparing for this? Please let me know what your thoughts are by tweeting at me @JenMacintosh!
I will also be sharing my opinion on the future of support experiences during an upcoming webinar with the Association of Support Professionals on Wednesday, March 20 from 12 to 1 p.m. ET. Register for the webinar today!