The True Role of Support – not just fixing problems

I imagine that minutes after the first computer program was created the first support team was born. Over the years the association between support departments and fixing troubleshooting customer issues has become so strong that many (even some in support) believe this is the only responsibility of the support team.

As a result support teams at many technology companies have scored poorly on customer satisfaction surveys. Why? Because they end up only interacting with customers when they are having a problem and are angry. Here are some ways support departments can

Focus on education first
I hate to say it, but a lot of times the issues our customers are having are not because our products didn't work correctly. It is because they were not properly trained on how to set up, configure or maintain the product. This is the support team's responsibility Just as much as it is the sales team or the customer's. Support teams that create ways for customers to educate themselves have a better chance of having customers that rate the support team favorably.

One way Astaro is doing this is by creating a Knowledge base for customers and partners. This Knowledge base will house articles about Astaro product written by Astaro's support team and partners. These articles will explain how to overcome common issues, ways to configure Astaro products and more.

Communication is key
Of course part of education is communication. Support teams should communicate any issues the company's product is having, along with the solution quickly and accurately. Additionally, when product upgrades or enhancements are made, the vendor should create alert systems for the customers along with links to information about the new features.

Like most organizations Astaro has had issues where we needed to communicate to our entire customer base at once. Unfortunately, there wasn't a system in place to do this quickly outside of email. As a result we began developing a unique alert system for our partners using SMS messages. The system is still in the works but we foresee it being a helpful communication tool

Empower your customers
Another way to improve Support services is by empowering them. Make your customers feel as if they have the power to solve their own issues without support, and can to help solve the problems of others. Astaro has a user forum where customers, partners and Astaro employees can discuss issues they are having, talk about unique applications of the product or answer the questions of others. This forum is open to user regardless of their support level status and has a very active community. Even some of Astaro's executives respond to questions from time to time.

Why is this important? It makes your customers feel heard and respected. It also gives them an opportunity to share they knowledge they already have. And when Astaro's Vice President of Product Management responds to your query it lets you know the company is listening.

Keeping these concepts in mind will help organizations understand that if they use their support team for more than just speaking with customers in need of assistance the entire organization will be better off. Support should be a proactive department, just like any other department in your organization.


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