It’s hard to overstate the importance of product support to software and high-tech companies. Good product support helps in customer satisfaction and influences purchase and repurchase decisions.
But what is good product support? Ideally, it’s where no support is required. Although companies should strive to develop products that require minimum product support, they should also look at improving the customer experience and reducing time spent on product support. Overall product support systems should be cognitive, intelligent and self-improving.
This is all the more important because most customers in the As-a-Service Economy are used to a customer-centric user experience and instant gratification. They expect the same for software and high-tech firms in both the consumer and enterprise segments. Companies need to minimize the need for product support, provide an improved customer support experience, and improve the effectiveness and timelines for product support.
Most companies outsource product support. But, whether in-house or outsourced, improving product support typically means adding headcount or seats, which will increase costs. Adding seats may improve responsiveness but may not improve customer support effectiveness.
There has to be a better way to do it. Enter the As-a-Service Economy, in which product support can be re-imagined and existing product support process can be disrupted.
Goodbye legacy product support and welcome cognitive product support
The product support process can be made cognitive or intelligent by leveraging analytics, automation, and engineering approach. The business outcome and productivity gains committed in the contract will drive the adoption of cognitive product support levers and deliver value to the enterprises. Our estimation based on case studies we discussed shows that software and high-tech companies can save about 40% of total product support cost by moving to cognitive product support as shown in the Exhibit. This 40% saving is over and above any labor arbitrage which service providers promise when they leverage offshore resources.
Exhibit: Value Proposition of Reimagined Cognitive Product Support Process
Apart from reduction in product support cost, cognitive product support increases customer satisfaction by
- Reduce MTTR by increasing resolution accuracy
- Reduction in invalid escalations to backline/frontline
- Increase Self Service to maximum extent possible
- Improve forecasting accuracy
Both users and enterprise will benefit from cognitive software product support but existing outsourcing relationships need to be revisited
In our research, we’ve found that biggest obstacle for software and high-tech firms in achieving cognitive or intelligent operations is their existing outsourcing relationships. Some of our buy-side customers believe that their primary service providers though are providing the good quality support they are still using legacy ways and nothing has changed in the product support process in the last ten years.
Enterprises should leverage cognitive product support if not for savings then for customer satisfaction. Phil recently had a very bad experience in customer support from a large high-tech enterprise. He had to speak to 16 reps to resolve the issue. No prize for guessing that this large high-tech enterprise will not be Phil’s first choice at the time of repurchase.
Net-Net, software product support is ripe for disruption. Progressive software and high-tech product companies will not hesitate to leverage cognitive software product support and futureproof their value-driven product operations.
HfS subscribers can click here to download the full POV, which details our research and recommendation on cognitive software product support
Posted in : Procurement and Supply Chain