“It’s all about the customer experience”—we’ve heard it a million times. In highly competitive industries such as Communication Service Providers (CSPs) and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), delivering superior customer service and support is paramount in acquiring new customers and more importantly, retaining valued customers. Yet we consistently see reports and studies that place these companies at the bottom of the customer service totem pole. It’s not for lack of trying; supporting highly technical complex services at scale is just not that easy.
It is common knowledge that First Call Resolution (FCR) is important and directly affects customer satisfaction; however, one trend we are seeing is that customers are increasingly willing to stay on the call much longer if it means that they can get their problems resolved. This trend is less odd than it may seem. I know that I typically brace myself before having to call customer support, but know I have to endure the process to resolve the issue.
So how do we deliver superior customer service and drive up FCR for technical products and services at CSPs and MSPs?
The typical approach that is often taken involves throwing search and knowledge management at the incident. The challenge with this approach is that you are still dependent on the Customer Service Representative (CSR) or level 1 support agents; you’re trusting that they have the needed experience to find the right procedure, and also the required permission and access to fix the problem. Even though some incidents may be repetitive and can easily be carried out by the CSR, (provided they have sufficient documented details) many of the incidents are still being escalated to level 2 support because they require an experienced, trusted engineer to carry out the technical diagnostic, assessment and repair tasks.
The key is to enable the CSR to be able to validate, diagnose and repair problems directly from the guided procedure by leveraging embedded automations that deliver the contextual details required to make decisions, as well as fix the problem. As opposed to providing content that describes steps that need to be taken, the procedure itself drives the resolution process by using the embedded automations, leveraging people to make the “big brain” decisions and initiate the repair automations. By combining process guidance and automation, level 2 or level 3 Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are now able to shift the handling of repetitive problems to the L1 CSRs, avoid escalations and drive up FCR. Instead of the constant fire-fighting, SMEs can focus on driving more resolution to L1 agents, consequently improving first call resolution and customer satisfaction.