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A Guide to 7x24 Support Plans

Publication date: 7/2010

Executive Summary

Tech support has never fit comfortably into the constraints of a 9:00-5:00 workday, if only because technology companies almost always have customers in more than a single time zone. In recent years, the demand for after-hours coverage has crept steadily upwards. More global enterprises, more users online at odd hours, rising expectations for real-time response whatever the reasons, it's clear that the genie is out of the box. Support is now a seven-day-a-week, 24-hour job.

The challenges of delivering this extended coverage aren't trivial. Often, the new demand for 7x24 support comes from a handful of customers who need after-hours support urgently but may not generate enough traffic to justify the cost of full-scale staffing. For companies with global customer bases, it's still common for country-level support organizations to develop their own service policies and personal relationships; as a result, transferring or escalating an after-hours call can create friction about how the call "should" be handled. And for thousands of support managers and agents, a 7x24 schedule is simply not a happy arrangement. "Our support team hates the night shift," one manager reports.

Yet somehow these issues haven't surfaced much in support-related research, conference presentations, or online forums. To help start a more active discussion of 7x24 support, the ASP has conducted a survey whose results appear in this report, and we also created a 7x24 discussion thread on the ASP's LinkedIn page, which we've excerpted from here as well.
  • Levels of Service: Revenues, Satisfaction, Penetration Rate
  • Pricing Models: Service Level, Satisfaction, Penetration
  • 7x24 Service Delivery: Service Level, Satisfaction
  • Lessons Learned
  • How to Manage a Night Shift
  • Define the Deliverables
  • Historical Trends

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Copies of the survey are free to ASP members in the members-only area.

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