Changing Expectations of Support

David Kay is Principal of DB Kay & Associates, Inc. and Member of the ASP Executive Advisory Board

The Association of Support Professionals (ASP) recently published a report entitled The Changing Expectations of Support (membership required, and I encourage you to join if you haven’t!).  It’s eye-opening.  The clear message is, what was good enough no longer is. Here are some of the thoughts I shared with Al when he interviewed me for the piece.

Meet Me Where I Am

People are far less willing to “go somewhere” on the web to get support.  They expect it to be where they are.  You might think it’s unfair, but if a user today is having a problem (especially in a mobile experience), they are very unlikely to go to your website, navigate to support, log in, and only then engage with you.

They’re going to look for help where they are.  Increasingly, that means through Google (or Baidu, or…), through social media, or in the product itself.  If you don’t have a strategy for delivering both assisted and self-service through Google, social, and in-product, it may not matter how good your support is.  Most people won’t use it.

Organize Around My Experience

Businesses, especially B2B businesses, often have really complex engagement models.  Account executives, sales engineers, professional services, customer success, customer support, education services, and technical account management may all vie for the customer’s attention.  We may have great business reasons for doing this.  But customers don’t really care.  As we get more complex, customers get overwhelmed.

So, understand and simplify your customer engagement model.  We recommend customer experience journey mapping to learn how your customers see you, develop empathy, then measure and improve their experience.

Tactically, we really like Intelligent Swarming as a way to simplify the customer support experience, while enabling knowledge transfer and employee empowerment.

Know Me

The Consortium for Service Innovation talks a lot about the “Know Me Factor,” and we think it’s essential for meeting customer expectations today.  As a customer, I never want to tell you something you should already know.

  • Don’t make me repeat myself just because you had to transfer me to someone else
  • Don’t ask me which of your products I own
  • If my products are online, don’t ask me about their current state
  • Don’t even make me ask you for help, if you can possibly tell I’m stuck.

Ad Tech is creepy-great at all this.  Why aren’t the good guys, too?

BTW, don’t just mutter under your breath about “those damn millennials.”  I see these expectations in my definitively non-millennial self and in my septuagenarian father, too.

David Kay is Principal of DB Kay & Associates, Inc.  This post was originally published on

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