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Crowdsourcing for Customer Support: A New Way to Meet the Growing Demand

Crowdsourcing for Support

Frictionless Customer Service Management Creates Loyalty

Existing way of providing support

Traditional customer support at most organizations has always been a one-to-many relationship.  A customer contacts Customer Support, usually via phone or email, for an issue that they are having.  A support person typically follows the steps below:

  1. The Case is assigned to a support representative
  2. They obtain additional info as needed to understand the issue
  3. Provide the required service by completing a series of steps
  4. Close out the Case

Other customers will contact Support in a similar fashion, and the support person repeats the steps above.  They bounce from troubleshooting one Case to the next while serving as many customers as possible and as fast as possible.  This is inefficient and can lead to numerous issues.

Why it doesn’t work well

As organizations grow exponentially, the traditional Customer Support model breaks down in various ways:

  • Hiring – It is near impossible for managers to continue hiring support staff at a rate to keep up with the growing demand.
  • Training – Ramping up takes time, often a long time, before the new employees are fully ready to handle all types of cases.
  • Management – Managing a large team of support personnel is a permanent headache. Turnover adds to the problem.
  • Workload – Overwhelming support staff with the sheer amount of never-ending work. Constant pressure from management to become “more efficient” so they can handle even more cases does not make life any easier.
  • CSAT/NPS Scores – Response times continue to increase over time, and customers continue to complain about long hold times and quality of service. They often leave for greener pastures.
  • Customer Experience – The customer experience suffers because of the challenges faced in customer support. This can impact the perception of the brand and lead to lower sales.

In short, it’s not a scalable model.  More data on this is described in “10 Mind-Blowing Customer Service Stats”.

What’s the solution? Crowdsourcing!

Consider a new way of providing support via a many-to-many relationship – the consumption of data that many people have created. Communities, social networks, and knowledge bases are examples of this model, otherwise known as crowdsourcing.

Community involves creating a network of your entire user base, including your customers, partners, and employees. Your organization can significantly expand the outreach by leveraging your passionate customers to get involved in providing support.

Benefits include:

  • Cost – Cost of software is negligible, relatively speaking. For existing ServiceNow customers who have the Customer Service Management application, it’s included as part of their purchase.
  • Staff – Your support staff multiplies almost exponentially as the network grows. All without having to pay the newcomers or worry about the management hassle; in fact, they pay you to be a customer!
  • Knowledge Resource – Build an extensive database of questions and answers, that customers will use as the primary means of getting support.
  • Immediate answers – Customers are typically able to find answers quickly via a simple search, without wasting any of their time waiting on hold, or for a response. Using a generic 80-20 rule, 80% of the questions that customers want answers to have been asked before, and hence they should already be available for them to take advantage of.
  • Happier customers – Getting involved with helping other customers who have run into similar issues keeps them happier and less likely to go away.
  • Improve product quality – Product Management finds the mined data invaluable, since they can identify the top issues and enhancements requested for future releases.

It is indeed possible to turn your support organization into Utopia. You simply need to take action and use the extensive resources available to you.

Real world example: ServiceNow Community

For an example of how this works beautifully, check out http://community.servicenow.com/community.  Highly experienced ServiceNow customers provide answers to questions, while a majority choose to limit their participation to searching for answers.  With a network of over 300,000 people, support responders are typically more knowledgeable than most ServiceNow support staff.  Top contributors are recognized via various gamification features, as described in detail in this webinar.

A majority of ServiceNow customers don’t bother to contact support anymore, since they are more than likely to find the answer online by doing a few basic searches.

Where do I begin?

New or existing customers running ServiceNow are able to roll out this functionality as part of ServiceNow’s Customer Service Management application. Our ServiceNow CSM experts can help you set it up using best practices for Community. Simply select the “Request Info” link on https://milestone.tech/contact-us/ and our team would be happy to help.

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