Craig Stoss shared how he believes access to increasing data on customer context will shape support in the future.
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Charlotte Ward 0:14
Hello, and welcome to the Customer Support Leaders Podcast episode six. I’m Charlotte Ward.
Our theme for this week is the future of support. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome back to the podcast today my good friend Craig Stoss.
So Craig, the topic for this week is one I know is close to your heart. It’s the future of support and particularly Here we are at the start of 2020, which I would think sounds like a year or two in a song “and the year 2020”. How are you? How are you looking forward to support and what do you foresee will be the tools or automation that will be making use of over the next year and beyond?
Craig Stoss 1:06
I think the future of support is going to be one where we start to build processes and policies that are focused solely on the customers’ needs. If you think about the industries, any industry that that’s popped up recently, you know, things like Netflix where everything was on-demand, Uber where you could see literally where your car is, is at any given moment, we’re in this kind of culture now where people demand things instantly and want to have constant updates. And I feel that that needs to start applying into the support world as well. The concept of making sure that your customers are supported in context so that they don’t have to switch from a mobile device to a laptop to submit a support ticket or from an IoT device to their email or to a web page or to a chatbot somewhere I think is going to become very important. And then subsequent to that, I think that we’re still in the early days of things like automation and AI to be able to help customers. And so what I think we’ll see over the course of 2020 is many improvements in that area. But more so on the internal side for support to be able to provide fast answers, or, or be able to do better diagnostics on the data being sent through SAS applications, for example, and provide real-time, “Hey, I just see you click this button, here’s a knowledge base article to help you with next steps” versus forcing the customer to contact you. But when they do, you should have that automation available. The customer-facing automations I don’t believe are there yet, and maybe we’ll see some improvements over 2020. But I think the general theme of 2020 for me is really around context support for customers, you know, making sure that they feel there’s less there’s the least amount of effort to contact a support department. There’s going to be once they do contact you to make sure that response is incredibly fast and handy. To your support agents, and then even trying to prevent them from contacting you by using data collected through the normal data collection that you do in your SAS or IoT applications through your web page. If you’re a retail organisation, and popping that up and saying, you know, here, I can help you in real-time if you’re stuck.
Charlotte Ward 3:20
Yeah, I think I have to agree, I don’t think that customer-facing AI is there yet. We know chatbots can do a reasonable amount of collecting the very first few responses to do some feeding of a help desk article or something or you know, routing of the problems to the right individual. But beyond that, they get a bit lost and yeah, so I think customer-facing technology isn’t exactly there yet. But I think that’s interesting that I think we really are on the brink aren’t we have an explosion of AI in supporting the support teams?
Craig Stoss 3:55
Absolutely. And I think that there’s needs to be more focused on using data One of the things that always makes me angry is when I have to do small things like I have to tell a retail company that I’m using a visa versus a MasterCard, they know that the data tells them that the first four or five digits, tell them which card I’m using, why do I have to manually select that? Or things where it’s, you know, you, you know that they have the information for you? Why do I have to confirm my phone number or just those small things where I’d rather someone say to me, you know, Craig, Could you confirm that this is that is still true, versus having to re-type out in a ina massive list set of things. I’d like to see support agents be more prepped, for example, if you have a, if you have a known sequence of events, for example, inside your application, let’s say it’s a web app, because that’s probably the easiest use case. Where if that sequence events often leads to a support call, and it’s something that you would need to solve from a sport context, why not automatically store that data in a way your support team can access it, so that when the customer calls in, you can Look at it say, “Oh, I see you’re we’re using, you know, Firefox version x. And I see that you are clicking this button and I see that you had this metadata inserted into the application.” And I, you know, and you’re confirming the data, as opposed to saying the customer, can you please recount the last 20 things you did? And exactly in what order because we know that’s not accurate data. And so all this data exists. Most companies today have this in their system and can be used for good purposes, it can be used to bring a better experience to your customers.
Charlotte Ward 5:32
And even though the support for that is technology and AI it can actually only help to build a better connection between your customers and your brand, right? It makes it more personal.
Craig Stoss 5:44
Well, imagine a world where you hire someone off the street and sit them at a computer on day one. And all of a sudden they start getting alert saying here’s the exact type of problem. Here’s a knowledge base how to solve that problem. Here’s what you tell the customer and here’s a template within your ticketing system you now have someone that you’ve hired off the street and you don’t have to spend six months teaching them stuff because your top 100 problems can be solved instantly by that person.
Charlotte Ward 6:07
Yeah, exactly. And you can actually hire for different skills, then you can hire them for empathy and, you know, culture and a whole heap of other things, because the technology supports the knowledge and the learning curve as well.
That’s it for today. You can find show notes over at customersupportleaders.com/6 and I’ll see you next time.
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