My six year old has an uncanny habit of asking the impossible question. If it’s not a school run discussion on what part of you goes to heaven when you die, it’s an overly elaborate and highly descriptive letter to Santa Claus asking for presents that no toy manufacturer (be they staffed by magical elves or not) on the planet can fulfill. Such are the joys of complete and utter belief in the power of the jolly old elf! Reading through this years list for the cherry nosed mince pie muncher I started to think about the sort of things I would like for the support industry if the mere trifling realities of delivery were not an obstacle… Here are my top ten suggestions for Support Execs to include within their letters to Santa:
1.) Sarcasm filters – Any written or spoken communication is passed through these filters before being transmitted on to the customer. Snarky comments, condescending tones and end-of-shift related over emotional outbursts are automatically rephrased to be less inflammatory to the recipient.
2.) Agent cloning kits – The ability to grow as many support agents in the image of your brightest and best. Diversity is obviously good too, but who wouldn’t want to be able to staff their entire operation with clones of their top performers?
3.) Knowledge transfer helmet – A tool for impregnating the brains of new agents with the collective wisdom of the organization and the customer base.
4.) Contribution compass – An invaluable aid for managers that points out those that are truly contributing to the business and those that are merely pretending to do so. (Particularly useful in conjunction with item 2 to prevent inadvertent cloning of wannabes and charlatans by mistake).
5.) Magic mirror of truth – A reliable and unbiased sounding board that can be questioned on any support related topic and be relied upon to tell you as it is. (Note: Unnecessary for Gartner seat holders as you can always set up an inquiry with yours truly instead ).
6.) Mind reading amulet – Magical talisman to give your support representatives an insight into the deepest and darkest recesses of the minds of callers so that they can tailor the support interaction to best effect. E.g. Speeding up the diagnostic process when the caller is becoming frustrated and slowing down if they become confused.
7.) A stable full of compelling constituency specific value propositions – I truly think that this is the “must have” support accessory for 2013. Some providers claim to have one. Most of these claims are baseless. Even those that do have a value proposition probably need to take it out to the wood shed before dispatching it to the retirement farm of fable. A tired generic value proposition won’t cut it any more. You need to get personal and make it relevant.
8.) Shazam for Fans – A meaningful mobile support application that actually adds to the support process and customer experience. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an audio sampling app to identify grinding fan bearings (although that would be nice), an augmented reality viewer for the innards of a piece of hardware would be equally appreciated. As would any mobile support app that did more than just replicate the support portal experience in a 3-4 inch window!
9.) Magic wand of diagnostics – All too often incident resolution processes rely on the support representative stumbling across a solution as they fumble about in the dark using little more than trial and error. Why not get some help? Piff paff puff! Magic happens here. The wand miraculously diagnoses all know technical issues and provides recommendations for remediation and prevention.
10.) Elixir of enlightenment – Normally we don’t condone customer doping but in this case we’ll make an exception (as it’s almost Christmas). This mythical potion enables consumers to understand the Total Cost of Operations and how playing their part in proactive and predictive prevention based support services will help to materially reduce it.
Mariah Carey only wanted you for Christmas. Me, I’d rather have a balanced support portfolio crammed full of prevention focused elements…
Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t suggested asking Santa for a predictive crystal ball to identify problems and technical issues ahead of time. Well, the answer is simple… The list deliberately contains whimsical gift ideas that aren’t yet generally available (if indeed they will ever be available). Predictive analytics and modelling tools are a reality. You may not have them yet, but that doesn’t make them any less real. If you don’t yet have the power of prediction in your support arsenal then perhaps that is what you REALLY need to put on your Christmas wish list this year!
What else would you like to find under the tree this festive season? Have you been naughty or nice? Remember that he’ll be checking that list twice!
I’d love to hear from one and all… Ho! Ho! Ho!
Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.