In the past couple of postings we have looked at the half empty glass of support. Now let’s look at the half full version. Support has many things to be duly proud of. It delivers real value. Admittedly, some providers deliver significantly more value under the product support banner than their competitors but that will always be the case. In the course of my discussions with support providers, it never ceases to amaze me how often they neglect to mention many of the good things that they are doing on behalf of their customers day in and day out. Is this false modesty? I don’t think so. Instead, I see it is a symptom of their inability to express their value in a meaningful way (and in some cases an inability to comprehend what their value actually is). Poor support messaging and marketing is common. Non-existent support messaging and marketing is even more common. Unless support tells the world why it’s valuable, it shouldn’t be surprised when people fail to recognize that value. If the only contact someone has with you is when things go wrong, is it any wonder that you are associated with painful problems (and all of the negative connotations such as frustration, anguish and anger that go with them)…
Below is a graphic that I have used with clients for the past 2 or 3 years as a tool to help them understand what their value is and how to let other people understand the support value proposition. It is equally applicable to any product or service but for the purposes of today we will look at it from the support perspective.
The four main axes show the pillars of customer value… Cost reduction, Revenue generation, Quality improvement and Risk mitigation. In between these foundational themes we have secondary aspirations that can be used to influence and convince prospects, customers and consumers of product or service value.
Using these themes, providers can plot out what they believe their value is. Remembering that customer value comes in many forms and shapes…
So what exactly is the product support value proposition? And perhaps more importantly, how should you convey it?
Full details and worked examples can be found within “Marketing Essentials: How to Convincingly Articulate the Product Support Value Proposition“. To paraphase a very small fraction of the fantastic insight, guidance and advice contained within this brilliant research note (and I say that as a completely biased party :-)) I would recommend a focus upon:
- Incident avoidance / Pain prevention – People don’t just want a support provider who is good at fixing things when they fail. They would much rather have a provider that helps them to avoid the pain and inconvenience in the first place.
- Internal cost reduction – How you help them to spend less on support related activities.
- Product or service value extraction – Getting the biggest bang for their technology investment buck
- Improved understanding – Of their environment, their operations, their product or service usage and how they compare to others
- Better end user experience – Helping them to help their users to be more productive
When you talk in terms similar to those outlined above, and refrain from falling back on well worn cliches about “protecting ones technology investment” and wafer thin sliced support services descriptions of what it is that you do and how you do it, you will begin to connect with customers in a more meaningful way… And connecting with customers is key. Because without that connection you will always only be the folks that they call when things go bad.
After all, who really wants to hang out with the perennial harbinger of doom and destruction?
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Category: support-messaging support-value
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