“It takes a village to raise a child” is an African proverb that means an entire community of people must interact with children for those children to grow in a safe and healthy environment. (Source: Wikipedia). This proverb is not just true for raising a kid but also applies in the business context to grow any organization in a meaningful way.
Customer Service is no different. It takes various stakeholders to work together to make their products and offerings service-ready and service capable. Ascendo has been razor sharp focused on the customer support area and is continuously getting enhanced to understand the unique needs of the various stakeholders and address their challenges.
Let us take a look at the various stakeholders and how they think about their functions and how they are making their customer journeys into success stories.
Support Delivery (Agents):
Support teams want quick mechanisms to have their customers get self-help first. With improved technology bandwidth, a good number of customers first perform either a search or ask a chatbot to get the answers. Ascendo through its contextualization and correlation engines combined with its self-learning capabilities immediately identifies the context and the intent behind the search queries and chatbot questions and finds solutions from the in-depth knowledge it has garnered from within the support organization. Because of this, the “self-help” customers inherently feel better about appropriate or relevant solutions being suggested. The solutions become more meaningful.
Support teams want to seamlessly get agents to help their customers when self-help may not be preferred or sufficient.
Ascendo has the knack to identify if end customers require actual live help with the agents. Ascendo can automatically offer and transition the customer to get live help from one of the agents.
Support teams want to make sure agents are getting the needed help to solve the issues.
Ascendo helps the agents so they exactly know if the previously tried solutions did (or did not) work. Ascendo combines the “context” behind the customer questions and the tried solutions to further recommend better solutions to the agent. In Agent Assist mode, Ascendo looks into prior cases of similar nature and additional knowledge sources that are more reserved for internal audiences within the company and provides recommendations to the agents. This enables providing help and suggestions even for one-off complex issues as the engine mimics similar behavior.
Support teams want to make sure agents are onboarded fast and know the expert to connect with.
Before the “remote” workforce model, many agents were collocated and had the luxury of “swinging” their chairs and talking to their colleagues to get help. There is an inherent challenge in that agent is “supposed to know who to go to for help”. With an increased remote workforce that has become a bit harder. Also, knowing the expert has become a unique trait of agents rather than corporate knowledge. Even in a colocation scenario, agents tend to ask their neighbor “hey, do you know the answer for this?” and not necessarily the true expert that might know the answer in the back of their hand. This is where Ascendo comes into help. Ascendo has a way to automatically identify the “experts” based on how prior similar issues are solved, how many, and how effective they were. Ascendo uses its own unique modeling technique to derive the expert by first understanding the context in which the question is being asked, knowing the intent, and quickly mapping the issues that were similar to being asked, and detecting the experts based on how well they solved the issues. Ascendo knows the difference between quantity and quality. The modeling technique uses customer satisfaction on the prior solutions to improve the ability to determine the expert.
If you ask Support Leaders what keeps them up at night, it would be delivering a fantastic support experience at an optimized P&L.
Depending on the type of company, onboarding a support engineer can take anywhere from 6 weeks to as much as 12 months. This does not even include initial shadow/review time spent on the new support engineers. Support Leaders not only about the cost of onboarding but also the opportunity cost of the time. Ascendo is proven to help in reducing the onboarding time due to its inherent nature of being an “experts in back pocket” model. Engineers can easily learn the solutions by querying within Ascendo and that reduces the time and the areas they need to look to provide solutions to customers.
Another issue that Support Leaders grapple with is customer escalations.
Once customer escalates, they do all they can including involving the best resources, being available for the customers, potentially offering new concessions, and other benefits to keep the customers happy. They are being forced to become reactive and counterintuitive to them wanting to be in charge and lead. They can rely on Ascendo on two fronts:
Ascendo predicts potential escalations before they occur and
Ascendo predicts the sentiment of the customer using hidden signals and communications from the customer users.
Ascendo does this in real-time and alerts the support agents so they can pay even more close attention to the customer's problems. This type of model allows the customer leaders to switch their engagement with their customers from being reactive to proactive and they can regain their advantageous position of being in drive to realize the outcome – delightful customers.
Support leaders are seeking to understand hidden trending issues before they become serious.
Given the nature of the Ascendo modeling techniques, it can group or cluster incoming issues based on context, intent, and symptoms. No manual effort is needed from the support team to involve multiple team members to comb through the tickets to identify the top issues. Ascendo knows the top issues could change over time and constantly looks at them and provide the support leaders early guidance on the top issues. Knowing top issues also allows the Support Leaders to develop appropriate solutions:
Do they need to make fundamental changes in the product?
Do they need to train their engineers more?
Do they need enrich their knowledge?
The early alerts on top issues also allow the Support Leaders to focus their resources on the important things. They can assign fewer resources to focus on issues that matter most to their customers.
Support Leaders can also empower their support delivery teams to increase self-service and auto resolution of many routines and/or high-volume customer questions. Instead of support agents needing to look at every issue, they can review Ascendo recommendations and use that to address their backlogs more effectively including auto-answering with possible solutions. The advantage is two-fold:
Their customers get solutions quickly and
Their agents' productivity increases.
Field engineers/Field Techs come into play when the company makes hardware / electro-mechanical type of products or make complex products that require a field person or a professional engineer to work with them. Companies are always looking to reduce both the time and the number of trips the engineers spend to solve issues in the field. Customers also want a quick turnaround – they want the tech to come and complete the work quickly instead of needing to come multiple times.
Ascendo can provide a game plan using its arsenal of solutions:
It provides the optimum predictions on the root cause
The area of fault and
Recommendation on parts, if such is needed.
Field engineers can use this game plan and are much better prepared before they even visit the customer.
They have a fair knowledge of what the problem might be and also can carry the parts. The diagnostics become simpler and no more need to come back again for a part. The entire resolution could be done in one visit and in less time. Such savings in labor and travel is significant. Their customers are also much happier as they get their systems back up and running optimally in less time. This win-win is possible because of Ascendo’s exhaustive self-learning capabilities.
Support teams that need to have spare parts face the unique challenge of needing to stock spare parts in one or more locations (depots) to satisfy support contract commitments they have with their customers. Depending on the mission-critical nature of their products, they may be offering various service levels such as 4-hour replacement, 8-hour replacement, or Next Business Day (NBD). Given their customers are geographically disbursed, support teams may have to stock spare parts in more than one distribution center and depots. Global companies, may also take into consideration specific country custom rules when deciding the location and quantity of their spare parts.
Ascendo can use various information such as the field failure characteristics, customer install base growth trend, specific consumption pattern at depot-part level, and type of support contracts, and recommend the spare parts stocking requirements.
Using Ascendo, the logistics team can optimize their spare plan in a much more effective way.
Ascendo works in conjunction with the support teams' ERP system and the planners can use Ascendo recommendations to determine their reorder point (ROP) at the spare part-location level.
Ascendo uses the prediction logic and provides customer SLA risk and the logistics team leaders can use that to take proactive actions.
Furthermore, Ascendo can detect the change in install base movement and the change in the companies third part logistics team locations and provide proactive alerts for the logistics team to better plan their spare parts move as well as procurement.
Support Operation teams are a glue to connect people, processes, and technology to the needs of the various support delivery teams. They are incentivized to think about the future and create practical paths to connect the dots. Given the complex nature of the global service teams, Support Operations is looking to use AI/ML-based solutions that work with their existing deployed systems and artifacts and elevate them to the next level.
Support Operations are leveraging solutions like Ascendo because Ascendo automatically learns them from their existing data. Ascendo has the needed connectors to work with their CRM systems and other knowledge/help articles and further enriches them in a meaningful way. The Setup process within Ascendo being straightforward helps with the quick implementation. The Support Operations team is also looking to deploy solutions that are value-based, and they are wanting to move away from user-based models to value-driven models. Given the way Ascendo can be easily consumed and deployed and the pricing model based on value realization, it makes it easier for the Support Operations team to try out and deploy Ascendo solutions.
Running a support organization is hard. The products are changing, customer demands are increasing, processes need to get adjusted, people are changing, and the need to constantly improve customer experience and support efficiency only keeps getting bigger and more important. It takes more than a village and Ascendo is right there to help with its fundamental self-learning capabilities, fine-tuned for customer support.