Software Tech: the Future of Tech Support
Patrick Strahan is an IT professional and freelance blogger. He writes about such things as the latest help desk software on the market. When he’s not busy blogging or responding to dozens of work orders, Patrick finds time to ski and to write the next great graphic novel.
This year we saw some startling new data in the world of mobile technology. The number of internet user’s all over the world leaped up to a gigantic 2.4 billion with almost half of those equipped with smartphones and tablets. With this increased connectivity, more people than ever before are accessing the internet to solve their real world problems and all in real time, as the issue occurs.
Mobile traffic across smartphones and tablets saw a huge increase with 9% more people using these devices from 2011 to 2012. Facebook mobile can testify to this as this last year marked the first time that mobile users outnumbered their desktop/laptop peers. So how can companies and businesses harness the power of social media and social sharing to bolster their IT and customer care efforts?
For starters, let’s return to the numbers. 30% of a consumer’s time online is spent using social media and the trend is growing. One stufy noted that in July of 2011, 88 billion minutes were spent using social media via mobile devices, that number skyrocketed in one year with July of 2012 seeing 121 billion minutes being spent across social media platforms as accessed by a smartphone or other mobile technology.
What does this mean? More and more people are becoming more acclimated to using not only their mobile devices but using their mobile devices to update other’s on their lives, pay bills and even as a strategy for solving real world problems. Despite this huge upswing in the demographic of mobile users, countless businesses do not have an infrastructure that is capable of providing the most basic of customer support (outside of a phone call) with these devices. Companies who outsource their IT and customer support overseas will be the first to take a heavy hit as more users become increasingly wired and accustomed to taking care of life’s ins and out over a mobile device.
The customer support experience for most businesses most often falls into one or more of the following categories:
- Web support
Most noticeably absent from this list? Any mention of social media, social sharing or live chats and video. The future of tech support lies within these untapped niches of communication. Customers want on demand help, answers that can be given and questions that can be asked in real time. Things like live chats, quick video messages and even technology like Google hangouts will be the answer to the new generation of consumers looking for the answers to their problems.
Using a video streaming service opens up a slew of doors that the old and quickly becoming antiquated methods of phone and email could not have. Instead of just one tech support specialist, a consumer could potentially be live chatting with several specialist as they all work together to collaborate on the best solution to the problem at hand.
Let’s revisit those companies who have now outsourced their IT overseas to save on money. These companies will now be in a unique position that may see them struggling to supply the same level of service that a live-chat option that has not been outsourced could provide.
Consumer’s often make contact with customer support specialist and IT departments in what is usually less than ideal times in their experience with your product or service. On top of this, outsourced IT departments often handle large volumes of business and one technician can bounce from a phone call about fixing a washing machine to an inquiry regarding the ins and outs on a warranty for a pair of designer headphones. Communicating from a scripted response will become increasingly difficult when these specialists are interacting in a virtual face to face setting.
On the other hand, you have the opposite. Companies who chose to hire a customer support specialist who knows the ins and outs of a product could potentially be more likely to deliver a higher form of customer care. Sound too nit-picky? Businesses who still want to subscribe to outsourcing customer support only need to look at the volatile waters of social media. One misstep with a consumer who has enough sway across Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram can send shockwaves to your bottom line with disastrous affects to your sales. Look at companies like Sony, Nestle and Absolut who experienced major social media backlash from oversights in properly dealing with customer complaints and concerns. Just like ads, complaints can go viral and before you know it, you’re customer care blooper is the topic of Anderson Copper’s 360°.
The next few years will be a major turning point for companies who have and have not invested in local, on site customer support. We have moved out of the age of innovation. Video conferencing, live chats and live collaboration are already here and being used. Instead of looking for the next best thing, embrace what is already here and your customers will thank, tweet and +1 you for it.