We’re amazed that some of our customers have initially balked at the idea of providing automated diagnostics to their end-users via LogicNets for fear that it would “impact” paid services opportunities. In other words, providing better, more timely service would result in lowering revenues. We understand the reluctance to threaten a pre-existing revenue source. However, we’ve always been able to demonstrate that providing web-based self-service, in fact, 1) generates many more new, fast turn-around revenue opportunities than the status quo of off-contract service calls or pay-as-you-go tech support and 2) actually increases traditional add-on revenues.
First, high quality self-service systems are themselves excellent new revenue sources, with customers and partners more often than not willing to pay a subscription fee. Second, they provide such tight control and insight into a customer’s exact situation that they enable both new and traditional add-on services to be presented dynamically at the moment they are most relevant and therefore most likely to be purchased. Finally, they satisfy the customer’s need to see for themselves that paid support is the best alternative by integrating the ultimate directive to engage the company with a preliminary set of alternative do-it-yourself steps. When properly implemented, automated self-service makes the customer feel that they have been given the chance and necessary information to find a cost-effective fix and that they are acting reasonably by ultimately engaging Support after the system has proven that bringing in the cavalry is necessary.
The real game-changer about automated self-service with a system like LogicNets is that you gain unprecedented insight into the customer’s actions and situation and you can precisely control when and how to present the appropriate information in response. In the traditional scenario when break-fix services cost extra, users obviously try to solve issues on their own. Relying on Search as the tool to find information either on the web or in your knowledge-bases, users work manually and in an ad-hoc way to troubleshoot problems. Yet the company has no idea that they are doing this or what approach they are taking… and odds are that the customer is flailing. Typically, the company’s chance to assess the situation and influence only comes after the customer has failed at their initial attempts, concluded that your support materials are worthless, and has now called you as a last resort. At this point they are completely fed up and now have to suffer the indignity of describing to your agent the whole experience they just went through. With automated self service, the customer has followed a standardized and proven process for identifying relevant symptoms, determining causes, and eliminating irrelevant factors. If the company needs to be pulled in, the user is satisfied that they have done everything they can. But even better, all their activities to date have been recorded so that the company’s agent can pick up at the next level without having to ask those annoying redundant questions of the case history. The result is always a happier customer and, it seems to us, more net opportunities to generate revenues as payment for proven proportional value.