The Secret To Managing Technical Support Tickets – Think Beyond Support

The secret to managing technical support or production support cases/tickets like a Rock Star is to think beyond just support. Here’s what I mean…

If you are leading a technical, production support department, only focusing on problems, post “go live” is reactive and does not paint the entire customer experience picture. Instead, you should gain visibility into all product issues and all tickets, including those found during testing or found during projects. You should understand the volume and causes, and then identify trends across ticket sources. This allows you to move into proactive mode and influence product release decisions that will have the biggest bang for the buck.

The most common buckets of cases/tickets are:

  • Project cases/tickets: Those tickets opened during the lifecycle of a project, prior to a customer’s Go Live date. These problems may be unique to that individual customer, or problems that affect all customers using that version of the product. In most companies, the professional services department owns and manages these tickets against an individual project, but may not be looking at these tickets holistically across projects.
  • Internal cases/tickets: Those tickets opened by internal, company employees, usually in software development or engineering, as they find defects in the core product code through the course of testing or fixing other defects. These are product specific, not customer specific.  Ideally, software development and product management should oversee these tickets and prioritize which defects will be fixed (or not fixed) in which future release, and notify internal and external customers.
  • Production support cases/tickets: Those tickets opened by customers who are using the product in a production environment. The technical support or customer support department usually owns and manages these cases.

Important:

If you analyze and trend all three case types; project, internal and production cases, you will identify that a portion of case types are exactly the same.

For example, in project Cool Customer defect 12 was found and then fixed only in that customer’s project, not across products. The project manager notified Engineering and an internal case was opened for the same defect and is now sitting in the internal case backlog waiting to be prioritized for a future release. In the mean time, six customers using that product called Tech Support and opened up tickets for the same product defect.

Why should you care?

Leverage: Having your arms around this data gives you a lot more leverage to influence product management or engineering decisions related to product fixes or product enhancements. Instead of making a business case that includes 100 production support cases, you can make a business case that includes 300 cases: 100 production, 100 internal and 100 project.

Customer Loyalty: This gives you visibility into the entire customer experience. If you see that Cool Customer experienced a significant number of product defects during project, they may need more TLC post Go Live. Your support team may need to spend extra time building the customer’s trust in the company or the product to help instill customer loyalty.

Project Handover Management: Keeping tabs on open project cases weeks or months before a project handover, will allow you to head off any unforeseen issues at the time of Go Live. Check out a recent blog post, “Don’t be the victim of a customer project handover gone wrong“.

Last… you may be thinking, why should I have to do this trending across case or ticket types? It is not my job.

Caring about the customer experience across all touch points, building customer loyalty and helping your company contain costs, is everybody’s job.  Just do it…  An who doesn’t want to be a Rock Star?

 

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