Monday, January 3, 2011

Hard to believe: Your CRM is a liability to your customer satisfaction

Your CRM or service desk is a liability to your customer satisfaction. You don’t believe it, but it’s true and simple: your CRM or service desk is ISOLATED, but service delivery often requires vendors or partners to help address issues (vendor escalation). Those partners have their own systems that are not connected to your system. As a results, you make a lot of phone calls to your partners, and keep many sticker notes around your computer monitor.

Let me give you an example to illustrate this: you use a third pary SaaS (hosted, cloud) service desk to support your customers, one of your customers complains “system logs me out in 5 minutes” and files a ticket in your hosted service desk system. After researching, you realized this is not a limit set within your org, you will have escalate this issue to the SaaS provider by calling them,  they will record a ticket in their system, and then you save the information told by the vendor on the sticker note on the monitor as seen in this picture:

The problem with the example above: there is 1 issue, but we have 3 "systems" tracking it: your service desk, your vendor’s service desk, and the third system is the sticker system around the monitor.

This manual escalation is costing organizations in two ways.

        Customer Satisfaction. Manual escalation means delay, inaccuracy, lack of responsibility and ownership of the problem. As we all know, customer satisfaction will ultimately impact your future sales and even determine the fate of an enterprise.

        Cost of manual escalation. One study estimates that a case required vendor escalation costs 20 times of a case that’s resolved by the first call. As a results, nearly half of the resource is consumed to manual vendor escalation.

Nevertheless, an estimated 25% of SaaS application issues require escalation to vendor (the SaaS provider)

A new startup Hubcase is launched to change all this. Hubcase Exchange is effectively the “postal office” for an existing CRM or Service Desk systems to “mail” (escalate) an issue to another system used by a partner organization. Hubcase pioneers also offers free SaaS Service Desk.

Ray Zhu
Founder, Hubcase

"The customer is god", only when or before the customer pays?

In business, we often talk about "The customer is god". Lately, I realized that there is a bit of hypocrisy, because it's only true when the customer pays or before the customer pays.

Here are some observations:

When you dial a company and want to talk to customer support, you often hear: "For sales, press 1". Have you ever heard: "For customer support, press 1"? You'd lucky if there is an option for support.

You most likely get to talk to a live SALES person soon after pressing 1, how ofter you get to talk to a live support person without listening to other options (e.g. contact /support on the web, check the knowledge base)?

There are many EDI document types defining sales transactions in supply chain as seen here, but none of address customer support? Where is the support chain and support chain automation?

It appears to me that customer support and service is grossly overlooked in the past. That will cost organizations dearly in this social media age, when customers are gaining more and more access and leverage in the relationship with vendors.

Hubcase pioneers SUPPORT Chain, it automates issue escalation and interaction between you and your vendors or partners, and also offers free SaaS Service Desk.

Ray Zhu
Founder, Hubcase

Be aware, your cloud vendor is a liability to your customer satisfaction

One thing that I learned over the years working in IT environment: As far as providing excellent services to your customers, you can try to be perfect, but you are limited by the products and services you are getting from your vendors.

For example: your users complain desktop system crashes after overnight automatic OS update. Obviously it's the vendor's problem, but you are responsible for it as far as your users are concerned. In other words, it impacts your SLA and customer satisfaction. Some of the limitations can be overcome and risks can be mitigated via redundancy, disaster recovery, backup, testing etc, while others are not as simple.

An area of particular interesting is cloud computing. If you use a 3rd party cloud app serving your customers, and the provider's SLA is basically the best you can achieve if you are perfect, and your brand, customer satisfaction, loyalty can be damaged as a result of the vendor's inability. One would argue that even if the app is in house, you are subject to down time. It is true if we are talking about hardware issue, but there are a lot of human delays that don't even account in SLA. For instance, you use a 3rd party cloud based customer service software, your users are complaining to you the app does not recognize correct passwords, you will need to contact the vendor. The provider may take days to resolve the problem depending on the skill level of the support personnel at the vendor, yet the vendor may not violate SLA at all so long as they keep interacting with you. Imaging the app is your e-commerce app.

Be aware, your cloud vendor is liability to your customer satisfaction.

Ray Zhu
Founder, Hubcase

Hubcase automates issue escalation and interaction between you and your vendors or partners, and also offers free SaaS Service Desk.