Technical Support Series

Last Updated: 4 March 2019

Chapter 2 - Hunting the Beast

Wouldn’t it be great if companies make technical support more readily available?

~ Customer

Wouldn’t it be great if there is a way to close the communication gap with the customers?

~ Technical Support Staff

Wouldn’t it be great if there is a way to provide quality service at sustainable cost to the business?

~ Business

The technical support nightmares created a three-headed beast (quantity, quality and cost of technical support) that is almost immortal. Let us look at the common perspectives/strategies used by companies in their attempt to slay the beast.

The Staff: Common Technical Support Staff KPIs

  • Turnover Rate: How long it takes to solve a problem for the customer.
  • Response Time: How long it takes before a customer is attended to.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score: How good was the technical support experience for the customer.

Managing the technical support with the above KPIs help in controlling the quality of technical support (Response Time & Customer Satisfaction Score) and to a lesser degree increase the quantity of technical support that can be provided (Turnover Rate).

However, just cutting 2 heads of a 3-headed hydra only makes it more power as more heads spawn in replacement. A technical support team will have a positive impact on the customer experience, and a company will likely grow to serve a larger number of clients. With more customers, there will be more technical support requests. Cost will start to pile up as more staff will have to be engaged.

The Trap: FAQ Website

Let us build a trap to bait the beast into. This seems like a good location. Let us build up the trap.

OMG… WHY IS THE BEAST NOT TURNING UP? OMG… WHY IS THE TRAP BREAKING DOWN SO QUICKLY?

Building up a FAQ website to be able to deal with a large quantity of technical support request, increase availability of service at a lower cost is a great idea, if customers actually use them. The experience (quality) of using a FAQ website is not adored by everyone. While no doubt customers with both the passion and the knowhow to process static information on FAQ website exist, the general populace does not. This reduces the effectiveness of the approach in dealing with the beast.

Not to mention, as companies push out new products or change their practices, the information on FAQ sites can lose relevance quickly. This requires a company to constantly invest to maintain its relevance to business conditions.

An ineffective tool that has a high upkeep is certainly not the answer. Will it work if we add some interactivity to the website?

The Silver Bullet: AI Chatbots

There seems to be this magical box, where once you put all your FAQ information into, will be able to fulfill any in-coming technical support request.

Sounds too good to be true? You are totally right about that.

Source: Chatbotlife magzine

AI-Driven chatbots are like FAQ websites but mystical. It invokes dreams and fantasy in businesses, making them believe the impossible (If I supply the right data to this magical box once, it will be able to spill out accurate, reliable and interactive technical support experience). Under this illusion, we witness companies investing exorbitant amount of money, only to realize that the performance of the AI Chatbots does not live up to its name.

If AI Chatbots is not the silver bullet we expect it to be, how should we address the technical support problem?