This week, Ross Mayfield makes an interesting point about the level of service experience at the Apple Store. It’s a brilliant post and poses some great follow-on questions, but the thing I liked most was this point about support knowledge:

But I think Apple gets something more than the value of customer experience. According to the Consortium of Service Innovation, there is an iceberg effect for product knowledge. 90% of conversations about supporting products never touch the company. Only 10% touch the call center. And 1% of this service and product quality knowledge are assimilated.

Sometimes this distribution is purposeful. Support is viewed as a cost center. Time to resolution (which we’ve decreased by as much as 30%) often trumps customer satisfaction or capturing knowledge. Worst practices are often employed to incent contact center reps to avoid contact.

The problem is far worse with multi-vendor support. Multi-vendor issues take 3-4 times longer to resolve. So almost all vendors explicitly do not support these issues at all. There is some promise in Vendor Relationship Management, or communities that address systemic needs through the demand side supplying itself, but only the beginning of promise.

[From Ross Mayfield's Weblog: Service and the Fifty Percent Rule]

How is your performance? Do you even measure knowledge creation rates? Do you know how many of your support center cases are already solved in the knowledge base, but customers aren’t finding it?

Perhaps more importantly, have you moved past “call avoidance” to embrace Customer Engagement the way Apple has in the Apple Store?

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