Four top trends were identified, and each was chewed over by a small group who reported back. Here's what's on the minds of the people there (a smart bunch, the discussions were amazingly rich!)
Find a consumer somewhere -- or a business person -- who thinks support issues are fun. Good luck. What is more fun is helping people not need support in the first place. And one way to do that is to make the learning experience more fun, to reward the learning, and make the whole process engaging.
It's not about making support like a game, it's about using the principles game designers use to make things simple, easy to learn, and self-reinforcing.
Some of these sounded kind of promising to me, like measuring the overall health of a support community. For example, what percentage of questions go unanswered? What percentage of questions are answered by the community versus the company?
Customer LIfetime Value and ye olde Net Promoter Score came up, of course, but generally people were talking about the need to expand and seek new and better metrics.
Tools + Technology
This group saw massive potential for improved systems, by incorporating more information into CRM (and making that available to support systems), by helping the customer help support, by avoiding many of the things that make us all mental (giving your support number over and over, re-identifying yourself, etc.)
Triage was a concept that made sense too. Deliver support appropriate to the nature/ severity / risk of the problem, and the value of the customer.
What about technology that diagnoses the problem for you -- we have a little of that now, and it's lovely.
I was in the mobile group.We talked about how growth in mobile technologies is going to make the support challenge more challenging than ever. We'll be trying to re-boot our houses and cars, not just our computers. Our refrigerator will have ordered too many cans of OJ.
All those smart devices talking to each other will add a lot of complexity.
So we won't necessarily know where the problem lies (as is often the case with business system failures -- it could be the server, the router, the software, or a mouse ate the wires)
What is clear is that people will expect the support interaction to cross devices easily, probably to live in the cloud. We talked about how executives might want the kind of mobile access that consumers have to support -- like texted updates or twitter access.
I also think (and said this in the session) that we are collectively going to get tired of having to download an individual app for everything. We will want help to be much more device-agnostic.
We wondered if things like QR codes could be used to good effect, for example by putting them on the hardware we buy, so we can easily capture and send the information needed.
Gamification group discussion led by Dave Gardner @gardner_dave
I hope this is giving you some food for thought as you consider your own organization and what it should perhaps do in the future.
Next up: what else the future holds for #winningservice