Lance Rosenzweig, CEO, Support.com
Lance Rosenzweig, CEO at Support.com reveals how customer support services delivered by a global home-based workforce and supported by state of the art technology can provide customers with a better experience and easier access to human experts.
Technology adoption is picking up speed. This acceleration extends across every sector, from workplace communications and collaboration tools to fintech products like cryptocurrencies and hardware wallets, and from health and wellness solutions to smart home devices. Brands and customer support providers need to build capacity and new capabilities to handle the sustained demand generated by the unrelenting innovation cycle.
There are more early adopters than ever
A 2020 study of technology adoption habits commissioned by Mojo found that 43% of respondents identify as first adopters.” Across the board, people reported purchasing more new technology and feeling more dependent on it than before the pandemic. A large majority of first adopters and a significant subset of others believe they are likely to continue their increased rated of technology purchases.
New technologies require a lot of setup and troubleshooting support. Because new devices tend to be part of a larger tech ecosystem, that support should be provided by agents with wide-ranging technical expertise. They must be able to troubleshoot the device in context, including all other interconnected components on the network. These customer interactions are critical: If the early adopters have a bad experience, the later adopters will never arrive.
High tech with high stakes
The need for customer support agents who can offer not just product support, but informed analysis and troubleshooting is even greater in the emerging fintech and healthtech markets. None of these technologies – from smart blood sugar monitors and telemedicine portals to cryptocurrency exchanges and hardware wallets – exists in a vacuum. Just like smart home technology, supporting these fields requires broad networking and technology experience, and deep subject matter and product expertise. With customers’ health and wealth on the line, that knowledge must be coupled with airtight security and rapid response times.
Customer service has already become a sore spot for the cryptocurrency market, and customer support demands and spikes for this market are difficult to project — the next big market swing is always as close as Elon Musk’s next tweet. As with healthtech, urgent customer needs could arise any day and any time. In addition, both fintech and healthtech require customer support professionals to handle extremely sensitive customer data, which amplifies the security requirements for the agents’ network connections and physical work environments.
What’s good for the customer is good for the brand
Customer support providers have increasingly embraced emerging technologies in response to the shortage of available experts, including chatbots, self-service content, and other AI tools. The problem is, customers hate them.
Research data consistently shows that upwards of 80% of customers would rather receive support from a person than a chatbot. In fact, over 70% of people say that if human customer support isn’t available, that would motivate them to choose another brand. On the other hand, allowing human customer support agents more autonomy in responding to customer needs has been shown to significantly increase customer retention. Especially in the realm of complex interconnected technologies, customers don’t have cookie-cutter problems. They need an expert who can actually think through a solution.
Using technology to solve the right problems
Technology is good for the customer support industry – if we’re using it to provide customers with a better experience and easier access to human experts. At Support.com, we use a secure, cloud-based platform to power our HomesourcingSM model: customer support services delivered by a globally dispersed, home-based workforce, and supported by state of the art technology.
Technical experts prefer to work from home: 74% of knowledge workers surveyed by Zapier said they would quit their current job for a work from home opportunity. Support.com’s “expert anywhere” model allows us to hyper-target, hire, and onboard staff up to three times faster than with traditional outsourcing.
These experts’ time is valuable. Support.com leverages cloud-based data analysis to optimize staff schedules. Using flexible scheduling options, such as part time, split shift, or flexible schedules we ensure support is available exactly when needed while avoiding overstaffing.
In order to meet the needs of the fintech and healthtech markets, services must also be secure by design. Support.com’s SecureHub is a proprietary virtual desktop infrastructure that validates the expert’s identity and workstation with environmental and biometric facial scanning, screen capture, and data download restrictions.
Customer service providers should fully embrace the technology that helps them optimize their operations, secure their services, and support their agents. They should tread cautiously, however, before inserting technological layers between their customers and the human experts hired to support them. It’s not about being pro- or anti-technology; it’s about being pro-customer.
About the Author
Lance Rosenzweig is CEO of Support.com, a leader in customer and technical support solutions delivered by home-based employees. Lance is an entrepreneur and public company and VC and PE-backed CEO and board member, with a track record of building great companies and generating substantial shareholder returns. Particular strengths in accelerating revenues, improving operations and EBITDA, and generating outsized IPOs and exits. Background in taking companies public, executing effective M&A, globalization, debt and equity offerings, governance and compliance, activist shareholder relationships, turnarounds and restructurings, and CEO and leadership coaching and development. Industry experience in technology-enabled services/BPO, enterprise software, healthcare IT, telco, manufacturing, and defense & intelligence.