The Built-In Support Effect: Redefining Care For The User Experience

Dawn Gruszewski

Part 1 of the 3-part series “Built-In Support Effect

Digital strategies are rarely defined by a single technology anymore. They are really adaptations of a
diverse range of capabilities and innovations blending data management, algorithms, computing power, and analytical methodologies into a personalized user experience.

While technology has evolved over the last 15 years, so have user expectations for product support. IT teams should not assume that users will remain patient with an endless chain of support tickets, long waits, explanations, and status updates. Instead, support tools and interactions must change at the same pace and maturity as the products they support.

It’s time for a new kind of support

In the traditional user support experience a customer opens a ticket and enters information about the error as clearly as possible. The provider receives and reviews the submission, sending it to the back of a line of other support tickets. Then the waiting game begins – where, in some cases, the user might feel their issue is not being resolved fast enough.

Depending on the user’s individual expectation this ping-pong of information exchange could be perceived as obstacles in the workflow of the user’s productivity. Response delays on both sides, as well as unclear information within the written communication, can additionally slow down the process. Another aspect is the traditional handling of support tickets, which prevents users from learning how to consume technology in a way that prepares them to evolve with new digital landscapes.

Let’s take, for example, the challenges associated with moving an application from one environment to another. In this scenario, customers should not solely depend on the know-how of an internal customer power user or business domain expert. All too often, this approach brings tremendous risk such as not knowing how the technology is deployed, how to configure it, and how to contact the provider. Worse yet, internal communication and best-practice sharing on customer side breaks down, leading to user confusion.

Let’s face it: Traditional support models belong to the past – for both, customers and providers. Support teams need to make resources available in the most efficient and effective way. One approach that is proving successful in redesigning the support experience is moving it right into the solution it supports, giving users the opportunity to immediately access context-based, integrated, and outcomes-focused guidance.

Putting all things digital together: The built-in support user experience

No two users have the same digital skills and behaviors. They collaborate in different ways – with phones, messaging, internal portals, email, and social collaboration forums to name a few. And they may use different applications and consume them in different environments. However, support requests always go in the same direction: the provider.

For providers providing support services, such user diversity requires numerous knowledge sources and channels. A widely distributed network of best practices, live support channels, knowledge base articles, and omnichannel touch points creates a one-stop shop for everything from accessing various media and resources on demand and asking for support. Users can leverage a self-service interface that allows them to create an incident ticket without IT intervention or directly dispatch with the help of qualified product experts.

Additionally, this support experience enables providers to be aware of a user’s situation in real time – without asking for additional information. This includes knowing who the user is, how they experience the product in the context of their role, and what their needs are. For example, when a user is working in an application, the provider should detect the emerging problem, assess it, and deliver technical information directly to the user to fix it automatically and before the user senses the issue.

This experience is what we call built-in support. Since the interaction is integrated, users no longer need to open a separate solution or collaboration portal to request assistance. It can be as simple as a user clicking on a digital assistant within the application they’re using and get the right information or access existing live channels to contact a knowledgeable expert all in real time.

Gone are the days of long waits, iterative communication with the processer, and nontransparent processes resulting in business disruptions – now users experience harmonized, simplified, one-click access to the knowledge they need. And for customers, this means technology investments that yield lower total cost of ownership and higher user adoption rates with optimized levels of engagement.

Throughout this blog series, we will examine the experience and advantage of built-in support services from SAP. Be sure to visit “Built-In Support Effect” every Monday to learn how your users can leverage technology every day to seize opportunities faster, meet shifts in demand more effectively, and flexibly support new business models.

Dawn Gruszewski

About Dawn Gruszewski

Dawn works within the Support Delivery organization and has over 15 years of experience as delivery manager for large, customer-facing web and mobile applications. In the last 5 years at SAP, she has overseen development for both major UI/UX initiatives and core functionality enhancements for the expense components of public sector offerings.