There are few things in the world more frustrating than contacting a general support line or email address and getting a new person each time. Whether you’re calling about cell phone service, auto insurance, or software support, we’ve all experienced the familiar frustration of sitting in a support queue before. This is called the one-to-many support model and it’s commonly used in the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry.
A common alternative to the one-to-many approach is called the one-to-one model (or dedicated support). This is where you reach out to a known person who you’ve built a relationship with and is familiar with your account history, business needs, usage patterns and is likely the same person you spoke with last time.
The reasons for choosing one model over another are layered and varied, but decisions surrounding which one to choose are centered mostly around scalability, cost, and resources. While the decision can be complex, one-to-one can be quite advantageous in building a positive, lasting relationship with your customers.
Let’s take a look at three major advantages and how it compares to the one-to-many approach, especially when it comes to software support.
Familiarity goes a long way. When a dedicated support person is on a first name basis with a customer, they essentially become an extension of their team. Added bonus, if resources allow: customers don’t have to wait in a support queue or re-explain themselves each time they reach out.
Not every customer is the same. In fact, they can vary widely for a software company. Segments can run the gamut from small business, to large enterprise organizations, to agencies of all sizes.
As such, support teams should be varied and experienced enough to handle the unique needs of many different types of customer groups, and the one-to-one support model is the perfect solution for this.
When a one-to-one support team becomes segmented even further to match their different customer groups, they really become an even greater resource as they are now not only a specific account’s expert but also have the expertise of working with other accounts that are similar in size, vertical, and needs as their customer. For example, an enterprise specific support specialist will be able to share best practices seen amongst other enterprise customers possibly even from the same industry as their customer.
Or they may understand the challenges of global software deployments and training large user groups and have a process and system built out to ensure a successful roll out. In addition, they may have built their own resources that are customized for a similar business type and size that will make adoption and use easier for their customers.
A third and important advantage that comes from the one-to-one support model is the insight into the customer lifecycle that a support specialist gains from the account familiarity previously mentioned. When it comes to fully adopting and making the most out of complex software, it can be a process that requires guidance, occasional hand-holding, and tailored solutions depending on what stage of the customer lifecycle an account may be in.
With the one-to-one model, customers receive a support specialist who has deep insight into what stage of their customer lifecycle each account is in, and how to customize solutions to each stage and help them get the most out of their service.
They’ll know how to work with customers in a number of stages such as:
- Onboarding and set up
- Implementation and deployment
- Maturing to intermediate or advanced users
- Rapid team growth and increased training needs
- Additional product adoption and onboarding
- Different regional, business unit, or departmental needs and stages
- Personnel changes and how to onboard new hires or replacements
- Providing use cases, best practices, or industry insights to support changing needs
Regardless of the stage or scenario, an intimate understanding of the customer lifecycle stage that users, departments, or business units are in is invaluable to making sure that they get the most out of their software.
It goes without saying that Sysomos is a big fan of the one-to-one support model. We’ve personally seen how effective and preferred the one-to-one model is amongst our customer base when compared to the one-to-many approach that others often implement.
While the investment, resource demands, and cost of providing a one-to-one support model to customers can be greater, the advantages are more than worth it. Post-sales service is one of the most important parts of maintaining long relationships with customers and for us the one-to-one model gives them greater support in achieving their business goals.
If you’d like to learn more about what the Sysomos dedicated support team offers, feel free to contact us. We’ll happily chat about one of the greatest resources at Sysomos – our people!