Robert’s new smart TV is still not connected to the Wi-Fi. He followed the exact steps of the pdf manual, only to find out it was outdated. He visited a community forum full of broken links. He spent 10 minutes navigating through a complicated ‘how-to’ blog. No one replied in the Facebook support chat. And now, when he finally calls an agent, she reads from that very same outdated pdf.

 At this point, Robert wishes he would have chosen a different smart TV. 

While brands keep adding more support channels, research from Gartner shows that providing more choices doesn’t necessarily improve the customer experience. In fact, more channels can actually make the experience worse. 

Instead of offering all possible channels, meaningful experiences come from guiding customers to the right ones. As well as ensuring support content is current, consistent across all channels, and available on the day of the launch for every new product & service.

In this blog post, we look into the common support pitfalls and how brands can overcome them.

The Self-Service Handbook

The Ultimate Guide to Self-service Support

The common support pitfall: more choices more complexity

To ensure customers have a great experience, brands add more channels for the sole purpose of offering them. But as shown in Robert’s story, more isn’t always better. It’s about delivering the right support in the optimal channel.

In addition, Gartner finds that the more channels a company operates, the more contact customers make to the service center. That’s because, while well-intended, more channels quickly become a labyrinth of mixed information. Leading customers to uncertainty.  

If channels are available without a purpose, they will complicate the journey and hurt the bottom line. 

Given the costs connected to each channel and customers’ willingness to use whatever is available, Gartner adds that improving the experience, while reducing calls, lies not in adding more channels, but in shifting to a self-service dominant strategy.  

Working in silos harms the customer experience

‘Support optimization efforts done in silos, with each team focusing solely on their own channel, harms the customer experience. When customers seek support, they don’t see touchpoints, channels, and different departments. They see a brand. And they expect consistency.’

                                                                                 Victor van Baal, Managing Director – Qelp, a SYKES company 

In an organization, the silo effect refers to a lack of communication. This support pitfall describes people (or teams) working on their own goals, without communicating and collaborating. 

Different teams working without alignment (in silos) cause an inconsistent support journey because multiple articles are often created on the same topic. That’s a costly and wasteful effort.

Due to a lack of collaboration and consistent knowledge management, support articles can end up contradicting each other. Leaving customers confused with conflicting answers to one question. 

If support content is not up-to-date,  but still online, it’s not helping anyone.

 Failing to deliver effective support on time

When a siloed organization operates a clutter of channels, resources are spread too thin. Making it difficult to deliver current support, and removing what’s no longer relevant.  

For example, a new product or service usually comes with a peak in support requests. All too often, however, the corresponding support content online isn’t available until a few months later. This drives a large number of calls that could have been avoided had key collaboration been in place.

How a simple problem became a complex one 

Robert simply wanted his TV to work. Instead, he spent time and effort navigating through different channels, reading outdated support content and ending up having to call an agent. 

For him it didn’t matter that the brand was present in a number of channels, he just needed to be guided to the right solution.

If support content ends up confusing customers, it defeats the entire purpose of self-service. Self-service will then drive frustration, cost, and effort alike.

Solution: Think beyond individual touchpoints and adopt knowledge management best practices

To make sure information across channels is distributed more effectively, look at each issue from the customer’s perspective. Adopt a holistic view and think beyond individual touchpoints. Design support journe