Why proactive support should be the new standard of IT support

Why proactive support should be the new standard of IT support

November 2, 2015
Why proactive support should be the new standard of IT support

A version of this post was originally featured on the BetterCloud Blog: Beyond Satisfactory: Why BetterCloud Introduced Proactive Support

IT administrators typically spend the majority of their day working in our application. These admins are the heartbeat of their organizations, tasked with keeping employees online and data secure. So when our customers encounter errors, they need to be addressed quickly, which is why we are constantly looking for ways to solve problems faster.

That’s the motive behind our latest support initiative: Proactive support.

Reimagining the support experience
Support for software and even SaaS follows a very typical pattern. A customer encounters an issue and submits a ticket. Maybe the customer calls in for phone support, or even chats a support agent inside the application in some cases, but each time the customer must initiate the support interaction.

Think about how many issues never get addressed because of the time-consuming task of submitting a ticket. Instead, customers will attempt to diagnose and fix problems themselves, or even worse, spend hours looking for an alternative solution.

With our Proactive Support initiative, we’re starting to put an end to that type of support experience. Every week, a higher percentage of our support interactions are proactive, rather than reactive. When customers experience issues, we’re reaching out to them before they can even submit a ticket. Customers may submit tickets at times, but we are doing everything we can to prevent that.

Building a proactive DNA
Implementing Proactive Support isn’t something we were able to do overnight. It’s an initiative made possible by the team we’ve built and the technology that we’ve deployed and integrated over the last four years.

Zendesk is the foundation of our support infrastructure. On top, we’ve incorporated tools like Jira for logging and tracking progress with bugs and enhancements, Google Hangouts for face-to-face customer support, Slack for internal team communication, Splunk for error logging, and Olark for in-app chat. Together these tools have given us the technical capabilities we need to implement Proactive Support.

Historically, our error logs were monitored, but never left our servers or our Splunk instance. But as a support team, we saw a huge opportunity to use our error logs to create an experience that far exceeds customer expectations.

With the help of our engineering team and many man-hours from the support team, we were able to do the following:

  • Identify actions or error messages within the BetterCloud app that we wanted to track
  • Work with our development team to configure logs into easily digestible chunks and feed them into our error log management system, Splunk
  • Configure Splunk to email our Proactive Support team once an error alert is triggered
  • Before a customer can even submit a ticket, our team will reach out promptly using in-app chat (Olark) or via email with Zendesk. We are literally opening tickets on their behalf.

This concept goes against how traditional support organizations operate–many deflect tickets at all costs. BetterCloud’s CEO David Politis sums this up nicely in a recent interview

“[Proactive Support] has been a competitive advantage because most people are running [support] the old way. For [traditional support teams], things like adding chat and opening more tickets are viewed as very very bad. They refrain from doing it, thinking they need 20 more people to do it, but for us, it’s become part of our DNA.”

A new standard in IT support
Proactive Support requires little effort on the customer’s end. That’s the beauty of it. We now reach customers who never intended on submitting a ticket, even when they’ve encountered an issue. We tackle issues before customers have time to submit a ticket, and long before frustration bubbles to the surface.

Today, customers don’t expect proactive support, but they should. The world around support has changed, technology has advanced, but support has remained stagnant for too long. It’s time support evolved.

It’s time proactive support became the new standard in IT support.