CRM within the high-tech industry is -- unsurprisingly -- complex. First, customers can be anyone: an indirect partner, a product reseller, a client, or a consumer. Given the intricate nature of the technical product being sold and the multifaceted relationships required to get the product out the door, maintaining positive customer experiences requires a holistic approach. A rift may exist, to a certain degree, between customers and high-tech companies, but some in the industry are recognizing that and trying to remedy the problem. As in many other industries -- and perhaps even more critically given the specialized world of high-tech -- creating community forums and gauging customer feedback is a good place to start.
Insight MARKET FOCUS: HIGH TECHNOLOGY The vendor, no matter the level or qual- ity of customer service provided, has a The Complexity Chasm captive customer—and customers don’t always respond well to captivity. “At the end of the day, the [high-tech] As high-tech companies seek new directions, is the customer doesn’t care how their issue is customer experience falling through the gap? being tracked or how you’re dealing with contact information,” says Joel Bomgar, C RM within the high-tech in- acknowledges that its processes, deals, and chief executive officer of Bomgar, a pro- dustry is—unsurprisingly— customers are diverse. According to Greg vider of virtual remote-support systems. complex. First, customers can Box, the technology relationship manager “They care about how you can [solve] be anyone: an indirect part- for global markets with the company’s St. their issue.” Bomgar’s firm essentially ner, a product reseller, a client, or a con- Louis branch, there are people devoted to takes over customer support, remotely sumer. Given the intricate nature of the taking technology out of the equation and controlling a caller’s cursor or computer, technical product being sold and the bridging the gap to address customer putting an end to the miscommunica- multifaceted relationships required to needs. The technical account manager’s tion or flawed Web self-service all too get the product out the door, maintain- role is to work directly with customer ac- common to high-tech customer service. ing positive customer experiences re- counts to understand each customer’s Another problem in high-tech sup- quires a holistic approach. particular business and the goals that port is the help desk itself, which is often “What I often find is that customer customer wants to pursue. Box says the outsourced overseas. “[It’s] one of the service [in the high-tech industry] is sort managers align the cus- things IT companies of hit-or-miss,” says Kimberly Collins, a tomer needs with appro- Gartner analyst specializing in CRM. priate applications that will There are people devoted to have done most poorly,” Bomgar says. “Not only She points out what many might intu- drive the most value. taking technology out of the is this a frustrating ex- itively suspect: “The more [customers] “There’s an investment equation and bridging the gap perience [for custom- pay for solutions, the higher the expecta- that needs to take place ers], but it becomes tions for customer service.” However, the on both sides,” says Mike to address customer needs. twice as frustrating relationship of cost to customer service Manc
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