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Taking Remote Support to the Next Level

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  • pg 1
									Service
X R G



            Taking Remote
            Support to the Next
            Level




                       Published by
         Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
     396 Washington St., Suite 305, Wellesley, MA 02481
                  www.ServiceXRG.com
Executive Summary
When a customer calls for assistance they have a 65% chance of receiving an answer to their problem
during the first contact with support. When a case is not resolved on first contact, recent research
shows that it can take one or more days to receive an answer. As the time it takes to receive an answer
increases, customers become increasingly dissatisfied with the service they receive. The implications
of not closing cases on first contact extend beyond customer dissatisfaction. Cases that are not closed
at first contact cost more than double to resolve. Maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of the
support staff is therefore critical for customer satisfaction as well as expense control.

Currently the most popular medium for providing support is over the phone. Although effective in
many situations, the phone alone has certain limitations. Problem description and diagnosis can be
challenging and time consuming because of the difficulties in describing problems. Resolution and
restoration can be problematic because of the inability of the caller to implement or install patches or
fixes. The effective use of remote support overcomes these obstacles and brings added benefits.
Through the application of remote support technologies it is possible to significantly improve the
support transaction process, reduce service delivery costs and increase solution effectiveness.

Whether you are just getting started with remote support or have been providing remote support
services for years, there are 5 key goals that that you must address in order to minimize the concerns
and maximize the impact of remote support. They are:
         Map remote support offerings to customer needs
         Reach new audiences
         Choose the right technology platform
         Address security and privacy concerns
         Achieve cost efficiencies

This paper is based on the findings of a recent survey conducted during June of 2005 on remote
support practices and experiences of 391 enterprises of all sizes and across a wide range of industries
and company sizes.      Respondents were asked about their current uses of remote support, their
experiences in using it and their future plans for the use of remote support technologies.

Key Findings
         Over a third of companies (34.8%) indicate that they use remote support in more than half of
         all service transactions.
         Remote support capabilities are most often used to supplement a live support transaction.
         Over three quarters (78.7%) of companies that offer remote support indicate that they use it
         to view and control remote computers.
         Nearly two-thirds (62.4%) of remote support customers believe that remote support can help
         reduce service delivery costs.




                                                   Page 1

                           © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
The Cost of Service Delivery
Quality customer service continues to be a major factor in determining overall customer satisfaction.
Achieving service excellence continues to grow in importance and not only affects customer
satisfaction but can also positively impact financial performance and provide a competitive edge. Few
dispute the value of providing high quality service but the real issue is how to provide it in a cost
effective manner. For a time conventional wisdom suggested that the way to reduce service delivery
costs was to migrate customers to lower cost service delivery mediums such as e-mail and self-
services. Today, the telephone continues to be the dominant method used to deliver service for over
half (58.1%) of new support cases. Another 23.7% of support cases are handled via electronic mail.

However, expanding the service delivery medium has not necessarily resulted in improved customer
service. While it appears that the use of electronic mediums for service delivery may reduce initial
service delivery costs, the quality and effectiveness of service delivery has proven to be challenging
with electronic mediums. Regardless of the medium used to deliver support, the same types and
complexity of issues continued to be reported by customers.

Support Delivery Lifecycle
The benefits of the service delivery mediums can only be fully realized when it positively impacts the
support delivery lifecycle. The support delivery lifecycle consists of distinct process elements that are
required to manage and respond to customer issues. The processes required for effective service
resolution are case routing, case processing, problem diagnostic and resolution and knowledge
discovery. Each process plays a necessary and distinct role in the support delivery lifecycle. These
processes vary in time, level of complexity and their impact on customer satisfaction. Focusing efforts
on the processes that are most time consuming and therefore most costly will have the greatest return
and the most significant impact on the customer service experience.




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                          © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
As shown in Table 1, on average 75% to 80% of the time, effort and costs to handle support cases are
related to service resolution activities, which include the identification, diagnostics and resolution of a
problem.

                                            Table 1: The Support Delivery Lifecycle


                                           % of Total Lifecycle
               Process Element                                            Description
                                                  Cost
               Case Routing                         2% to 3%                 Routing of request to appropriate resource
                                                                             Handling of multi-channel support requests
               Case Processing                      3% to 6%                 Verification and capture of customer information
                                                                             Recording elements of the service transaction

               Service Resolution               75% to 80%                   Needs assessment
                                                                             Resource identification
                                                                             Diagnosis / Issue determination
                                                                             Escalation / Collaboration
                                                                             Resolution development and installation
                                                                             Verification of success
               Knowledge Discovery              10% to 20%                   Evaluate existing content
                                                                             Create / update content


           Source: ServiceXRG



Figure 1 shows the full support case workflow. One of the most important cost elements of the service
resolution process is the time it takes to identify the root cause of a customer issue. The effectiveness of
troubleshooting is usually a function of the support engineer’s expertise and experience. When this
capability can be enhanced through technology such as remote support then the entire process is
quicker and more effective. First contact closure rates are increased, problem escalations and re-works
are minimized and the cost of service delivery is reduced.

                                    Figure 1: Support Case Management Flow
                                4. Knowledge Discovery           1. Case Routing
                                                                             1. Case Routing
                                      10% to 20%                     2% to 4%    2% to 4%


                                                                             1                2. Case Processing
                                                                   4                                     3% to 6%
                                                                                      2
                                                                                                          3. Service Resolution
                                                                                                               75% to 80%

                  4. Knowledge Discovery                              Remote                              2. Case Processing
                              Solution                                Support                               Needs
                        10% to 20%
                            Installation                              Impact
                                                                                                               3% to
                                                                                                          assessment 6%
                                                                    Opportunities




                                                                                                   Diagnosis
                                        Solution                         3
                                      Development


                                                               3. Service Resolution
                                                                      Escalation /
                                                                    75% to 80%
                                                                     Collaboration
              Source: ServiceXRG




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                                 © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
Remote support can have a positive impact on the entire service resolution process from problem
determination to installation of the appropriate solution. When a service representative can see what
is occurring at a remote computer it is often easier to determine the root cause of the issue the
customer is experiencing. If the customer needs help using a product, the service representative can
show to the user how to perform a specific function by taking control of their computer. When a
problem occurs, remote access can be used to check environment and configuration variables. Remote
support tools can also be used effectively to transfer and implement patches and updates.

Improving Service Resolution with Remote Support
The shift to move customers from just phone based services to electronic services is now giving way to
an effort to focus on increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. The key to success
is to identify the most costly aspects of service delivery and apply the most effective tools and
resources to reduce service delivery costs.

                        Figure 2: Are Remote Support Services Offered?




            Source: ServiceXRG


As shown in Figure 2, an increasing number of live service transactions are being supplemented with
remote support capabilities with (71.4%) of companies indicating that they offer and use remote
support services. Figure 3 shows that over a third of companies (34.8%) indicate that they use remote
support in more than half of all service transactions. Remote support capabilities are most often not
intended to replace the existing communications channel but rather to supplement them. This broad
use of remote support capabilities is due in part to customer acceptance and service providers’
realization that remote support can offer a powerful supplement to traditional live support transaction
mediums.




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                           © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
                       Figure 3: Cases Involving the Use of Remote Support




                                                  19.4%




             Source: ServiceXRG


The single largest advantage of remote support is that it provides service representatives with the
means to see what is happening at a customer location as well as talk to the customer if needed. As
shown in Figure 4, over three quarters (78.7%) of companies that offer remote support indicate that
they use it to view and control remote computers. Two thirds of these companies use remote support
for remote administration. Transferring files to and from customers is the second most used remote
support capability.       A third of companies that offer remote support services use live chat to
communicate with customers.

                                   Figure 4: Remote Support Services Used

                  View / control a desktop                                                              78.7%



                            Transfer files                                                          74.6%



                   Remote administration                                                       68.3%



                                 Live chat                              33.2%



                             Collaboration                          28.4%



                        Session recording                       23.1%



                  Present stream ing video              13.8%


                                             0%   10%     20%     30%       40%   50%   60%   70%      80%

             Source: ServiceXRG                                  Percent of Responses




                                                                Page 5

                              © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
Remote Support Expectations and Experiences
Service executives who have invested in remote support have realistic expectations about the potential
benefits of remote support tools. As seen in Figure 5, the majority (77.8%) of service executives who
have implemented remote support expect to improve the ability of their service representatives to
diagnose customer problems.                 Nearly two-thirds (62.4%) of these service executives believe that
remote support can help reduce service delivery costs.

                                         Figure 5: Benefits of Remote Support


                           Im prove ability to
                                                                                                           77.8%
                          diagnose problems



                       Low er se rvice delivery                                                   62.4%
                               costs



                         Increase first contact
                                                                                              60.5%
                                closure



                     Educate custom er during                                             54.1%
                            service call



                      Provide intimate service                                    42.1%
                            experience



                                                  0%   10%   20%     30%    40%     50%    60%      70%   80%
                Source: ServiceXRG


Companies that are currently offering remote support services indicate that remote support has met or
exceeded performance expectations. Figure 6 shows that only a small percent (7.1%) of current
customers indicate that remote support has not met their expectations. The close alignment between
expected benefits and positive satisfaction suggest that remote support tools can and will offer
tangible benefit.




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                               © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
                             Figure 6: Satisfaction with Remote Support




            Source: ServiceXRG




Increased Efficiency and Effectiveness
When a service representative can remotely view what is happening on a customer’s computer the
ability to diagnose and resolve an issue increases substantially. The application of remote support can
have a positive effective on the net cost to deliver support by positively affecting the time and effort it
takes to resolve a case. Table 2 below introduces the key metrics and current industry benchmarks for
service performance levels for phone support.

                                   Table 2: Phone Service Level Metrics


                   Phone Service Level Metrics                              Industry Benchmark


                   Hold Time – Minutes                                               2.0

                   Talk Time – Minutes                                              14.4

                   Abandon Rate                                                     2.9%

                   First Contact Close Rate                                        65.7%

                   First Contact Close Cost                                        $51.60


        Source: ServiceXRG




                                                     Page 7

                             © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
The average duration of a support call is 14.4 minutes and costs $51.60 to close at first customer
contact. By supplementing a support call with remote control and/or other remote support tools it is
possible to reduce the time it takes to identify and resolve a case. The net impact can reduce the time
and effort to resolve an issue by 20% to 45% or more. Reducing the time it takes to resolve a case not
only reduces the net costs to resolve that case, it also increases the utilization rate of support staff so
that they are available to respond to more customer cases. This helps alleviate hold time and abandon
rates.

A second potential impact on phone service levels is the ability to reduce the number of case that are
escalated. Table 3 shows that on average just over one third of cases reported by phone (34.3%) are
escalated. The average cost to close an escalated case is $102.77. The percent of cases escalated and the
cost to close rises significantly as the complexity of the product being supported increases. For more
complex issues the use of remote support tools may actually increase the duration of a call. If,
however, the use of remote support tools can increase the chance of closing a call on first contact
thereby avoiding costly escalations, the total cost of closing the case is reduced. The incremental cost
of adding 25% more time to resolve a case is on average $13. This compared with the $40 average
increase in costs associated with escalating a case shows a significant net savings by using remote
support.

                                               Table 3: Escalation Metrics




                                                                               Industry
                          Escalation Metrics
                                                                              Benchmark

                          Percent of cases escalated                             34.3%

                          Average cost to close an escalated case               $102.77



         Source: ServiceXRG




                                                          Page 8

                               © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
Taking Remote Support to the Next Level
Taking remote support to the next level is all about increasing the use, effectiveness and benefits of
remote support services for your customers and your business.                                 The nature of remote support
introduces a number of unique issues and concerns not associated with standard support delivery.
Service organizations that are in the process of introducing or expanding remote support offerings
express a number of concerns. As shown in Figure 7, top concerns expressed by service organizations
include security, costs, customer adoption and privacy.

                       Figure 7: Remote Support Concerns

                 Security                                                            49.0%



       Cost of Ownership                                                     43.8%



       Cost of Technology                                                    43.8%



       Customer Adoption                                                  40.6%



                  Privacy                                   30.2%



                    None                  14.6%



                            0%     10%       20%         30%        40%           50%        60%

 Source: ServiceXRG                               Percent of Responses



Whether you are just getting started with remote support or have been providing remote support
services for years, there are 5 key goals that that you must strive to achieve as you take your remote
support services to the next level. They are:
                 Map remote support offerings to customer needs
                 Reach new audiences
                 Choose the right technology platform
                 Address security and privacy concerns
                 Achieve cost efficiencies




                                                               Page 9

                                 © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
Map Remote Support Offerings to Customer Needs
Remote support tools offer the potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery
when matched to the needs of your customers and your service organization. Remote support can be
applied effectively across many different industries in support of varying customer types and
complexity of service issues. The key to successful remote support offerings is make sure that these
offerings are aligned with both customer and business needs and expectations. To determine how
well remote support is aligned with the needs of your customers, evaluate the following:
               What types of issues does your service organization respond to?
               How complex are the issues your service organization responds to?
               Will remote control, remote administration, file transfer, and/or other remote
               capabilities enhance your ability to provide services?
               Are your customers willing and able to use remote support services if offered?



Remote support can be effective across a wide spectrum of customer needs and service transaction
complexities, although the way in which remote capabilities are used will likely vary. The chart in
Figure 8 below suggests alternatives for mapping remote support to a variety of customer needs.

                     Figure 8: Mapping Remote Support to Customer Needs

                                                              Knowledge Transfer      Advanced Diagnostics & Repair
                                 Proficient




                                                             Remote support                  Remote support
                                                          provides a platform to          provides a platform to
                                                          support collaboration                       in-
                                                                                             support in-depth
                                                              and advanced                diagnostics and repair,
                                                          knowledge transfer to             File exchange and
                                                               customers                       collaboration
                                 End User Proficiency




                                                        Education and Productivity    Assisted Diagnostics & Repair



                                                             Remote support                  Remote support
                                                          provides a platform to          provides a platform to
                                                          educate novice users              help novice users
                                                           install configure and             discover and fix
                                                             use their product                  problems
                                 New User




                                                        Low                 Service Complexity                  High
            Source: ServiceXRG


Understanding who your remote support users are and the types of services they need will help focus
your decision about which remote support technology to use. The choice of remote support tools must
be based on a number of factors including security, architecture and cost of ownership.




                                                                             Page 10

                            © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
Reach New Audiences
Figure 9 illustrates two dimensions that affect your ability to reach new audiences. Taking remote
support to the next level requires that you provide a portfolio of remote support services that customers
are aware of, willing and able to use. Many customers do not use remote support because they are
unaware of the services offered, are concerned with security and/or privacy, or simply lack the capacity
to take advantage of remote support. Expanding the potential remote support audience requires a
strategy to increase customers’ willingness and ability to use remote support.

                                                     Figure 9: Reach New Audiences
                                   Limited




                                                           Potential Remote
                                                           Support Audience
                                   Ability to Use




                                                            Current Remote
                                   Unlimited




                                                           Support Audience

                                                    High           Willingness to Use
              Source: ServiceXRG


Increasing customers’ willingness to use remote support requires an understanding of what may inhibit
customers from using these services and a concise message to overcome negative perceptions and
concerns. One of the most effective means to increase customer’s willingness to use remote support is to
clearly convey the potential benefit to them of using remote support. Incentives can also be used
effectively to entice first time users to try remote support options.

The second critical element of expanding the remote support audience is enabling customers to take full
advantage of remote support. Customers’ ability to use remote support may be limited due to lack of
knowledge about how to engage in a remote support transaction. Customers may also be limited in their
ability to use remote support due to corporate security policies and/or regulatory considerations. These
issues may be overcome by understanding security policy and regulatory requirements and tailoring
remote support offerings to address these needs.

Successfully expanding the community of potential remote support users relies on a strategy to
understand what your customers need, the inhibitors they face and a willingness on your part to make
appropriate changes to accommodate them.


                                                               Page 11

                            © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
Choose the Right Remote Support Technology Platform
There are two primary remote support technologies in use today Web based (Web) and Peer to Peer
(P2P). Web based is a browser based solution and does not require client side software which for many
companies is more firewall and user friendly. It is typically used in large scale deployments especially
those that are both inside and outside the corporate network.                                             The second main remote support
technology platform is Peer to Peer which requires client side software to be executed. It is typically
used inside a corporate network and is often used in smaller scale, controlled environments.

                             Figure 10: The Use of P2P vs. Web Based Remote Support

                                                                        P2P                Web
                                                                                     36.5%
                              Collaboration                              23.8%
                                                                                            42.4%
                                   Live chat                               24.6%
                                                                   15.3%
                                       Video                      14.3%
                                                                                    35.3%
                       Session recording                              16.7%
                                                                                                              65.9%
                Remote administration                                                                             72.2%
                                                                                                                      74.1%
                               Transfer files                                                                                 79.4%
                                                                                                                        76.5%
                             Remote Control                                                                                  84.1%

                                               0%               20%                40%              60%              80%                100%
               Source: ServiceXRG


The remote support technology platform must provide the flexibility to offer the services customers
will use. Figure 10 above indicates the different ways that remote support technologies are applied in
both internal (help desk) and external customer service applications. The remote support technology
platform must also be able to yield tangible business benefits. Table 4 indicates service organizations’
perspectives about the ability of the remote support technology platforms they use to meet
expectations for delivering tangible business results. Generally speaking remote support technologies
meet or exceed expectation of the users. In the five key areas shown in the table, web-based remote
support consistently exceeded expectations more than peer to peer technologies.
                             Table 4: P2P vs. Web-Base Remote Support Technologies Ability to Meet Expectations


                                     Increase first contact    Provide intimate     Improve ability to    Educate customer        Lower service
                                            closure           service experience   diagnose problems      during service call     delivery costs

                                        P2P         Web        P2P        Web        P2P        Web        P2P         Web        P2P       Web

          Not met expectations          6.9%        0.0%       2.1%       0.0%      4.6%        3.0%       4.7%        0.0%       7.4%      9.4%

          Met expectations             81.9%       67.4%       81.3%     66.7%      83.9%      71.2%      84.4%       66.7%      79.4%     66.0%

          Exceeded expectations        11.1%       32.6%       16.7%     33.3%      11.5%      25.8%      10.9%       33.3%      13.2%     24.5%


        Source: ServiceXRG



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                                     © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
Address Security and Privacy Concerns
Security is essential for both your business and your customers. A secure solution begins with the
underlying remote support technology you choose.                     Table 5 illustrates some of the key security
capabilities that need to be address. Being able offer a secure remote support solution requires that
you convey with confidence your ability to deliver a secure remote support solution to all levels of
your customer base from the user of the remote support services to appropriate executive levels. Look
to your remote support technology vendor as a partner to help craft a message that clearly articulates
your ability to address security, privacy and regulatory needs. Remote support solutions must have
the means to protect security and privacy including the following capabilities.

                                        Table 5: Security Capabilities

          Firewall Friendly             The ability to work within firewalls and accommodate corporate
                                        security policies.

          Audit Capabilities            The ability to record critical aspects of the service transaction to meet
                                        customer and regulatory requirements.

          Data Encryption               Secure transfer of data during the support transaction.


          Customer Controls             The ability to allow the customers to determine the level of access to
                                        grant to the support representative.

          Authenticated Access          The ability to assure that only authorized individuals can participate in
                                        a remote support session
         Source: ServiceXRG




                                                        Page 13

                               © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
Achieve Cost Efficiencies
As seen in Figure 11, matching the technology you use with the type and volume of transactions you
expect will help to assure that you can achieve and maintain a cost effective support solution and
achieve economies of scale. Remote support capabilities can increase the costs of providing services.
Access to the technology, administration and training are part of the cost to provide this enhanced
capability.

                                                       Figure 11: Economies of Scale
                     High
                    Volume of Transactions




                                                                    Remote Support
                                                                    Remote Support
                                                                  Transaction Volume
                                                                  Transaction Volume




                                                                                           Cost per Remote
                                                                                            Cost per Remote
                                                                                          Support Transaction
                                                                                          Support Transaction
                     Low




                                             High                  Cost per Transaction                Low

              Source: ServiceXRG


The key is to assure that the cost of offering remote support is offset by the benefits gained by
effectively applying remote support to the maximum number of service transactions. As remote
support use grows the potential to realize significant savings from this enhanced capability will be
realized.




                                                                       Page 14

                                               © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
Maximizing the Impact of Remote Support
Remote support offers great potential to enhance your ability to diagnose and resolve service issues,
yet not all remote support offerings are appropriate for all audiences and service delivery models.
Answering the following questions will help identify opportunities to define new or realign existing
remote support offerings:

       Who is using your remote support offerings today? Who should be using them?
       What are the primary inhibitors that keep your customers from using remote support?
       What new or expanded remote support offerings should you offer?
       Do you have an adequate response to customer concerns about security and privacy?
       Which remote support technology is able to meet your needs (Peer-to-Peer or Web-based)?
       In what circumstances is remote support able to save time and effort to respond to service
       requests?
       What circumstances are ill-suited to the use of remote support?
       What is the net impact of remote support on service delivery efficiency?
       To what extent is remote support able to increase the effectiveness of providing a quality
       answer to a customer issue?
       How much does it costs to provide remote support services?
       What is the net impact of remote support in terms of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and service
       delivery costs?
       Do you have the right remote support offerings to meet the needs of your business and your
       customers?

Whether you are getting started with new remote support offerings or looking to take existing remote
support capabilities to the next level, it is important to periodically evaluate your remote support
strategy, goals and objectives.




                                                    Page 15

                            © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC
About this Study
This study is based on a comprehensive cross industry study conducted by ServiceXRG. The goal of
this study is to understand current uses, experiences, concerns and success factors for remote support.
ServiceXRG interviewed 391 service and IT executives responsible for providing remote support
services to their customers.

The material presented within this white paper is based on a study sponsored by WebEx
Communications. To learn more about WebEx for Support, visit:

http://www.webex.com/solutions/online-support-svc.html



About ServiceXRG
ServiceXRG specializes in helping companies develop and execute service and support strategies that
strengthen customer relationships and optimize financial performance from service operations.
ServiceXRG’s research provides a balanced perspective of the IT services industry with views from
users, service professionals and suppliers to the IT Services industry. ServiceXRG combines years of
real-world service industry expertise with a unique ability to collect, analyze and present high quality
industry data.     ServiceXRG provides custom benchmarking, competitive analysis, customer
satisfaction assessment, and a series of reports on industry trends and best practices. For more
information, visit www.servicexrg.com.




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                          © Copyright 2005 – Service Excellence Research Group, LLC

								
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