In the past, in order to access product documentation, technical information, usage advice or other guidance, customers typically called (or more recently, emailed) a company’s service/support department. However, the process is markedly different now.
This is because today’s web-savvy customers are accessing information across multiple touchpoints — such as search engines, documentation portals, knowledge bases, customer communities — for everything from best practices, to quick fixes.
In theory, this shift towards self-serve on-demand support is something that companies and customers should be celebrating. After all, customers should be getting the information and direction they need quicker and easier. And support teams should be handling fewer inquiries, and reducing their time-to-resolution (TTR). However, in many cases these promised rewards are not materializing. In fact, things are generally getting worse.
This is because many annoyed customers are finding that the product and service information available through various channels (such as those noted above) are incomplete, outdated and worst of all: inconsistent. A study by Deloitte found that 90% of customers expect the customer experience to be consistently excellent across all channels.
And on the other side of the equation, support teams are often dealing with more inquiries that take longer to resolve, and which involve more agitated customers – some of whom are heading for the exits. A study by HBR found that customers who face these kinds of frustrations are 400 percent more likely to come away disloyal rather than loyal. This is a recipe for unacceptable churn rates.
The good news, however, is that there is an efficient, manageable, innovative and cost-effective method for companies to put both their organization and their customers in a position to win: multi-touchpoint publishing.
Multi-touchpoint publishing empowers companies with a “one-click” capacity to share and improve product documents and other techpub assets in a seamless manner across all of their channels. For example, companies can publish a new document to their documentation portal, generate feedback from customers, update the document accordingly, and simultaneously re-publish it to their documentation portal and knowledge base.
Essentially, multi-touchpoint publishing delivers four key benefits that are as relevant and valuable to companies, as they are to customers:
- Meeting Customer Expectations
As noted above, customers are not restricting themselves – nor frankly will tolerate being restricted – to just one support channel option, such as accessing a company’s online knowledge portal or contacting a call center. Multi-touchpoint publishing caters to this new normal, because the information is complete, updated and consistent.
Essentially, what used to be a vulnerability that companies tried (and generally failed) to fortify, is transformed through multi-touchpoint publishing into a strength that they can confidently promote as a competitive advantage.
- Vastly Improved Efficiency
It is much more efficient to publish content to multiple channels as part of the same process, than it is to focus on each channel independently. At the same time, the content being published to all channels is consistent, which as noted above is critical for ensuring a seamless, steady customer experience.
- Consistent, Accurate Messages
Just as nature abhors a vacuum, customers abhor a lack of support information – and as such, they often fill the gap by visiting “expert-led” (and usually online ad supported) communities. Unfortunately, these sites are often full of incorrect or outdated information.
Multi-touchpoint publishing gives techpub departments much more control over their content, so that their message is consistent and accurate across all channels. This is also a major win for sales and marketing teams as well, who are constantly trying to maintain brand integrity and product/service message consistency.
- Reduced Inquiries and TTR
Multi-touchpoint publishing cuts down on the number of support and call center inquiries, and reduces time-to-resolution (TTR) — particular at the first response level. What’s more, support teams can focus their limited time on dealing with legitimately escalated issues, rather than counseling frustrated customers – and trying to keep them from becoming ex-customers.
The Bottom Line
Today’s customer support ecosystem has dramatically changed –in terms of the type of information that customers want, the speed at which they want it (usually on-demand or “ASAP”), and the kind of consistently excellent experience they demand.
Simply put, multi-touchpoint publishing is the smartest, simplest, easiest and most affordable way for companies to deliver on these high expectations — or better yet, exceed them!