The Rising Importance of Customer Service & Support in the High Tech Industry
Customer Service & Support has become more and more important for High Tech companies. Some of the main reasons are:
- Today’s customers are more powerful through new technologies and so their expectations for a responsive and high-quality service have been rising constantly.
- With products becoming more and more similar, excellent Customer Service nowadays is a competitive differentiator.
- Margins from product sales are declining, so Customer Service has evolved from a pure cost factor to a driver for revenue and profitability.
But: Do the current Software Solutions really fit?
This leads to new requirements for Customer Service strategies, processes and – last not least – software solutions. But do the software solutions for Customer Service being in use today really keep pace with the changed requirements? Many High Tech companies still have software solutions in place that are…
- … not flexible enough to be adapted to new processes and requirements (e.g. actively selling services, integration of Social Media as a new communication channel for Service & Support),
- … either outdated home-grown solutions or standard solutions that are near to their end of maintenance,
- … not really designed to support Customer Service processes (e.g. office or database applications),
- … not user-friendly and thus not helping users to do their jobs well,
- … not integrated with the corporate solutions for logistics and finance,
- … not supporting mobility and thus not usable for the growing number of mobile users in Customer Service, and
- … producing high efforts and costs without really supporting the new importance of Customer Service.
The Opportunity: Cloud Solutions
Cloud solutions for Customer Service & Support now bring the opportunity to scrap these applications and to replace them with ones that are modern, flexible and user-friendly. Cloud solutions for Customer Service & Support have many advantages. They…
- … are flexible and can easily be adapted to new processes and requirements,
- … are natively designed to support Customer Service & Support processes,
- … will be loved by the users because they are easy and intuitive to use, helping service employees to do their jobs well,
- … can easily be integrated with the corporate solutions for logistics and finance,
- … support mobility and – last not least
- … are cost-efficient
Main Customer Service & Support Scenarios and Industry Sub-Segments
Today’s cloud solutions for Customer Service & Support are relevant for the different High-Tech industry sub-segments, covering these scenarios:
In future I expect that cloud solutions will be available for additional Customer Service & Support scenarios as well, like Managed Services, Professional Services or Returns and In-house Repair Processing.
The Offering from SAP: SAP Cloud for Service
SAP now has a great offering for High Tech companies that want to modernize their Customer Service & Support solutions, moving them to the cloud: SAP Cloud for Service.
SAP Cloud for Service provides the opportunity to implement a flexible cloud solution than can be integrated with existing on-premise SAP ERP and SAP CRM solutions. Here are some ideas for potential ‘hybrid’ scenarios, combining and integrating cloud and on-premise solutions:
If you would like to discuss these and other ‘hybrid’ cloud/on-premise scenarios feel free to contact me.
Please see also the recent blog posts from my colleague Dietmar Bohn about Customer Engagement solutions (for Marketing, Sales and Service) in the cloud: