The Transformation to Agile Support

During the past several years, I have personally witnessed the emergence of a new generation of customers and employees who want to use web-based tools as their main way or one of several ways of interacting with us. The use of smart phones and tablets has proliferated into the workplace and has compelled EMC to expand the types of support channels and languages available to our customers. My priority as the leader of EMC’s Customer Support Services organization is to understand customers’ evolving requirements and transform the way we provide support so we consistently deliver the highest quality of service.

Echoing this EMC imperative is Kate Leggett, a Senior Analyst at Forrester Research.  In a blog post and research report earlier this year, she highlighted the top 15 trends for customer service in 2012.  It’s a comprehensive list and I cannot say that I disagree with any of the trends listed.  However, one of Leggett’s predictions resonated with me, more so than others:

“Customer Service Will Evolve From Multichannel To Agile” – What this means is customers want the ability to initiate an interaction in one communication channel and complete it in another. This requires greater channel and organizational alignment so that customers can interact with a company in an unfractured manner.

EMC is embracing this trend with a key initiative we are calling Agile Support. I recently met with IDC Research Analyst Elaina Stergiades and highlighted the three main aspects of the program.

1. It begins with any source of demand

Demand for customer support comes from many sources including customers, partners, service providers, EMC’s internal Managed Services organization, and the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) organization. It is our responsibility to understand and act upon the unique support requirements of each of these groups.

2. …Using any channel in any language

Providing choices in how customers access support and the language they use is key. EMC is expanding access from traditional channels like telephone, web and email to an expanded set of online channels, in multiple languages, that are preferred by the new generation of device savvy customers. This includes Live Chat, Support Community Forums, mobile support applications, and social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

3. …With the right service delivery method.

Once the customer engages support, it’s important to engage with them using the right delivery method. Service delivery can come directly from EMC customer support; with dedicated or assigned teams; from a Partner or Service Provider; from self help tools and capabilities via Support Communities or knowledgebase searches; or from a unique combination of these resources.  

To put it simply, EMC strives to service our customers through any method they prefer, anywhere in the world and in the languages they speak.  This requires steady investments in our people, processes, and technologies. A recent example of our investments was at the opening of EMC’s Utah Customer Support Center on March 14th, where Howard Elias, President and Chief Operating Officer of EMC’s Information Infrastructure and Cloud Services, spoke about EMC’s commitment to deliver world-class customer support.

Achieving Agile Support will take time and flexibility to adapt to emerging technologies and requirements. We must always be on the look-out for the next new channel that the next generation of customers are using and provide the right methods of service delivery to meet their needs.

About the Author: Tony Kolish