One way to prepare customer-care advocates on a new product or new functionality to an existing product is to provide training that actually simulates as many expected conditions as possible, and have the customer-care team support it. Those static visio support model diagrams have always scared me, and limiting the preparation to simply reading through the flow or getting an overview of the product is generally not sufficient.
Most organizations already perform the steps of mapping out the support paths; we just need to move past documenting these cases to actually exercising them. The last person we should want to practice on is our first customer who experiences a particular issue.
Benefits of simulated sessions
- Customer care personnel are energized about supporting the product.
- It creates an environment where customer care’s input is captured during the development phase and they are empowered by having a say in what tools and features they need to effectively support the product. On the flip side, the development team is aware of functionality and tools they need to incorporate.
- It validates your support model and points at conditional path that might have been missed.
Don’t make it a complicated or expensive endeavor.
Have some fun with it! Your goal is to make customer-care personnel comfortable with the product and provide a learning experience for the development team on what tools and features need to be developed to better equip customer care
By the time testing starts, we are already aware of these support case conditions. Incorporate agility to all aspects of product development.
Engage customer care.
Combine the training with an online discussion area of posted questions, discussions, idea generation and feedback. Use the information and responses to augment training. This collaboration and communication environment then becomes a natural extension for post-product deployment communication.
Be creative in the ways you simulate the problems.
Do some upfront planning on what data setup is required and what system level outages can be simulated.
What have you found beneficial in equipping customer care groups to understand the product they will be supporting?
What missteps have you seen in the training efforts?
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