January 14, 2020

Who Should Invest in Product Support?

Article

Who stands to gain the most from investing in product support? Is your industry shifting towards a greater need for product support? 

Today, we’ll break down the specific industries and verticals that should be thinking about product support as integral to their function and why product support will continue to play an increasingly important role in the success of modern B2B companies.

How Product Support Is Useful for Business

  • Provide Effortless Customer Experiences: Stand out from the crowd and attract, win, and retain customers by making stellar product support integral to your product.  Automated product support solutions save you time and resources, while streamlined support dashboards consolidate all information in one place, empowering your team to confidently deliver personalized support.
  • Build a Powerful Knowledge Base: Make your team product experts by concentrating your product knowledge in one accessible location to boost your support’s accuracy and resolution time. Empower your customers to help themselves with self-service support resources.
  • Use AI and Chatbots: Minimize call volume and wait times by automating low-touch support interactions using chatbots and AI to redirect more complex queries to the relevant department or expert. 
  • Proactively Solve Issues & Iterate: Identify product and network problems and address them before they affect your customers. Use data analysis to identify patterns, create patches, and develop new or improved products.
  • Streamline Integrations and Device Compatibility: Make sure your customers have the help they need to integrate your product with their existing hardware and software.

Read more about the ROI of investing in product support

Who Should Invest in Product Support?

Product support can play a vital role in building lasting customer relationships across a range of verticals and industries. In the competitive world of B2B technology products, investing in product support is not only beneficial to your customers, but also crucial to your business’ ability to adapt, innovate, and thrive in the modern ecosystem economy

Who should invest in product support? The short answer is that any B2B technology vendor operating in today’s ever-changing, highly interconnected business world should invest in product support. 

Here’s why:

  • Technology firms that follow a recurring-revenue model can increase customer retention by elevating the customer experience through extraordinary product support. 
  • Product support offers companies that offer a variety of products a way to effectively cross-sell products, maximizing each customer relationship’s profit potential. 
  • Vendors with slow product activation times or onboarding difficulties can speed up activation with product support, reducing opportunities for churn.
  • Companies that frequently receive tickets about the same issues can significantly reduce workload and bottlenecks with product support. 
  • Technology firms seeking to scale or expand into new markets should consider how to scale their support accordingly. 
  • Vendors operating in industries that are particularly sensitive to service interruptions can reduce downtime by investing in intelligent product support solutions. 
  • Companies seeking to remain competitive need to constantly iterate their products, which is made easier by the actionable insights derived from product support. 
Who Should Invest in Product Support?


Still wondering if it makes sense for your business to invest in product support? B2B technology companies that serve the following industries in particular have much to gain from investing in quality product support:

  • Banking
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Restaurant/Hospitality
  • Payments (POS, ISO, VAR)

Let’s take a closer look at the role product support plays within each of these core industries, including specific use cases and examples.


Product Support for Banking 

Banking is an industry ripe for innovation, and new partnerships with technology vendors and integrations with third-party providers are taking place every day. In this rapidly changing landscape, it’s vital that banks are able to adapt and offer services that keep up with – and outperform – the competition. 

Banks are embarking on digital transformation journeys and need all the help they can get to evolve their bulky, often inefficient legacy systems and manage integrations with new tech products while complying with stringent regulations and maintaining high security standards. 

Onboarding 

Customers in the banking industry expect digital, relevant and quick onboarding processes for new products, whether they be software or hardware. An effective support ecosystem and knowledge base makes for an efficient and comprehensive onboarding process, which in turn leads to faster activation and greater customer satisfaction. 

For instance, when the bank purchases a new system for capturing biometric information, a good product support ecosystem might automatically prompt them to speak to a support agent or ask whether they need a technician to help install it. 

Self-Service

Banks and other financial services providers expect a high degree of product reliability with minimal service interruptions. Empowering staff to troubleshoot and address simple issues themselves or with the help of chatbots allows banks to minimize the duration and impact of bugs. 

Providing banks and their employees with accurate, up-to-date information and self-service support materials about each technology product they’re using facilitates smooth operations. 

Live Product Support

While self-service product support can do much to reduce downtime and ensure smooth operations, it’s equally important to offer banks access to real-time product support in the form of a network of remote experts as well as field technicians. Making sure your bank customers have access to the assistance they need, when they need it – or even before they realize they need it – builds trust and lasting business relationships.

Proactive Risk Detection

Security is paramount for banks. For technology vendors, this means that it’s essential to flag risks as soon as possible, communicate these risks immediately, and get to work addressing any bugs that could expose the bank to threats, cyber or otherwise. 

Intelligent product support solutions help to automatically detect bugs and potential vulnerabilities before they can cause problems – whether they be cyberattacks or offline/malfunctioning security hardware. 

Product Support for Healthcare

Technology is transforming almost every part of the healthcare industry. From removing patient data silos, to improving diagnostic and surgical capabilities, to facilitating self-diagnostics and remote care, to streamlining the scheduling and billing processes, technology is changing the game for healthcare. It’s an industry alive with opportunities for technology firms, and due to the life-or-death nature of the industry, product support is even more important than usual. 

Whether the product is a life-sustaining piece of equipment, a telemedicine platform, or a piece of software that keeps scheduling running smoothly, it’s vital that healthcare providers have fast and easy access to the help they need in the case of product failure or complications. 

Steep Learning Curve

Improvements and updates to medical technologies present a significant learning curve for practicing medical and administrative staff. Ranging from the way patient files are stored and shared, to new technology-driven surgical techniques such as laparoscopic surgery, to diagnostic machinery and analytic software, each time a product is introduced or updated, healthcare providers need to be onboarded. 

Depending on the nature of the technology, onboarding might include directors, managerial and administrative staff, doctors, nurses, technicians, janitorial staff. Simply determining the level to which all the various moving parts of the medical ecosystem need to be familiarized with each new product can be a challenge. 

In such a dynamic environment, mistakes caused by a lack of familiarity with products can cost lives. Insufficiently trained staff may make costly errors such as misreading imaging, misinterpreting data, or ordering the wrong supplies or replacement parts. 

Many of these obstacles can be mitigated by ensuring that your products are accompanied by ongoing, high-quality support, including on-demand assistance from highly trained local technicians. 

Painful Payments

Chasing down patients to settle accounts can be a nightmare for healthcare providers and patients alike. Providers can take some of the pain out of settling accounts payments by establishing clear expectations from the outset and automating payments and reminders. Integrating payment options into member portals is one way some health plans are simplifying the payment process. 

Providing healthcare professionals and administrative staff with easy access to product support – including self-service options – makes your product the more appealing option in a sea of payment service providers. 

Product Support for Retail

Whether their business is entirely online, brick-and-mortar, or a combination of the two, retailers are increasingly dependent on technology. Ranging from payment solutions and merchant services to inventory management and distribution tracking services, to relationship management solutions, the retail landscape is becoming an ever more complex ecosystem, in which various interconnected parts are increasingly dependent on one another. Making product support an integral part of the service you offer is an important part of reducing merchant attrition.

Upselling Opportunities

With more and more consumers turning to online shopping and omnichannel routes such as click-and-collect, the way retailers approach upselling and cross-selling is changing. Retailers are becoming aware of the need to use precision data analytics to present their customers with more personalized offers and deals to drive retention and upsell products. For these increasingly omnichannel customers, omnichannel support is a necessity.

Popular solutions include loyalty programs and brand apps that allow retailers to observe and leverage customer behaviors. In order to make sense of all this data, retailers need powerful analytics tools and the ability to interpret them. A solid knowledge base and user-friendly onboarding and training materials makes it easy to educate your customers and offer them the support they need to grow their businesses. 

Retail Automation

In an era where everything from buying beer to parking your car is being automated, the retail industry is no exception. Amazon Go stores that allow shoppers to shop and walk out without paying are just the beginning. Smart shelves, (better) self-checkout, checkout-free stores, advanced vending machines, robotic order fulfilment, automated repeat orders – these are just a few of the ways retailers are trying to offer shoppers more convenience and faster gratification. Inventory and supply chain management are likewise increasingly automated, with IoT sensors tracking shipments and monitoring the conditions under which products are transported. 

Of course, all this automation comes with a significant amount of work behind the scenes, with various technologies and programs interfacing to make these seamless customer experiences possible. At each stage of the process, a bug or malfunction could stop the automation in its tracks. However, with proactive product support that anticipates and addresses failures and security threats before they can occur, such downtime can be minimized.

customer service statistics

Self-Service for Self-Starters

With the explosive growth of ecommerce, anyone can become a retailer. With thousands of entrepreneurs with varying levels of technical knowledge setting up their own online stores, there’s a corresponding need for scalable product support. From hosting, to content management, to merchant services, to integrations with existing ecommerce platforms – there are numerous touchpoints where these customers require product support. 

Given the sheer volume of customers, vendors serving these self-starters would do well to offer robust self-service tools such as thorough onboarding processes, data-driven FAQ, detailed how-to guides and chatbots to reduce the number of support tickets. For more complex support queries, automated routing enables vendors to ensure that queries are sent to the support agent with the right knowledge and skills so that tickets are resolved speedily and effectively.

The Right Tools for the Job

Retailers need to ensure that employees are equipped to help customers by making the most of digital tools that can augment their capabilities. Many brick-and-mortar retailers arm their customer service associates with tablets or other devices to help them answer questions, perform tasks such as checking inventory, and escalate issues to managers if needed. 

For instance, US grocer Walgreens recently announced that it’s rolling out a voice-based artificial intelligence solution to all of its stores, allowing associates to interact with an intelligent virtual assistant to access information. A small, voice-controlled IoT device connects each employee to the enterprise network  –  and their leadership team  – at all times while allowing them to interact with customers with their hands free. This gives floor staff constant access to the support knowledge repository as well as expert advice. In order for such tools to succeed, retailers need access to reliable product support.

restaurant pos

Product Support for Restaurants

Restaurants are highly dependent on reliable technology products to keep operations running smoothly. Faulty or misused POS systems, offline card readers, buggy reservation systems or broken apps can all cause chaos, leading to bad diner experiences and lost revenue. As a result, restaurants prefer to work with technology vendors that promise and deliver reliable product support. 

POS

In most restaurants, the dining experience is largely dependent on the management and staff’s level of familiarity with their POS system. A good POS system not only facilitates orders and payments but sets the pace of service. Well-equipped management can derive insights from their POS system that inform decisions including stock orders, menu creation, staffing arrangements, and hours of operation. 

However, in order to truly benefit, restaurants need to be equipped to use their POS software to full advantage. In addition to providing effective onboarding, it’s critical to offer continued product support, particularly when new features are released. 

Due to the high staff turnover in the service industry, technology vendors that offer good product support in the form of training and intuitive self-service support resources have a huge competitive advantage.

Reservation Management

Restaurants that use reservation management systems can record bookings made via phone and online in one place. This gives hosts a real-time view of reservations, making it easier to review guest information, plan seating, ensure that guests are seated timeously, and seat walk-ins. It also eliminates lost reservations and makes it easier to estimate wait times, reducing lost revenue resulting from walkaways.

Reservation management services that offer integrations with social pages and POS systems offer restaurant managers greater insight into each customer’s habits, such as how frequently they visit, how much they typically spend, and what they say about the restaurant online. Offering restaurants assistance managing these integrations and ensuring that your products are adding the maximum amount of value facilitates stronger relationships, reducing the number of customers lost to competitors.

Product Support for Value-Added Resellers, POS & ISOs

Due to the complexity and ever-evolving nature of technology products, it’s important to offer customers ongoing product support that includes updates and even occasional product replacements. A good product support platform enables faster product activations, boosts support efficiency, and increases customer satisfaction.

Investing in quality product support can also create new opportunities for recurring revenue in the payments industry. ISOs and MSPs can provide additional value to customers by offering ongoing support for payment products.

For example, technology monitoring and proactive support make it simple to maintain POS terminals across a range of customers and ensure that system software is up-do-date to maximize performance. This allows your customers to run their businesses without service interruptions that could cost them revenue.

Product Support Solves Key Challenges

Constant Need For Training

Staff (sales, admin, support) in technology-based industries like POS, ISO, and VAR need to be highly trained and knowledgeable about the products and processes they offer. As a result, employees need to be meticulously onboarded and retrained on an ongoing basis, which can be time and resource-intensive. 

An effective product support platform can help to automate this process. Establishing a solid knowledge base and ensuring that support representatives have easy access to the information they need (e.g. through a powerful search function) makes for confident product support teams – as does access to a network of technology experts that can help them to unpack difficult and unfamiliar concepts.

Difficulty Tracking Frequent Technology Releases and Price Fluctuations

Technology merchants need to stay abreast of the newest products and offerings (and all their specifications and costs) on the market in order to remain competitive. With thousands of new releases each year, it’s impossible to keep up with all the industry dynamics without automating data feeds from various suppliers’ catalogs and consolidating all this information in one user-friendly location. Having real-time access to inventory information can be invaluable to VARs in particular.

Beyond keeping track of industry developments in order to make informed decisions about their product portfolios, technology resellers also need to ensure that their teams have access to the latest information about each of the many products in their portfolios. 

Ill-Equipped Sales Teams

For internal use, sales and support alike, representatives need in-depth product knowledge, including product specs, specs of competitor products, and integrations. An effective sales knowledge program can be invaluable for VAR and ISO sales teams in particular, equipping sales reps to adapt their pitch to address the individual customer’s needs by highlighting specific product features.

Read more about how product support can help VARs to grow.

Invest in Product Support

Product support fosters trust and enables technology firms to build stronger relationships with customers by equipping them to be better at what they do. 

In a business environment where customers are spoilt for choice, it’s essential to demonstrate that your offering not only addresses their business needs but does so reliably and efficiently, and that you’re by their side to offer ongoing support. By proactively removing common pain points and optimizing customers’ offerings, vendors that offer outstanding product support gain a significant advantage over competitors. 

Traditional ticketing systems simply don’t cut it anymore, particularly as technology products become more complex and integrated. With Boomtown’s Relay product support platform, you can make your support resources go further by automating the busywork and ensuring your teams have instant access to the information they need with predictive solution suggestions.  

Schedule a demo to find out how Boomtown can help you offer your customers top-quality product support.