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We have spent the last few years putting a World-Class Solutions Support Team for Ping Identity into practice. This is a team with a consistent, shared commitment to do everything we can to ensure our Customer's success in implementing identity solutions.
We measure our success not only by our ability to achieve that vision but also in the quality of that experience from the Customer's perspective.
So, exactly how do you measure that kind of thing?
Like many support & services organizations, we periodically survey our customers on specific interactions. We also pay a lot of attention to why such a high percentage of our customers renew with us, making sure it's for the right reasons. Anonymous surveys administered by third-party Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty vendors help us establish our standing.
These measures tell us a lot, but they are trailing indicators. They are important indicators but we wanted even more, possibly even some leading indicators.
One of the most obvious yet often overlooked metrics is the level of satisfaction and loyalty of Support teams -- a customer metric applied internally.
On the principle that "the person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results," we remain focused on our own health. Engineers who support an innovative, high-quality product and who are trusted to produce the best possible solutions tend to be happy and productive themselves. Not surprisingly, this translates directly to our customers. Evaluating the morale of our own team tells us a lot about how well we can expect to be 'drawing back positive results.'
We have considered and rejected a number of conventional support metrics over the years mainly because they don't align with our approach. Among these metrics is 'case close rate' and 'case age at closure.' There's a difference between tracking this data (as all shops do) and micro-managing to these metrics (we don't). Driving a team to reach volume and time-limit goals isn't going to help our Customers be successful. These measures in and of themselves can add the wrong kind of pressure to resolve a case.
Another metric we don't use is 'call deflection,' or what is known in some organizations as "Alternate Customer Support."
Some organizations introduce excessive friction into the support experience in an effort to drive off only the most determined Customers from getting through. Others offer online content only as a proxy for actual Support Engineers, using it to drive down operating expenses.
We are certainly committed to building our Support knowledge and learning assets online, but it's because we know our Customers sometimes prefer these resources when troubleshooting a problem. It's about choices. We work hard to present a frictionless experience every step along the way and we encourage our Customers to reach us directly whenever they need to -- without obstacles. Loyalty can be eroded very quickly, so we look at every Customer interaction as a chance to build trust and deliver an excellent solution and an excellent experience, top to bottom.
Mark Bostley is Director of the Solutions Support Center at Ping Identity