How Support Generates Customer Value

One of my consulting clients wanted to develop a mission statement for their customer support operation.  The discussion revolved around a defensive “we solve problems” for a while until a breakthrough was made, proposing to focus the statement on the protection and enhancement of customer value.

When we chart the cumulative value customers expect to gain from a product we expect that during the early stages customers gain relatively little value due to implementation and training.  Conversely, towards the end of the product’s useful life with the customer, marginal value generated nears zero as users move to other products.

If we put ourselves in the customers’ shoes we can assume that while they understand the complexity of enterprise software the expectation is that the newly acquired solution will function smoothly and with little interruptions.  The customers’ expectation of value is driven by the expectation for, smooth, trouble free operation.

As customers begin using the product and encounter problems, we can see those problems’ cumulative impact on the overall value customers are able to gain from the product.  Critical problems detract significantly while others very little.  However, over time the total impact of problems can be significant drag to the customers’ value gain:

To help customers mitigate the value lost to problems on one hand, and maximize the value gained from the product, vendors have been introducing value-added services, or whatever fancy name they are called:

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