Reducing Customer Vents

Microsoft Global Technical Support Center

Microsoft Global Technical Support Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many businesses would love to reduce customer vents for technical issues, but have struggled to find a solution.  These businesses have moved it offshore to countries like India to manage it cheaply and efficiently.  However, the  dialect has annoyed many customers who have bought these brands.  So what other solutions are there to this problem?

I recently came across an article called “Outsourcing is so last year” at the Economist.  The author refers to this solution as “Unsourcing”, I prefer “Insourcing” or “Netsourcing”.  The solution isn’t new, as it began in the 1980’s but in today’s times it’s a revelation to managers.  Some brands in software, consumer electronics and telecoms are offering expert advice at a fraction of the costs that these cheap nations supply.

The basic concept is that the business sets up an online community to enable person-to-person support among users.

Customer Lobby

Customer Lobby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Businesses use websites or social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to form these communities.  The people who use the brand solve the customer’s problem.  Generally these helpers are not paid.

Tom Tom, the maker of satellite-navigation systems, saved $150,000 in its first two weeks.  It’s estimated these communities can reduce costs by up to 50%.

Some businesses reward these prized fans by giving them rankings for solving the problems.  This helps in boosting their community status.  While a telecom business reduced monthly phone bills for clients when they helped other clients and recruited new customers.

Technical Support Explained

Technical Support Explained (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)

These communities could be monitored by technical support and customer service staff.  This is to aid in company relations and rewarding these super fans through loyalty programs.  While anything to do with personal customer accounts and billing needs to be diverted to another channel.

The temptation for most businesses to switch to this solution due to costs will be too hard to resist.  While the added benefit for making it harder for customers to vent is all to appealing.  The greatest concern will be the unsuccessful deployment that will send a wave of criticism to the business due to the lack of preparation and planning.  Would your business consider this solution of online community person-to-person user support?  What ways do you think you could improve on the reward system?  Do you think this solution is a way of reducing customer vents for technical support?


A Brand Enhancer in Communications. I fit naturally with technology, curious about science and avid consumer of news to gain insights. You can follow me on Google+ , LinkedIn , Twitter .

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Posted in Business, Ideas, Strategy
19 comments on “Reducing Customer Vents
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  4. Bertie Kintopp says:

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  6. Great post. I’m dealing with many of these issues as well..

  7. Tammara Gunnell says:

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me dinner simply because I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this subject here on your blog.

  8. Penny Paonessa says:

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  9. Carmen Reno says:

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  10. Mabelle Estes says:

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© Christopher Seeto and Aqua Black Cat, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Christopher Seeto and Aqua Black Cat with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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