Posted by david, July 3, 2009
Some weeks ago I had the pleasure of listening to a talk from Genis Roca, in which he explained how people’s perception of technology is ‘everything that has been invented after they were born’. The idea is that we don’t consider anything invented before we were born as technology, because it has always been there; it is something natural to us. While I share this perception of technology to a large extent, it is also true that in my case it applies only when I discover something new and even then for a short period of time (the ‘euphoric’ phase). Take, say, an Ipod; to my father this is technology, but to me it is just a device for listening to music, just as a discman was 20 years ago. Sure, I can also surf the net, watch movies… but in the end it is still a device designed for listening to music.
Are social networks and Web 2.0 technology? The way I see it, they are just channels through which I can interact with people and share information or just talk. Of course I can also share photos, play, post videos, tag friends,… but once again, in the end they are applications for communicating, just as in the 90s we had IRC, and in ten years’ time we will have… whatever.
So what essential differences are there between showing my friends photos in a traditional photo album or posting them on Facebook? Basically three: the immediateness, the duration and the feedback. I could be in London, take a photo, publish it on Facebook and in less than five minutes my friend Ted, who lives in the backend of nowhere in Australia, could be telling me what he thinks of the photo. If I keep my photos published for three of four years, then Ted can always see my photos of London again, without having to come to Spain to see my album.
If we apply all this to tech support, it drives us to look for a way of offering immediate support, which lasts and also provides real, sincere feedback. If customer ‘A’ has a problem, she can contact us and we can offer a specific solution to the specific problem. If customer ‘B’ has the same problem, he can send us an email and we can offer the same solution that we gave to customer ‘A’. If, two years down the line, customer ‘A’ has the same problem again, she can contact us and we can send the same solution that we did two years previously. So now, you will have realized, we have sent the same solution three times. It would seem then that we have a problem. We are providing immediate and effective solutions but they don’t last and they don’t always provide feedback. It’s as if my friend Ted wanted to see my photos of London and each time had to get in a plane and come from Australia to Spain to tell me personally that he likes them. Now I quite like seeing old friends, but this really doesn’t make much sense, does it?
This is why some time ago we started to move towards Support 2.0: from person-to-person, reusable, taking advantage of forums, Facebook, Twitter, blogs,… yet today I want to talk to you specifically about our new Tech Support forum.
Let’s put the previous situation in the context of the 2.0 environment. Customer ‘A’ has a problem and decides to go to the Panda Security Tech Support Forum to find a solution to her problem. She looks in several sub-forums but doesn’t find a solution, so she decides to contact us. Somebody who works at Panda Security offers a solution to the problem, customer ‘A’ applies the solution and immediately, through the solution we have provided, confirms that we have resolved the problem.
Some days later customer ‘B’ has the same problem, he goes to our forums and in one of the sub-forums he finds the solution that we gave to customer ‘A’. But that’s not all. He also sees that the solution has been satisfactory for customer ‘A’. This is very positive for customer ‘B’, he knows that the solution is good, applies it on his computer and goes back to the forum to give his feedback and offer suggestions on how the solution might be improved even. Some time later customer ‘A’ has the same problem again. What will she do? Look at my photos on Facebook or get a return plane ticket from Sydney to Bilbao? But it doesn’t end there, as anyone could run a simple Google search to find the post with the solution to the problem. The end result? We have immediate solutions, which last over time and we get feedback from the most important agents in the process: our clients.