The HotLine Magazine Archives
For The Profession of Cloud/SaaS Product Support

The Papers listed here are in chronological order.  The titles are direct links to the articles.  Registration and login are required for access.  Associate Membership is free upon approval, and includes access to everything except content in The HotLine Research Library.  Access to research materials is available only to Research Members.

Customer Intelligence: The Key to Keeping SaaS/Cloud Customer Relationships

The research of the Customer Success Management Initiative has revealed that one of the major churn-generators, reasons why customers do not renew their software subscriptions, is disconnection, the loss of an executive sponsor or influencer in the customer’s organization.  If no one is paying attention to what’s going on in the customers’ senior management team, the first warning of an at-risk scenario can be a cancellation — and once that occurs, it’s almost always too rate to save the relationship.  This paper discusses the strategy, process, people and technology of a Customer Intelligence program and team.  For more information, click here.

Briefing: The Process of SaaS Support

Despite the huge impact that the shift to the Cloud has brought to the software industry, companies are still struggling to understand and to adapt to some key aspects of the change.  This is especially true in the profession and practice of Customer Support.  In this Briefing, we will talk about the Process of providing effective customer support, and respond to a variety of questions.  For SaaS vendors and traditional companies beginning the transition to the Cloud, the usual beginning inquiry is: What are other SaaS/Cloud companies doing about Customer Support? For an overview of the paper, click here.

Moving to the Cloud: Transitioning Your Support Technology Suite

Published in the March/April 2011 issue of the Help Desk Institute’s SupportWorld Magazine, this paper covers the process of selecting cloud-based support center tools.  The basic reality of the profession of technological and customer support is that the only constant is change, and nowhere is this more evident than in its toolset.    From the very first commercial case and knowledge management systems that replaced steno pads and 3-ring binders, the “shouter-base” and an incredible array of homebrew resources 25 years ago, the contact center management industry has come a long way.  What could only be dreamed of a few years ago has become commonplace.  Now we are starting another huge development in the support technology suite, the transition to the Cloud.  There are significant advantages to be realized in that shift, but the journey is not without its risks.  As with everything else in high-tech, the keys to success are careful planning and execution.

SaaS, Cloud Computing & The Redefinition of Customer Support.

Initially published by SupportWorld, the magazine of The Help Desk Institute, in the July/August 2010 issue, this article identifies issues and challenges confronting both external and internal Customer Support professionals alike.

The Case for Remote Support Technology:

The rationale for investing in remote support technologies is very straightforward.  The pressure of razor-thin product margins and closely scrutinized IT budgets constantly reinforce the awareness that every second counts in the effort to increase support effectiveness while lowering cost.  Any reduction in the amount of time that a problem case stays open automatically furthers two vital goals: the customer’s return to full productivity, and the rep’s availability to respond to other problems.  Further, the technical competence and emotional rapport displayed during the support interaction has a significant effect on continuing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Selecting Remote Support Technology

(Research Library)Remote Support Technology (RST) is a very important capability to have for any Support/Service team providing assistance to technology users/customers.  There is an extensive range of features and functionality available in the currently marketed RST products by the various vendors.  This paper provides a list of The HotLine Magazine‘s recommended criteria for selecting an RST resource.  The recommendations are intended to be used by prospective purchasers of RST products as a starting point for the development of their own customized list of specifications. (Includes Vendor List)

The SaaS & Support Project Research Report 2009:

(Research Library) In late 2009, data was collected from a single survey that included questions about what software vendors, both SaaS and those transitioning to SaaS at that point, were doing about customer retention in the areas of Strategy, Process, People and Technology.  The data was supplemented and enhanced by online research in ongoing interviews with senior executives, and the Report was published in late December.

Engineering vs. Support: How To Play The Game.

First published in the premier issue of Customer Support Management Magazine in 1997, this article talks about how savvy Support managers and executives can go about changing the relationship between Support and Engineering/Development.  More than a decade later, the article has useful information that can make a difference in today’s companies for those willing to take a leadership role.