How We Implemented Extended Technical Support for Our Clients
Clients often rush to us for expertise and project support with service development. We used to offer our clients standard technical support only, including assistance with initial settings and communication via a personal account or email. We realized that it was not sufficient enough when our clients said that the expertise we were offering did not create any business value for them.
“You are not giving me expertise nor creating value for my business,” - at that moment we realized we had been doing something wrong.
Project managers are supposed to process requests and deliver tasks to the development team as fast as possible. The key problem was our standard level of support, which did not allow the managers to achieve these goals. Although everyone on the team worked extremely hard and spent a lot of time on the client, the whole process lacked proactivity. We understood that the chain, starting with technical support managers and finishing with developers, was way too long.
Another issue was that our vision of the project tasks often did not match our client’s vision. Thus, we started analyzing our workflow and decided that the best solution would be to do more for our clients by spending less human and time resources. This prompted us to create extended technical support in the form of assistance with the implementation, configuration, maintenance, and individual revision of products for each project.
Asking the Right Questions
Once we were contacted by one of our clients, whose primary goal was to find a reliable way to store data. The client acknowledged to us they used NFS (Network File Storage). According to our client, it helped them to record and store data. We did not support the decision to use NFS as it’s not very reliable in our experience; moreover, it’s problematic and costly. In this case, if we had provided standard technical support, our advice would have been to get rid of the NFS storage. But in terms of our extended technical support, we had to go a step further and ask certain questions: “Why do you insist on this choice? How did it help you in the past? How does it help you now? How will it help you in the future?” etc. Having clarified the essence of the problem, we turned to the reference architecture and proposed a proven method.
The better the synchronization of the overall understanding of the process, the more the client’s expectations correspond to what we do.
We have highlighted 5 major questions to ask ourselves in order to be on the same page as our client at all times. The answers to these questions should be clear at all stages of the project:
- What has been developed by the client over the last period, and how has this changed the service?
- What did we do for the client that was not used in the service? What stands in the way of implementation?
- What are we doing for the client now, and what difficulties do they have with it?
- What were the initial tasks the client requested of us?
- What are the current tasks and goals of our client?
Aside from these questions, we have to consider our client’s needs and draw the process scheme based on reference architecture, timeline, and road map. These tools help us realize the deeper purpose and meaning of each process.
Why We Need a Timeline
A timeline represents the project flow, goals, stages, and deadlines. We have to be very specific with detailing separate parts of the project because this is the only way we can build strong communication channels between our client and us. Also, the project stages must be harmonized to achieve common goals. Another reason for using a timeline is to create a visual order for the client to understand and use in developing functionalities.
Why We Need a Roadmap
A project roadmap is used to track tasks and results reflected on the timeline. This is a useful instrument to visualize plans and to coordinate mutual business processes. In the course of the work, we adjust business processes together with our clients. In fact, the roadmap allows us to analyze product development and apply proper changes by being proactive.
What We Have Now
Currently, the process is fine-tuned as the extended technical support helps us build reliable services that bring value to our customers. Flussonic shares detailed expertise by telling clients how to carry out the integration correctly, what protocols exist, how to build a server, how to organize their data storage, and much more. With such project support, the client has the opportunity to scale their system and see the value that we bring to their business.