Does premium support require an assigned support engineer?

By Technical Support

The idea of assigning a support engineer to an account is simple and attractive: instead of working with a randomly-assigned person with each new case, the customer can count on working with the same person each time (or close to each time, as even assigned support engineers take time off.) The assigned support engineer gets to know the customer well, which speeds up resolution, and can often provide proactive advice on configuration and the like.

Experience shows that the idea of having an assigned support engineer is very attractive to customers and customers who purchase a plan that includes an assigned support engineer typically renew in higher percentages than customers with a standard support plan.

Before you rush to implementing such plans, however, think about how you will staff for it. If you have a particularly wide portfolio of offerings, will you be able to located someone, anyone, with knowledge of all the products a particular customer may be running? It’s always possible to assign someone who knows the main products the customer is running and can get help on the others but that can get awkward (and defeats the goal of fast resolution.) The other issue is more subtle: what if the customer has a large number of issues at once? Will resolution be hampered by the diktat to work with that one support engineer? With a regular customer you would simply parcel out the cases amongst several engineers but that would be more delicate under an assigned support engineer program.

I’m seeing companies experiment with small “account teams” instead where customers can work with a handful of individuals, which may deliver the best of both worlds: personalized service and flexible scheduling and specialization. Maybe that would work for you?

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