Should self-service be differentiated by support level?

By Technical Support

We typically ascribe different assisted support features to different support levels. For instance a higher support level would afford round-the-clock support, faster response times, or an assigned support engineer. But it’s also possible to offer premium self-service options as customers purchase more elaborate support offerings. Here are some examples:

– make available more knowledge base documents. For instance there could be white papers that are accessible only to premium customers. Another idea would be to make new documents available immediately on the premium portal, without waiting for the standard (and time-consuming) reviews.

– provide access to personalized portals such as contact information for the account team.

– offer additional communication channels to premium customers such as premium customer forums or online chat with their assigned support engineer. (Note that the online chat is not really a self-service option, but it fits in well with the rest of the online options.)

I have a number of clients who have embraced the first option, making additional knowledge base documents available to premium customers, and I must say it doesn’t always work as well as advertised. Here’s why: once the special knowledge base documents are written there’s an obvious temptation to make them available to all customers with the hope of decreasing the assisted support load. Still, the idea is interesting.

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