The Support Funnel, Cylinder, and Bell

We often talk about the support funnel, where customers start in self-service, may participate in an online discussion forum, then, as needed, log a support case and (we hope rarely) go all the way to a formal escalation. There are very many self-service activities, fewer forum threads, even fewer cases, and very few escalations–hence the familiar funnel shape representing the volume of interactions. We can make the funnel wider and flatter by providing more self-service options or forcing customers to use self-service, but it’s always a funnel by volume.


If we talk about cost instead of volume, the shape changes to a cylinder or more likely a bell (an upside-down funnel!)  since each self-service interaction is pretty cheap, so they do not cost much even in bulk, but cases and especially escalations can be very expensive,





Think of that when you make process or tool investments: even if you have very few cases, their high costs may justify significant improvements.