It can increasingly be said that any great technology firm needs to be a great technical services company as well.
In an era when businesses and consumers increasingly demand guaranteed capability and performance from their technology, technical services and support has been thrust to the top of the agenda for technology manufacturers, integrators and retailers alike.
Driven not only by the ‘pull’ of customer demand but by the ‘push’ of an opportunity to secure competitive market advantage, technology firms are keener than ever to integrate service excellence into the customer experience.
For many businesses, the first step will be to develop a much more comprehensive understanding of what technical services actually is.
Only by building a full picture can technology companies properly measure, assess and optimise their technical services and support.
Achieving technical services excellence can undoubtedly be a challenge for technology companies. Technical services and support are highly specialised functions with very different requirements to their core capabilities. Effective and efficient delivery can call for specialist infrastructure and resourcing, technical capability, a distinct service culture, and rapid scalability.
While many firms choose to tackle these challenges by building a dedicated in-house capability, many others choose to outsource some or part of their technical services and support provision to a specialist partner.
Whichever option a company chooses, one of the keys to success is properly understanding the complete technical services lifecycle.
For in-house provision, this full picture will help you accurately assess existing performance, calculate costs, and identify opportunities to innovate and improve.
For an outsourced solution it will help you identify a technical services company which is capable of delivering the right technical services and support package for your business. Having a full picture will help you properly outsource the complete process if that is what best suits your business. Or, if you’re initially outsourcing just one or a few functions, it means you can make sure you are able to scale things up or down as you require at a later stage.
The key mistake when assessing technical services provision is to consider too narrow a definition. Often this will lead businesses to consider only their aftersales functions or, even more narrowly, only the warranty and repair functions.
In fact, for most technology products a whole-of-life view of technical services includes functions at the both the sales and aftermarket stages.
And at Qcom we typically break these down still further into four key stages:
1. Pre-sales. Effective pre-sales technical support can be vital in getting sales over the line. This is especially true on complex and sophisticated technology projects where customers may require considerable help in understanding their needs and identifying the right products to meet them. Our pre-sales technical services include on-site trials and demonstrations, telephone enquiry helpdesks, site surveys and wireless network assessments.
2. Sales. A smooth transition from purchase order to operation can set the tone for a long and successful customer relationship. To ensure the highest possible quality at this critical moment of truth, our sales technical services including equipment rollout and installation, configuration and end-user training.
Qcom’s whole-of-life technology service & support model
3. Warranty. Effective warranty support is almost always an absolute minimum expectation (and indeed legal requirement) on any technology product. To deliver it effectively requires a range of capabilities including inventory and logistics for product swap-outs, workshop repair, and specialist warranty management systems.
4. Aftermarket. For most b2b technologies (as well as many high-end consumer items), a straight swap-out or repair warranty is unlikely to be enough to meet customer expectations for a seamless and supported user experience. This is where frontline aftermarket services come in, from technical help desk and remote customer support to field engineering, repair and preventative maintenance.
A limited or partial view of the technical services and support lifecycle makes it virtually impossible for technology companies to understand their current service performance, the cost of delivery, or the impact of services on the wider company performance.
By taking a comprehensive view of these critical functions, technology companies can achieve a more accurate assessment of their current situation and make effective, informed choices about how they might best organise and deliver technical services and support to achieve a range of competitive, cost and performance advantages.
You can read more about the technical services lifecycle, about when and why to outsource, and about how to identify the right technical services company to meet your needs, in our complete guide to technical services excellence.
Or contact us today to discuss the ways in which Qcom can help your business meet its specific technical services and support challenges.