The evolution of IT support
Over the last several decades, the evolution of IT support has followed an interesting trajectory, one that, in recent years, has almost come full circle.
The progression started with a simple focus on resolving technical issues and slowly evolved to focus on delivering support in a cost-efficient manner, often at the expense of the customer’s experience. Today, it has come back around to a customer-centric model that prioritizes customer preferences while efficiently delivering the desired support outcomes.
In the beginning of the Modern IT era, IT support providers followed a model that placed service technicians on-site or in close proximity to customers with a goal of mainly “keeping the lights on”. They were purely focused on the technology itself and how to keep it productively working for its users. Very little emphasis was placed on the overall customer experience during the support process. Although the technical issues were typically resolved in an efficient manner, the experience for customers often felt a bit cumbersome, disjointed, and technically overwhelming.
As time progressed, the world economy became more intertwined and organizations sought new ways to cut service costs. Technical support providers began to move critical support centers offshore to “low-cost” countries such as India and the Philippines. The move significantly cut operating costs but often resulted in a very scripted, impersonal, and frustrating customer experience.
Customers quickly began to demand a more personal touch to issue resolution and petitioned providers to reconsider their operating model. As time passed and technology progressed, IT support providers began to make another significant transition to offer a streamlined self-service model which made use of technologies like bots, web chat, and artificial intelligence to handle customer support interactions. Once again, this transition worked well to reduce operating costs, but it continued to produce mixed results in terms of customer experience.