Search Vendors Will Thank Forrester for Its Views on Customer Support

March 11, 2016

I read “Your Customers Don’t Want To Call You For Support.” This is a free marketing write up from the good folks at the mid tier consulting outfit Forrester.

The write up is one answer to the struggle some search vendors have had. As you may know, selling proprietary search and retrieval systems is a slow go these days. Why not use an open source system as plumbing? That’s what IBM and Palantir have done. Shift the costs of the utility function’s maintenance and bug fixing to the “community.” Shift those resources from search to something which sells. For Palantir, Gotham and Metropolitan are moving. For IBM, well, that may be a poor example. The only “moving” at IBM involves the individuals terminated.

Moving on…

The Forrester write up makes clear that “your customers” don’t want to call you on the telephone. No kidding? Has anyone at Forrester tried to call Forrester without a number linked to a specific individual?

The search vendors are struggling to find a market which really needs their search system. The candidate many search firms are chasing is the person in charge of customer support. The reason is that no one in customer support wants to talk to customers.

Put the information on the Web and let the customers “search” for answers. Everyone will be happy. At least, that’s the pitch.

Forrester thinks that self service is the “low friction” way to deal with customers. Right. If there is no human who struggles to speak in an intelligible manner about a subject germane to the called, the support person will not experience some verbal excitement.

Forrester likes the chat thing. That’s a service which opens a box, introduces a delay, and then a message appears, “Hello, I am Ted. How may I help you?” My reaction is to click the close button. Sorry, Ted.

My hunch is that search vendors will print out copies of the Forrester article and use them as proof that a better search engine will create many happy customers.

If only life were that simple.

Stephen E Arnold, March 11, 2016


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