Windows 7 The Next Generation of Customer Support – Stories

October27,2009

Increasingly,itcan。

AndwiththelaunchlastweekofWindows7,Microsoftcustomersarefindingawholenewworldwhenitcomestogettingsoftwaresupportattheirfingertips。

LoriBrownell,generalmanagerofProductQualityandOnlineSupportatMicrosoft,sayssupportforWindows7isarealevolutionfrompreviousversionsoftheflagshipoperatingsystem。

Traditionallivesupportviathephone,e-mailandchatarestillthere,butsoareahostofresources,manyavailablethroughanewonlineforum。

ThereissupportthroughTwitter,alibraryofsoftwareFixitsthatcansolveproblemswithasingleclick,andotherdiagnosticandrepairtoolsavailabledirectlythroughWindows7itself。

WindowsXPhadlittlebuilt-insupport,andWindowsVistaincludedsomediagnosticstoassessnetworkconnectivityissues,Brownellsays。

ButWindows7trulyreflectsbroadcustomerfeedbackthathasenabledustobuildacomprehensivesetofresourcesthatsolvecustomersmostpressingproblemsandevenkeepthemaheadofpotentialproblems。

Forexample,WindowsUpdatesearchesforupdates,likedriverupdates,automatically。

AccordingtoElainaStergiadesofresearchgroupIDC,gettingcustomerfeedbackintothehandsofproductdevelopersiscriticaltoimprovingongoingsupportdelivery。

Improvingproductdevelopmenttoincludecustomerfeedbackfromthesupportexperiencecangreatlyenhancetheproductdesignprocess,Stergiadessays。

Incorporatingthatcustomerfeedbackbuildssupportabilityacrosstheproductsuite,whichcanhelpimprovethesupportexperienceforcustomers。

ConnectingSoftwareUsersWithSoftwareMakers

Brownellsteamistaskedwithfiguringoutwherecustomersneedhelp,andputtingthathelpwhereitcandothemostgood。

SheandherteamoftechnicalprogrammanagersamixofformerproductgroupmembersandcustomersupportexpertshavespentthepastcoupleofyearsgettingreadyforWindows7byporingovercustomerfeedbackfromavarietyofvenuesincludingWindowsErrorReportlogs,topquestionsincommunityforumsandcustomerinteractions。

Itsonethingtoprovidecustomerdatatotheproductgroups,shesays。

Itsanothertohelpthemhearitthroughengineeringterms。

Nowwehavethepeople,processesandtoolsinplacetotranslatecustomerfeedbackintoinformationthatourengineeringteamusestoimproveaproduct。

Fromdayone,Brownellsays,herteamworkedtocommunicatecustomerfeedbackdirectlytotheWindowsdesignteam。

Asaresult,Windows7representsthenextgenerationofcustomersupport,makingfixeseasierandmoreintuitive,tothepointwherethesoftwarecanactuallyhelpcustomerssolveproblemsbeforetheyevenstart。

AccordingtotheForresterResearchreport,CustomerServiceTrumpsPrice,publishedMay15,2009,suchimprovementsadduptoabetterexperienceforcustomers:Thedataiscompelling:Consumerscareaboutcustomerservice。

Companiescandifferentiatethemselvesbyupgradingtheirserviceexperiencesthroughoutthecustomerlifecyclefromacquisitionthroughongoingcustomersupport(andrenewal)。

SupportWithaClick

ForWindows7,automatedsupportwasabigfocus,saysBrownell。

OnebignewchangeistheWindowsActionCenter,whichletscustomersaccessmorethan20automatedtroubleshootersthatarebuiltintotheplatform。

Whenanissuecomesup,Windows7isabletoidentifyit,oftenbeforethecustomerevennotices。

ThesetroubleshooterscandiagnoseandsolvethemostcommonproblemsreportedbyWindowsusers,includingset-upandcompatibilityissues,hardwaredefectsandthelike,saysBrownell。

Asanexample,BrownellsaysthatalackofaudioistheNo。

1problemcustomersreport。

Causescanvaryfromhavingspeakerspluggedintothewrongjacktobadaudiodrivers。

Ifyouhaveincorrectlyinstalledyouraudiodriver,theWindowsActionCentercanalertyou,diagnosetheproblemandpointyoutothecorrectfix,orfixtheproblemitself,shesays。

Brownellsaysthathavingsoftwaredevelopersfamiliarwithoperatingsystemsonherteamisabigadvantageinhelpingfindproblemsandidentifythoseripeforanautomatedsolution。

ThisconceptisbehindtheWindowsActionCenter,andisalsobehindtheFixitsthatMicrosoftbeganpublishinglastDecember。

TheideabehindFixitsistoautomatethestepsprovidedinMicrosoftKnowledgeBasetechnicalarticlesandWindowsErrorReportingsolutions,souserscanclickonabuttonandresolveagivenissueautomatically。

Formostpeople,FixitsareawelcomealternativetowadingthroughtechnicallyorientedKnowledgeBasearticles。

KnowledgeBasearticlesarestillavailabletotech-savvyuserswhoenjoyproblem-solving,althoughmorethan400ofthearticlesnowincludeFixits,givingcustomersgreaterchoice。

FixitswillalsopopupinWindowsErrorReports,andcustomerscansearchforFixitsonline。

WeveevenbuiltsafetymeasuresintotheFixitstogiveaddedreassurance,Brownellsays。

IftheuserclicksonthewrongFixit,itwontmodifyordamageanything。