Organisations that incorporate peer-to-peer community support could reduce costs to serve by 50 per cent, but will damage relationships with users if they blunder the integration.
Research by Gartner has found that support calls handled by the community cost less than five per cent of a service desk agent. Although estimated savings start at 10 per cent of overall service costs, teams providing technical support stand to make the biggest gains, with Gartner predicting that B2B software, telecoms and consumer electronics providers could half costs.
Gartner warns that incorporating social support is more difficult than simply offering a community forum. Satisfaction can be seriously damaged when alternative channels are incorporated and customers are forced to use the option. The balance between savings while maintaining satisfaction only works if the customer is directed to use a channel appropriate to their problem.