In the world of Technical Support, there are a million ways to approach the core mission.
I've seen departments structured in so many different ways, and the customer experience can also be quite different depending on the product. One question I get asked all the time is, “What is Premier Support and why do I need it?”
It's a great question because of the different approaches that Support organizations take in providing an additional level of support. Whether you're interested in purchasing this package or maybe even considering building out a premier offering of your own, the purpose of this post is to help you answer that question for your company.
How Does Gainsight Structure Support?
The best place to start is to discuss where we are today as a Support organization and where we've come from. In my three years with Gainsight, I've watched the company grow exponentially. Our Support team has more than tripled in size, and we now offer two additional support packages for customers to buy. We often look back fondly at what we consider the good ol’ “Startup Days,” which really were not that long ago.
Two years ago, we launched our first paid support package starting with our largest three clients. Today, our portfolio of paying customers is over 150 spread across our Premier and Elite Packages. On top of our departmental maturation, we’ve also made leaps and bounds from a Customer Success perspective as well. Another related topic is how we’ve deployed the “Support Experience Element” as we move down the Transformation stage as an organization.
Why Do I Need a Support Package?
This is a question I get asked all the time—along with the inevitable follow-ups:
- "Are you expecting me to have a lot of tickets?"
- "Is your product too complex?"
- "Do most of your customers struggle?"
My answer to those types of questions is simple: If you are trying to sell a support package as a fix or solution, you are doing it wrong.
A support package is designed to be complementary in nature, and it involves working in partnership with the admins to provide an excellent user experience and deliver success. We have additional teams like Onboarding, CSM/COM (Customer Success/Outcomes Management), and Training, which are also required to make the partnership successful. High-volume customers shouldn’t be the only customers finding value in these packages, and internally, we designed our packages to set clients up for long-term success. For Gainsight, support habits play a key role in the overall health and success of a customer. Our healthiest customers frequently leverage support for a variety of reasons, like asking questions about configuration or technical best practices, reporting bugs, and getting updates on new releases.
What Sets Support Packages Apart?
Obviously, every Gainsight customer has access to basic support. But what do you get above and beyond with a Premier Support Package?
- Named Support Analyst: A Gainsight Support Analyst is assigned to gain an understanding of your business needs and provide both proactive and reactive support. Your Named Support Analyst will be your primary point of contact for managing escalations and running your support operations reviews.
- Accelerated Service Level Agreement (SLA): Faster response times to your support requests versus our standard support package.
- Proactive Case Monitoring: Your assigned Gainsight Support Analyst will actively monitor support habits and take proactive action to ensure overall support success.
- Support Operations Review: Your assigned Gainsight Support Analyst will meet with you to discuss support services metrics and your utilization of support to help you continuously optimize the value of Gainsight. For Premier customers, this happens annually, and we do this twice a year for our Elite Customers.
- Case Status Review: Your assigned Gainsight Support Analyst will schedule regular meetings with you during escalated situations or at times when your case volume is higher than normal.
- 24x5 Support Hours: Consistent follow-the-sun coverage hours for case submissions across multiple time zones from 7:00 p.m. Sunday (CT) through 7:00 p.m. Friday (CT).
- 24x7 Support Hours for P1 Issues: Elite Support offers 24x7 Support Hours to production issues that might occur on the weekend that are urgent in nature. These issues must be submitted via the Gainsight Portal.
- Priority Case Routing: Priority routing to expert resources helps speed action and expedite the resolution of your support cases.
Which Package Do You Need?
My advice here is to look through each package to find the one that best suits your specific needs. In organizations that have users relying on the system 24/7, I would strongly recommend the Elite Support Package. Not only do we have extended hours, but the touchpoints are more frequent and the number of authorized Support contacts increases up to 8. For organizations where you expect the system will be used on more of a 24/5 model then I would recommend the Premier Support Package. Please reach out to your Sales Team or CSM to learn more information about our Premier Support packages including things like price, terms, and other information.
What Does our Support Department Handle?
Here is the majority of things that we provide for the organization:
- Initial Triage/Troubleshooting - Typically, Support is the best place to go if you are unsure. We are equipped to look at the issue and determine the root cause.
- Break/Fix Issues - These are the issues that customers come to Support for most often. These are issues where something has broken, either on the client side or our side, which required fixing.
- Configurational Questions - Sometimes the customer is not getting the expected results based on their specific use case. This can get tricky—our team can provide guidance and answer questions, but we will not configure/reconfigure the product for our customers.
- Product Questions - These are questions that a customer has about the product or a specific product feature. These questions are typically around either administration or usability of a feature.
- Best Practices Questions - This is an area that we work cross-functionally to provide guidance to the customer based on the request. For example, Support would take the lead on providing best practices around scheduling Rules in Rules Engine or other technical best practices questions. If the request is more business in nature, like setting up a survey to send to your customers, we would leverage another team better suited to assist with those questions.
- Product Bugs - When it comes to dealing with product bugs, Support works cross-functionally with Product and Engineering. Currently, we keep the tickets open until we can verify the issue is corrected.
- Proactive Monitoring - Our Support team monitors things like infrastructure, rules, outreaches, data loads, and other key product components. Alongside that, our Premier Support team is proactively monitoring a customers health habits and will intervene when needed.
- Product Releases - Gainsight pushes monthly releases. For customers who do not auto-upgrade, we connect with those in charge of the releases to schedule manual upgrades at a time that works for the customer.
What Does our Support Department not Handle?
- Administration: General administration tasks should be handled by the Gainsight Admin for the organization. Things like license, user, and permissions should be handled by this individual. We can assist with questions around these topics, but shouldn’t be the ones administering the system for customers. If you do not have a dedicated Admin in your org, please reach out to your CSM about purchasing supplemental packages like Admin on Demand.
- Configurations: Gainsight Support does not configure the software for our customers. We can certainly assist with questions and can assist in some light configurations with customers in order to resolve downstream issues. We do not, however, set up net new configurations or reconfigurations based on use case.
- Feature Requests: Gainsight Support will triage these as production questions, but we do not own feature enhancements internally. Our Customer Community is where we manage those, and we have a team of individuals who manage that site.
- Customizations: If a customer chooses to customize the product, we cannot support fixing that customization for a customer.
- Usage Reports: We have a Business Operations team that manages these reports.
In summary, there are a variety of reasons why customers can benefit from our Premium Support packages. At the end of the day, you want to set up your organization for success. Whether it's expedited SLAs, 24-hour support, a proactive support model, or a dedicated escalation contact, there should be something in the package that all customers will find value in.
I'd love to answer any questions you have about our Support model or about Customer Support in general. Don't hesitate to reach out to me via email or LinkedIn, and I would be happy to chat and share ideas.