In today’s corporate environments, companies rely on automation to make always-on a reality.

“At SAP and our Real-Time Support channels, support engineers are in the driver’s seat to provide this experience,” states Becky Doyle, global vice president and head of Product Support – People at SAP, the organization that supports human experience management (HXM) solutions from SAP, including SAP SuccessFactors solutions. “Putting the ‘real’ in Real-Time Support is key as we continue to move into the future of how we help our customers, especially in the cloud solution world.”

In this interview, Doyle explains the “real” aspect of Real-Time Support and how it influences the possibilities behind always-on.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about what you mean by the “real” aspect?

A: Our Real-Time Support approach offers an always-on support experience. This means that our customers can contact SAP support experts for any problem they have. Sure, we use some cool technology to help make sure we have the answers in the best possible way. But at the heart, it’s a real and human interaction. Anytime a customer gets to work with a real person to solve an issue it creates a feeling of connection. This interaction could be a live voice call with the Schedule an Expert service, through a chat in real time, or any other Real-Time Support channel. Embedded into the SAP solution with Built-In Support, this real-time interaction can create a fantastic connection between customers and our support experts.

This connection is important and is sometimes a missed opportunity. We need to think of both our customers and support experts as people who work together to solve any problems and make sure the customer’s business runs as smoothly as possible. This feeling of connection through the live channels is valuable for both. My colleague, Mohammed Ajouz, described the criticality of human interaction in a Forbes article.

Partnering in real time gives our support experts an increased sense of purpose. It also connects them to what the customer wants to get accomplished. It’s different from having to submit a ticket to then walk through the problem and get the questions answered. The support experts can help a person, a human, with whatever they need to get done and the process can be faster as it solves the problem within a conversation. This is really powerful.

You mentioned the human side of the Real-Time Support approach. Is there data to show its benefits to the customer experience?

There’s a significant story to tell when we look at the experience our customers have with Real-Time Support. I already talked about the human aspect and the human element of it. When we look at the data, our customers typically get their cases solved faster through Real-Time Support and have a better overall experience. These also often get solved in a single interaction.

Imagine you have an issue and get your interaction solved as soon as you reach out to somebody. You get your answer in real time, when you need it. We can, of course, tie this time to money. Real-Time Support helps make sure our customers’ business continues to transact and flow the way they need it to. We believe the time-to-value of getting a problem solved helps reduce costs for the customer.

One key indicator we look at is the overall customer effort. As described in an article by Gartner, customer effort score is defined as the ease with which customers can use a product or service, resolve a support issue, or find the information they need. When we talk about Real-Time Support, we typically see the customer effort score really improve overall. Customers feel they need to put less effort into their overall support experience or work with our solutions to meet their business needs. This is a powerful human connection to the way we measure how good we are as an organization.

Real-Time Support holds particular importance for our customers in the HR world. What does this human interaction mean from a human experience management perspective?

I am excited about where things are headed for HXM customers. That “X” in the abbreviation really brings out that experience – our human experience management. This is such a powerful shift in the HR space. As our HR solution suite becomes more digital and customers submit cases, more often it’s HR professionals that submit them. These are business users and not necessarily technical contacts. The experience goes beyond fixing the product from a technical perspective; it gets down to how customers use our SAP solutions and what they need to best run their business. Real-Time Support can play a perfect part in bringing that experience home for our customers and our support experts. Being able to support them in real time helps make the overall experience simpler and more personal.

Real-Time Support helps us be more effective and helps our customers with that human and real interaction. When I talk about it from an HXM perspective, our SAP products and solutions are interconnected to the world’s most important resources – the people using them. We help people get hired faster, trained better, and help them more effectively manage their performance. More importantly, we help provide for their families when our SAP solutions facilitate their pay or can help them make smart decisions on their own career path. When it comes to support, there’s nothing more real than to enable our people to help our customers help their people.

Where do you see the future direction of Real-Time Support?

In the cloud space, support can’t simply be an island of helping customers when they come to us. We have the responsibility to work with product management, development, and operations teams across SAP solutions. This close collaboration lets us influence SAP product innovations to make our support more real and to provide that seamless support experience.

One focus of Real-Time Support is to embed artificial intelligence-driven self-service knowledge capabilities into our SAP products as part of Built-In Support. Not only will customers have that true human interaction, they’ll also be able to receive support information relevant to the SAP solution in use.

Another future direction in our support transformation goals is to make support more personal for customers and to open a two-way channel of communication from within the SAP product. The goal is to implement resolutions before business disruption can occur and proactively make customers aware of things before they happen. We want to directly connect them with information that’s relevant to the application in use or provide access to a real-time channel directly from within the SAP solution. Both of these capabilities are pretty cool.

What do you feel is important to remember?

I encourage our customers to get “real” with us through Real-Time Support. Try out Real-Time Support channels, especially when the topic could use that human touch. See how it feels to connect with us. Get real information and immediate answers to help you on your way faster.

Learn more about Real-Time Support.

Regina Postman is part of Customer Support and Innovation Communications at SAP.