A lot of times it’s human interaction that really makes the difference in a support experience.

“It’s important we provide customers with a true feeling of being supported on their journey,” states Bente Vollan, senior vice president and global head of Product Support, SAP Concur. “Live interactions between our customers and our support engineers not only get cases solved faster, but they also work to build better relationships and understanding of how customers use our SAP solutions.”

In this interview, Vollan provides insight into the live, Real-Time Support interactions customers should tap into.

Q: When would Real-Time Support make sense for customers and SAP?

Get assistance anytime, anywhere, from any device with Real-Time Support

A: Most support-related questions can be more effectively resolved through Real-Time Support. Whether customers have an urgent issue or even an easier, quick question, Real-Time Support can give customers an opportunity to reach out to SAP in real time, right in the moment needed, or later through a portal case, depending on what is most convenient for them. Real-Time Support can be especially useful for very urgent issues. In those instances, customers might feel the need to connect with a person on the other end through a live support channel to make sure their issue is heard and acted on right then.

Let’s take a priority one issue, for example. The customer might have anxiety around when they’ll hear from somebody. With Real-Time Support and its live channels, they can reach out to an SAP support engineer immediately. Whether in Expert Chat or by using the Schedule an Expert service for some solution areas, these real-time channels can give customers the comfort in knowing they’re being helped quickly. This direct interaction can avoid the back-and-forth that is common in a portal case interaction. When you have a chat or a phone call, you can get to the heart of the matter a lot more quickly. This applies to any support-related issue.

What’s so special about Real-Time Support?

In our live support channels, the issue might get resolved immediately if the support engineer can see what’s going on through a screen share while speaking with the customer. This form of interaction helps build empathy between the customer and support engineer. The customer can feel and hear that we really care. The customer is at the heart of SAP support. Our focus is to build up the connection through such conversations. It helps build loyalty and trust with the customer.

One of the most important things to customers is time. It’s essential for the support engineer to quickly understand the issue with as little effort as possible from our customers.

There are different ways customers can have that Real-Time Support experience. Could you touch on a few of those?

Yes, absolutely. The Expert Chat service can be extremely powerful. It can be very quick to access a support engineer live. Should the issue turn out to be very complex, the support engineer can create a case to pull in another team, if needed. Customers can also schedule a set time to connect live with a support engineer at their convenience.

SAP support is also investing in technology that will anticipate customer needs before they ask. Within the Built-In Support tool, when we notice customers are having problems, we’ll be able to suggest knowledge content from within the product to help. Our ambition is to proactively notify customers before they notice an issue.

Finally, we also have another way for customers to find an answer very quickly on their own, without needing to connect with a support engineer: our self-service engagement, which is also part of Real-Time Support. We’re investing to make searches engaging, contextual, and relevant through our knowledge enablement platform and search engine in SAP for Me. Its underlying technology uses analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to help make the experience for customers personal. When they do a search, it should contain the answer they’re looking for within the first three to five results.

Turn problem resolution into a positive experience 

Why do you feel this Real-Time Support interaction is so important?

Three words come to mind: easier, faster, and personal.

It’s easier: customers can get most of their concerns resolved with less effort, and reducing customer effort is one of our top priorities.

It’s faster: customers can see a more rapid resolution or response time for most of their concerns, especially on urgent or critical issues.

It’s personal: customers can speak with a support engineer to discuss and explore issues. Conversation creates better context and understanding, both of which are particularly useful when issues are complex.

Real-Time Support helps customers and support engineers quickly find out what the issue is and what the impact and the urgency of the issue are.

What should customers remember about Real-Time Support?

Customers have many ways to interact with SAP support in real time and support is always available 24/7. We offer relevant, contextual, personalized support though our knowledge base and Built-In Support to help speed case resolution for many issues. For complex issues, having opportunities for customers and our support engineers to interact in real time is the best way to build a connection and to resolve an issue. Holding a real conversation about an issue often leads to a much faster and better understanding of the challenges customers are facing. This can all lead to shorter resolution times.  

If we can give customers a positive experience with us every single time, show them we care about their issues, and do our best to resolve them, that can make a huge difference. Real-Time Support can give that great experience. Support is, at its heart, a people business.

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

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