Support Tags: The Reciprocal of Customer Support

One of the primary models for "customer support" is the triage method.  While the definitions vary, these three support levels are usually defined as some variant on the following:

  • Level 1: The Level 1 support team is the first point of
    contact in the incident response process. Customer service personnel
    are responsible for call handling, triage, problem characterization,
    and resolution of basic problems. Oftentimes, Level 1 Support answers
    questions by consulting lists of frequently-asked questions (FAQs).
  • Level 2: The Level 2 support team is staffed with
    support engineers assigned by product type. The support engineers are
    responsible for lab-based simulation, difficult problem resolution,
    defect correction or escalation management to Level 3 support.
  • Level 3: The Level 3 support team is staffed with
    senior analysts, program managers, and development engineers dedicated
    to working on the critical problems. They are responsible for
    confirmation of defects, including complex failures, performing
    interoperability studies, and enacting engineering level changes to
    permanently resolve any issues in released products.

But, there are other, customer-centric models that could exist (raise the VRM flag here, charge the hill, etc.), other models that do not inflict the vendor’s silo and processes on the customer who just wants to get the damn thing fixed.  Paul Sweeney asks:

"To post a blunt example, I leave a comment on the recent Service Untitled post
about a poor experience he had with Toyota. How does Toyota sense this?
who should get a call, what "interaction opportunity should be
offered"? Could they "sense" that this particular post was about the
fact that a particular part did not function well, or that a particular
dealer wasn’t all that friendly? How could Enterprise 2.0 solutions
re-design how this is handled?"

Great question.  This is a logical progression from the thoughts I had ("We’re Listening") and Alex Barnett ("Support Tagging") Stowe Boyd and Greg Narain posited as well ("Support Tag Beacons") on the idea of "support tags" (or "beacons" as Stowe and Greg call them, although the "Beacon" term has been co-opted by Facebook these days, more here and here on that).

Extra credit:  The Consortium for Service Innovation on swarming as a customer support model