dreamI’m sure we’ve all experienced the same customer service nightmare. After spending what seems like an eternity in an automated phone maze serenaded by the soft rock of the 70s, we finally get a person on the line so we quickly unleash a verbal landslide on them explaining our issue.

Unfortunately, instead of getting a solution or even an acknowledgement that we were heard, we are transferred to another representative as Eric Carmen’s “All by Myself” reminds us of the days when we never needed anyone and how those days are gone. No kidding!

A second representative comes on the line, briefly jolts us out of our inevitable despair, and endures our woeful tale only to place us on hold once again, leaving the dulcet tones of Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now” to comfort us. Just as you lose yourself and let loose with “Ooh, ooh, no, baby please don’t go,” a third rep comes on the line.

By now, either your story (or perhaps your tone) has grown darker, causing the disinterested operator to quietly transfer your call without notice and the next thing you know, you’re telling your story to Gilbert O’Sullivan. Have you ever listened to the lyrics of “Alone Again (Naturally)”? A mere 20 seconds into the song and he’s thinking of jumping off a tall tower. Hmmm, maybe not the best song to comfort the disenfranchised masses yearning to have their voices heard. Perhaps they’re planting a suggestion as an alternative to seeking absolute resolution.

So kudos to Ultimate Software for being named a Silver winner in the Support Department of the Year category in Best in Biz Awards 2016. Ultimate Software was recognized for its collaborative support model (sometimes called “tierless” support).

Traditional software support is delivered in a “tiered” structure, where customer calls are automatically handled by a “Tier 1” support representative trained to answer the most common support questions. More complex questions are forwarded to “Tier 2” support reps, sometimes “Tier 3”, and so on. In addition to the additional time it takes, customers might have to explain their issue to multiple support representatives.

In contrast, when a customer submits a question in a collaborative support model, it immediately goes to a team of specialists and multiple subject-matter experts who can then “swarm” the issue for prompt resolution with less customer effort required. After implementing the new model, Ultimate’s customer support inquiry resolution time decreased by 60 percent between May 2015 and June 2016.

Regardless of the model your call center or support team employs, are you measuring its success rate? Is resolution time decreasing? Is customer satisfaction rising? Is customer retention increasing? Find the answers to these and other questions related to your brand with a customer experience measurement and management program from Electrum Branding.