Jan 30, 2012 Virtual Data Room Customer Support – Virtual or Real?
Virtual Data Room Customer Support – Is It That Important?
Customer support is like insurance. It is not important until you need it. This is particularly true when a virtual data room or online data room is used for a large financial transaction or asset divestiture. It is challenging to evaluate the quality of vendor’s customer support because that experience is only known after the decision to buy the service is made.
An Amex study in 2010, showed that 9 out of 10 customers believe that customer service is important when choosing a company with whom to do business. So how does one predict the expected customer support from a virtual data room vendor when they all promise professional, caring, 24/7 customer support?
VDR Customer Service Promises, Promises
A study in 2010 by the Temkin Group, found that 79% of the respondents thought they were provided better than average customer experiences than their industry. Clearly, the providers feel they provide good customer support but do they clients?
Peruse the websites of virtual data room vendors and one will find a fairly common offering when it comes to customer service.
- Live 24/7 support, 365 days a year
- Expert service teams
- Support for users and administrators at any level
- Phone, email or in person support
- Videos, FAQs, and various online databases
Many virtual data room vendors have thousands of clients and really cant offer personal and immediate human support. According to Gartner, Intellignet Virtual Agents (IVAs) that offer digital customer relationships are part of a new trend customer service solutions and will become the industry standard. Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) are interactive characters that exhibit human-like qualities and communicate with humans. While these developments are understanding and enticing, it will be a while before real, capable and responsible human support personnel are less preferred than their virtual counterparts.
What is Important
All of the typical offerings above are important but SaaS virtual data room providers that really provide high-end customer service generally include these components:
- a top-down belief that customer support is real, personal, important, and always urgent
- that service level commitment is a requirement that is understood throughout the organization
- responsive behavior that assumes that the customer is “always right”
The virtual data rooms business offers substantial support challenges since there are so many variables that affect the user’s experience. Issues will always occur with customer logins, data transfers, and feature operability due to different desktops, Internet connections, software, firewalls, etc. Vendors that provide personal, hands-on immediate support that allows these issues to get resolved will retain clients.
Virtual Data Room Support Evaluation
It is after the license is signed when a client truly learns about a vendor’s
customer support, so how do you pre-determine if the promises are real. You can’t just rely on website promises. Certainly understanding how you will be supported is critical. Is a real person and a team, or is it virtual support. There are two important ways to get an insight into the expected level of care.
- Find out how long the vendors’ customers have been customers; long term relationships are proof of that customer service is a deliverable
- Client References – Visit with some of the vendor’s clients and ask about customer service