Written by Lancom Communications, November 2022
Demonstrating that innovation is alive and well in the Australasian managed services provider market, Lancom Technology has introduced a Product Support division which alleviates one of the most challenging aspects facing software developers: customer support and interaction. The division is headed by Aaron Corney, who joined the company directly out of Auckland University of Technology as a graduate systems engineer in in 2016 and played a key role in identifying the market opportunity for the new division.
The Product Support offering is targeted at Software as a Service vendors and provides complete outsourced support via chat, email, helpdesk tickets and voice calls, allowing vendors to focus on product development, sales and marketing, and growth into new markets.
“Early-stage software vendors have a lot on their plates. Creating software is one thing, reaching markets and then looking after customers is quite another,” says Corney. “And in my experience, most software developers are interested in writing code, not engaging with customers. They find this aspect of their work difficult, unpleasant, and challenging. And that’s precisely where Lancom Product Support comes into the picture,” Corney explains.
Working closely with Lancom CTO Phill Claxton, Aaron Corney built the idea into a viable division over the course of 18 months.
Claxton says Product Support takes the concept of Managed Services and applies it to an underserviced market. “There are hundreds of ISVs across the Australasian region, many of which are creating potentially world-leading applications. However, resources are often limited while there are plenty of competing priorities; by offloading product support to a specialist, these vendors benefit from improved service for their existing customers, while being free to focus on expanding their businesses, improving their software, and bringing on board more customers – which Lancom is very happy to support.”
The Product Support division has developed an engagement methodology and delivers its services to strictly defined Service Level Agreements with the goal of accelerating and improving existing customer service. While all SaaS applications have commonalities, specific products obviously differ.
The Lancom team begins with a ‘product deep dive’, assessing all aspects of the software to be supported, including documentation, onboarding processes, the knowledge base and user manuals, and reviewing target response times. “There are a lot of soft skills in support which are also common. Then, with new engagements, we do an application discovery with vendor employees and customers and create a support handbook which is continually updated with any new information generated through the delivery of the support services.”
Part of what the division does, continues Corney, is playing a ‘product owner role’ and acting as the voice of the customer. “We’re better positioned to do this; we can see common problems and frustrations coming through on tickets, and we provide advice and insights in that basis, advocating for the customer, and acting as a bridge between the worlds of the developer and the user.”
Claxton says the division pushes the boundaries of the possible in the Managed Services field. “Outsourcing to a specialist is a proven method of achieving better outcomes for essential aspects of operations where skill, experience or even the desire to do it is lacking. We know SaaS vendors don’t like doing support. At Lancom, we love it. And we’re ready to do it better for Australasia’s software development community.”
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