The UX of Support

Question: What is the difference between the approach UX takes and the one Support takes?

Each group is dedicated to making the customer happy.  Of course, UX is often involved in the creation process of the product/service and support is not, but there are many times when UX is brought in specifically to help an unhappy customer in a quasi-support role.

Recently, I had just such a case, where an unhappy customer was trying to do something a bit complicated.  The support team wanted to make the customer happy, so they immediately tried to figure out a workaround.  They came up with one, gave it to the customer and declared victory.

UX has to go deeper.  It’s not just solving problems.  We have to understand deeply the entire ecosystem and psychological underpinnings of WHY the problem happened.  Why was the customer trying to do this complicated thing in the first place?  What led up to it?  What do they think will be the primary value derived from it?  Who is involved?  How do the decisions get made?  The questions go on and on.

The point is:  UX has to go deep. Really understand the issue from every possible angle.  And then, coming up with a solution has to be much broader in possibility.  Change the product?  Change the business process?  Everything is on the table.

When you have 1 unhappy customer and go through this legwork for them and with them, they will appreciate you in a new and special way.  They know you are on their side.  They will respect your dedication and give you new loyalty.  They will become fans.

Just solving problems is not enough for spectacular UX.  You have to go deep.  Support may not have time to do this every single time, but each time you can go deep, you will create a special kind of customer.

Whatya think?