Custom software support is provided after a product is released. Its terms are usually described in the software support agreement. The success of the product lies in the professionalism of the support team.
Nevertheless, many underestimate the importance of the support department. It is the support team that communicates with software users. Customers often notice flaws that cannot be seen by developers or product owners, because the team can often get overly attached to their product.
Let’s dig a little deeper in what bespoke software support is and how it can make your software better.
Custom software support is a set of services such as remote troubleshooting, installation assistance, usability assistance, installation of product updates and migrations for major releases of software.
Don’t confuse software support with maintenance or enhancement. Maintenance includes minor script and configuration parameters modifications. Software enhancement leads to appearance of new product features. Usually they are defined by the contract.
Different support for different products.
Take a basic custom software product that does not require specific skills for support. The daily work for the support team member is to help users who do not have enough IT knowledge to understand how to accomplish a specific task using the software.
For example, you have one small product. Your developers know it very well, only a few people use it, and it works in a non-critical environment, which means that the problem does not affect business continuity. In this case it will be relatively easy for developers to fix the bugs and answer any questions.
You may assign a different team member to be responsible for support every week. It will add some dynamics into the team’s work, it will help them develop interpersonal skills, and it will raise the team spirit, because developers will need to share the knowledge they acquired during software support.
On the other hand, you may have a complicated system that is used by many people, that has been built by a big team of developers and that works in a critical environment. In this case the business will suffer losses if the platform goes down. Custom software support is going to include 24/7 support by phone, email, and chat. You will need specialists who can answer specific questions quickly and effectively.
When the product is big, you will need a support team. It usually consists of computing consultants who help users with issues they encounter.
The support team has to be informed and trained accordingly in case of product update. Moreover, support has to be involved in the development process. They should be informed what bugs have been fixed so that they can inform customers about that as well.
It may be a good idea to invite your support team to sprint planning or sprint review meetings. It is also important to make sure that the support team documents the most frequently asked question and uses a FAQ list. The knowledgebase will optimize the work process and serve as a good source of information for newcomers.
The support team has to identify those areas that get a lot of questions. Complaints are useful and must be taken seriously, because they are a sign that a specific area has to be improved. Support team can raise this sort of questions during meetings with developers and recommend changes based on users’ requests and preferences. Once the customer finds out that the issue has been fixed, they will turn into a happy client and will eventually spread the word.
Collaboration of development and support teams serves as a solid foundation for quality software. Custom software support provides strategic information about the product. It is better than any market research you can possibly conduct, because you can get feedback from your customers about what kind of features are missing and what has to be added or changed. If you listen carefully to what your users have to say and implement the necessary changes, it will raise customers’ satisfaction level with your product. This is the magic of custom software support.